Essentials A-Z

Electricity

Generally 110 volts but, increasingly, 220 volts is being installed. US-style plugs.

Identification

It is advisable to carry some form of identification at all times, because spot checks have increased, especially when entering or leaving major towns.

Internet

Internet cafés are widely available in the capital and in popular locations. Prices and connections vary greatly; in cities good speeds are at about US$1 per hr. On the islands, speeds are erratic and prices expensive.

Language

Spanish is the main language, but English is often spoken in the north, in the Bay Islands, by West Indian settlers on the Caribbean coast, and in business communities.

Media

The principal newspapers in Tegucigalpa are
El Heraldo
and
La Tribuna
. In San Pedro Sula they are
El Tiempo
and
La Prensa
. Links on the net at www.honduras.com. The English weekly paper
Honduras This Week
, is now mainly online at www.hondurasthis week.com. They're frequently looking for student interns.

There are 6 television channels and 167 broadcasting stations. Cable TV is available in large towns and cities.

Money

The unit of currency is the
lempira
(written Lps and referred to as lemps) named after a famous indigenous chief who lost his life while fighting the invasion of the Spaniards. It is reasonably stable against the US dollar. Divided into 100 centavos, there are nickel coins of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos. Bank notes are for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 lempiras. No one has change for larger notes, especially the 500. Any amount of any currency can be taken in or out of the country.

Acceptance of credit cards in Honduras is patchy and commissions can be as high as 6%. Most businesses will try to tack on a service charge to credit card purchases, which is illegal. Ask the manager
to call
BAC
and check if the charge is permitted
. It is advisable to have
traveller's cheques (TCs) available and US$ cash.

MasterCard and Visa are accepted in major hotels and most restaurants in cities and larger towns. Amex is accepted in more expensive establishments. Cash advances are available from
BAC
,
Banco Atlántida
,
Aval Card
and
Honducard
throughout the country. BAC represents Amex and issues and services Amex credit cards.

TCs can be quite a hassle as many banks and business don't accept them.

Honduras is not expensive: 2 people can travel together in reasonable comfort for US$25 per person per day (less if on a tight budget), but prices for tourists fluctuate greatly. Transport, including domestic flights, is still the cheapest in Central America. Diving will set you back a bit, but at US$270 or so for a PADI course, it is still the cheapest in Central America.

Safety

There are serious domestic social problems in San Pedro Sula, including muggings and theft, but there is a Tourist Police in place - in Copán Ruinas, Roatán, La Ceiba, Tela and San Pedro Sula - that has reduced the problem. Take local advice and be cautious when travelling alone or off the beaten track. The vast majority of Hondurans are honest, friendly, warm and welcoming, and the general perception is that crime is now reducing.

Telephone

Local operator T192; General information T193; International operator T197.

Hondutel
provides international telephone services from stations throughout the country. The system has improved dramatically in recent years due to competition, with over 50% of Hondurans owning a cell phone. You can buy a cell phone for about US$10 from Tigo, Claro and Digicel, with phone cards from US$2 upwards.

Time

-6 hrs GMT.

Tipping

Normally 10% of the bill but more expensive places add a service charge.

Visas and immigration

Neither a visa nor tourist card is required for nationals of Western European countries, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and Uruguay. Citizens of other countries need either a tourist card, which can be bought from Honduran consulates for US$2-3, or a visa, and they should enquire at a Honduran consulate in advance to see which they need. The price of a visa seems to vary depending on nationality and where it is bought. Extensions of 30 days are easy to obtain. There are immigration offices for extensions at Tela, La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Santa Rosa de Copán, Siguatepeque, La Paz and Comayagua, and all are more helpful than the Tegucigalpa office.

You will have to visit a country outside of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to re-enter and gain 90 days.

Weights and measures

The metric system is official.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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