Image by Flickr user Nan Palmero.
I turned my focus to Honduras this month. Thanks to Karlie Marrazzo on the Wanderful World Facebook group for the request! Wanderful World is a private group open to members of Wanderful where travelers discuss plans, ask questions, and get travel advice.
As beautiful as it is troubled, Honduras attracts tourists with its backpacker-friendly prices and offerings, but its high crime rate can cause many to think twice before booking their flights.
Undeniably, safety is a major concern when considering a trip to Honduras, so I was extremely grateful to have the insight of the experts at Global Rescue again this month when it came to analyzing the risks for travelers. Global Rescue is an official partner of Wanderful and offers Wanderful women invaluable security while traveling.
First things first….
Your Honduras Primer
- Honduras is located in Central America.
- Its neighbors are El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.
- Its population is 8.7 million.
- The capital of Honduras is Tegucigalpa.
- Its government is a democratic constitutional republic.
Spanish and English are the major languages spoken in Honduras.
Christianity is the major religion.
Government instability has Honduras plagued Honduras for decades, and the country’s struggling economy only complicates the culture. Protests are common and known to regularly create road blockages and occasionally lead to clashes with police.
The endemic poverty in Honduras has lead to the rise of gang culture, which partially accounts for the country’s extremely high murder rate. While these gangs are not known for targeting tourists in particular, petty theft is commonly directed at tourists, particularly at night and around ATMs.
The U.S. State Department has a warning for travel to Honduras due to the country’s high levels of crime and violence, though it does note that incidents have generally been in decline during recent years. While the alert does mention that tens of thousands of U.S. citizens travel to Honduras safely each year, it also points to the higher-than-average murder rates of tourists, including 10 murders of Americans in 2014 alone.
Officials urge that vigilance is vital to a safe trip to Honduras. Always making sure your car doors are locked. Staying aware of your surroundings will be key during your visit. If possible, stay in a small group, and avoid carrying valuables.
The U.K. State Department urges travelers to simply avoid going out after dark and to take extra precautions when withdrawing money from ATMs, only taking out small amounts as needed. Tourists are also encouraged to arrange transportation through their hotels rather than hailing street taxis.
Global Rescue says…
“For travelers, most visits to Honduras are free of major security concerns. That said, due to gang violence and organized drug trafficking, Honduras has one of the highest per-capita murder rates in the world. The majority of these crimes are inter-gang related, although travelers have been the victims of incidental violence related to gang activity in the past, particularly in the north coast and central regions of the country.
Opportunistic crimes, armed robberies, kidnappings for ransom, and sexual assaults present the biggest threats to travelers. Popular tourist destinations like Copan, Roatan, and the Bay Islands have lower crime rates, whereas larger cities such as Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Trujilo, La Ceiba, and Yoro have higher crime rates. Carjackings are not uncommon, and the risk significantly increases at night, near stoplights, and on congested streets.
Protests and strikes occur regularly in Honduras. Most recently there have been anti-corruption protests on a weekly basis at various locations in the capital of Tegucigalpa, including the Colonia Kennedy neighborhood, the Presidential Palace, the National Congress, the Supreme Court, and the offices of the United Nations. Road blockages are common during protests, and police are known to forcefully disperse crowds.
The hurricane season runs from June until November, although hurricanes sometimes occur outside of these months. Floods are also a common occurrence and can cause roads to become washed out and impassable.”
What do you say?
Have you traveled to Honduras? Is it a place you feel safe? Share your experiences or questions below, and help out your fellow travelers!