Electricity

Electrical current is 110 volts, 60Hz. Flat blade attachment plugs and flat blades with round grounding pin are in use.

Language

Spanish is the official language, but English is often spoken in the Bay Islands.

Money

Honduras' currency is the lempira (HNL), which is subdivided into 100 centavos. It is best to bring US dollars, though banks in larger cities will occasionally exchange euros and Canadian dollars. It is safer to change money in hotels or at a bank, and travellers will need to show their passport or a certified copy of their passport to exchange money. Credit cards are widely accepted; ATMs are available in the major towns. Travellers should check ATMs for evidence of tampering, and their bank statements for ATM fraud.

Tipping

A service charge of 10 percent is usually added to bills at restaurants in Honduras, but anything extra is for good service. It is customary to tip hotel bellboys and cleaning staff for good service.

Health

Mosquito-borne illnesses are an ongoing health problem in Honduras. All travellers are advised to take mosquito repellent to prevent illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever, as well as to protect from annoying mosquito and sand fly bites. It is strongly recommended that routine vaccinations are up to date. Tap water is not safe to drink but bottles of purified water are readily available. Honduras regularly suffers from severe air pollution, which can aggravate or lead to respiratory problems. For divers, there is a hyperbaric decompression chamber on Roatan. State hospitals are under-funded and travellers should use private hospitals where possible. Travel health insurance is recommended.

Safety

Political demonstrations in Honduras can sometimes be disruptive to traffic, but are generally announced in advance and are peaceful. Travellers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place, and should stay informed by following the local news and consulting hotel personnel and tour guides. Incidents of crime, including carjacking along roads in Honduras, are common, and petty crime occurs frequently in urban areas and tourist spots. Travellers should always carry a photocopy of their passport for identification purposes. It is not advisable to walk around town after dark.

Local customs

The basic greeting between locals is a firm handshake and people will shake hands again when they part. If they chat a bit longer after the last handshake, they will shake hands again as they leave. On country roads, people say goodbye to people they pass, even if they don't know each other. There is a fair amount of touching on the arms, hands or shoulders during conversations, though this tends not to be the case between genders, especially in business and formal environments. Locals mostly tolerate individuals' personal lifestyles, and small displays of affection between same-sex couples are accepted. The attitude towards the LGBT community is more conservative outside Tegucigalpa City, and public displays of affection by same-sex couples are not recommended. There are severe penalties for drug trafficking.

Doing business

Appointments are necessary and should be made two weeks in advance, and visitors are expected to be punctual, even though meetings may not start on time. Business travellers should allow plenty of time for socialising and should not rush getting straight down to business, as Hondurans place importance on establishing personal contact. Business suits or jackets are appropriate for men; women should wear dresses and skirts. Some businesspeople speak English, but correspondence should be in Spanish. Business hours are Monday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm, with an hour or two taken over lunch.

Duty free

Travellers over 18 years do not have to pay customs duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 450g of tobacco, 5 litres of alcoholic beverages, and reasonable amount of perfume for personal use.

Communications

The international access code for Honduras is +504. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies and coverage is generally good along the coast and around major towns; visitors can purchase local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones. Nearly every hotel and hostel offers free WiFi, as do many bars, cafes, restaurants, as well as public squares and other government institutions.

Passport & Visa

All foreign passengers to Honduras must hold onward or return tickets, and all necessary travel documentation for their next destination. Visa extensions can be obtained from the Immigration Office. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destinations. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.

British citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for touristic or business-related stays of up to three months; except for British passports endorsed British National (Overseas), holders of which should confirm entry requirements before travel.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for touristic or business-related stays of up to three months.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date of their arrival in Honduras. No visa is required for up to three months.

Useful contacts

Honduran Institute of Tourism, Tegucigalpa: +504 2222 2124, www.honduras.travel/en/

Emergencies: 911 (Police); 195 (Ambulance); 198 (Fire)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Honduras, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 966 7702.

Embassy of Honduras, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7486 4880.

Embassy of Honduras, Montreal, Canada: +1 514 439 7151.

Embassy of Honduras, Sydney, Australia +61 2 9350 8115.

Embassies / consulates in Honduras

American Embassy, Tegucigalpa: +504 236 9320.

British Honorary Consulate, Tegucigalpa: +504 237 6577.

Canadian Embassy, San José, Costa Rica (also responsible for Honduras): +506 2242 4400.

Australian Embassy, Mexico City, Mexico (also responsible for Honduras): +52 55 1101 2200.

South African Embassy, San Pedro Sula: +504 552 2093.

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