Honduras

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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. The country is bordered by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south and Nicaragua to the southeast. 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. (less...) (more...)

Population: 8,448,465 people
Area: 112,090 km2
Highest point: 2,870 m
Coastline: 465 km
Life expectancy: 70.81 years
GDP per capita: $4,700
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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
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  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
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  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

About Honduras

History

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, seriously affecting the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.

Climate

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).

Activities

Volunteer Honduras ($725/week) 8-day, all-inclusive service trips in Honduras. 5 days of volunteering and 3 days of traveling to places like Copán Ruinas, La Ceiba, etc.

Honduras is great not only for tourism, but also for opportunities to volunteer and help aid those that live in impoverished conditions. This nation is a very popular destination for medical aid groups and various private aid and mission groups. Certain aid organizations that have a presence in Honduras are World Vision, World Gospel Outreach, Fundacion Casa De Luz, Red Cross, Foundation Free The Oppressed, and several others. The U.S. Peace Corps, however, is no longer active in this country due to security risks. Service and aid trips may not be for everyone, however. If your intention is to enjoy a good vacation, then it is best to travell to Honduras apart from aid organizations and missions. Either way, a trip to Honduras is rewarding and enjoyable, whether you visit to serve or to see the fantastic beauty of this Central American nation.

The Caribbean Coast of Honduras is home to the Bay Islands: Utila, Roatán, and Guanaja. Here you will find the Earth’s second-largest coral reef ready for you to explore. If you wish to become a certified diver, great diving schools are well known in Utila and Roatán. Also, Utila provides hiking, kayaking, and a glorious beach for eco-friendly and nature-intrigued tourist. Or you may prefer an invigorating scuba dive in Roatán. Where you will have the chance to swim in the clear waters near the reef’s gigantic barrel sponges. The Mosquito Coast, a large rainforest located in the northeast region, is for the adventurous traveler to explore the natural wonders of the plains and wildlife of the tropics. Please revere to tribal groups living within this region who practice traditional lifestyles. The Western Honduras is home to the ruins at Copan (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is believed to have been inhabited by the Mayans from 1200 BC. There are also lively museums and other natural sites for the eco-tourist.

Food

The Honduran "Plato tipico" is the most famous lunch. It consists of rice, beef, fried beans (frijolitos), and fried bananas (tajaditas). If you are lucky, it will also come with chimol, a fresh, non-spicy salsa made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice.

Baleadas are a Honduran original. A baleada sencilla (simple) consists of a thick flour tortilla filled with refried beans, cheese (queso), and a type of cream similar to sour cream but not sour (crema or mantequilla). A baleada especial usually also comes with eggs in it and you can sometimes get avocado or even meat.

Other choices are tacos and enchiladas, though don't expect them to be like those in Mexico. The tacos are meat rolled in a corn tortilla and deep fried. The enchiladas are a flat fried corn tortilla topped with ground beef, cheese and a red sauce.

One commonly known Honduran treat is called a macheteada, which is a tortilla filled with sweet, sugary, flour and sugar.

pinchos y pupusas (tocino, queso, etc.)

fresh Honduran tilapia (fish)

Drinks

San Pedro Sula has some of the country's best nightlife and is a great place to go out and dance the night away or to catch up on all the latest movies. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, also has a great nighttime scene. Nightlife should be reserved for those tourists who know the culture and language extremely well, however, as it can be slightly dangerous for those who do not understand the dangers involved in the nightlife world of Honduras. There are several nightclubs and casinos that have excellent facilities, however, illegal activities are also much more common in these places. The possibility of crime greatly escalates after dark as well, no matter what part of the country one may be in.

Honduran Coffee is great, recognized around the world for its rich taste, with the brands from Copan are usually being the best. Welches is considered to be the best by many locals. A less well known, yet very rich blend is Cloud Forest brand of coffee, which is grown in the higher "Cloud Forest" regions of the nation. This brand also offers buyers the chance to help aid organizations everytime the product is purchased. Coffee from Lepaera, Lempira, was judged to be the best coffee in the world but can be difficult to find, even in Lepaera itself, since it is highly demanded around the world and exported accordingly.

Great "licuados" -fruit juices and milk shakes- (mango, piña, watermelon, banana, etc.)are common and worth trying almost anywhere in the country.

Achoholic beverages are readily available, however, it is not recommended that tourists and foreigners become intoxicated as this increases security risks to that individual. Also, crime is much more common near bars, nightclubs and the like. This being said, Honduras has several excellent alchoholic beverages such as fine wines and rich beers.

Shopping

Malls

There is always plenty to do while vacationing in Honduras. In San Pedro Sula, things that revolve around shopping include visiting the City Mall and Metroplaza Mall. Also, in the capital, Tegucigalpa, there are several modern shopping centers. These include Multiplaza mall, Cascadas mall, and Metromall. Also, a new mall has recently opened in Tegucigalpa next to the Toncotin international airport called "City Mall", the largest mall in Central America. In these Westernized areas you can stock up on practical necessities such as adventure clothing for upcoming trips into the Honduran hinterland. Or, if you just like shopping, you can buy clothes and goods for everyday use at pleasingly cheap prices.


Mercado de Artesanias Guamilito

Leather goods are particularly famous from here, though in truth you can find just about anything, from clothes to trinkets to food and drinks. The Mercado forcibly calls for you to use your bartering skills; obtaining the price you want can prove one of the more difficult—and therefore rewarding—activities in San Pedro Sula.

Valle De Los Angeles This small town is a gorgeous tourist location that is especially catered towards shoppers looking for local art, crafts, and fine woodwork and souveniers.

Money

The National currency of Honduras is the Lempira but, like almost everywhere in Central America, the U.S. Dollar acts as a second currency and nearly every business accepts both. The U.S. Dollar is the main currency on the Bay Islands due to the frequency of cruises that come by (and by looking around, there are a lot of Americans). It is wise to carry small bills (under $20), especially $2 bills (considered lucky and makes a good tip). It is very important to use only bills printed recently and to avoid notes with tears.

ATM's can be found in most cities. Some ATM's dispense both U.S. Dollars and Lempiras and nearly all can be used in English. Be sure to bring cash to the Bay Islands because they do not have very many ATMs. Nearly all banks exchange money just make sure to bring your passport for identification purposes.

As of January 2013, there are 19.92 Lempiras to one U.S. Dollar. Sometimes it may be cheaper to buy in Lempiras.

If going to another country, exchanges all lempiras as they are useless once you leave the country, but they can be exchanged at most borders.


Mobile (3G/GPRS) internet access

If you have an internet capable mobile phone such as iPhone, Google Android, Nokia N95 etc. or USB dongle for your laptop, you just need a local SIM card (roughly 25 lempiras) and can start enjoying the prepaid access plans, which generally come in lots of an hour, a day, or a week and have a specific maximum usage.

Here is a table for the settings and activation options for various providers, including approximate costs.

Handicrafts

Handicrafts - Honduras is famous for its Lenca ceramics and beautiful handcrafted wooden boxes made from Honduran mahogany.

If visiting San Pedro Sula, be sure to visit El Mercado Guamilito. You will find many wonderful and cheap handicrafts like hand carved wooden boxes, Lencan pottery, hammocks, paintings, leather products, and beautiful hand-woven fabrics.

Leather Items - Honduran leather items are of fine quality at an extremely reasonable price, making your visit to Honduras a great time to purchase these. Bags, attaché cases, belts, wallets and even garments are a bargain. One of the producers in San Pedro Sula whose quality is up to par with international standards is Danilo's Pura Piel.

Honduras has a long history as a silver mining country. Excellent artisans work the silver and produce very artistic and high quality silver products and jewelry. There are several different jewelers in town. Another popular item are paintings by Honduran artists. These usually depict colonial towns and mountain landscapes that are typical of Honduras. The best selection of these can be found at the Maymo art Gallery.

Valle de Angeles is a must visit location for tourists and souvenier hunters. The town is bordered on the north by the municipality of Central District, on the south by the municipality of San Antonio de Oriente, east by the municipalities of Morocelí and Villa de San Francisco and west by the municipality of Santa Lucía. It is located about 22 km northwest of the capital city, Tegucigalpa, between the mountains of Los Lagos, El Carrizal, Palo Hueco and Chinacla. It is well known as a gorgeous tourist destination for its passionate culture, safety, and wonderful hand-made artwork and crafts. This small town is the perfect place to enjoy souvenier shopping, as the entire town is comprised of cultural shops known for beautiful handicrafts, such as carved boxes and tables, hammocks, paintings, pottery, and much more. Valle de Angeles also boasts several restaurants and street shops with savory, delicious local food choices.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Honduras on Wikivoyage.

Cities in Honduras

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Roatán is one of the Honduras Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Interesting places:

  • West Bay Beach
  • Half Moon Bay Beach
  • Parrot Tree Beach
  • Fantasy Island Beach
  • Paya Bay Beach
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San Pedro Sula is in northern Honduras. It is the second largest city in Honduras after the capital Tegucigalpa. The focus of industry in Honduras, it is mostly a modern city (unlike more picturesque Comayagua, Tegucigalpa, etc). It is a good base for entering the country and visiting other parts, and offers ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Central Park
  • San Pedro Sula Cathedral
  • Parque Central
  • San Pedro Cathedral
  • Museum of Anthropology and History
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La Ceiba is a city on the north Caribbean coast of Honduras, 202 km from San Pedro Sula.

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Tegucigalpa is the capital of and largest city in Honduras.

Interesting places:

  • Parque Central
  • Iglesia Los Dolores
  • Metropolitan Cathedral of Tegucigalpa
  • National Congress of Honduras
  • Peace Monument
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Copán was one of the great centers of Maya civilization over a thousand years ago. The beautiful ruins have some of the most impressive pre-Columbian art anywhere. Near the ruins is the modern town of nearly the same name - Copán Ruinas, with clean hotels and other facilities for visitors. Due to their ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Copan Ruins
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Gracias is a city in the Honduran department of Lempira.

Interesting places:

  • Celaque National Park
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Omoa is in Honduras. It is a town on the Caribbean Sea coast, just west of Puerto Cortes and a short journey north of San Pedro Sula. Omoa was the main Caribbean port of Honduras until the mid 19th century. Now it is a very laid-back, very small, picturesque beach town and a pleasant day trip from San Pedro ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • San Fernando Fortress
  • San Ignacio Ecological Park
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Interesting places:

  • Chepes Beach
  • Treasure Beach
  • Laguna Beach
panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in Honduras

  • The ruins of Copan

West Bay Beach - Roatan

Copan Ruins - Copan

Parque Central - Tegucigalpa

San Pedro Sula Cathedral - San Pedro Sula

Tela Beach - Tela

San Fernando Fortress - Omoa

Chepes Beach - Isla de Utila

Celaque National Park - Gracias

Central Park - San Pedro Sula

Iglesia Los Dolores - Tegucigalpa

Parque Central - San Pedro Sula

San Pedro Cathedral - San Pedro Sula

Metropolitan Cathedral of Tegucigalpa - Tegucigalpa

Half Moon Bay Beach - Roatan

National Congress of Honduras - Tegucigalpa

Peace Monument - Tegucigalpa

Parrot Tree Beach - Roatan

Museum of Anthropology and History - San Pedro Sula

Cristo Picacho - Tegucigalpa

Villa Roy National Museum - Tegucigalpa

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners
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