Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Maya ruins (Copán), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard.
Honduras presents gigantic variety for traveling. The Mayan Ruins in Copan. Good amenities can be found in cities like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Tela, Utila, Roatán and at Copán Ruinas, but elsewhere conditions can be quite basic, especially in the rural areas.
You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán Ruinas, the colonial towns of Gracias and Comayagua, and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.
During the first millennium, Honduras was inhabited by the Maya civilization in the western part and other Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures in the rest. Columbus first explored the country in 1502, and Honduras became a Spanish colony. Honduras, with four other Central American nations, declared its independence from Spain on September 15, 1821 to form a federation of Central American states. In 1838, Honduras left the federation and became independent. Political unrest rocked Honduras in the early 1900s, resulting in an occupation by U.S. Marines. Dictator Gen. Tiburcio Carias Andino established a strong government in 1932.
In 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. Five thousand people ultimately died in what is called “the football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries. By threatening economic sanctions and military intervention, the Organization of American States (OAS) induced El Salvador to withdraw.
After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.
The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, affecting seriously the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.
Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round. Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average high temperature nationwide is 32°C (90°F) and the average low is 20°C (68°F). Temperatures are coolest in mountain areas. The Caribbean coast can experience a lot of rain, the heaviest being from September to February. In Tegucigalpa, the capital, the climate remains more temperate and the dry season takes place from December to May. The capital can get chilly between December and January when the temperature in the city hovers around 23°C (73°F).
Major international airports with daily flights to Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Houston are in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa (Toncontin) and Roatan. The main international airlines serving the region are TACA, Copa Air, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Spirit, and American Airlines. Iberia, Spain operates daily flights from Madrid to San Pedro Sula via Guatemala City (connecting with TACA). Maya Island Air also has a direct lfight from Belize to San Pedro Sula (phone number 011-501-223-1140 or email@example.com). For interior flights check Isleña, Atlantic and Aerolinas Sosa. Note that the interior domestic airlines frequently have flight cancellations, do not guarantee service, and are under no obligation to issue refunds if a flight does not occur. However, American carriers and their international code share partners listed above guarantee travel per U.S. industry standards. Hence, it is advisable not to rely on a domestic carrier to connect to an outbound international flight without having an alternative means to get to the departure point of the foreign bound aircraft in a timely fashion. For instance, if a flight cancellation occurs in La Ceiba headed to San Pedro Sula due to insufficient ticket sales (a common occurrence), a taxi can be hired for a $50-$100 spot price to run the distance in under two and a half hours. Note that once one leaves the country there is an airport tax. Anytime one leaves the country there is a standard departure tax (Tarifa Aeroportuaria Vuelo Internacional) of 771.10 Lempiras (38.71 U.S. dollars) for foreign visitors and 677.28 Lempiras (34.00 U.S. dollars) for Honduran citizens.
Possible from Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Cars are a good selection, but you must always be careful since the roads are not as well developed but good enough to have a pleasant ride. Traffic enforcement outside of stops to curtail the drug trade is minimal to non-existent, and drivers should be cautious of speeding vehicles as well as aggressive driving tactics (e.g. passing on uphill, curved terrain).
Buses to and from San Pedro Sula leave to and from most major locations in Honduras, including Copan Ruinas, Tegucigalpa, Tela and La Ceiba, with some traveling direct and non-stop and others stopping in route. Each of the capitals of the countries surrounding Honduras are also served by buses: Managua, San Salvador, Guatemala City. All buses (except local metropolitan routes)come into and leave from the Main Metropolitan Bus Terminal on the south side of the city. Taxi's and local bus routes can get you from there to the center of the city and other destinations within San Pedro Sula
Major Bus Companies
Taking the local bus is a great mode of transportation from and to cities within Honduras. Buses are affordable and efficient for you to travel along with the locals. Understand that the earlier you get on a bus, the more time you can spend in the city of your choice. Depending on how many stops the driver makes determines the length of travel time. If you need help knowing the exact fare or which stop is best to get off, ask the locals. Remember the bus is an everyday activity for them.
You may use cruiselines for temporary visits to Honduras' resorts. Cruises visiting Honduras include: • Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) visits the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Miami, FL, USA. • Princess Cruises, Crown Princess visits the Western Caribbean, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA. • Carnival Cruises, Carnival Legend visits the Western Caribbean from Tampa, FL, USA. The Carnival Valor departs and returns to Miami, FL, USA.
Railroads in Honduras have been built in the northern lowlands (Valle de Sula) since 1880s by two competing banana growers. They never extended to the capital Tegucigalpa or to the Pacific coast and never linked to other countries.
In 2006, three separate segments operated under the management of FNH - Ferrocarril Nacional de Honduras:
There is regular boat service from La Ceiba to the bay islands of Roatan and Utila.
Service to Roatan is on the Galaxy Wave II. The ferry trip costs less than flying, and leaves (mostly) on time. A round-trip prima class ticket costs $53; round-trip general class, $43. Both prima and general seating areas are comfortable and offer air conditioning and flat-screen TVs for your entertainment. The crossing takes about 80 minutes each way.
Service to Utila is on the Utila Princess. Tickets cost about $30 round trip and the crossing takes about 60 minutes.
Both ferries leave from the same dock. You should arrive at the dock in La Ceiba about an hour early to buy tickets and check luggage. **If traveling to the bay islands during Semana Santa (Easter week) it is highly recommended to fly, as the wait for a ferry can be up to 8 hours. If you are a Senior citizen you will find the rate very attractive. If you are prone to sea sickness, the trip North to Roatan can be very uncomfortable, as the Galaxy is fighting the currents. Windy days, re-consider. Otherwise it is a delightful trip, Utila to the West and the Cayos to the East. Last trip of the day to Roatan is awesome with a fanastic sunset.
Hitchhiking is common only in rural areas, where there is no proper bus connection. This mode of transportation, however, is best reserved for those that know the area and people well. Hitchhiking is used mainly by people who know one another, and it should only be used as a last resort if one is a visiting foreigner or tourist. If one must use this method of transportation, it is common courtesy to pay the driver for his time. Once again, however, this is not a recommended method of travel for anyone who does not know the country and culture extremely well.
Use common sense at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels, and even in daylight if one happens to be in the wrong part of the city. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Violent crime is common enough in San Pedro Sula with robberies and even gang violence. San Pedro Sula, in fact, has the highest murder rate of any city of Honduras, though mainly among rival gangs seeking to control the various illicit trades. Violent crime and robbery is also very common in Tegucigalpa, the capital city, as well as other smaller towns throughout Honduras. At the present, Honduras has the highest per capita homicide rate in the world, with 86 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants according to the United Nations. Murder is a common day to day issue in all of Honduras, a problem which has put increased strain on private aid organizations and missions in the country, and has even forced the U.S. Peace Corps to withdraw all personell due to safety reasons. Crime has seen an increase in recent years due to political unrest in 2009 (a constitutional crisis which is resolved and now stable), and rapid inflation of the Lempira. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in. It is highly recommended to never take public bus transportation if at all possible, as roberries are common. Instead use private bus companies, or safer buses known as rapiditos. It is also recommended that foreigners stay clear of nightclubs and bars, where illegal activity and violence is more common and that travelers not carry large amounts of cash or expensive items. If you are the victim of a crime you should excersise caution when contacting local police, as there is much corruption present in the national police forces. If the crime is not serious, such as robbery, it is best to not contact the police.