Honduras - Consular Information Sheet
August 17, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Honduras is a democracy with a developing
economy. The national language is Spanish, although English is
often spoken in the Bay Islands. The climate is generally pleasant
and temperate, with dry and wet seasons. The terrain ranges from
mountainous to coastal beaches and jungle lowlands. Hotels and
restaurants are generally adequate in Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula,
the Bay Islands and the Copan ruins. Currency exchange is readily
available at banks and hotels in the major cities.
ENTRY AND EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid U.S. passport is
required to enter and depart Honduras. A visa is not required,
but tourists must provide proof of return or onward travel. Visitors
are given a permit to remain in Honduras for 30 days. Honduran
immigration may grant up to two thirty-day extensions for a total
of 90 days. Thereafter, tourists must leave the country prior
to reentering. On departure, visitors are required to pay an exit
fee, either in dollars or in local currency, at the airline counter.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission
for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not
present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required,
may facilitate entry/departure. Minors who are dual U.S.-Honduran
nationals or who are resident in Honduras require notarized consent
from both parents if traveling alone or in someone else's custody,
or from the absent parent if traveling with only one parent. In
the event of sole custody, the parent must submit the custody
decree to Honduran immigration upon departure.
For more information concerning entry and exit requirements,
travelers may contact the Embassy of Honduras at 3007 Tilden Street
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 966-7702; or a
Honduran consulate in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles,
Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan or Tampa.
The Honduran Embassy e-mail
address, with contact numbers for their consulates in the
U.S., is firstname.lastname@example.org, or may be accessed through http://www.embassy.org
or http://www.state.gov. For tourist information or suggestions,
Honduras Institute of Tourism's hotline at 1-800-410-9608
(in the U.S.) or at 1-800-222-TOUR (8687) (within Honduras only)
or their Internet site, http://www.hondurastips.honduras.com.
DUAL NATIONALITY: The constitution of Honduras prohibits
dual nationality except for minors under the age of 21. All U.S.
citizens, including dual U.S.-Honduran citizens, should enter
and depart Honduras on their U.S. passports. Parents should not
rely on birth certificates for travel of their children; rather,
they should obtain U.S. passports for infants and minors born
in the U.S. prior to travel. For U.S. citizen children born in
the U.S. to Honduran parents, Honduran immigration provides an
"evidence of continuance" (Constancia de Permanencia)
stamp placed in the U.S. passport that allows the child to enter,
depart, and remain in Honduras. U.S. citizens do not lose their
nationality if they become residents of Honduras.
Dual nationals, in addition to being subject to all Honduran
laws affecting U.S. citizens, may be subject to other laws that
impose special obligations on Honduran citizens. For more information,
contact Honduran immigration in Tegucigalpa (telephone: 238-5613),
San Pedro Sula (telephone: 550-3728), Roatan (telephone: 445-1226),
La Ceiba (telephone: 442-0638), or Puerto Cortes (telephone: 665-0582).
Please see the
Dual Nationality flyer.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Political demonstrations occur sporadically.
They can disrupt traffic, but are generally announced in advance
and are usually peaceful. Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations
are taking place, and should keep informed by following the local
news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides.
There have been kidnapping attempts and threats against wealthy-appearing
Hondurans and U.S. citizens. For more information, go to the
U.S. Embassy's web site at http://www.usmission.hn and click
on Security Matters - Kidnappings. There have also been incidents
involving roadblocks and violence connected with land disputes
that can delay travel, particularly in the north coast area including
The area off the coast of northeastern Honduras has been the
subject of maritime border disputes between Honduras and Nicaragua.
The Honduran Navy has increased its patrols in this area, and
all private vessels transiting Honduran territorial waters should
be prepared to be hailed and possibly boarded by Honduran military
personnel to verify documentation. Sailors should also be aware
that the Honduran navy uses private Honduran as well as naval
vessels as platforms. Fishing vessels should ensure they have
proper permits. The maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Fonseca
(on the Pacific coast) are still under dispute by Honduras, Nicaragua
and El Salvador; proper caution should be exercised in that area.
While the Honduran side of the Honduras-Nicaragua border has
been largely cleared of landmines, travelers should exercise caution
in the vicinity of the border as some landmines, scattered by
flooding during Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, may still exist
in the area.
CRIME: The security situation in Honduras requires a high
degree of caution and U.S. citizens are encouraged to follow local
news reports (See link to sources at http://www.usmission.hn.)
and contact the Honduran Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the U.S.
Embassy in Tegucigalpa for current conditions. Poverty, gangs,
and low apprehension and conviction rates of criminals contribute
to a high crime rate including murders. Many men in Honduras carry
firearms and machetes, and disputes are sometimes settled with
violence. Violent and petty crime are prevalent throughout the
country. While crime affects everyone in Honduras, criminals have
at times targeted tourists, particularly those coming from airports
(a cycle of armed robberies followed by brief increases in police
patrols) and hotels, as well as wealthy-looking residents in San
Pedro Sula, Tela, Trujillo, and Tegucigalpa. Street crime is a
principal concern, with thefts, including purse-snatching, pick-pocketing,
assaults, and armed robberies on the rise in urban areas. There
have been some incidents of sexual assault. Carjackings, kidnappings,
muggings, and home invasions are not uncommon.
There has been an upsurge in armed robberies against tourist
vans, minibuses and cars traveling from San Pedro Sula airport
to area hotels and to Copan. Vehicles force the transport off
the road and then men with AK-47s rob the victims, occasionally
assaulting the driver or passengers. Robberies may be based on
tips from sources at airport arrival areas; exercise caution in
discussing travel plans in public.
Several U.S. citizens have been murdered in Honduras in recent
years; most cases remain unresolved. There are problems with the
judicial process, including an acute shortage of trained personnel,
equipment, staff, financial resources, and reports of corruption.
The Honduran law enforcement authorities' ability to prevent,
respond, investigate, apprehend, file Interpol reports, and prosecute
criminal incidents remains limited.
Copan and the Bay Islands have experienced petty theft, but tourists
generally have fewer problems than the rest of the country. There
have been three known murders of U.S. citizens residing on the
popular tourist island of Roatan since 1998. All of these victims
were either residing in Roatan and/or involved in real estate
or commercial ventures. On Roatan Island, robbers have targeted
homes and longer-term leased residences. Hotels and pensions are
considered relatively safer. U.S. citizens visiting the islands
should exercise particular caution around sparsely inhabited coastal
areas, and should avoid walking on isolated beaches, especially
Although not a primary tourist destination, the Department of
Olancho has a reputation as one of the most violent areas in Honduras.
Travelers in that area should use extra caution.
Incidents of crime along roads in Honduras are common. There
have been frequent incidents of highway robbery on a number of
roads including Limones to La Union, Olancho (route 41) via Salama
and northward to Saba. Armed gangs operate along the road from
La Esperanza to Gracias (CA-11a).
Honduran police generally do not speak English, and there are
no special tourist police to assist visitors. Tourists and residents
should avoid walking at night in most areas of Honduras, especially
in the major cities. Night driving is also discouraged. Tourists
in particular should not hike alone in backcountry areas, nor
walk alone on beaches, historic ruins or trails. All bus travel
should be during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances,
not economy buses. Pick taxis carefully, and note the driver's
name and license number. Instruct the driver not to pick up other
passengers, agree on the fare before you depart, and have small
bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make
Do not resist a robbery attempt. Many criminals have weapons
and most injuries have resulted when victims resisted. Do not
hitchhike or go home with strangers, particularly from nightspots.
Whenever possible, travel in groups of two or more persons. Use
the same common sense while travelling in Honduras that you would
in any high crime area of a major U.S. city. Jewelry should not
be worn in downtown or rural areas. Do not carry large sums of
money, ATM or credit cards you do not need, or other valuables.
There have been incidents of armed assaults against private sailing
vessels by criminals posing as fishermen off the northeast coast
of Honduras, particularly in the numerous small islands northeast
and east off the coast of the Department of Gracias a Dios. Sailors
should contact the Coast Guard and yacht facility managers in
their areas of travel for current information.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate. Groups should send passport, date of birth and emergency
contact information to the American Citizens Services section
of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa via fax, 011-504-238-4357,
prior to travel. Individuals as well as groups should keep a copy
of the passport data page and leave a copy with a friend or family
member. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet,
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey.
pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via
the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Honduras varies in
quality. Although doctors are generally well trained, support
staff and facilities are not up to U.S. standards. Facilities
for advanced surgical procedures are not available. The islands
of Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja do not have a general surgery hospital.
There is a decompression chamber on Roatan for divers. Travelers
carrying prescription medicine should ensure that the medication
is clearly labeled.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202)
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Visitors to Honduras are at
risk for gastrointestinal illnesses. Pay careful attention to
the choice of food and beverages. Most well-known restaurants
are considered safe. Tap water is not potable and should be boiled
or chemically treated to help prevent cholera and gastrointestinal
disorders. Safe bottled water is widely available.
All persons traveling in Honduras, even for a brief visit, are
at risk of contracting malaria year-round if they travel outside
of Tegucigalpa to low-lying areas. Take a prophylactic regimen
best suited to your health profile. Because rabies is endemic
in Honduras, visitors should avoid contact with animals whose
immunization status is unknown.
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may
be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's
hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747);
fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299) or CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAVEL SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Honduras is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstances.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Because of crime and poor road conditions, driving can be very
dangerous, and travelers may want to carry a cellular phone in
case of an emergency. Travelers should exercise extreme caution
while driving on isolated stretches of road and passing on mountainous
curves. Rockslides are common, especially in the rainy season
(June through December). Traffic signs, even on major highways,
are often inadequate and streets in the major cities are often
unmarked. Travelers should drive with doors locked and windows
Major highways have been rebuilt following the destruction caused
by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, though many stretches are still under
repair. Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained,
two-lane system of paved roads, and many secondary roads in Honduras
are unpaved. During the rainy season, even major highways are
often closed due to rockslides and flooding. Hurricane Mitch washed
out many bridges throughout the country, and temporary repairs
are vulnerable to heavy rains.
Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include:
Tegucigalpa to Choluteca because of dangerous mountain curves;
El Progreso to La Ceiba because of animal crossings and the poor
condition of bridges from flooding; Limones to La Union, Olancho
(route 41) via Salama and northward to Saba, because of frequent
incidents of highway robbery; and La Esperanza to Gracias (CA-11a)
because of armed gangs and poor road conditions. The detour to
San Pedro Sula north of La Guama (CA-5) via Santa Cruz de Yojoa
is mandatory for heavy trucks and is a congested, difficult drive.
Former route 1 north via Aqua Azul to CA-5 is generally a safer
route for cars.
Honduran roads also suffer from a general lack of lighting and
poorly marked highways. Vehicles are often driven at night without
adequate illumination, and animals and people wander onto the
roads at all hours. For these reasons, and because of the high
incidence of crime, the U.S. Embassy strongly discourages car
and bus travel after dark.
Hijackings of private and commercial vehicles from the U.S. to
Honduras have occurred. At present, Honduras and the U.S. have
not signed a stolen vehicle treaty. Moreover, since Honduran law
protects good faith buyers, even of stolen vehicles, it is difficult
to recover stolen vehicles. Vehicle insurance may mitigate loss;
please check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau www.nicb.org,
private insurance carriers and our web
site information on "Commercial Vehicle Hijackings"
at http://www.usmission.hn for more information.
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Honduran driving permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact
the Honduran national tourist organization offices in New York
via the Internet at www.hondurastips.honduras.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Honduras' civil aviation
authority as Category 2 -- not in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for the oversight of Honduran air carrier
operations. There are currently no Honduran air carriers flying
to the United States. For further information, travelers may contact
the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign carriers for suitability as official providers of air
services. In addition, DOD does not permit its personnel to use
air carriers from Category 2 countries for official business except
for flights originating from or terminating in the United States.
Local exceptions may apply. For information regarding the DOD
policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618)
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Honduran customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Honduras of items such as firearms, antiquities,
medications, and business equipment. For example, Honduran law
prohibits the export of antiques and artifacts from pre-colonial
civilizations. To protect the country's biodiversity, it is illegal
to export certain birds, feathers and other flora and fauna.
U.S. citizens who intend to stay in Honduras for an extended
period of time and who bring vehicles or household goods into
the country should consult Honduran customs officials prior to
For specific information regarding customs requirements, contact
the Embassy of Honduras in Washington or one of Honduras's consulates
in the United States.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Honduran laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Honduras are strict and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines. For more information, check the
U.S. Embassy's web site at http://www.usmission.hn for the handout
on "If You are Arrested in Honduras."
CONSULAR ACCESS: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry
a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that,
if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship
are readily available. In accordance with the Vienna Convention,
Honduran authorities must allow U.S. citizens to contact a U.S.
Consular Officer if arrested or detained in Honduras.
Real Estate Investment: U.S. citizens should be aware of the
risks inherent in purchasing real estate in Honduras and should
exercise extreme caution before entering into any form of commitment
to invest in property, particularly in coastal areas and the Bay
Islands. Honduran laws and practices regarding real estate differ
substantially from those in the United States, and there are many
cases of fraudulent deeds and titles. In addition, the Honduran
judicial system is weak and inefficient, often prolonging disputed
cases for many years before resolution. Americans have spent thousands
of dollars in legal fees and years of frustration in trying to
resolve property disputes, even in cases in which local attorneys
and Honduran and U.S. real estate agents had given assurances
to the investor. There have also been incidents in which violence
has been used against Americans involved in disputed property
cases. American citizens should investigate purchases thoroughly
and take all legal measures to prevent and, if necessary, resolve
property disputes. Potential investors should engage competent
local legal representation before making any commitments. Investors
should thoroughly check references and bona fides of attorneys
and real estate agents.
The Honduran constitution contains provisions restricting or
prohibiting land ownership by foreigners in coastal and border
areas, notwithstanding subsequent passage by the Honduran congress
of laws authorizing such ownership in certain areas and with particular
restrictions. The enforcement of laws and procedures pertaining
to property titles in Honduras is inconsistent. Squatters have
also claimed a number of properties owned by U.S. citizens. Investors
and their attorneys should thoroughly check property titles. For
further information on investing in property in Honduras, contact
the Embassy's economic section. For information on contracting
Honduran legal representation, please check with other investors.
You may also
refer to the list of attorneys available on the Embassy's homepage
at http://www.usmission.hn. In all cases, check references and
Financial Market Investment: Due to poor regulation and lack
of guarantees, investment in the Honduran "Bolsa de Valores,"
or stock market, as well as banking institution bonds and fidecomisos
(trusts), pose high risk to investors. Extreme caution should
be exercised if contemplating such activities. American citizens
have lost large sums of money, which cannot be recovered, through
investments in such precarious markets.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Honduras is prone to flooding and
landslides from heavy rains, especially during the rainy season
which generally occurs from June to December. Hurricane Mitch
caused extensive damage and loss of life in October 1998. General
information about natural disaster preparedness is available via
the Internet from the U.S.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Honduras are encouraged to register at the consular section
of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa and to obtain updated information
on travel and security within Honduras. Travelers can register
in person or fill out the form available on the Embassy website
and fax it to the Embassy. Please include a copy of the data page
of your passport and emergency contact information.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulate are located at:
Avenida La Paz in Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Web site: http://www.usmission.hn
Telephone: 011-504-236-9320 or 011-504-238-5114
For information on services for U.S. citizens, ask for ext. 4400.
The Consular Agency in San Pedro Sula is located at:
Banco Atlantida Building - 8th Floor
San Pedro Sula, Honduras
The Consular Agent at this office is available during limited
hours to accept U.S. passport applications for adjudication at
the Embassy in Tegucigalpa, perform notarial services and assist
U.S. citizens with emergencies. Please call for office hours.
The Consular Agent does not provide visa information or services.
details about all U.S. Embassy and consular services in Honduras,
see the Embassy web site at: http://www.usmission.hn, or visit
the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site at: http://travel.state.gov.
* * * * * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 20, 2001,
to update the section on Crime.