Exuding an air of paradise with its exotic palm-fringed beaches, clear turquoise waters, majestic mountains, verdant jungles and beguiling Mayan ruins, the laid back way of life and relative obscurity to the tourist market makes Honduras an ideal holiday getaway for those who enjoy getting off the beaten track.
Honduras has all the right ingredients for a tourist hotspot; pristine beaches, great hotels and a rich cultural history. Despite this, the country has scarcely registered on the Western radar in the past, other than its 15 minutes of fame in 1998 when it was ravaged by Hurricane Mitch. These days it is enjoying a boom in popularity as a relatively unknown, unspoilt and undeveloped destination, recognised for its Ecotourism opportunities, affordable scuba diving, mountain treks and river rafting, as well as its appeal to the rich and famous eager to escape the prying eye of the paparazzi.
Toucans pose alongside orchids in the humid cloud forests and mountains, while banana plantations cover the rest of the aptly named 'Banana Republic', 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 breathtaking Mayan archaeological sites is the Copan Ruins, a World Heritage Site set in a verdant valley in the far western region of Honduras, reminiscent of something out of an Indiana Jones movie.
In contrast to the wild beauty of nature, Honduras has a number of cities where you will find many modern amenities, including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba. And colonial towns like Gracias and Comayagua have scenic 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, which extends towards the Nicaraguan border, is the largest tract of tropical rainforest north of the Amazon and is one of the most popular spots in the world for ecotourism. The country also boasts 373 miles (600km) of Caribbean white sand beaches, and the offshore Bay Islands such as Utila, Roatan and Guanaja are an extremely popular destination, particularly for divers and snorkellers. There is plenty more to discover in this exciting country, however, and the warmth and hospitality of the Honduran locals is bound to lure first time visitors back time and time again.
The currency in Honduras 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,
Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Honduras.
ATMs are widely available.
|HNL 1 =||US$ 0.05||Â£ 0.03||C$ 0.05||A$ 0.05||R 0.43||EUR 0.04||NZ$ 0.06|
Note: These currency exchange rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.
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 a 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.
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. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.
Honduras Tourist Board, Tegucigalpa: +504 222 2124 or www.visitehonduras.com
Foreign Embassies in Honduras
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