in Honduras... Getting around
Local airlines, with Isleña Airlines and Líneas
Aéreas Nacionales being the primary operations, offer daily services
linking Tegucigalpa and other major towns. Isleña also provides services
to Utila, the most economical Bay Island (along the Caribbean coast).
The main airports are Tegucigalpa, Dr. Ramón Villeda Morales Airport,
17 km (11 miles) from the middle of San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba's
airfield. There are also more than 30 smaller airfields that can handle
both commercial aviation and light aircraft. A hospital and airport
tax of 2.5 percent is included in the airfare for domestic flights.
Transportation to City Center
The airport lies just three miles (five km)
southeast of the center of town, making transportation relatively
fast and easy. Taxis are available in front of the terminal, with
fares running about US$5. If you walk about 100 yards down to the
street and flag a cab yourself, it will run about US$3. Colectivo
(shared) taxis cost less. Public buses are available to the city,
but do not carry baggage. The #1 and 11 "Loarque" buses stop right
outside the main entrance to the airport and operate frequently
from 5:30a.m. to 9p.m. Fares are US$0.05. Some of the nicer hotels
provide their own shuttle service, but arrangements must be made
Driving is Tegucigalpa is not pleasant for newcomers,
but doable if needed. You'll need to reserve a car at least three
days in advance of your arrival.
The airport offers a restaurant,
bar, a Hondutel office, two banks, and several currency exchange shops,
a snack bar, a souvenir shop, and a post office in the terminal. The
banks have erratic hours, but official moneychangers also walk around
the terminal. Beware of self-styled "porters" who will try to grab
and carry your bags for you, then require a tip to give them back.
There has been talk for years of a long-awaited renovation to this
rather shabby airport.
The departure tax on international flights is US$10.
Note: The country code
is  when dialing from outside Honduras.
Fares are not metered and should be negotiated
before departing for your destination. In most towns, however, there
is a basic flat rate in effect. You may want to begin your negotiations
by letting the driver know you are aware of the flat rate. Many
drivers will pick up extra passengers along the way. One can also
rent a cab by the hour or even by the day. Make sure you have good
directions or a map before departing as drivers are not always well
informed--or pretend as much.
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.
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Because of crime and poor road conditions, driving can be very dangerous,
and travelers may want to carry a cellular phone in case of an emergency.
Travelers should exercise extreme caution while driving on isolated
stretches of road and passing on mountainous curves. Rockslides
are common, especially in the rainy season (June through December).
Traffic signs, even on major highways, are often inadequate, and
streets in the major cities are often unmarked. Travelers should
drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
Major highways have been rebuilt following the destruction caused
by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, though many stretches are still under
repair. Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained,
two-lane system of paved roads, and many secondary roads in Honduras
are unpaved. During the rainy season, even major highways are often
closed due to rockslides and flooding. Hurricane Mitch washed out
many bridges throughout the country, and temporary repairs are vulnerable
to heavy rains.
Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include: Tegucigalpa
to Choluteca, because of dangerous mountain curves; El Progreso
to La Ceiba , because of animal crossings and the poor condition
of bridges from flooding; and Limones to La Union , Olancho
(route 41) via Salama and northward to Saba , because
of frequent incidents of highway robbery. The detour to San Pedro
Sula north of La Guama (CA-5) via Santa Cruz de Yojoa is mandatory
for heavy trucks and is a congested, difficult drive. Former Route
1 North via Aqua Azul to CA-5 is generally
a safer route for cars.
Honduran roads also suffer from a general lack of lighting and poorly
marked highways. Vehicles are often driven at night without adequate
illumination, and animals and people wander onto the roads at all
hours. For these reasons, and because of the high incidence of crime,
the U.S. Embassy strongly discourages car and bus travel after dark.
Hijackings of private and commercial vehicles from the United States
to Honduras have occurred. Honduras and the United States have signed
a stolen vehicle treaty, which is pending ratification by each nation's
legislature. Moreover, since Honduran law protects good faith buyers,
even of stolen vehicles, it is difficult to recover stolen vehicles.
Vehicle insurance may mitigate loss; please check with the National
Insurance Crime Bureau at www.nicb.org
, private insurance carriers, and our web
site information on "Commercial Vehicle Hijackings" at
www.usmission.hn for more information.
Rental cars (and motorbikes) are available in most Honduran cities.
They are expensive by any standard. A credit card and valid driver's
license are required. Local insurance may be required. While main
highways are well paved, most Honduran roads are substandard. Unless
you are on an extended visit, rental cars are not a good idea for
business travelers. Driving alone in rural areas also presents a
security risk. Hired cars with drivers (or taxis) are sufficient
for most needs.
Auto Rental Numbers
Tel:  553-0088, 552-2872, 552-0088
Tel:  233-6927
Blvd. Comunidad Economica, Europea Comayaguela D.C.
Tel:  233-5171
Fax:  233-5170, 233-5161
Villa Real Main Downtown
Tel:  239-0772
Fax:  232-0870
There is also a Hertz desk at the airport.
Trains are strictly a last resort to be used only for reaching certain
remote areas. The trains are slow, primitive, and quite cheap. Services
are not reliable, so check to see if things are actually running just
before you are set to embark.
There are three railways in the north coast region, used mainly for
hauling cargo between banana plantations. Passenger train services
in the north run only between San Pedro, Puerto Cortés, and Tela.
A single passenger line runs in the southern part of Honduras on an
erratic schedule. Make all inquiries and bookings locally.
There is no metro system in Honduras.
Numerous bus lines serve locals in Honduran
cities as well as providing intercity service. Local buses usually
run from 5a.m. until 9p.m. and prices are cheap. Conditions may prove
crowded and uncomfortable during peak hours. Intercity lines usually
run from 6a.m. with a last bus in the afternoon so that the final
destination is reached before dark to avoid crime problems. Intercity
fares are cheap but business travelers may find them too uncomfortable
to forego a hired car service. The U.S. Embassy strongly urges its
citizens to avoid bus travel after dark.
Ferries sail out of ports on the Caribbean,
Atlantic, and Pacific coastlines. Several times weekly, there are
crossings from Puerto Cortés and La Ceiba to the Bay Islands. For
necessary details, contact the local port authorities. Most businesspeople
use the reasonably priced commuter air services for these same routes
to save time.
Instituto Hondureño de Turismo
P.O. Box 3261
Edificio Europa, 5to Piso
Colonia San Carlos, Avenida Ramon Cruz,
Tel:  222-2124 or 1-800-222-8687 (toll-free within Honduras only)
Tel/fax:  222-6621
Global Road Warrior, Copyright 2003 World Trade Press. All
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without express permission from World Trade Press.