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Frequently Asked Questions - Honduras Travel

Every week, I receive emails with a variety of questions.  I thought it might be helpful to list the most FAQs:

Q.  Can you tell me what immunizations I should take prior to my visit to Honduras?

I believe this is an important issue that is best asked of your personal physician, your city public health nurse, or a medical professional.  I know what I took in preparation but that may well be inappropriate for you.   Tons of information is provided by the CDC.  Odds are that your doc will follow the shots recommended by them.

In another section of our site, I include more suggestions on maintaining good health while traveling in Honduras.

Q.  How much should I budget for on a daily basis?

This is a tough question.  Visitors to this site are all the way from backpackers to folks who stay at all-inclusive resorts.  My wife and I are somewhere in the "middle" of that broad array.  I budgeted $100/day for our room, traveling
Life is Tough, at Casa de Cafe, Copan Ruinas, Honduras  expenses, meals, rafting, special entrance fees, etc.  Our actual expenses didn't even come close to that and we came home with plenty to spare. 

I need to add, we are not big shoppers nor heavy drinkers.  Hard alcohol and wine are expensive (local rum and beer are not).

Backpackers can get by on $15-20 per day if frugal and traveling with others.  Dive resorts at the high end on Roatan and Guanaja can start at $200 per day and on up.  You will find many options between those extremes.  Here are some of my hotel recommendations.

Q.  What time of the year should I go to Honduras?

Tough question again.  What are you after?  Diving?  Well, the rainy season begins in October and runs through mid-January (but don't hold me to that!).  On the North Coast and the Bay Islands, you can expect a thunderstorm any day of the year.  The North Coast is hot and humid all summer.

The Western Highlands (Copan, Gracias, Santa Rosa de Copan) are tempered by the altitude.  The dry season in the highlands is January through May.

Q.  When is the Carnival in Ceiba?

La Ceiba is renowned for its Carnival (Carnaval in Spanish), with many saying it is the second best in all of Latin America.  Music, food, dancing in the street, a wee-bit of imbibing, and parades.  It usually falls the last two weeks in May but you really, really, need to check with someone in Ceiba, say your hotel, for specific dates.  Get those reservations way early, though.  Rooms go fast

Q.  I have never been to Latin America.  What might I expect in Honduras?

●  Events/schedules/time for events (bus departure, flights within Honduras, shop openings) occur when they happen, not a moment before.  If you need a fixed schedule where everything must "go down" when you want it to, you are going to be disappointed.  Hondurans are not as time conscious as we North Americans are.  Sit back and relax.  Vacation, remember?  This is not New York City.

●  You will be visiting the most hospitable people that we have encountered in all of our trips throughout Mexico and Central America.  Make an effort to speak Spanish, even if it is just, "gracias" or "buenos dias."  Always be respectful and it will be returned a hundred-fold.

●  On the mainland particularly, you are going to see many rifle-toting guards, policemen and -women, and soldiers.  Be prepared for that or it can 'crush' your vacation.  As importantly, don't overreact to it.  It comes with the turf.  Here are my ideas on making your trip safe and pleasurable by just using common sense.

●  You will see plenty of poverty.  Honduras is the 2nd poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere (others suggest the 3rd poorest).  Some North Americans are unable to deal with this and it either ruins their vacation or they give money to people inappropriately.  Hondurans deal with their own poverty much better than we do in response to seeing it.  Here are some ideas on healthy ways to assist ease that poverty, if so moved.

●  Hondurans will always answer any question posed to them.  You need to understand -- In Honduras, it is more important to "please the other person" than provide a correct response.  Answers, well, aren't always on the mark. 

If you need an answer; it will be provided, regardless if the person knows the answer. 
It is a mere cultural nuance to always answer a question.  "I don't know or "I'm not sure," are not known in the Honduran vocabulary.

Double check important matters with another person; take answers with a grain of salt.  We have experienced 'need to please with an answer' in other Central American countries as well.

What else?

●  Your hotel bill and restaurant check will have a 16% surcharge added to it that goes to Uncle Sam -- or rather, Uncle Ricardo?  Look at your bill and see if a tip (propina) has or has not been added in.  I tip 15% in restaurants for good service;  2-3% of the hotel price to the maid, merely left on the pillow.
●  In more rural parts of Honduras, the children may or may not have been exposed to outsiders.  They will be naturally curious.  Find the playful side of yourself and interact, by all means.  Kids are kids.
●  Show an interest in the Honduran culture and it comes back to you multiplied.  People the world over understand respect.  Demonstrate respect daily.  Watch your body language.  It speaks volumes.

Q.  Where is the best diving on Roatan?

You are asking the wrong guy.  Swimming, to me, is staying alive while I am in the water.   If you are interested in diving, visit Laura Radford's articles on-site about Roatan diving.

When we stayed with divers at Bananarama on Roatan, to a person, they remarked that the diving was every bit as good as diving on Bonaire or Belize.  I trust that means something to you. 

They also mentioned that the cost of diving in Honduras was the cheapest of any place they had ever visited.  Even I understand that one.

Q.  Is Honduras dangerous?

I answer that by asking, "How safe are urban areas in your home state?"  I believe that we are so used to the violence and crime at home that we "overlook" it and become alarmed when traveling in Latin America.  We over-react.  Warren Post, ex-pat and owner of Pizza Pizza Restaurant in San Rosa de Copan, has some ideas that reinforce my point.

In another section, I offer many suggestions that will help make your travel safe and secure.  I would add that there are no parts of Latin America that I would hesitate to visit, but that is just me.  Women traveling alone might benefit from the reading this section.

Most of all, common sense and a general awareness of your surroundings go an awfully long way when traveling to Latin America.

Q.  Your site has little on Tela.   How come?

We didn't visit Tela and I don't pretend to know more than I have read.  If you visit Tela, are a good writer, and are willing to share your experiences on this site,  please contact me.  Here is an example of a superb travel critique of Roatan by Kathy Munster who sent it along in the spring of 2004.

Q.  How current is your information?

We traveled Honduras in February 2003.  Visitors to our site are extremely good at keeping it current by informing me of their experiences when they return home.  Weekly, I make appropriate changes on the website based on their feedback. 

It helps when you provide feedback on your hotel stays, offer suggestions on things to do, and send along those "if I had only known..."  If you have benefited from our site, please consider helping the next person coming down the line.  Reach me through out contact form.  Post it to your PDA now.

Q.  Have you painted an accurate picture of Honduras on your website?

I hope so.  Honduras has its share of very serious social issues.  That needs to be pointed out.  The people, their hospitality, the diversity of cultures, and their warmth can not be surpassed.  The scenery, the beaches, the diving -- out of this world.

Did our visit to Honduras go perfectly?  Heavens, no.  But few of our Central American visits ever do!  That is part of the adventure!  Just remember that you are visiting a nation with a very undeveloped economy.  You aren't in Kansas, Toto.

Q.  What if I have other questions?

I entertain all questions and would be glad to hear from you.  One caveat, please -- first spend some time on the site.  Please read the website before "asking away."  Thanks.

Use the search engine on our site to look up material you can not readily find.  Some people prefer to use the Site Map or the Quick Hits first to see where to begin with topics of interest.

Q.  Why this site?  What's in it for you?

This site is a small thank you to the Honduran people for the hospitality we were extended.  Nothing more.

Hondurans are the most gracious and welcoming people I have had the privilege of meeting and traveling among. 
  I hope our site adds to your traveling pleasure among the people of Honduras. 

May your travels be safe and restful!

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