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Honduras

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Summary

  • Exercise a high degree of caution in Honduras due to high levels of violent crime and the possibility of violent protests. Be alert and pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the southern suburb of San Pedro Sula (the Chamelećon) and the nearby towns of Choloma and Cofradia due to the very high levels of violent crime. See Safety and security
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the Department of Gracias a Dios due to very high levels of crime.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent. It's illegal for foreigners to take part in political demonstrations. Follow local media and instructions issued by local authorities. See Safety and security
  • Violent crime, including murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking and sexual assault, is widespread in Honduras, often involving firearms. See Safety and security
  • Only use reputable transport or tour companies. Travel in groups and avoid travelling at night due to the very high risk of crime. See Safety and security
  • The hurricane season is from June to November when landslides, mudslides and flooding may occur. In the case of a hurricane, monitor local media reports and follow the instructions of local emergency officials. See Natural disasters

Entry and exit

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Australian Government cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination's entry or exit requirements.

Visas

You need a visa to enter Honduras.

Apply online through the Honduran immigration authority before you travel.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of Honduras for the up-to-date information.

If you are travelling through the United States of America, or if you are transiting in Honolulu or another US point of entry, you'll need to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check visa requirements with an Embassy or Consulate of the United States well in advance of your travel. More information: United States of America

If you are flying via Canada, you'll need an eTA (electronic Travel Authorisation) for Canada.

More information:

Other formalities

Make sure your passport is stamped on entry, whether you enter Honduras by land, sea or air.

Children under 18 who travel without both parents or legal guardians must present a notarised letter of consent from the non-travelling parents or legal guardians to enter and exit Honduras. The letter must satisfy certain language and other requirements. More information: Embassy or Consulate of Honduras

If you're travelling by air, you'll need to pay an airport service fee when departing Honduras. Passengers under 12 years old are exempt. If the airport service fee is not included in the cost of your ticket, you'll need to pay it in US dollars or local currency at the airport before you leave.

You need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you are arriving in Honduras from a country or area where yellow fever is endemic. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)

Passport

Check the expiry date of your Australian passport before you travel. Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for six months from when you plan to leave that country.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact an Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

The currency in Honduras is the Lempira (HNL). Australian dollars cannot be exchanged into HNL in Honduras. Bring US dollars or travellers cheques instead. You'll need to show your passport, or a certified copy of your passport identification page, to exchange money.

Credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are available in major centres. ATM fraud occurs so check your statements closely. Contact your bank to check that your cards will work in Honduras.

Safety and security

Crime

Violent crime - including murder, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking and sexual assault - is widespread. It often involves firearms and is frequently related to street gangs. Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. There have been incidents of mass shootings in urban centres.

Foreigners have been the target of violent crimes, particularly in and around San Pedro Sula (including when leaving the airport), on the ferry from La Ceiba to the Bay Islands, as well as in Tegucigalpa, Tela, Trujillo and in the area of the Copan ruins.  

Murder rates are very high in Chamelecón district south of San Pedro Sula and the nearby towns of Choloma and Cofradia, where criminal groups are active. The rate of violent crime is also very high in remote and border areas of Honduras, which often have inadequate or no police or security presence. In particular, the Departments of Olancho, Colon and Gracias a Dios in the east, Cortes and Copan in the west, and Valle and Choluteca in the south. High levels of cross-border narcotics smuggling contribute to security risks.

Armed robbery and car- and bus-jackings occur on Honduran roads and highways, both in urban and rural areas. Carjackers often target vehicles leaving major airports. Roadside robbery is frequent, including at traffic lights and by criminals pretending to be injured.

Sexual assault of foreigners has been reported. In some cases, victims food or drink was 'spiked', leaving them more vulnerable to attack. 'Spiking' incidents are on the rise.

Violent crime increases at night. Travelling by bus or car after dark is particularly dangerous, including in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, other major cities and at beach resorts. Attacks on foreigners walking alone have occurred.

Bag snatching, pickpocketing and other petty crime is common throughout Honduras, particularly at airports, hotels, bus terminals, shopping malls and other crowded public venues.

Scams and credit card fraud have also been reported. Foreigners have also been robbed after withdrawing money from ATMs.

Local law enforcement authorities often have limited capacity to respond to the increasing levels of violent crime and assistance to victims can be limited.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Honduras.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the Chamelecón district south of San Pedro Sula, and the nearby towns of Choloma and Cofradia.
  • Reconsider your need to travel to the Department of Gracias a Dios.
  • Don't walk outdoors or travel after dark.
  • Be alert to possible threats at all times, including in isolated and remote areas.
  • Use only official border crossing check points.
  • Schedule your arrival at, and departure from, airports during daylight hours to avoid travel at night.
  • Pre-arrange your pickup with your hotel prior to your arrival in Honduras. Otherwise, use only authorised airport taxis.  
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Take care of your belongings, especially in crowded places.
  • Avoid discussing your travel plans in public.
  • Travel in groups, including when walking.
  • Don't use taxis from taxi stands or flagged from the street. Use only reputable taxi companies recommended by a major hotel. See Local travel
  • Never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
  • Drive with windows closed and doors locked at all times.
  • Only use ATMs during daylight hours and in controlled areas such as banks or shopping centres.
  • Only change money in hotels or banks.
  • If you are a victim of an attack, do not resist. Victims of crime have been killed and injured when resisting their attackers.
  • Report incidents to the police.
  • Due to the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, if you are a victim of violent crime, especially rape, seek immediate medical assistance.

The Bay Islands are generally safer than mainland Honduras, with significantly lower levels of crime. But petty crime is common and violent crime directed at tourists occasionally occurs. Theft from homes and long-term leased residences also happens.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations and large public gatherings can turn violent. It's illegal for foreigners to take part in politicla demonstrations.

  • Avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings.
  • Monitor the media and other sources for news of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • If you are in an area where a protest or similar is happening, leave if it's safe to do so.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Cross-border travel 

Smuggling at non-official border crossings can increase risks. Use only official border crossing check points. Border crossings are often not staffed at night. Cross them in the morning to allow sufficient time to reach your destination before dark.

Landmines

Unmarked mine fields are located on both sides of the Honduras-Nicaragua border, especially in the Rio Coco region, the Choluteca and El Paraiso provinces, and in the area near the Atlantic Coast. Don't stray from known safe roads and areas.

Tours and adventure activities

Transport and tour operators don't always follow recommended safety precautions and maintenance standards, including for adventure activities such as scuba diving. They may not provide safety equipment such as lifejackets and seatbelts. Rescue services may not be as effective as those in Australia.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities:

  • first check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy
  • check operators' credentials and safety (including communications) equipment before booking
  • Insist on minimal safety equipment and use it, even if others don't
  • if appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Road travel

You're nearly four times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Honduras than Australia. Many roads are poorly maintained and lack adequate signage and lighting, making driving at night particularly dangerous. Pedestrians and farm animals often share the roads with vehicles.

Roads are regularly damaged by heavy rains, flooding, landslides and bridge collapses. The most dangerous stretches for road travel are from Tegucigalpa to Choluteca (mountain curves); from El Progreso to La Ceiba (animal crossings, poorly maintained bridges); and from Tegucigalpa to Copan (mountain curves and poor road conditions).

Carjackings, busjackings and highway robberies are common, especially at night. Routes where this threat is particularly high include:

  • 33 Street and southern San Pedro Sula when travelling from the airport in San Pedro Sula
  • San Pedro to Siguatepeque (main highway)
  • San Pedro Sula to Copan
  • Limones to La Union
  • Olancho to Saba via Salama
  • Gualaco to San Estaban
  • La Esparanza to Gracias
  • roads in and around Tela, La Ceiba, Trujillo and El Progreso.

If you plan to travel by road:

  • first check you have adequate insurance cover
  • find out local traffic laws and practices before driving
  • only travel in daylight hours
  • get local advice on current road conditions, including security risks, before travel
  • avoid routes where security risks are particularly high
  • take route CA13 when travelling from the airport in San Pedro Sula
  • keep vehicle windows up and doors locked at all times.

Driver's licence

You can drive in Honduras with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must get your IDP before departing Australia.

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Always wear a helmet.

Taxis

Airport taxis and taxis pre-booked through a reputable company are safer than those flagged from the street or at taxi stands.   Airport taxi drivers wear clearly identifiable photo ID badges. Taxi drivers often don't provide change.

  • Pre-arrange your airport pickup with your hotel prior to your arrival in Honduras.
  • Always note your taxi driver's name and licence number.
  • Negotiate any taxi fare in advance. Be prepared to pay with small notes.
  • Never share a taxi with a stranger. Make sure your driver doesn't pick up other passengers.

Public transport

Public transport is not safe. Vehicles are often poorly serviced and drivers not well-trained.

Boat travel 

There is an ongoing maritime border dispute with neighbouring Nicaragua, particularly in the northeast coastal region. Honduran navy patrols may board private vessels in the region to check documentation. Criminals posing as fishermen have also carried out armed assaults against private vessels in this area.

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Honduras.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include lengthy prison sentences served in local jails.

Other laws

Activities that are illegal in Honduras include:

  • participating in political activities, including demonstrations, if you're a foreigner
  • importing religious materials
  • exporting firearms
  • exporting antiques or artefacts from pre-colonial civilisations
  • exporting certain birds, feathers and other flora and fauna
  • photographing government buildings or facilities. Always check with local authorities before taking photos.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Local customs

Taking photographs, particularly of children and women, may be met with suspicion. Get permission from an adult before photographing children.

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and health implications.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take enough legal prescription medicine to last the duration of your stay.

Medication must be in its original packaging and clearly labelled. If you have prescription or controlled medication, you must show a prescription from your doctor on letterhead stationery that includes the medication's generic name, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only..

More information:

Health risks

Mosquito-borne illnesses

There is widespread transmission of Zika virus in Honduras. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to Zika virus-affected areas.

Malaria is a risk throughout Honduras, including the Bay Islands, particularly during the rainy season (May to November). Dengue fever and Chikungunya virus are also present. You could encounter other insect-borne diseases, including Chagas' disease and leishmaniasis, particularly during the wet season.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash, bleeding of the nose or gums, or severe headache.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a significant risk in Honduras. Use appropriate precautions if engaging in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Other infectious diseases

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) are prevalent. More serious outbreaks occur from time to time.

  • Use good hygiene practices including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water with intact seals.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Air pollution

Severe air pollution occurs throughout the country during the dry season and can lead to serious respiratory problems. Discuss risks and management of respiratory problems with your doctor before you travel.

Medical facilities

The standard of medical facilities in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula is poor. Services are extremely limited outside of these two locations.

Doctors and hospitals will rarely work with your overseas travel insurance company and expect cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency care. You'll usually need to pay in cash and seek reimbursement later.  

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

There is a fully operable hyperbaric (decompression) chamber on Roatan island and decompression facilities on the Bay Island of Utila. Before diving, check that facilities are operational. There is no advanced medical care on either island for diving related accidents.

Natural disasters

Honduras experiences earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, landslides and mudslides.

If a natural disaster occurs:

Hurricanes and severe weather

The hurricane season is from June to November when landslides, mudslides and flooding may occur. Tropical storms and hurricanes can also happen in other months. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning.

If there's a hurricane or severe storm, you may not be able to leave the area. Flights could be delayed, suspended or may fill quickly. Access to sea ports could also be affected. In some areas, adequate shelter from a hurricane may not be available.

If a hurricane is approaching, follow the advice for all natural disasters above and:

If you're travelling during the rainy season, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected. Contact your airline for the latest flight information.

More information: Severe weather 

Earthquakes

Honduras is located in an active earthquake zone. Familiarise yourself with local earthquake safety measures for each place you stay in Honduras. More information: Earthquakes

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24 hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: phone 198
  • Medical emergency: phone 195 or go to the nearest hospital
  • Crime: phone 911 or visit the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism products and services

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has a Consulate in Honduras, headed by an Honorary Consul, which can provide limited consular assistance. The Consulate does not issue Australian passports but can conduct passport interviews and provide Provisional Travel Documents for emergency travel to the nearest Australian Embassy. Full consular assistance is available from the Australian Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico.

Australian Consulate, Tegucigalpa

Residencial Las Cumbres, 1a Ave, 3ra Calle
Bloque E, Edif Grupo Terra
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Telephone (504) 2236-6936
Email: australianconsulate@terra.hn

Australian Embassy, Mexico City

Ruben Dario 55 (Polanco)
Col Bosque de Chapultepec,. C.P.
11580 Mexico D.F. Mexico
Telephone: (52 55) 1101 2200
Facsimile: (52 55) 1101 2201
E-mail: consularpassports.mexico@dfat.gov.au
Website: mexico.embassy.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Mexico, Central America, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information