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Honduras exudes an air of paradise through its exotic palm-fringed beaches, clear turquoise waters, verdant jungles, majestic mountains, and beguiling Mayan ruins. Its laidback way of life and relative obscurity to the tourist market make it the ideal holiday for travellers who enjoy leaving the beaten track. Adventurous nature lovers will enjoy this unspoilt destination, where river rafting, mountain trekking and affordable scuba diving are all on offer.
Toucans pose alongside orchids in the humid cloud forests and mountains, while banana plantations cover the rest of the country. Indeed, Honduras is famous for its banana cake, banana pancakes, fried plantain, and banana chips. Many ancient Mayan and Lenca ruins can be found hidden away from civilisation in lush jungle landscapes, ready to enchant the most seasoned of travellers. One of the country's most breath-taking Mayan archaeological sites is the Copan Ruins. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is set in a verdant valley in the far western region of Honduras.
In contrast to its wild natural beauty, Honduras has many cities where travellers will find modern amenities. Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba are among them. Colonial towns like Gracias and Comayagua have wonderful examples of Spanish architecture, including forts and castles.
The once-thriving port of Trujillo has an intriguing pirate history and exquisite tropical beaches, while the region known as the Mosquito Coast is the largest tract of tropical rainforest north of the Amazon. The country also boasts Caribbean white sand beaches, while offshore Bay Islands such as Utila, Roatan, and Guanaja are a treat for divers and snorkelers.
Honduras' climate is hot and humid almost all year round. The coast is hot and tropical while the mountainous area is slightly cooler. The north coast is prone to a very hot climate and experiences rain throughout the year. The dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October. The Caribbean coast experiences heavy rain from September to February. Average annual temperatures hover around 90°F (32°C). Hurricane season runs from June to November and landslides, mudslides and flooding may occur.
Honduras' currency is the Lempira (HNL), which is subdivided into 100 centavos. Denominations are 10, 20 and 50 centavos. It is best to travel on the US Dollar as it is the more favourable exchange currency, but banks in larger cities will occasionally exchange Euros and Canadian Dollars. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Honduras. ATMs are widely available.
Spanish is the official language although English is often spoken in the Bay Islands.
Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. Flat blade attachment plugs and flat blades with round grounding pin are in use.
US nationals: US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.
UK nationals: British citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for touristic or business-related stays of up to three months; except for British passports endorsed British National (Overseas), holders of which should confirm entry requirements before travel.
CA nationals: Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.
AU nationals: Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.
ZA nationals: South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for touristic or business-related stays of up to three months.
IR nationals: Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.
NZ nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.
All foreign passengers to Honduras must hold onward/return tickets, and all necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Visa extensions can be obtained from the Immigration Office, for a fee that varies between USD 10 and USD 50. Note that travellers under 21 years of age are considered to be minors.
It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destinations. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Mosquito-borne illnesses are an ongoing health problem in Honduras. All travellers are advised to take mosquito repellent to prevent illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever, as well as to protect from annoying mosquito and sand fly bites. It is strongly recommended that routine vaccinations are up to date. Tap water is not safe to drink but bottles or bags of purified water are readily available.
Honduras regularly suffers from severe air pollution, which can aggravate or lead to respiratory problems. For divers, there is a hyperbaric decompression chamber on Roatan. State hospitals are under-funded and travellers should use private hospitals where possible. Health insurance is recommended.
A service charge of 10 percent is usually added to bills at restaurants in Honduras, but anything extra is for good service. It is customary to tip hotel bellboys and cleaning staff for good service.
Political demonstrations in Honduras can sometimes be disruptive to traffic, but are generally announced in advance and are peaceful. Travellers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place and should stay informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides. Incidents of crime, including carjacking along roads in Honduras is common. There have been frequent incidents of highway robbery on a number of roads. Petty crime is common in urban areas and tourist spots. Travellers should always carry a photocopy of their passport for identification purposes. It is not advisable to walk around town after dark.
There is a strong Spanish influence in Honduras. Beachwear and shorts should not be worn away from the beach or poolside. Men are required to wear dinner jackets for formal social occasions. A common and appropriate greeting for men and women is a handshake.
When conducting business in Honduras, appointments are necessary and should be made two weeks in advance. Visitors are expected to be punctual, though meetings may not start on time. Business travellers should allow plenty of time for socialising and should not rush getting straight down to business, as Hondurans place importance on establishing personal contact. Business is male dominated but since 2005 women now make up 47 percent of the labour force. Business suits or jackets for men and dresses and skirts for women are customary. Though some businesspeople speak English, correspondence should be in Spanish. Business hours are Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm, with an hour or two taken over lunch.
The international access code for Honduras is +504. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are not in use. Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies and coverage is generally good along the coast and around major towns. Nearly every hotel and hostel offers free wifi, as do many bars, cafes and restaurants, as well as public squares and other government institutions.
Travellers over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 450g of tobacco, two bottles of alcoholic beverages, a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use and gifts up to a total value of US$1,000.
Honduras Tourist Board, Tegucigalpa: +504 222 2124.
Embassy of Honduras, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 966 7702.
Embassy of Honduras, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7486 4880.
Embassy of Honduras, Montreal, Canada: +1 514 439 7151.
Embassy of Honduras, Sydney, Australia +61 2 9350 8115.
American Embassy, Tegucigalpa: +504 236 9320.
British Honorary Consulate, Tegucigalpa: +504 237 6577.
Canadian Embassy, San José, Costa Rica (also responsible for Honduras): +506 2242 4400.
Australian Embassy, Mexico City, Mexico (also responsible for Honduras): +52 55 1101 2200.
South African Embassy, San Pedro Sula: +504 552 2093.
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