Are you worried about staying safe in Honduras?
Honduras has had the unfortunate reputation of being an extremely dangerous country, and many have put the glamorous description of “Murder Capital of the World” to San Pedro Sula. With this reputation, many potential travelers actually wonder if staying safe in Honduras is even possible. The truth of the fact is that Honduras, just as any other country or city in the World, can be extremely dangerous if you venture into the wrong spots in town.
Personally, I can say that I have lived in Honduras for 22 years that I have travelled extensively throughout the country, exploring both cities and rural areas, and have never had a life threatening experience. Believe me, I do look like a gringo, and I do stand out like a sore thumb when in crowds. And yet, I repeat, have never had a life threatening experience. The truth is that staying safe in Honduras is not that difficult, actually it is quite easy! Fortunately, the current government, which took office in January 2014 has taken strong actions to improve security for Hondurans and tourists alike, that the deadly statistics have been going down quite fast. The crime rate has fallen by over 20% in the last year and still headed to an even more meaningful reduction.
Following are some tips about staying safe in Honduras.
Stick to the main tourist hubs. Places like Copan Ruinas, Tela, La Ceiba, Roatan and Utila which are the main tourist hubs in Honduras are generally very safe. La Ceiba, being a larger city, has a few areas that are not safe, but there is no reason for you as a tourist to even get near them, unless you are looking to purchase drugs or looking for prostitutes. Stay within the tourist areas, which by the way, are not tourist traps, you will enjoy them, and you will find that staying safe in Honduras is actually possible. More rural areas, such as Gracias, Santa Rosa de Copan, La Esperanza, Lake Yojoa, Comayagua and other cities that are also popular with tourists are actually quite safe.
Don’t drink yourself silly in the local bars. Alcohol, and drugs, diminish you ability to be alert and make use of your common sense. Have fun, but don’t overdo it! If you are spending some nights in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, choose a hotel or hostel that is recommended in the travel books or travel web sites. Don’t save money by spending the night in a cheap hotel in a dangerous area of town. Your safety is certainly worth those extra dollars for a safe place isn’t it?
When travelling between the different tourist hubs, such as between Copan Ruinas and La Ceiba, don’t save a few pennies by using the cheap buses. Remember that while there is good security at the bus terminals, these buses stop on the road and pick anyone up. This means that anyone can stop the bus, board it with a gun and demand your money and valuables. Using a bus company that does not stop along the route goes a long way towards your safety, as the bus company knows who every person is that boarded their bus. Using a bus company such as Hedman Alas or Viana goes a long way towards your personal security.
If you are traveling in rural areas, and using one of the famous chicken buses, make sure you have your valuables, such as credit cards, passports and cash stashed away safely, but, keep some $40 or $50 dollars or its equivalent in local currency at hand, just in case. Simply turn over that cash if you do have the misfortune of being in a holdup. The most dangerous buses in the Honduras are those that operate within the cities, so prefer a taxi, and of course, if at all possible, ask the hotel front desk clerk to get one for you, they have taxi drivers they know and trust, and you will be safe with them.
Finally, once you have checked into your hotel, find a safe place for your valuables, most places have a safety box. Do not run around with all your valuables on you. In the unlikely case of a holdup, you are more likely to act stupid and refuse to turn over your things if you have your valuables on you. Remember take only as much cash on you as you are willing to lose.
The above tips of course apply to traveling around the world, not only to Honduras!
Enjoy your travels through Honduras, you will find that staying safe in Honduras is not difficult, and the county has so many different beautiful places to visit en enjoy! One of the most overlooked places is the Cangrejal River Valley, located just outside La Ceiba. This area offers superb adventure and nature activities, with many different unique lodges, such as La Villa de Soledad, a unique property that you will fall in love with!