Looking for important travel information while backpacking in Honduras? Here you will find information on working in Honduras, entry visas, Honduras hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Facts About Honduras
- Things to do in Honduras
- Entry Visa Requirements for Honduras
- Foreigner Work Permits and Backpacker Jobs in Honduras
- Official Language of Honduras
- Honduras Hostels
Facts About Honduras
The Democratic Republic of Honduras is the second largest country in Central America. The name “Honduras” literally means “depths” in Spanish; when the explorer Columbus found shelter in a cape from a fierce tropical storm whilst exploring the deep waters off the north-eastern coast, he is said to have exclaimed, “Thank God we have come out of those depths.”
The tourism industry in Honduras is growing thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of the government. Although the country is very poor, there are many attractions: villages left by Spanish conquistadors and ancient Mayan ruins, as well as the natural beauty of beaches, coral reefs and the mountains, forests, volcanoes and wildlife of the national parks.
- Currency Lempira (around 38L per UK pound/ 19L per US dollar)
- Time GMT -6
- Language Spanish (official) and Amerindian dialects
- Telephone Services Country Code +504
- Emergency numbers Police 199, Ambulance (Red Cross) 195 and Fire 198.
Climate in Honduras
When deciding the best time to go backpacking in Honduras, weather certainly plays a role. Honduras is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea, with the Pacific Ocean on the south via the Gulf of Fonseca. The country’s terrain is mountainous.
As a result, the climate in Honduras is highly varied; tropical in the lowlands, ranging to temperate on the higher ground, humid on the north coast and hotter and drier in the south and central areas. There are frequent but usually mild earthquakes, but the Caribbean coast is prone to hurricanes and flooding. In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch devastated the country, leaving 5,000 dead and over a million homeless.
Things to do in Honduras
Tourism in Honduras is increasing but the country is still relatively unspoilt. Cultural attractions include the remnants of Native American civilisation in Copan, a unique settlement considered the “Athens of the Mayans”.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its hieroglyphic staircase, built in 743. On the eastern edge, natural erosion of the monuments by a river provides an unparalleled cross-section of Mayan history and architecture. A series of colonial towns, Santa Rosa, Corquin, Belen Gualcho, Comayagua and Gracias, provide the next instalment in the country’s history.
The Bay islands are home to the second largest coral reef in the world. Bottlenose dolphins, brightly-coloured parrot fish, manta rays and the enormous whale shark can also be found in their waters. Ecotourism is becoming more and more popular, and visitors enjoy the country’s natural beauty by scuba diving, trekking in the mountains and river rafting.
Honduras’s varied terrain includes rain forests and cloud forests (reaching almost 3,000 metres above sea level), mangrove swamps, mountain ranges and savannahs. The region is a biodiversity hotspot, with a concentration of plant and animal species. There are about 250 types of reptile and amphibian, over 700 species of bird and over 110 mammal species, half of them bats.
The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, known as the “last lungs of Central America”, in La Mosquitia is another UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a lowland rainforest and contains a huge diversity of flora and fauna.
Festivals and celebrations are held around the year (most towns and cities have patron saints, with annual events in their honour). The carnival at La Ceiba, one of the largest celebrations, is held in the third week of May.
Unique activities in Honduras
Another good way to get an idea of things to do while backpacking Honduras to do is to scan the activities offered by Get Your Guide or Viator. They work directly with local tour operators, so you won’t have to scour the internet or roam around town trying to find the best deal.
Backpacking Tours in Honduras
Though part of the fun of backpacking Honduras is exploring on your own, there are situations, especially when venturing off the tourist trail, when it does make sense to go with a guide or a small group. For these times, a popular option among backpackers is G Adventures.
They hand-select local guides to ensure authenticity and quality. This is especially a good option for those travelling Honduras alone who would like to meet up with like-minded travellers. Their most popular trips in Honduras are their 17-day Volcano Trail including time in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
How to Travel Around Honduras
Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital city, has an international airport. Within the country, planes fly to and from San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, which offers connections to the Bay Islands and the Caribbean coast. Internationally, flights go to other Central American capital cities as well as North American and European destinations, including Heathrow and Gatwick.
If you’re flying to Honduras or plan to take short flights within the country, we recommend using a few different flight comparison search engines. Kiwi is a new favourite among travellers. On average, we have found the cheapest flights to Honduras with them compared to the other websites out there.
Of course, it is always worth checking Skyscanner to guarantee you’re getting the best deal. Both websites offer great flexible search options, allowing you to search the whole country of Honduras to find the cheapest airport to fly into, and also see prices for a full month if you’re flexible on travel dates.
By land, there are crossings to Guatemala at Agua Caliente, El Corinto and El Florido. El Amatillo and El Poy are crossing points to El Salvador, in the southwest. El Espino, Guasaule and Las Manos are crossing points to Nicaragua, in the southeast.
Regular buses serve all of the crossing points but you will generally have to walk across the border and catch another bus on the other side. There is no entry or exit tax, but corrupt officials may try to charge you anyway (as the amount is generally negligible, it is usually easier simply to pay it to avoid problems).
A small passenger boat service runs twice a week from Puerto Cortes to Dangriga and Belize City in Belize. Fishing or cargo boats may take you if you offer to pay (arrange this directly with the captain).
Travel within Honduras
Within the country there are regular buses to most towns, running throughout the day until late in the afternoon. Taxis are common in towns and cities but are not metered, so agree on the fare before you leave. Cars can be rented in larger towns and cities, but are expensive. Be warned that other drivers often speed and drive aggressively and unsafely. Be careful when alone on the road, especially at night and on public transport.
In the Bay Islands, along the Caribbean coast and in La Mosquitia (the Mosquito Coast, near the Nicaraguan border), boats and dugout canoes can be found.
Health and Safety in Honduras
Many hospitals in Honduras have limited facilities and are under-equipped, though adequate for most emergencies. You will need travel insurance. Before you leave, you will also need vaccinations for yellow fever (required) and hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria, measles and chickenpox (recommended). Malaria occurs in the Bay Islands and rural areas. Dengue fever is endemic throughout.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Hotels and restaurants in the cities should use purified water for their drinks and ice. Elsewhere rely on bottled water without ice.
Honduras is one of the most violent countries in the world, with a murder rate of at least 10 times that of the US. In cities, particularly Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, robbery and lower level crime is a problem. If in any doubt, err on the side of caution. Use taxis if you are out late at night and don’t leave any belongings unattended.
Entry visa requirements for Honduras
Passports must be valid for at least six months from the day of arrival. Visas are not necessary for UK citizens (or other EU nationalities, Australian, Canadian or US). For requirements for other nationalities and more information, see here.
Buying a return ticket is advisable but not strictly necessary. Visitors may be asked by officials to prove how they plan to leave the country at the end of their stay.
Foreigner work permits and backpacker jobs in Honduras
Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest in Central America. The economy is growing, but slowly. 50% of the population is below the poverty line and average wages are very low.
Opportunities for paid employment are consequently not easy to find. There are a growing number of language schools and looking for a job teaching English is probably the best option.
Alternatively, if getting rich is not your motivation, there are a wealth of volunteer organisations operating in Honduras (the country has more Peace Corp than any other Latin American country). Many of these began work in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. Part of the deal may be the chance to take Spanish classes while you are there.
Official Language of Honduras
Spanish is the official language of Honduras. English is used in business and in the bigger settlements, but hardly anywhere else. Some native Amerindian languages are also spoken, but Spanish is becoming more common in these areas because the government has made it the official language of education. In some areas, Spanish and English have been combined into a pidgin language incomprehensible to either native Spanish or English speakers.
Honduras Hostels and Budget Accommodation
The capital city of Tegucigalpa has reasonable hotels. In San Pedro Sula, the country’s industrial capital, standards are similar but the prices are lower. In the rest of the country, facilities (and costs) are more basic. The Instituto Hondureno de Turismo will provide you with a list of hotels.
We have had good experiences finding hostels in Honduras on HostelWorld. They have the largest inventory of hostels worldwide, and with over 10 million reviews and ratings from other travellers, you know exactly what to expect.
Another good way to find accommodation while backpacking Honduras is by checking hotels.com and booking.com. With both sites, you’ll not only find hotels, but also homestays, hostels, and other unique accommodation.
We have discovered some great finds and have appreciated the ability to book ahead. You can use their advanced filtering to narrow your results by budget, location score, overall review score, and amenities. Many of the places on booking.com also offer free cancellation, which takes the pressure off the planning phase of your trip.
Useful Links for Backpacking in Honduras
- Kiwi and Skyscanner – Flight comparison search engines to find the cheapest flights to Honduras and within the country
- GetYourGuide and Viator – a collection of local tours and things to do while backpacking Honduras. Also offers Skip the Line tickets for crowded attractions
- Tiqets – Website selling entrance tickets and skip the line tickets for major attractions in Honduras
- G Adventures – guided backpacking tours in Honduras, great for solo travellers or for those interested in a more adventurous trip which would require a guide
- HostelWorld – #1 hostel search website to find budget accommodation while backpacking Honduras. Thousands of hostels and millions of reviews from fellow travellers
- Booking.com – commonly used accommodation booking site in Honduras. Hostels, hotels, and other unique accommodation with advanced filtering and millions of reviews
- Travel Insurance – read our comprehensive overview of Travel Insurance and some recommended providers for your backpacking trip in Honduras
There you have it, the ultimate Honduras backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Honduras.
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