The little-known country in Central America usually only gets into the media with negative headlines. Honduras offers a cultural diversity and varied landscapes. The coup of 2009 stirred up the country politically, the consequences of which are still being felt.
According to computergees, Honduras – known as the “Banana Republic” – is an agricultural state: bananas, coffee and more and more palm oil are exported. The processing industry (maquilas) creates a number of jobs, and emigrated Hondurans provide foreign currency in the country.
A large part of the Honduran population lives below the poverty line. The indigenous and Afro-Honduran parts of the population are particularly hard hit. State and religion are formally separated from one another, but the Catholic Church and the growing Protestant-Christian faith communities have a great influence on society, also in terms of the relationship between the sexes.
Finally, we aim to provide you with some useful information and links to make traveling, living and working in Honduras easier. Have fun surfing and in Honduras!
Housing and supply
The supply situation in the larger cities is very good. Shopping centers and various supermarkets have a wide range of products, including European goods. The supermarkets are mainly used by the upper middle class, the upper class and foreigners. Of course, the prices there are higher than in the city markets. The local markets, where you can buy fresh and regional fruit and vegetables, are popular. A shopping spree through the Mercado Mayoreo in Tegucigalpa is impressive.
The number of large shopping malls has increased enormously in recent years. Many Hondurans are drawn to the air-conditioned buildings, which are touted as “safe” places in the mass media, especially on weekends. Fast food is mainly consumed there; because many can only afford that. Most of the other stores are expensive.
In the countryside, the supply situation is nowhere near as good. However, staples like rice, beans, and corn can be found everywhere. In all parts of the country you can get fresh vegetables and fruit at local markets. The coasts are rich in fish and seafood.
When looking for an apartment you should pay attention to security, but this also has to be paid for. Safe apartments and houses in the cities can be found in the districts of the upper middle class and upper class with prices at European level. In rural areas, it is not easy to rent apartments, as the supply of small apartments is usually limited. It’s easier to rent a house here.
Energy is currently more expensive than in neighboring countries and has become difficult to pay for poor households, especially since the energy authorities were privatized. The energy authority ENEE, which has been characterized by chronic mismanagement for years, has been privatized and divided into three companies for electricity generation, transmission and electricity distribution, with only the latter (EEH) having been founded so far. Despite the restructuring of the energy sector, it has not been possible to solve the problems of the energy authority, which is leading to increased blackouts. The prices are rising steadily.
Other useful tips:
- Mains voltage and sockets: 110 volts, 60 Hz (adapters are necessary because of the different shape of plugs and sockets, these can be easily acquired in Honduras.)
- Units of measurement: In everyday urban life, the usual units of measurement of the metric system are almost always used (centimeters, liters, etc.), but you have to be careful when refueling: the price is given for one gallon (un galón = 3.758 liters). In rural areas in particular, other units such as quintal (45.4 kg), libra (453.6 g), pulgada (2.54 m), manzana (0.744 ha) or vara (0.9 m2) are used.
Money and money transfer
The Honduran currency is called Lempira (convert), named after the indigenous freedom fighter and national hero who rebelled against the Spanish invaders until his death in 1537.
100 centavos are a lempira. A significant part of the Honduran economy is de facto dollarized, meaning that stores mark items above a certain amount in US dollars, leases are often made in dollars, and a large proportion of savings accounts are kept in dollars. Unlike in the officially dollarized neighboring country El Salvador or Nicaragua, you need the actual local currency, Lempira, at the supermarket checkout or when taking a taxi.
Credit cards are accepted as a means of payment in supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, etc., especially in large cities, but also in some smaller towns. However, when traveling in rural areas, you should always have enough cash with you. Visacard is more common than Mastercard. At some machines in large cities you can withdraw money with an EC card. The banking system is less customer-friendly than ours: queuing endlessly at the counter is completely normal for the part of the population who can even afford the services of a bank. It is worthwhile to open a bank account for longer stays. For money transfers from Germany you pay considerable fees. Hondurans abroad usually use service providers in this area to transfer money, who have a good network of branches throughout the country.
Honduras is one of the most unsafe countries in Latin America, with one of the highest homicide rates per capita in the world. The press reports daily about murders, robberies, rape, break-ins, kidnappings, etc. The spiral of violence is particularly high in the poor areas of the larger cities. The youth gangs (maras) play a central role here. However, the middle and upper class quarters are not safe either; but these populations have more financial means to protect themselves against crime. Care should be taken in all parts of Honduras. In all of Central America, but especially in Honduras, drug trafficking is a key contributor to the fragile security situation.
It is advisable to consult the travel warning from the German Foreign Office.