Unrest - Honduras
Political demonstrations occur sporadically. Demonstrations can disrupt
traffic, but are generally announced in advance and are usually peaceful.
Travelers should avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place,
and should keep informed by following the local news and consulting
hotel personnel and tour guides.
While the Honduran side of the Honduras-Nicaragua border has been
largely cleared of land mines, travelers should exercise caution in
the vicinity of the border because some land mines, scattered by flooding
during Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, may still exist in the area.
Crime - Honduras
The security situation in Honduras requires
a high degree of caution. Poverty, gangs, and low apprehension and
conviction rates of criminals contribute to a high crime rate. Many
men in Honduras carry firearms and machetes, and disputes are sometimes
settled with violence. Violent and petty crime are prevalent throughout
the country. While crime affects everyone in Honduras, criminals have
at times targeted tourists, particularly those coming from airports
and hotels, as well as wealthy-looking residents in San Pedro Sula,
Tela, Trujillo, and Tegucigalpa. Street crime is a principal concern,
with thefts, pursesnatching, pickpocketing, assaults, and armed robberies
on the rise in urban areas. Carjackings, kidnappings, muggings, and
home invasions are not uncommon. There have been some incidents of
sexual assault. Tourists and residents should avoid walking at night
in most areas of Honduras, especially in the major cities. Tourists,
in particular, should not hike alone in backcountry areas, nor walk
alone on beaches, historic ruins, or trails.
Visitors should use the same common sense while traveling in Honduras
that they would in any high crime area of a major international city.
Jewelry should not be worn in downtown or rural areas. Do not carry
large sums of money, ATM or credit cards that are not needed, nor
Foreigners are encouraged to follow local news reports and contact
the Honduran Embassy in their country of residence or their embassy
in Tegucigalpa for current conditions
Areas of Danger
The San Pedro Sula area has seen an upsurge in armed robberies
against tourist vans, minibuses and cars traveling from the airport
to area hotels, some targeting the road to Copan. Vehicles force the
transport off the road, and then men with AK-47s rob the victims,
occasionally assaulting the driver or passengers. Robberies in this
area may be based on tips from sources at airport arrival areas; please
exercise caution in discussing travel plans in public.
Copan , the Bay Islands and other tourist destinations
have a lower crime rate than other parts of the country, but petty
thefts and assaults do occur. Specifically, visitors to Copan and
the Bay Islands have experienced some petty thefts and, on Roatan
Island , robbers have targeted homes and longer-term leased residences.
Hotels and pensions are considered safer. U.S. citizens visiting the
islands should exercise particular caution around sparsely inhabited
coastal areas and should avoid walking on isolated beaches, especially
at night. While incidents of serious violent crime in these regions
are infrequent, three U.S. citizens have been murdered in Roatan since
1998. However, all the victims in Roatan were either residing in Roatan
and/or involved in real estate or commercial ventures.
Although not a primary tourist destination, the Department of Olancho
is one of the most violent areas in Honduras. Travelers in that area
should use extra caution.
There have also been incidents involving roadblocks and violence connected
with land disputes that can delay travel, particularly in the north
coast area near Trujillo .
Incidents of crime along roads in Honduras are common. There
have been frequent incidents of highway robbery on a number of roads
including Limones to La Union , Olancho (route 41) via Salama
and northward to Saba . For more information, please see the section
below on Travel Safety and Road Conditions.
Thirty-one U.S. citizens have been murdered in Honduras since 1995,
and most cases remain unresolved. There are problems with the judicial
process, including an acute shortage of trained personnel, equipment,
staff, financial resources, and reports of corruption. The Honduran
law enforcement authorities' ability to prevent, respond, investigate,
apprehend, file Interpol reports, and prosecute criminal incidents
Do not resist a robbery attempt. Many criminals have weapons,
and most injuries have resulted when victims resisted. Two Europeans
tourists were murdered in July 2002 while resisting an armed robbery
of the bus in which they were traveling. Do not hitchhike or go home
with strangers, particularly from nightspots. Whenever possible, travel
in groups of two or more persons.
The government has instituted a "zero tolerance" policy on crime.
As part of this policy, the police patrol jointly with armed soldiers
in major cities in an effort to reduce crime. Honduran police generally
do not speak English. The government has recently established a special
tourist police in the resort town of Tela and plans to expand this
force to other popular tourist destinations.
Night driving is discouraged. All bus travel should be during
daylight hours and on first-class conveyances, not economy buses.
Visitors should pick taxis carefully, and note the driver's name and
license number. They should instruct the driver not to pick up other
passengers, agree on the fare before they depart, and have small bills
available for payment, because taxi drivers often do not make change.
Yachts and Sailing Vessels
There have been incidents of armed assaults against private sailing
vessels by criminals posing as fishermen off the northeast coast of
Honduras, particularly in the numerous small islands northeast of
the coast of the Department of Gracias a Dios.
The areas off both coasts of Honduras have been the subject of maritime
border disputes between Honduras and its neighbors. The Honduran Navy
patrols these areas, and all private vessels transiting Honduran territorial
waters should be prepared to be hailed and possibly boarded by Honduran
military personnel to verify documentation. While the Honduran previously
used private vessels as patrol vessels, this is no longer the case.
In the event that any vessel is hailed in Honduran waters in the Caribbean
by a non-military vessel or any suspicious vessel and directed to
prepare for boarding, the vessel should immediately contact:
U.S. Coast Guard Operations Center (by radio or INMARSAT)
Tel:  (305) 415-6800
Anyone needing more information can also contact the U.S Embassy and
request the U.S. Military Group (USMILGP) Duty Officer.
Sailors should contact the Coast Guard and yacht facility managers
in their areas of travel for current information.
Loss of Passport
The loss or theft abroad of a passport should be reported immediately
to the local police and to the nearest embassy or consulate of the
country from which the passport was issued. Citizens applying for
replacement passports will be asked to present proof of citizenship
and identification. Passport replacement can be facilitated if the
traveler has a photocopy of the passport's data page.
For more information, we strongly encourage travelers to visit the
U.S. Embassy's web site and click on Security Matters.
Global Road Warrior, Copyright 2003 World Trade Press. All
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without express permission from World Trade Press.