Your trip is sure to be filled with adventure, intrigue and fascinating discovery. But, with such unadulterated terrain, getting around can be a challenge. Here are a few tips to help you explore Honduras safely.
Crimes such as carjackings and kidnappings are often committed along roadsides, so extra care should be taken when driving or riding as a passenger. The main highway between San Pedro Sula and Siguatepeque is particularly dangerous.
When riding in a vehicle, regardless of area, you should always keep the doors locked and windows rolled up to avoid incidents at traffic lights and other stops, such as the traffic backups that often occur on downtown streets. Driving at night should also be avoided for safety reasons.
Bus travel in Honduras should be done with care and only during daylight hours. You're also strongly advised to only use first-class conveyances and stay away from economy buses, because they can pose a safety risk.
The public bus system, known as "colectivos", is particularly dangerous. The fleet can easily be identified by their yellow color, as they are typically former U.S. school buses. There have been a number of reports of armed attacks on these public buses by local gangs, including armed robberies, assault and rape, often resulting in serious injury and sometimes even death.
Public buses are also dangerous due to poor equipment and reckless driving. In early 2008 a public bus overturned in La Esperanza and rolled down a ravine. The accident occurred on a hazardous stretch of road aptly referred to as "Flight of the Angel" and resulted in the deaths of 27 people. This area of roadway should be avoided for obvious reasons, as should the use of public buses.
Taxis are a welcome alternative to buses and are plentiful. Always make sure you call for a radio dispatched taxi rather than picking one up from the street. Upon hiring a taxi, be sure to agree on a fare first, prior to departure, and have enough small bills on you to pay the driver at the end of the ride. Many don't carry change, so be prepared. It's handy to get the driver's name and license number for your records.
It's also strongly recommended that you insist that the driver not pick up any additional passengers during your journey to avoid any possible shady activity.
The option of boat transport is a possibility, but not strongly recommended for safety reasons. Private sailing vessels are often the target of thieves for armed assaults and robberies. Many of the criminals pose as fishermen and often hang out off the northeast coast amidst the numerous small islands that line the area. Boat travel is probably best avoided.
As with any travel destination, there are certain areas that tend to be more dangerous than others, and as such should be avoided. The road that leads from Juticalpa to Telica, as well as the turnoff on Route 39 to Gualaco, San Estaban, and Bonito Oriental are especially risky due to heavy criminal activity and gang violence.
As far as dangerous terrain, the road from Tegucigalpa to Choluteca contains hair raising mountain curves that are difficult to negotiate. Additionally, poor conditions and frequent animal crossings make the trek from El Progreso to La Ceiba another rough passageway.
Travelers should pay close attention in border areas, especially those areas near El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, as these locations have seen increased incidents of armed robberies. Pay very close attention to your surroundings and avoid openly flashing valuables or exchanging large amounts of money so as not to attract unwanted attention. Border areas are often unmanned or poorly guarded during the early evening and night time hours so the best time to travel in these areas is in the morning or early in the day.
With glorious natural beauty and a fascinating culture, Honduras offers visitors a chance to experience life at its best – pure and simple. But along with rugged natural terrain comes the challenge of making your way around safely, and avoiding crime while doing so. By preparing ahead of time and exercising caution in your travels you will be able to see this beautiful country in all of its glory... without any incidents.
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