Honestly, Honduras has not been our favorite Central American country. It lacks the culture and food of some of its neighbors and some of the roads really do suck. Still, the Copán archaeoloical site totally lived up to the hype and after 89 days traveling in the country we uncovered other highlights too like an awesome microbrewery and the best national park infrastructure and camping in the region. Here are our tips for traveling in Honduras so you can hit the ground running.
The most commonly found Honduran beer is called Salva Vida which means “saves lives” in Spanish. That’s indisputably an awesome name for a beer. However, the stuff doesn’t hold a candle to the fantastic small-batch beer being made at Sol de Copán, Honduras’ only microbrewery.
If you think all Spanish is created equal, think again. Every Spanish-speaking country we’ve been to has put its own slangy, subtle twist on the language. For example, snacks, called boquitos or antojitos in the other Spanish-speaking countries we’ve traveled in, are called golosinos in Honduras. And tiendas (small stores) are called pulperias.
A friendly, soft whistle often takes the place of saying hello. It’s charming once you get used to it.
Honduras went through a coup in 2009. It’s a piece of turbulent, recent history that’s worth understanding and we can think of no better crash course than this smart, cool comic strip about the coup. It will explain everything quickly and easily. Honest.
Before the coup in 2009 (see above) Honduras issued traveler visas governed by the CA-4 Border Control Agreement which restricts travelers to 90 days total in any combination of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua. After the coup Honduras has suspended CA-4 rules, issuing its own visas without regard for the amount of time you’ve spent in other neighboring countries. This is not a problem if you’re only visiting Honduras. But be advised that El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua still count your time in Honduras against the 90 days allowed under CA-4 regulations. This discrepancy is what lead to our problems at the El Salvador border.
Generally speaking, the toilet paper in Hondruas is WAY nicer than in Guatemala or Mexico. Even in cheap rooms it’s quilted and everything.
Most purchases incur a 12% sales tax on top of already barely-bargain prices. It’s just not as cheap in Honduras as you think.
Prices are rarely displayed on gas station signs, which only adds to the sticker shock. We paid more than US$4 a gallon for diesel and gasoline is even more expensive.
Honduran license plates say: cuidemos el bosque (protect the forest) even though they don’t really.
You can practically drink what passes for “hot sauce” in Honduras.
Don’t be surprised if you ask for directions and the person you’re speaking to purses his lips and juts his chin in a vague direction. It looks like he’s blowing a kiss, but he’s actually trying to tell you where to go.
Cops in Honduras are sticklers about seat belts (we love this) and will also pull you over to make sure you’re carrying reflective triangles and a fire extinguisher in your car. Both items are required by law in Honduras and much of Latin America. Also required by law is a front and back license place and they didn’t like our lack of a front plate but they never hassled us about it.
Skip it: Roatán Island