Sitting proudly amongst the other majestic countries of Central America, Honduras is a diamond in the rough in all possible terms. Ravaged by poverty and security problems, it is no secret that Honduras is not on the map of most tourists. However, one must never listen to naysayers when it comes to the inner compelling to visit a place. If your primordial call points you towards Honduras, then we recommend that you keep these top six things in mind!
When you are braving the world, little do you realise how hard it is for some people to live. Well, in Honduras, over 60% of the population lives in miserable conditions, well below the line of acceptable terms. What this means is that you find that often things as simple as water or toilet paper are hard to come by. This, of course, did not prevent global corporations from expanding beyond their borders – restaurant and hotel chains are there but the locals won’t be able to afford them. Some villages don’t even have addresses, so it is difficult to tell where you are. Beggars, thus, are as abundant as the common flu, so stand your ground and pay attention to where you are wandering.
Logically, if you look at the previous point, tipping becomes a must when travelling to Honduras. The locals that work earn small salaries and they make up for the loss with the extra that customers leave. A reasonable tip, no matter where you might tread in the country, is around 10-15%. Oh, and know that you can tip just about anyone in Honduras, for they are going to accept it wholeheartedly.
Alright, so here is the main reason why most tourists tend to avoid Honduras (and most of Central America, if you come to think of it): crime. Honduras, along with Venezuela, is the world-leader when it comes to homicide rates per capita. The city of San Pedro Sula is so dangerous that we must absolutely add the following disclaimer: travel at your own risk! Tegucigalpa (the capital city) is also dangerous with an average of 2 murders per day and gang activity is rampant throughout the entire country (the following districts are the most dangerous there: Barrio Concepción, Colonia Nueva Capital, Colonia Villa Nueva Norte, Colonia Cerro Grande, Colonia El Carrizal No. 1, Colonia el Carrizal No. 2, Colonia Flor Del Campo, Colonia La Sosa, Colonia Las Brisas, and Barrio Centro de Comayagüela). Thus, do not be alarmed if you see security guards with AK-47s because they are only there to protect businesses from assailants. Oh, and if you do not speak Spanish, do not even think of going to Honduras – it makes you an obvious target for all sorts of nasty things. And if you think that you are in a safe place, think again, for muggings can happen as soon as you land!
4. Language barriers:
English speaking in Honduras is not something that you should be on the lookout for. The reason behind that is that you do not want to alert the locals that you are an outsider (as mentioned above). The rural areas (and the more gang-operated zones) are not English-speaking-friendly at all and you might want to stick to your broken Spanish (though flawless Spanish is, of course, advised). The older population does not speak English at all, so you might want to stick to the youngsters if you must ask the infamous “do you speak English” question (wink)!
Do not drink the water in Honduras, period. Though in limited supply, the water that comes out of the tap is not something that you might want to opt for. Serious bowel problems and diarrhoea have been reported and tourists should stick to bottled water exclusively. Oh, and do not mind the toilets that do not flush – their water supplies are usually saved upon in favour of other “services”.
Garbage collection in Honduras is a serious problem to this day, so do not be alarmed by the fact that it is simply everywhere. If you cannot make your peace with litter, then Honduras is not for you. There have been some improvements in the recent years but since civilian infrastructures are near-non-existent, such “simple” things are often neglected.
Did you enjoy our list? What experiences have you had in Honduras and how have they shaped your overall feel of the place? Hit the comment section below and tell us all about it! Safe travels (especially in Central America)!