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HONDURAS - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Honduras. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to violent crime.
Regional Advisory for parts of Valle, Choluteca and Olancho
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to San Francisco de Coray and Langue in the department of Valle; Orocuina, Apacilagua and Morolica in the department of Choluteca; and San Francisco de la Paz and Gualaco in the department of Olancho due to high levels of violence and crime.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Honduras, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and the presence of street gangs pose significant security concerns and contribute to the high rate of crime. Apprehension and conviction rates of criminals remain low. A large percentage of the population is armed. Guns and weapons such as machetes and knives are frequently used in robberies. If you are threatened by robbers, do not resist; injuries and deaths have occurred when victims have resisted.
Serious crime—including armed robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, home invasion and sexual assault—is common, and armed attacks on marine vessels have been reported. Although most criminals do not target tourists, some have been victims of crime in major cities and in areas frequented by tourists, especially at night. Exercise increased vigilance in the departments along the Atlantic coast, along the border with Guatemala and in the eastern departments of Gracias a Dios, Olancho and Colón, and in rural areas north of Nacaome, Valle, and north of Choluteca, Choluteca. Exercise increased caution while in the cities of San Pedro Sula (including in vehicles leaving the airport), the Bay Islands (comprising Roatán, Útila and Guanaja), Trujillo and Tegucigalpa.
In Roatán, robbers have targeted homes and long-term leased residences. Since 2009, three Canadian citizens have been murdered in the Bay Islands. Travellers visiting the Bay Islands should exercise particular caution around uninhabited coastal areas and avoid walking on isolated beaches, especially at night. Foreigners have been assaulted on beaches in the Bay Islands and along the Atlantic Coast.
Travellers have been followed and assaulted. Use discretion when discussing your travel plans in public. Be cautious when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances and be extremely careful when accepting rides or invitations. Remain aware of your surroundings at all times, especially after dark and when travelling alone.
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
In resort areas, stay on supervised beaches and do not walk in isolated or unpopulated areas. Hitchhiking is strongly discouraged everywhere in the country. Campers should always stay in well-lit campgrounds that have security patrols. Whenever possible, walk in a group, as there have been reports of attacks on tourists walking alone.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is prevalent. Be highly vigilant at all times, including in the vicinity of hotels, airports, bus terminals, shopping malls and other public places. Do not display signs of affluence, such as jewellery, watches, cameras, phones, cash and bank or credit cards. Use only automated banking machines (ABMs) found in well-lit public areas or inside banks, and do so during the day only. Remain alert to your surroundings after using ABMs, and avoid carrying large sums of money. Avoid walking or travelling alone and after dark, particularly in and around the country’s two largest cities, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, as well as in Atlántida, Cortés, Colón, Yoro, Copán, Ocotepeque, Gracias a Dios and Olancho departments.
Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Carry photocopies of your travel documents, and leave the originals in a secure hotel safe.
Narcotics smuggling and violence pose threats to the security of travellers in the northern departments of Colón, Gracias a Dios and Olancho, which are among the most violent departments in Honduras. Travellers in these areas should be particularly vigilant, as there have been incidents involving roadblocks and violence related to land disputes, particularly in the Aguan Valley in Colón and Yoro and in the north coast area near Trujillo.
You should exercise caution at borders with Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and use official border points only. You should cross borders in the morning, as border crossings sometimes close unexpectedly early in the evening.
The judicial and criminal investigation systems lack personnel, equipment and resources and have limited capacity to confront crime. You should exercise caution when dealing with police officers because corruption exists within parts of the police force.
Occasional demonstrations and strikes addressing various grievances occur in the capital and in other cities and can cause significant traffic disruptions. In Tegucigalpa, demonstrations are known to target the National Congress, Central Park and Presidential House, and often transit along Suyapa Boulevard and Miraflores Boulevard. Avoid demonstrations and large crowds, as they can turn violent with little notice, and stay alert, exercise caution and keep informed of possible roadblocks.
In 2004, Honduras concluded all planned projects related to the destruction of antipersonnel mines. No incidents involving landmines have been reported since 2012; however, you should still be cautious along the Honduras-Nicaragua border, especially in the Río Coco region, the Choluteca and El Paraíso departments and near the Atlantic coast. Restrict travel to major thoroughfares and authorized border crossings.
Border crossing fees
To avoid possible excessive charges at land border crossings, determine the correct fees from the embassy or consulate of each country you plan to visit before presenting yourself at a border crossing.
Robberies and bus/carjackings occur along Honduran highways. Intercity public transportation should be avoided; if used, it is recommended to use companies that have direct, non-stop service from your place of departure to your destination. If driving, travel with heightened awareness along all routes. Plan your travel to depart and arrive within daylight hours and allow for possible traffic delays, which can include frequent car accidents along roads, slow moving trucks and overloaded vehicles, poorly maintained roads and high traffic volume in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.
Armed robberies and assaults frequently occur along Route 41, the road from Limones to La Unión, Olancho, and northward via Yoro to Saba, Colón; within the Sula Valley in northern Honduras; and route 39 between Gualaco and Bonito Oriental, Olancho. Avoid roads that are in disrepair and travelling through isolated areas, including the road from El Porvenir, Francisco Morazán, to Yorita, Yoro; from Marcala, La Paz, to La Esperanza, Intibucá; and from Orocuina to Morolica, Choluteca. Travel with high caution en route to El Progreso, Tela, Trujillo and La Ceiba, and on the road through Santa Bárbara. Travelling on major roads between towns and cities is safer than travelling on secondary or remote routes.
Heavy rains, flooding, landslides and bridge collapses have damaged many roads. Roads are often poorly delineated with inadequate lighting. Avoid driving at night, as vehicles often have poor lighting and animals and pedestrians commonly travel on roads after dark. Traffic accidents are a common cause of death and injury. Drivers involved in road accidents where another person is badly injured may be held in custody, regardless of culpability.
The most dangerous stretches are from Tegucigalpa to Choluteca (winding two-lane mountain roads); from El Progreso to La Ceiba (animal crossings and poorly maintained bridges); and from Chamelecón (just south of San Pedro Sula) to Copán (winding and poorly maintained mountain road). Carry a phone in case of emergency and travel during daylight hours.
Thieves are known to pose as victims of road accidents, so do not stop to attend to a body on the roadside; instead, report it at the next police point. Be cautious when approached by police, as gang members and criminals sometimes disguise themselves as police officers. Drive with windows closed and doors locked at all times. At roadblocks, establish the identity of the individuals stopping you before rolling down your window or opening your door.
Most urban public buses and shared taxis are poorly maintained and erratically driven. Accidents are common. There are regular incidents of individuals boarding a bus to rob all of the occupants and/or to shoot an occupant and/or the driver. A number of buses have being intentionally set on fire since 2013. Individuals travelling in shared taxis (colectivos) are regularly assaulted and robbed by thieves posing as occupants.
For inter-city travel, use buses operated by private, well-established companies only.
Use taxis from a reputable taxi service that provides non-stop service from your departure point to your destination. Never share a taxi with strangers. Note the driver's name and licence number, ensure that the driver does not pick up other passengers on the way to your destination, and agree on the fare in advance.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
In the area off the northeast coast of Honduras, armed assaults against private vessels have been perpetrated by criminals posing as fishermen. Sailors should contact local authorities for current information.
General safety information
Only undertake scuba diving and other adventure sports with a well-established company. If you have any doubt concerning the security of an installation or equipment, refrain from using them.
The emergency number for local police and all emergency services is 911. Police response to criminal incidents may be limited and delayed, and the Honduran police do not generally speak English or French.
There are tourist police forces in Tegucigalpa, Roatán, La Ceiba, Copán, Tela, Choluteca and San Pedro Sula.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Honduran authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Honduras or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Honduras, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days
Business visa: Not required for stays up to 30 days
Student visa: Not required
Travellers intending to study in Honduras can apply to the immigration authorities for a student permit once they have arrived in the country.
Central America-4 Border Control Agreement
Under the terms of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement (C-4), Canadian tourists may travel within any of the C-4 countries – Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala – for a period of up to 90 days, without completing entry and exit formalities at border immigration checkpoints. This period begins at the first point of entry to any of the C-4 countries. Travellers who exceed the 90-day limit can expect to pay a fine. An extension of up to 90 days is permitted once a year. You must request this extension and pay the required fee to Immigration authorities before the initial 90 day-limit expires. The length of the extension is at the discretion of the immigration authorities.
A departure tax of approximately US$40 (or Lempira equivalent) is required for all international flights, and can be paid by cash or credit card.
Children and travel
Dual citizens and Honduran residents under 18 years of age departing the country alone or with only one parent are required to present a legally certified document stating that both parents (if travelling alone) or the parent remaining in the country (if travelling with only one parent) agree to their travel.
See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central America and Mexico, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central America and Mexico. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central America and Mexico, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Central America and Mexico, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Private hospitals and clinics in urban areas (including Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula) are often better staffed and equipped than public or rural facilities.
Physicians and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical care. Credit cards are usually accepted. Medical facilities on the Bay Islands are extremely limited.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Honduran law prohibits the export of firearms, antiques and artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations. It is also illegal to export certain birds, feathers and other flora and fauna.
An International Driving Permit is required.
The currency is the lempira (HNL). You cannot exchange Canadian dollars in Honduras, although U.S. dollars and traveller’s cheques are easily converted. A passport is required for all financial transactions; however, institutions accept a certified photocopy of the identification page. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.
In the rainy season, which extends from May to November, major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly. During the dry season (from December to April), widespread forest fires often cause airport closures. Severe air pollution resulting from these fires can lead to respiratory problems.
Honduras is located in an active seismic zone. Familiarize yourself with earthquake precautionary measures.
Tegucigalpa - Embassy of Canada (Program Office)
San José - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, contact the Office of the Canadian Embassy in Tegucigalpa and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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