SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

CRIME

VIOLENT CRIME

Drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and street gang activity is prevalent in Honduras. As a result, violent crimes such as kidnapping, extortion, home invasion, robbery, sexual assault and other forms of aggravated assault occur. These crimes are carried out by criminals acting individually or as a group. A large percentage of the population in Honduras is armed. The country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. The government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly respond to, investigate and prosecute cases. As a result, criminals linked to organized crime operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras.

  • Remain aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Be cautious when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances and be extremely careful when accepting rides or invitations
  • Avoid walking or travelling alone and after dark

GRACIAS A DIOS

The department of Gracias a Dios is a remote area with high levels of criminal activity and drug trafficking. Law enforcement is limited in this area, and there is minimal access to government services.

CHAMELECÓN, CHOLOMA AND COFRADÍA IN THE CORTÉS DEPARTMENT

Murder rates in the Cortés municipalities of Chamelecón, Choloma and Cofradía are very high. Several street-level criminal groups operate in these areas.

Risk level(s)

ARMED ROBBERY

Incidents of armed robbery occur mainly on urban streets during the day and on intercity buses at night. Guns and other weapons, such as machetes and knives, are frequently used. Although most criminals do not target tourists, some travellers have been victims of crime in major cities and in areas frequented by tourists especially at night. On Roatán Island, robbers have targeted homes and long-term leased residences. Since 2009, four Canadian citizens have been murdered in the Bay Islands.

  • If you are threatened by robbers, do not resist; injuries and deaths have occurred when victims have resisted
  • Use discretion when discussing your travel plans in public
  • Avoid Coxen Hole, particularly Los Fuertes and Suampo neighbourhood after dark

Narcotics smuggling and violence pose threats to the security of travellers in the northern departments of Colón, Gracias a Dios and Olancho. In Colón, there have also been incidents involving roadblocks and violence related to land disputes, particularly in the Aguán valley and in the north coast area near Trujillo. Remain alert to local conditions and maintain a high level of personal security awareness in these areas.

ASSAULT

Foreigners have been assaulted on beaches in the Bay Islands and along the Atlantic Coast, mainly at night.

  • In resort areas, stay on supervised, populated beaches and avoid isolated areas
  • Whenever possible, walk in a group; attacks on tourists walking alone have occurred
  • Campers should always stay in well-lit campgrounds that have security patrols

PETTY CRIME

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs. Credit card skimming is also a concern.

  • Be highly vigilant at all times, including in the vicinity of hotels, airports, bus terminals, shopping malls and other public places
  • Do not display signs of affluence, such as jewelry, watches, cameras, phones, cash and bank or credit cards
  • Ensure that your belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times
  • Carry photocopies of your travel documents, and leave the originals in a secure hotel safe

FRAUD

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

BORDERS

Exercise caution at borders, particularly the border crossing with Guatemala (Agua Caliente). There has been an increased number of migrants leaving Honduras through Guatemala. As a result of this movement, this border is subject to periodic closures.  There have also been incidents of foreigners being attacked by armed robbers after crossing the border into El Salvador.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND STRIKES

Demonstrations and strikes take place regularly and are often unexpected. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time and can sometimes lead to looting. They can also lead to lengthy disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Protesters often use petrol bombs. Police have been known to use tear gas and other tactics including live ammunition to disperse crowds.

In April of 2019, hundreds of people were evacuated from buildings in Tegucigalpa after they were set on fire during a clash between riot police and protesters. This followed a series of reforms to the country’s education and health laws.

In Tegucigalpa, demonstrations are known to target:

  • the National Congress/ Central Park
  • the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH)
  •  Boulevard Suyapa
  • Boulevard Centroamerica
  •  the United States Embassy

Demonstrations often transit along Centroamerica Boulevard, La Paz and Los Próceres avenues, and Suyapa Boulevard.

Vehicle demonstrations in Tegucigalpa generally move along the Peripheral Ring Road. In San Pedro Sula, protesters gather at the monument to the mother (Monumento a la Madre). Anti-corruption demonstrations occasionally take place on Fridays in Tegucigalpa.

The Honduran constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners.

  • Do not participate in political discussions or activities in public, as doing so could lead to arrest or even deportation
  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
  • Ensure you have a full tank of gasoline and other supplies whenever travelling given potential traffic disruptions

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

SPIKED FOOD AND DRINKS

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

CRUISES

The ports on Roatán Island are cruise-ship stops. Taxis can be found inside the port facilities; taxis are white and every taxi driver carries an ID card with the name of the port.

  • Book tours and sightseeing trips through reputable tour companies

Advice for Cruise Travellers

HITCHHIKING

Hitchhiking is strongly discouraged throughout Honduras.

RENTAL CARS

The number of traffic accidents involving tourists has increased.

  • Avoid renting cars and motorcycles from operators who do not provide insurance
  • Ensure that helmets meet international safety standards
  • Do not rent motorcycles in Roatán as the road conditions are poor 

RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES

When planning water activities:

  • monitor  weather warnings
  • follow the instructions provided by local authorities
  • only undertake scuba diving and other adventure sports with a well-established company
  •  refrain from using any equipment if you have any doubt concerning its safety
  • ensure you have adequate insurance coverage for recreational activities

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

Water safety abroad

SCAMS

Thieves pose as victims of road accidents.

  • Do not stop to help a person at the side of the road
  • Be cautious when approached by police, as gang members and criminals sometimes disguise themselves as police officers
  • Report any suspicious incidents at the next police point or call 911

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Safe-travel guide for women

LANDMINES

 Landmines pose a threat to travellers. Though no incidents have been reported since 2012, travellers should:

  • exercise caution along the Honduras–Nicaragua border, especially in the Río Coco region, the Choluteca and El Paraíso departments and near the Atlantic coast
  • travel only on major thoroughfares and through authorized border crossings

ROAD SAFETY

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Accidents causing fatalities are common, and drivers do not respect traffic laws. Vehicles can also be in very poor condition, with broken headlights.  Many roads are poorly delineated and not well-lit. Heavy rains, floods, landslides and bridge collapses have damaged many roads, including on Roatán Island.  

  • Maintain a heightened awareness along all routes
  • Plan to travel within daylight hours and allow for possible traffic delays, which can be caused by slow moving, overloaded trucks or vehicles with poorly secured cargo
  • Drive with windows closed and doors locked at all times
  • Carry a cell phone in case of emergency

At roadblocks, verify that there is a police vehicle and green cones. At least five police officers should be present. If you have any doubts, call 911 to confirm the location of the roadblocks and the identity of the individuals stopping you before you roll down your window or open your door.

There is often heavy traffic volume in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.

In Roatán, avoid driving on side roads in remote areas.

Use caution between:

  •  El Progreso and La Ceiba due to animal crossings and poorly maintained bridges
  • Chamelecón and Copán via Cofradía
  • Copán and Gracias Lempira due to winding and poorly maintained mountain roads
  • Limones to La Union due to threat of violence
  • Olancho to Saba via Salama due to threat of violence
  • Gualaco to San Esteban due to threat of violence

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

BUSES

Most urban public buses are poorly maintained and erratically driven. Accidents are common. There are regular incidents of individuals boarding a bus to rob the passengers. Several buses have been intentionally set on fire since 2013. There have also been numerous shootings on public buses.

Avoid intercity public transportation due to the risk of armed robbery. If necessary, use companies that have direct, non-stop executive service from your place of departure to your destination. Never travel on intercity buses at night.

TAXIS

Taxis are a reliable source for transportation.

  • Use a reliable taxi company recommended by a major hotel chain and negotiate the fare in advance
  • Do not board taxis at taxi stands or flag taxis in the street.
  • Do not use shared taxis. Individuals travelling in shared taxis are regularly assaulted and robbed by thieves posing as occupants.
  • Note the driver’s name and license number.
  • Ensure that the driver does not pick up other passengers along the way to your destination
  • Ensure that you have small bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make change.

When travelling to the airport, pre-arrange your pickup with your hotel prior to your departure. Otherwise, make sure to use authorized airport taxis whose drivers wear easily identifiable picture identification badges.

MARINE TRANSPORTATION

MARINE ACCIDENTS

It can be costly to repair the damage caused by an accident, particularly if it caused environmental damage to the surrounding waters and coral reefs. It is strongly recommended that sailors hold valid travel insurance as well as updated nautical charts in order to prevent boat accidents and security issues.

PIRACY

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in the area off the northeast coast of Honduras. These are often perpetrated by criminals posing as fishermen. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

SECURITY FORCES

Police response to criminal incidents may be limited and delayed, and the Honduran police do not generally speak English or French.

There are tourist police forces in Tegucigalpa, Roatán, La Ceiba, Tela, Choluteca, San Lorenzo, Copán, Gracias and San Pedro Sula.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines