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Home » Central America » Travel Safety
Is Honduras Safe for Travel? (Insider Tips)
Home to the second biggest barrier reef in the world , beaches, and sparkling turquoise sea, as well as a whole host of Mayan ruins , amazing coffee, and the second largest rainforest in the Americas, Honduras is extremely biodiverse: there are 770 bird species alone.
But Honduras is far from Eden . Violence has long ruled here. This Central American country actually has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Drug trafficking gangs, corruption, and extreme poverty keep Honduras down.
Naturally, you’re going to be wondering, “Is Honduras safe?” That is why we have created this insider’s guide looking at the safety of travelers in Honduras. We are all about smart travel and we’re here to help you travel smart too.
We are going to be covering a whole lot of topics in this epic Honduras safety guide. We’ll be answering super important questions including “How safe is Honduras right now?” and “Is it safe to live in Honduras?” We also give loads of tips for solo travelers and families.
For your trip to Honduras, our handy guide has you covered.
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How Safe is Honduras? (Our take)
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Biodiversity is a huge part of Honduras. There’s more nature here than you can shake a stick at. Couple that with 470 miles of (mainly) Caribbean coastline, a load of beaches and tropical islands, as well as Mayan ruins and you got yourself a dream destination.
It might sound like paradise… But it isn’t. Honduras isn’t exactly what we’d call safe.
This Central American country suffers from what many countries in the region have suffered from or are currently battling with – namely corruption, gangs, and drugs. With those come violence and poverty. So backpacking Honduras isn’t always just a breeze…
In fact, most people in Honduras have a family member in a gang. So, yeah. We’re not going to lie – it’s pretty sketchy.
However, whilst it’s quite dangerous, the government is promoting tourism in Honduras. And people do go.
Some areas are also safer than others. For example, the Bay Islands are safer than the mainland. Many people do travel to this particular part of Honduras, even with their families.
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Honduras Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.
The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, ever-worsening cultural division, and a click-hungry media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.
Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Honduras. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practise common sense, you will have a safe trip to Honduras.
If you see any outdated information in this guide, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please!). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!
It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too. 🙂
Visiting Honduras right now is as safe as it ever was: not very.
However, More than 2 million tourists visited in 2017 . A large chunk of those arrived via cruise ships, however. That’s mainly to visit islands like Roatan. Chances are, if you are arriving via a cruise ship, you will be safe. Traveling around the country is a more complicated matter.
The government of Honduras is committed to attracting more tourists. By 2020 they want an additional million tourists annually. Clearly, with the pandemic, that goal wasn’t reached, but it’s not been forgotten either.
Honduras is one of the murder capitals of the world. The rate of young people killing other young people is down to two main gangs : Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18. They practice “war taxing”, which is essentially just demanding money from people. This helps keep everyone in poverty.
There have been protests due to contested election results in late 2017 . In these demonstrations, more than 1,500 were arrested and 30 people were killed.
That said, the government claims there has been a 52% decrease in violent crime over the past five years. In fact, according to InSight Crime there has definitely been around a 26% drop in crime since 2016. This is due to negotiations between criminal groups and the government, and possibly because of economic aid from the US.
So whilst it’s getting safer , it’s a slow process. We’d say only experienced, intrepid travelers should tackle this one alone. Anyone else would do well with a trusted tour group.
There are probably more sketchy areas in Honduras than there are safe ones. generally, if you’re visiting with a guided tour, you should be fine. However, if you decide to travel independently, you’ll face quite a few challenges. To make sure you’re having a successful trip, we’ve listed the safest, and the no-go areas below.
The Bay Islands are the only palace in Honduras that can (kind of) be considered somewhat safe. While there were a few violent crime incidents, most travelers have a safe and pleasant stay. You can also visit the island through a guided tour, which will add another layer of safety to your trip. These are the safest islands:
Once you get off the ferry in Utila you have officially entered an alternate reality. Utila is unlike the rest of mainland Honduras in just about every way. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by backpackers, dive shops, hostels, burger shacks, smoothie stands, and pirate bars.
It is important to know that Utila is very much a developed backpacker hotspot. Don’t expect to discover an undeveloped private island. That said, the development that has taken place has not totally sucked the island dry of its charm. It may have improved it actually.
Roatan is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands. Roatan is the more developed, more expensive, and family friendly big brother of Utila. The island attracts a very different crowd indeed. Expat retirees, yachties, families with kids, and cruise ship tourists make up a large majority of the demographic found on Roatan at any given time.
One good thing I can say about Roatan is that the dive sites are excellent around the island. If you are a keen diver, Roatan is well worth a visit.
Places to avoid in Honduras
We’ve made it pretty clear that Honduras isn’t the safest country. You can definitely push your luck by staying in the wrong neighborhood as well. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can seriously get you in trouble. That’s why we listed the no-go areas in Honduras below. Note that they are generally safe to visit during the day (with a bit of caution obviously), especially if you have a local guide, but should be fully avoided at night.
- San Pedro Sula – this is an area that has a lot of gang activity, you should definitely be careful when visiting or might even think about leaving it out if your Honduras itinerary completely. Poverty is bad in San Pedro Sula so you’ll definitely have to watch all of your belongings and stay very aware of your surroundings.
- Tegucigalpa – this is another area with lots of gang activity. While tourists usually aren’t targeted by gang wars and violent crimes, you still need to take a lot of caution while visiting this district. Stay away from the small alleys and side streets and stick with the areas where there are a lot of people. Completely avoid it at night!
- Any public transport station – these attract thieves and sketchy characters. If you have to wait for your bus or taxi, stay inside a cafe or restaurant until your ride arrives.
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Gang violence is a big issue in Honduras. These drug trafficking gangs rule people’s lives. Lucky for you, you’re not a Honduran citizen. So you’ll likely escape having to pay “war tax” (or facing the consequences). The poverty resulting from all this is what you’ll have to watch out for. Namely, being robbed. There are some safety points that travelers should know for anywhere they travel, but Honduras requires these special considerations.
- Don’t carry your valuables (or all your cash) around with you – why risk getting them stolen? You can keep extra bank notes and passport copies in a money belt for emergencies.
- On that note, don’t even LOOK wealthy – designer clothes, jewelry, SLR round your neck = advert for thieves.
- Protests can happen out of the blue – careful of large crowds. Don’t get involved.
- Protect yourself against mosquitoes – these nasty critters carry malaria, zika virus, and dengue fever. Cover up, use repellent, burn coils.
- Hand over the goods – if someone does try robbing you, let them. Seriously. People die resisting robbery.
- Carry a dummy wallet – a throwdown, fake wallet, whatever. It should have just a little cash in it to hand over in the event of a mugging.
- Take care of beaches after dark – especially in Tela and the North Coast. Attacks on tourists have been reported.
- Be vigilant in busy places – tourist spots, airports, bus stations, cities in general. This is pickpockets’ paradise.
- Be aware that there are high levels of HIV and AIDS in Honduras – it’s important to keep that in mind.
- Use ATMs only in shopping centers, hotels, inside banks – only these areas.
- And don’t use ATMs at night – there have been attacks on people.
- Or get too much out at once – again, why risk it? Small amounts only.
- Keep valuables locked in a safe – room robberies can happen. You don’t want to lose your passport.
- It’s best not to travel around after dark – it’s riskier.
- Be careful in border areas – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The border with Nicaragua is also littered with unmarked minefields.
- DON’T DO DRUGS – they’re illegal and you could end up in a “rehabilitation center”. Plus, why contribute to the gangs?
- Watch out in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa – this is where the two main gangs operate. In the day, it’s generally ok, but at night you should just take a taxi.
- Nature is dangerous here, too – venomous snakes, crocodiles, poisonous spiders. Watch your step, basically.
- Hurricanes can and do occur from June to November – if caught one, you’ll want to be staying in a STABLE building.
- Make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines – check with your doctor and see what you’ll need for Honduras.
It’s not 100% safe in Honduras. Not really. But traveling there is possible, of course. And if you’re visiting as part of a tour, then you’re likely to stay safe.
Independent travel is going to require A LOT of being careful. Travel smart and make sure your safety and security is your number one priority.
Seeing the world without anyone to answer to, getting to challenge yourself and grow as a person. There are definitely a fair few pros to solo travel. At the same time, traveling alone can be stressful, boring, lonely, and dangerous in varying quantities.
And we’re not going to lie, Honduras doesn’t exactly lend itself to solo travel. This is essentially an unsafe country. You’ll need to be a confident traveler. This isn’t one for first-time backpackers. But if you’re thinking about it, here are some tips.
- Traveling alone to remote areas can be sketchy. As in, dangerous. You either take extreme care or make some travel buddies to go with.
- Make sure to stay at well-reviewed, trusted accommodation. You can see from reviews if the staff somewhere consists of dodgy people. Read reviews, find somewhere that’s right for you, and book yourself a room or a bed. You’ll get to meet fellow travelers at the best places.
- Don’t go off-grid . Make sure you keep in touch with people. Post a few Facebook updates. Send some messages. Facetime your parents. Just make sure that people know where you are.
- Don’t hitchhike or take lifts from strangers – especially if you’re by yourself. People traveling alone are definitely going to be more of a target than a group of people.
- When you’re walking around, look confident. The more lost you look, the more of an easy target you’re going to be. Try to memorize a map of the area because you definitely don’t want to be getting your phone out all the time, either.
- Stay aware at all times. This isn’t the sort of country where it’s just a couple of problem areas and that’s it . A lot of Honduras is risky. Don’t let your guard down, stay vigilant, and use your common sense.
- That said, it’ll be cities where most crime occurs. Therefore these are the places that carry the most risk. Be on high alert in urban areas.
- When it comes to transport, leave plenty of time to get to your destination. Traveling after dark, either on foot, on a bus, or in a car, can be dangerous. Make sure you arrive before night falls.
- Ask locals about what areas they think are safe. Or simply get recommendations for things to eat, drink, see or do. It’s a good way to get to chat to locals, but also just a good way to see things that maybe other tourists won’t be asking for.
- With that in mind, use those Spanish skills. Learn a few words and phrases. It will open up the country for you, both in terms of talking to people and simply getting around.
Hondurans are warm and welcoming people who have to live day in, day out with the violence in their country. Chatting to them means getting first-hand knowledge, and means your experience is going to be a lot richer.
Traveling here is definitely adventurous, but that doesn’t mean it’s off-limits for solo travelers. People do it. You can too.
Honduras may have one of the highest murder rates in the world, and as a solo female traveler, that doesn’t sound very inviting as a destination. We get it. We’re not going to say it’s the safest place to travel, nor is it going to be the easiest place to travel as a solo female.
But the thing is women DO travel alone to Honduras. It can be a super enriching experience. With all the threats of violence, there’s a low number of tourists, so oddly you can really have an authentic experience here while getting to know Honduran women, too.
It can be safe as a solo female traveler in Honduras. Of course, being a woman anywhere is going to come with additional risk . So keep that in mind – and have a read of our safety tips for solo female travelers thinking of taking a trip to Honduras.
- If you’re the sort of person who prefers to be around people to chat with, head to the Bay Islands. This is the safest area of Honduras and this is also the place where you are going to find a lot of other travelers. It’s perfect for sharing travel stories, trips and maybe even making a travel buddy or two.
- Other ways to meet fellow travelers – and feel safer – involve joining a tour. They can even help take you across other Central American countries on your travels, too.
- If not, plan everything in advance. Leave fewer things to chance and risk. This will definitely help not just your peace of mind but will help you FEEL and BE safer.
- Check in and let people know your plans. Whether that’s with friends and family back home, or with accommodation staff, or both. Let people know where you are. Somebody knowing where you are is much better for your safety than nobody knowing where you are.
- Honduras has a macho society. Be aware of how women are perceived, and their role in the male-dominated world of this country. This doesn’t necessarily mean that women are more threatened, just that you might have to be a bit more aware and assertive.
- It’s not a good idea to go out to bars and clubs by yourself. You’ll get the wrong attention. Go with a male friend or go out with a group of people.
- Dress modestly and cover up to avoid unwanted attention. Anything that shows too much is going to attract too much attention probably. It’s best to be as incognito as possible. Blend in.
- Catcalling definitely happens in Honduras. Don’t make a big deal about it. It will probably cause more stress than you’ll want. The best course of action is just to ignore it and walk on, but involve someone else if the harassment continues.
- Be aware that Honduran women are oppressed by the government. Abortion is completely illegal (having been recently re-criminalized ). There’s very little in terms of gender equality. The opposite in fact.
Honduras may sound scary, but if you take into account the advice of locals, plan ahead, and use your common sense, Honduras will open up to you as a solo female traveler. Honduran women face daily struggles. Sexual violence and oppression are frequent tragedies here.
But if you meet the local ladies and learn about their lives you’re going to have a VERY enriching experience on your hands. There’s a lot to learn about Honduras that goes beyond gangs and beaches. It’s a country with a big heart. And Honduras can be a safe place for solo female travelers, but we’d only recommend it after some solo travel experience.
We’ve covered the main safety concerns already, but there are a few more things to know. Read on for more detailed information on how to have a safe trip to Honduras.
Is Honduras safe to travel for families?
In certain areas, yes – Honduras is safe to travel for families.
Take the Bay Islands, for example. You’ll be able to travel around here with relative ease. Especially through a tour company.
And this area is great for children. Your little ones get to see the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. And that is pretty cool.
La Ceiba on the northern coast, with mountains, jungles, and beaches, is a chilled and adventurous area to explore. Plus there’s Copan : the ancient Mayan archaeological site, complete with amazing sculptures. This is a pretty safe area to visit.
Honduras, in general, is open and welcoming to children.
We don’t want to recommend traveling to the rest of Honduras with your family. Of course, you can book a local tour that can look after your safety during your trip, but make sure your research leaves you feeling absolutely confident in the reliability of the tour you choose.
You’ll also have to take care that your children don’t stay in the sun for too long. It can get SUPER hot in Honduras. That means suncream, sun-hats, and limiting time in the sun.
Is it safe to drive in Honduras?
Nope. Not really. It’s not very safe to drive in Honduras.
Locals drive at crazy speeds on the highways, there are random toll roads that make the cost high (but if you don’t take them, alternative routes are often not paved ), and there are animals on the road. We’d classify it as generally hazardous.
If you’re not on a highway you’ll probably need a 4×4. It’s pretty extreme. And watch out for bad road conditions after heavy rain.
You should ask locals on the best routes to take to any given place. Sat Navs might not always tell you the best route.
And there are roads that have higher levels of attacks, including carjacking. From Limones to La Union , from Gualaco to San Esteban, and from La Esperanza to Gracias… These routes can be dangerous. All of these are in Santa Barbara Department , which also sees hijackings around Tela, La Ceiba, and El Progreso as well as Trujillo.
Don’t drive after dark. Please.
Honestly? It’s just better to have a local driver drive you around. Don’t put yourself through that stress.
Is Uber safe in Honduras?
There is NO Uber in Honduras.
For now, there are 15,000 taxis who want your attention. So…
Are taxis safe in Honduras?
Taxis are all over the place in Honduras. And they’re… generally safe.
Radio taxis are always a better option than hailing one off the street. Get your accommodation to either recommend a good company or just book one for you.
If you do get one in the street, ensure that you tell the taxi driver that you don’t want to share the taxi. This is when things can get sketchy. Just in case, that’s “No quiero compartir el taxi.”
You will have to agree on a price before you get in. And taxi drivers probably won’t have enough change to cover a big bill, so carry small denominations.
At nighttime, you should really get a taxi. There are taxi ranks in a lot of locations.
Is public transportation in Honduras safe?
Well… Public transportation can be a little tricky in Honduras, and it’s not always safe.
The public buses consist of the good old chicken bus. They’re old U.S. school buses that are poorly maintained, and overcrowded. Certain routes that these take have been the target of armed attacks.
But travelers DO take these buses. They’re fairly easy to use, but be aware of the risks.
City buses travel around the cities and towns themselves. They are “taxed” by gangs. Sometimes the drivers are assaulted.
There are private coach services that connect cities and towns that are usually more maintained and more comfortable than the chicken buses.
These are pretty safe. They’re run by private companies, obviously, and are more expensive than public buses. You basically pay for safety, but better safe than sorry we’d say.
There are also passenger ferries if you want to go to the Bay Islands. You can catch a ferry from the mainland at La Ceiba to either Utila or Roatan. A ferry also runs between Trujillo and Guanaja.
Is the food in Honduras safe?
The food in Honduras is super tasty. On the Caribbean coast, there are plenty of delicious dishes to sample, with tortillas and things like refried beans served up with every meal. One example: tajadas (fried plantains, topped with cabbage and served with ground beef).
It’s a mix of European , indigenous and Caribbean influence, and you’ll love it. Here’s how to not get ill whilst trying local delights.
- Using some Spanish will get you pretty far. Just order something at any restaurant using the words plato típico – this just means refried beans, rice, a bit of cheese, plantains and some tortillas. Simple and tasty.
- Ask locals where’s good to eat. Where you can go to get some REAL local food. Someone is bound to know somewhere that’s amazing.
- If you’ve got no locals to ask, just use your eyes. Look and see where locals are eating. If a restaurant or eatery of any sort looks busy, that’s probably because it’s good, both in terms of taste and not making you ill.
- Don’t eat at tourist traps. You’ll most likely get watered-down versions of Honduran food and Western stuff. Chances are it wasn’t cooked with too much care.
- There’s a lot of fresh fish in places like Tela and Roatan, and you should definitely try it. Ask what’s been caught that morning. Basically, you’ll want fresh fish. There are things like ceviche, which is raw fish, so you just need to make sure that this really IS fresh and that where you’re eating it can be trusted in terms of hygiene.
- Steer clear of anything that you can’t peel yourself. You don’t know how clean the person’s hands are who’s been peeling and chopping the fruit. So do it yourself. You can get LOADS of fresh fruit at the markets – just make sure you WASH it before you eat it.
- Don’t go TOO in on the food when you first arrive, especially if you get ill from food quite easily. The flavors, spices and portion sizes here might slap you down on the toilet for the first few days of your trip. So… Take it easy! At least at first.
- And last – but definitely not least – is the old classic: WASH YOUR HANDS. It’s simple. You don’t know how grubby your hands are getting before you eat your lunch or dinner so just wash them. Save yourself from yourself.
- Traveling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free , pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Honduran ingredients in Latin American Spanish.
Honduras isn’t different from lots of other great backpacking countries in that you’re never absolutely safe from food-borne illness. Use these tips to reduce the risk, but we also recommend that you pack some medication fit for a bad stomach.
Can you drink the water in Honduras?
It is honestly NOT safe to drink the water in Honduras.
Lots of travelers stick to bottled water, but please don’t. There’s a huge problem with single-use plastics in the Earth’s water and you don’t have any assurance whatsoever that your bottles will be properly disposed of, even if you’re careful to sort them in the proper bin.
We travel with a filter bottle, the GRAYL GEOPRESS or we just boil the water for a few minutes and store in a refillable water bottle . It’s better for the environment and ends up being more economical in the long run.
So no. Don’t drink the water without treating, and steer clear of ice cubes, too.
Is Honduras safe to live?
Honduras has been through a lot in recent years.
Many Hondurans don’t have access to clean water and medical care. Over 60% of the population live below the poverty line.
Gangs play a big part of life here. There are an estimated 115,000 gang members. Everyone from children to adults are recruited.
Not only that, but the corruption in everything the low to the high levels of the politics here is standard. Politicians are manipulated by criminals or other politicians. It’s a massive issue.
All that in mind, there are places that expats do live in Honduras.
There is an expat community in Trujillo. This coastal city is more welcoming to gringos than other places and features beaches fringed by coral reefs and there’s a lot of new development happening here.
There’s also La Ceiba. This has a pretty good expat community too. It’s also a nice place since the ferry to Utila runs from here, making it easy to escape to the tropical paradise of the Bay Islands whenever you feel like it.
People live here with children, by themselves, as couples, some retire here, and some people have even started up their own hostels or other businesses.
Whilst many people DO live here, it doesn’t mean Honduras is safe to live. Living in Honduras means you’ll have to adjust your life to the way of life here. That means getting used to gangs, violence, and corruption.
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Is it safe to rent an Airbnb in Honduras?
There are quite a few cute Airbnbs in Honduras, and as long as you stay in one of the safer neighborhoods, we’d say that renting an Airbnb is perfectly safe. Make sure to check the reviews from previous travellers to check for any problems during their stay. Don’t open the door for anyone, unless you’re expecting a visit. This rule especially goes at night.
Is Honduras LGBTQ+ friendly?
We wouldn’t recommend members of the LGBTQ+ community to visit Honduras unless they’re prepared to keep any sort of affection behind closed doors. Honduras isn’t a gay-friendly country, however, there are some movements that are going in the right direction. Activist groups, like the Grupo Prisma, have formed that educate and inform the general public as well as fight the current rules against homosexual relationships.
Planning a safe trip to Honduras can get quite overwhelming. That’s why we’ve listed and answered the most frequently asked questions on safety in Honduras.
Is Honduras safe for tourists?
Honduras isn’t perfectly safe for tourists, but that doesn’t mean that you can travel there or have a good time. The crime rates are improving and the government is putting a lot of effort into attracting more tourists. That being said, it’s still one of the murder capitals in the world, so if you’re an inexperienced travellers, you won’t be safe.
What is the most dangerous city in Honduras?
San Pedro Sula is the most dangerous city, not just in Honduras, but in the whole world. if you’re visiting Honduras, you will have to avoid this city completely. Gang wars and fights with the police are common in this city.
What makes Honduras so dangerous?
Violent crime is at its peak in Honduras. Poverty, violence, and insecurity are the main reasons for the high crime rate. Then there are quite a lot of gang wars as well. Locals have to pay “war taxes” which keeps the poverty rate high as well. Shootings are very common in poorer areas too.
What to avoid in Honduras?
These are the things to avoid in Honduras: – Avoid looking wealthy or like a tourist – Avoid the beaches after dark – Don’t use ATMs at night – Stay away from drugs
It may not exactly be classed as safe, but Honduras shouldn’t be ignored. People here live in pretty supreme poverty – 60% of the population living in poverty really is a lot of people.
It pays to travel smart in Honduras – like ANYWHERE in the world. And when it comes to the extreme violence of Honduras, those very high figures come from gang violence. Gangs attacking other gangs. Or gangs attacking Honduran citizens for not paying “war tax”. The likelihood of you getting caught up in all that relies very much on you being somehow related to one of the gangs.
But you won’t be (in a Honduran gang, that is). There’s no reason to get mixed up with a gang in Honduras. Simple as that. Keeping yourself away from any situation to do with them will be a good way to keep yourself pretty much safe. So when it comes to safety in Honduras, we think you’ll generally be fine, especially in the Bay Islands. Honduran people are friendly and welcoming.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
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Travel Warning for Honduras? Safe?
By LuvCruiser70 , March 11, 2015 in Roatan
This question is for those who have recently traveled to Honduras and/or Belize in the past year:
I am thinking about doing a Carnival Dream itinerary that includes Roatan, Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico. I have noticed there is a travel warning for Honduras. I have been to Mexico and Jamaica and despite of the reputable of those countries I have never felt unsafe. Is Roatan and Belize similar to Jamaica and Mexico? Did you feel safe when you traveled there?
Thanks in advance
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Hi, This question is for those who have recently traveled to Honduras and/or Belize in the past year: I am thinking about doing a Carnival Dream itinerary that includes Roatan , Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel, Mexico. I have noticed there is a travel warning for Honduras. I have been to Mexico and Jamaica and despite of the reputable of those countries I have never felt unsafe. Is Roatan and Belize similar to Jamaica and Mexico? Did you feel safe when you traveled there? Thanks in advance
The travel warnings for Honduras are for the mainland more than for their island off the coast (Roatan).
We were in Roatan in January of this year (2015) and felt totally safe. :)
Honduras is ALWAYS on a travel warning. It's a very dangerous country EXCEPT for the fact that Roatan is an island and a big part of their economy are the cruise ships. So, with that said, Roatan is made to be safe but you still have to use caution (like anywhere else). I have been there and I love it there.
Not sure which port you are going into -- that will make somewhat of a difference. Stay in the tourist areas like West Bay. West Bay has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and it is not to be missed. Tours like Victor Bodden Tours are great... they will take you to see the monkey zoo and to West Bay. There are also other tour groups. We like to take a personal taxi driver for the day and go to West Bay. There is a thread around here that also has pictures and more suggestions.
You couldn't pay me to go to mainland Honduras. I will, however pay a cruise line to take me to the island of Roatan, Honduras.
Two different worlds.
We were in Roatan 3/4/2015 & took a tour with Victor Bodden. It was a good tour, but really liked the West Bay Beach. It was crowded with tourist...4 ships in port that day. Didn't have a problem with finding lounge chairs or a table.
Had some very strong drinks (unlike the cruise ship drinks) & grilled chicken with rice & beans.
We didn't venture out of the tourist areas.
We were in Roatan 3/4/2015 & took a tour with Victor Bodden. It was a good tour, but really liked the West Bay Beach. It was crowded with tourist...4 ships in port that day. Didn't have a problem with finding lounge chairs or a table. Had some very strong drinks (unlike the cruise ship drinks) & grilled chicken with rice & beans. We didn't venture out of the tourist areas.
Just curious if you were on one of the NCL ships and if one of those tendered into Coxen Hole?
We were on Vision of the Seas & we had to tender.
I live there part time, there are places not to go to after dark, but the island as a whole during the day is one of the friendless and safes that's why I bought a house there
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
- 2 weeks later...
We were there on the 3rd of March and took a tour with Victor Bodden. As we were driving we past several banks that had armed guards outside them. Armed with shotguns and assault rifles. This was definitely something I've never seen before yet I still felt safe. Our guide, Jorge, said crime is bad in the mainland and the bank owners are just being safe in Roatan because that is the way they do it in Honduras. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
That sign is part of Carnival's strategy to keep pax in their shopping corral and beach area. The more pax remain within the corral, the more money Carnival makes.
Last year, there was one reported robbery, when a family drove off by themselves into the furthest part of the island and went down a dirt path or driveway. Made lots of headlines. One robbery. There are more robberies in the USA port area you boarded the ship on to start your cruise.
Another report of a crew member getting assaulted in a bad section of Coxen's Hole, details were sketchy, hinting at a drug deal gone bad.
"klc0472" .... You did Proceed With Caution. You took a Victor Bodden tour! :)
What a joke. Simply a Carnival ply to keep you within their habitat.
Just got off the NCL Dawn with those ports. I'll post a review soon, but I'm not a huge fan of those ports. My first time to Roatan and I did a snorkel beach excursion with 2 kids while hubby dove with another child. First, the U.S. Coast Guard was anchored, for lack of the correct word, right near port. Not sure why. I got on a bus with an unfriendly driver and as I soon discovered shoddy brakes. Sat down and noticed a pickup truck in front of us with camo wearing men 3-4 in the back bed with machine guns. When we made it to beach guides treated us like cattle, there were assigned security guards to "watch" our stuff and police 5-6 gathered at our beach. The locals didn't seem friendly at all. It's not a place I'll ever go back to even though the reef was gorgeous. It's not better than the Bahamas and I felt safe there. No safeguards with correct sunscreen were made to protect reef and they fed the fish to get them to come.
Beach - I believe you and also believe you went to the wrong part of the island with a bad group. Next time, go over to West Bay and hook up with Bananarama or any other outfit from there. West End is great as well. I love Roatan. My favorite port in the Caribbean.
Just got off the NCL Dawn with those ports. I'll post a review soon, but I'm not a huge fan of those ports. My first time to Roatan and I did a snorkel beach excursion with 2 kids while hubby dove with another child. First, the U.S. Coast Guard was anchored, for lack of the correct word, right near port. Not sure why. I got on a bus with an unfriendly driver and as I soon discovered shoddy brakes. Sat down and noticed a pickup truck in front of us with camo wearing men 3-4 in the back bed with machine guns. When we made it to beach guides treated us like cattle, there were assigned security guards to "watch" our stuff and police 5-6 gathered at our beach. The locals didn't seem friendly at all. It's not a place I'll ever go back to even though the reef was gorgeous. It's not better than the Bahamas and I felt safe there. No safeguards with correct sunscreen were made to protect reef and they fed the fish to get them to come. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Sorry you had a bad experience. Whenever I've gone to Tabyana Beach, there are always personnel who introduce themselves as persons who will watch our belongings and loungers. I'm grateful for this service, so I can snorkel as long as I want or stroll the entire length of West Bay Beach without worrying about leaving my possessions. For a few bucks tip, it's worth it IMO.
BTW, there are armed militia with automatic rifles in New York's Grand Central Station and no New Yorker would avoid going there or other City landmarks because of the military presence. Quite the contrary, NYers appreciate the show of force as a deterrent. Just a different way of looking at things.
I'm spending another week at Infinity Bay Hotel in May and can't wait to get back to this lovely island.
Your report lost all credibility when you talked about the US Coast Guard. The US Coast Guard was not at Roatan. There was probably an Honduran naval vessal, but so what. Naval vessels are around ports all of the time. As far as being treated like cattle, I suspect you went to Tabayana and yes, there are security guards becasue the beach is open to the public, as are almost all Caribbean beaches and it was for your benefit. I have been to Roatan numerous times and have never seen any lifeguards feed teh fish on the north side of the island. As far as sunscreen your comment makes no sense. I have never been to a western Caribbean port and not seen armed men, in fact men armed with automatic rifles are common. They are all military and police, and no they are not friendly, they are working.
It seems to me that this is just an overly sensitive poster.
We feel much safer in Roatan than running around in Nassau.
Thanks so much beachnmom. Can't wait to read your other posts as I'll be in your shoes in just a few weeks.
Yes, we have the U.S. Coast Guard all over Roatan and the Bay Islands. We also have military presence in Honduras. We have four armed vessels in that area to serve as a shield while Honduras fights the drug war (since we are the ones who have created problem with our drug use). As for Roatan, Coxen Hole and the central part of the island can be dangerous. The West Bay area is safer due to the resorts, etc. Just use your head when you travel - like anywhere else. Stay off of the non-paved roads and stick to the main roads.
- 3 weeks later...
Just got back a week ago. Turns out this was our favorite port. We we're looking forward to this port the least because some of the things you mentioned. We got a private driver and a private tour guide which made me nervous at first. Especially after seeing that sign. But they were so friendly and we were very safe, even went to a small animal preserve way off a dirt road and a grocery store. Everyone was wonderful and I never felt threatened. I actually felt less safe in belize.
Great to hear it. The east side of the island and Coxen Hole are the places with the issues on Roatan. The west side is pretty safe because they make it safe -- a lot of condos with expats and tourist areas (economy) there. What did you think of West Bay?
The west side is pretty safe because they make it safe -- a lot of condos with expats and tourist areas (economy) there.
That is a bit of a broad statement when an Aussie was shot in West End a few years ago and a American was killed in Sandy Bay for the cash in his wallet.
I don't think it is about location on the island as much as people not respecting the fact that they are on a island off the coast of a third world county with some very desperate people.
With that said there is enough security in West Bay to keep mostly things other than random sneak theft to a minimum.
That is a bit of a broad statement when an Aussie was shot in West End a few years ago and a American was killed in Sandy Bay for the cash in his wallet. I don't think it is about location on the island as much as people not respecting the fact that they are on a island off the coast of a third world county with some very desperate people. With that said there is enough security in West Bay to keep mostly things other than random sneak theft to a minimum.
safer than my city. So to me -- pretty safe to visit. The Aussie was living there and made enemies. Terrible tragedy and brutal. I definitely would not live there or try to own a business there -- not currently anyways. I know they just doubled the police force there in the last couple of years and crime dropped.
safer than my city. So to me -- pretty safe.
I agree, perception plays a factor.
I edited what I said in my last post. As a tourist and going with a company like Rony Tours or Bodden -- safe.
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Travel Advisory July 17, 2023
Honduras - level 3: reconsider travel.
Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.
Reconsider travel to Honduras due to crime and kidnapping . Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.
Do not travel to:
- Gracias a Dios Department due to crime .
Country Summary : Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, and kidnapping, is common. Violent gang activity, such as extortion, violent street crime, rape, and narcotics and human trafficking, is widespread. Local police and emergency services lack sufficient resources to respond effectively to serious crime.
Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Honduras.
If you decide to travel to Honduras:
- Avoid demonstrations.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid walking or driving at night.
- Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
- Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
- Exercise caution using cell phones in public, including inside of cars while stopped in traffic.
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas .
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
- Review the Country Security Report for Honduras.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
- Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
Gracias a Dios Department – Level 4: Do Not Travel
Gracias a Dios is an isolated area with high levels of criminal activity and drug trafficking. Infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police and military presence is scarce.
- The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Gracias a Dios as U.S. government employees are restricted from traveling to the area.
Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas
View Alerts and Messages Archive
Passport must have three months validity.
One page required for entry stamp.
No for stays of up to 90 days.
Required: Honduras currently requires travelers arriving from or traveling to Panama and every nation in South America to present proof of yellow fever vaccine. Effective March 22, 2023: Travelers are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or negative test results for a PCR, Antingen, or ELISA test prior to entry in to Honduras. Airlines may still require additional documentation prior to boarding. Suggested: measles, rubella, rabies, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid.
Travelers must declare any amount over $10,000.
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa Avenida La Paz Tegucigalpa M.D.C. Honduras Telephone: +(504) 2236-9320 or +(504) 2238-5114 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(504) 2238-5114 or +(504) 2236-9320 Fax: +(504) 2238-4357 Business Hours: Monday - Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00p.m. Friday, 7:30a.m. to 3:00 p.m
U.S. Consular Agent - San Pedro Sula Banco Atlántida Building 11th Floor, across the street from Central Park San Pedro Sula Honduras Telephone: +(504) 2558-1580 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa: +(504) 2238-5114 or +(504) 2236-9320, extension 4100 Business Hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 7:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Closed Fridays.
See the Department of State’s website www.state.gov for information on U.S. - Honduras relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
To enter Honduras, you need:
- A U.S. passport with at least three months validity.
- Evidence of onward travel. For stays of up to 90 days, you do not need a visa for tourism.
- Please note, individuals who do not obtain the appropriate visa, or overstay their time in Honduras, may face significant exit fines.
Visit the Embassy of Honduras website or any of the Honduran consulate websites for the most current visa information.
Special Requirements for Minors : Under Honduran law, children under age 21 who are traveling unaccompanied or with only one parent must have written, notarized permission to travel from the non-traveling parent(s).
- If notarizing a permission letter in Honduras, the letter should be notarized by a Honduran notary public.
- If notarizing a permission letter in the United States, the letter should be apostilled by the U.S. state registrar where the notary is registered. Honduran immigration authorities may also accept permission letters notarized at a Honduran embassy or consulate in the United States.
- If there is no second parent with legal custody of the child (e.g., the second parent is deceased, one parent has sole custody, etc.), travelers can provide copies of the relevant paperwork such as a court decision, birth certificate naming only one parent, death certificate, etc.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors or residents of Honduras.
Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction , and customs information on our websites.
Safety and Security
Crime: While crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country, municipalities along the north coast and central portions of the country have historically had the country’s highest crime rates.
Gracias a Dios
In particular, Gracias a Dios is a remote location where narcotics trafficking is commonplace, infrastructure is weak, government services are limited, and police or military presence is scarce. As a result, the U.S. Embassy has restricted U.S. government personnel travel to Gracias a Dios. U.S. citizens should not travel to Gracias a Dios. The Honduran government conducts police and military patrols in major cities in an effort to reduce crime. However, the ability of Honduran law enforcement authorities to prevent, respond to, and investigate criminal incidents, and to prosecute criminals is limited.
Bay Islands and Copan Ruins
Areas frequented by tourists, such as the Bay Islands (including Roatan, Utila and Guanaja) and Copan Ruins, have notably lower rates of violent crime and increased law enforcement services. U.S. government employees have no restrictions on travel to these areas. Travelers should still exercise reasonable precautions. Of note, foreign residents of the Bay Islands who purchase properties have reported increased incidents of harassment, including being the victims of violent attacks, after becoming involved in disputes.
Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings and local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities.
Read the Travel Advisory for Honduras for additional information.
Demonstrations: Demonstrations regularly occur in Honduras, particularly near the Presidential Palace, Congress, and the universities in Tegucigalpa. Protests and work stoppages have become common at Ministerio Publico offices throughout the country, leading to interruptions in services. Additionally, some protests directed toward the U.S. government, usually small in size, can occur around the U.S. Embassy. In addition, there are often demonstrations on the CA-5, the main highway connecting Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. This highway is used to access or exit Palmerola International Airport – XPL, near Comayagua (54 miles north of Tegucigalpa). Palmerola is currently the main international airport for Tegucigalpa. Protests often result in the extended closure of major roads and highways in and between major cities, blocking the flow of goods, services and reducing access to daily household supplies. U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Honduras should avoid large gatherings or events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate, protest, or cause damage as a byproduct of celebrating an event, such as after soccer matches.
Victims of Crime: If you are a victim of crime, call the national police by dialing 911. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
Also contact the U.S. Embassy at 011-504-2236-9320 or 011-504-2238-5114 (and after-hours at 011-504-2238-5114). We can:
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on resources for victims of crime
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find resources for accommodation and flights home
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.
Severe Weather: Honduras is vulnerable to hurricanes, heavy rains, and flooding, especially between June and November. For up-to-date information, visit Honduras’ National Emergency Management Commission ( COPECO ) website for current alerts, as well as the National Hurricane Center’s website .
Scams: See the Department of State page for information on scams.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
State of Exception: Honduras is under a long-standing “State of Exception”. There may be restrictions on freedom of movement and other rights under this State of Exception. Monitor local media for updates and information on restrictions in specific neighborhoods.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. It is important for all U.S. citizens in Honduras to be aware that Honduran legal procedures and traditions differ greatly from those to which most Americans are accustomed.
Judicial procedures are not always clear or easily understood by foreigners, and significant delays during the investigation and trial dates are common. U.S. citizens, as well as Hondurans, are often held in jail for months, and sometime years, while awaiting trial.
Furthermore, some crimes are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Customs Regulations: Strict regulations apply to the import and export of items such as vehicles, medications, and business equipment. Honduran law prohibits the export of artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations, as well as certain birds and other flora and fauna. For specific information, contact the Embassy of Honduras in Washington, DC and see our Customs Regulations .
Individuals found to be in possession of illicit drugs, firearms, or more than $10,000 in currency are likely to be arrested and face prosecution by Honduran authorities. Fines for carrying more than $10,000 in undeclared currency can exceed one third of the total amount of currency carried by the traveler.
Medication and Medical Equipment: Medical brigades traveling to Honduras are advised that they need to complete customs forms, as well as medical clearance forms, at least three business days prior to brining medications or medical equipment into the country. U.S. citizens taking part in medical missions to Honduras should contact Aduanas Honduras ( www.aduanas.gob.hn ) and ARSA ( https://www.arsa.gob.hn/ ) for information regarding the timeline for customs approval, the forms that are required, and restrictions on the types of medications and equipment that are allowed.
Firearms: No one may bring firearms into Honduras, except for diplomats and other official travelers, or individuals participating in sporting events who have obtained a firearm permit from the Honduran Ministry of Security or Ministry of Defense prior to travel. Individuals who attempt to bring firearms into Honduras without an appropriate permit, will face prosecution for criminal possession and possibly trafficking of firearms.
Marine Safety and Oversight: Honduran military personnel commonly board private vessels in Honduran territorial waters to verify crew and passenger documentation. Criminals have been known to pose as fisherman and commit armed assaults. If your vessel is hailed by a suspicious vessel, contact the U.S. Coast Guard by radio or INMARSAT at (305) 415-6800. U.S. citizens arriving to Honduras by sea, whether by private vessel or cruise ship, are subject to the same laws as other travelers.
Investment: Many U.S. firms and citizens operating in Honduras have found corruption to be a serious problem. Due to poor regulation, financial investments pose high risks and have led to substantial losses.
Exercise extreme caution before investing in real estate. Fraudulent deeds are common and have led to numerous disputes. In addition, threats and violence have been used against U.S. citizens involved in property disputes. Numerous U.S. citizens have reported significant delays in resolving judicial cases and/or lack of cooperation from courts and the legal system.
For further information, review the State Department’s Investment Climate Statement and the U.S. Embassy’s information page on purchasing property in Honduras .
Adventure Sports: There is little to no oversight of safety standards in Honduras. You should research service providers to ensure they are using internationally acceptable or certified equipment, guides, safety measures, and instruction.
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Honduras. However, many activists report that crimes committed against the LGBTQI+ community go unpunished. There have also been cases of police harassment of patrons in LGBTQI+ nightclubs. LGBTQI+ travelers should exercise caution, especially when expressing affection in public.
See our LGBTQ+I travel information page and section 6 of the Department of State's Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Honduran law requires access to buildings for persons with disabilities; however, few buildings are accessible. Please review the information on the State Department’s Traveling with Disabilities website .
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers .
Staff, facilities, and supplies in Honduras often do not meet U.S. medical standards. There are adequate facilities in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula for advanced surgical procedures in case of non-elective emergencies.
Honduras lacks the infrastructure to maintain water purity and food safety. Diarrheal illness is very common even in large cities and luxury accommodations. Only sealed commercial water containers (bottles) are considered safe to drink.
Air pollution can aggravate or lead to respiratory problems during the dry season due to widespread forest fires and agricultural burning.
The State Department and the U.S. Embassy will not pay your medical bills: Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage . We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Prescription medication: If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Embassy of Honduras in Washington, D.C . to ensure the medication is legal in Honduras. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. Always ensure you have enough medicine to cover your travel time, and research its availability in Honduras, or whether there is a viable replacement.
Medical Marijuana: Marijuana, even for medicinal use and with a prescription, is illegal in Honduras. A traveler who is found to have any amount of marijuana in their possession (including vape cartridges, edibles, organic cannabis, etc.) will face criminal prosecution for possession or trafficking.
The following diseases are prevalent in Honduras:
- Dengue Fever
Please review the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for further information.
Vaccinations: Honduras requires proof of Yellow Fever immunization if traveling to or coming from another country endemic with Yellow Fever. Check with your airline for vaccine requirements and be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Travel and Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Because of crime, poor road conditions, and heavy commercial truck traffic, driving in Honduras can be dangerous. The U.S. Embassy discourages car and bus travel after dark.
- Honduran roads are poorly lit and poorly marked.
- Traffic signs are often inadequate or non-existent.
- Drivers don’t always use headlights at night.
- People and animals wander onto the roads.
- Rockslides are common, especially in the rainy season (May through December) and can cause closure of major highways.
Dangerous stretches of road include:
- The road between Tegucigalpa to Choluteca: Be aware of mountain curves.
- The road from El Progreso to La Ceiba: Bridges may be in poor condition due to regular flooding.
- CA-5 and the highway between San Pedro Sula and Tela, particularly near the palm tree plantations near El Progreso: Carjackings and robberies that target SUVs and usually occur at night.
- The road from Juticalpa to Telica, and from the turn off to Gualaco on Route 39 to San Esteban and Bonito Oriental: Rival criminal elements engage in violent acts against one another. Avoid this road and stay on the main Tegucigalpa-Juticalpa-Catacamas road while traveling in Olancho.
While Honduras and the United States have signed and ratified a Stolen Vehicle Treaty, existing Honduran laws protect good faith buyers (even of stolen vehicles), so the recovery and return of these vehicles to their original owners is not guaranteed. Vehicle insurance may mitigate loss; please check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau or with private insurance carriers about coverage details.
Traffic Laws: In an accident, contact the Honduran Transit Authority (“Transito”) by dialing 911.
- Honduran law requires all vehicles involved in an accident to remain in place until Transit Authority agents arrive.
- Notify your car insurance company as soon as possible, preferably right after the accident.
- Carry personal identification documents, including your driver’s license, copies of passports, and vehicle registration cards while driving.
Public Transportation: Avoid public transportation in Honduras.
- If you must travel by bus, always travel during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances, not economy buses.
- Choose taxis or rideshares carefully. Use Radio-Taxi services (companies that operate by phone) or app-based rideshare programs rather than hailing a taxi on the street and note the driver’s name and license number. Hotels and resorts may be able to recommend trusted taxi or shuttle services. Instruct the driver not to pick up other passengers, agree on the fare before you enter the vehicle, and have small bills available for payment, as taxi drivers often do not make change.
- When possible, travel in groups.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Honduras, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Honduras’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page .
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Guatemala should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts . Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the NGA broadcast warnings .
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories .
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook .
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Honduras was cited in the State Department’s 2022 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Honduras. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.
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Honduras travel advice
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Last updated: November 14, 2023 12:02 ET
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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, honduras - exercise a high degree of caution.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Honduras due to crime.
Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
- within 20 km of the border with Guatemala, excluding Copán Ruinas, the El Florido border crossing and the CA-11 Highway leading there
- within 20 km of the border with Salvador, excluding the El Amatillo border crossing and the CA-1 Highway leading there, and El Poy border crossing and the CA-4 Highway leading there
- Choluteca: the city of Choluteca
- Colón, excluding the city of Trujillo
- Rivera Hernandez
- the city of Choloma
- the neighbourhood of El Planeta in the city of La Lima
- El Paraíso: the city of Danlí
- Francisco Morazán: the city of Comayagüela, excluding the Toncontin airport and the major roads leading there
- Gracias a Dios
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Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence.
If you’re travelling by land to neighbouring countries:
- use official border crossings only
- consider crossing borders in the morning as they sometimes close unexpectedly early
- avoid anyone suggesting that they can obtain your documents quicker or cheaper on your behalf
- keep the receipt of payment of the border fee until you leave the country
Criminal groups are especially active on the coast between the Guatemalan border and Puerto Cortés. Criminal activities include:
- drug trafficking
- human trafficking
There has also been an increased number of migrants leaving Honduras through Guatemala, particularly at the border crossing in Agua Caliente. This movement results in periodic closures.
The El Florido border crossing in the town of Copán is also closed daily from 9 pm to 6 am.
There has also been an increased number of migrants leaving Nicaragua through Honduras, particularly at the border crossings in Las Manos and Trojes.
Expect possible delays at borders.
Department of Cortés
Street gangs and criminal groups are very active in the Cortés municipalities of:
- San Pedro Sula
The number of murder and violent crime is higher in these areas.
Departments of Colón, Gracias a Dios, Olancho and Yoro
Drugs smuggling and violence pose security threats in the northern departments of:
Roadblocks and violent incidents related to land disputes in Colón, mostly in the Aguán valley and in the north coast area near Trujillo, have occurred.
The department of Gracias a Dios is a remote area where law enforcement and access to government services are very limited. Levels of criminal activity are high.
Violent crime is high in the coastal city of La Ceiba. This includes murders and armed robberies.
Although tourists are not the primary target of criminals, you could be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you consider travelling to La Ceiba:
- use reputable tour operators only
- choose accommodation with good security measures
- avoid outings outside the resort
The Bay Islands are generally safe. Violent crime is lower, but petty crime sometimes occurs.
Some foreigners have been assaulted on beaches, mainly at night. Home burglaries have also occurred, sometimes in rental accommodations.
While in the Bay Islands:
- avoid Coxen hole, Los Fuertes and Suampo neighbourhoods after dark
- avoid isolated beaches and areas
- stay in well-lit areas
- make sure you lock windows and doors at night and when you are away
If you’re docking in Roatán and getting off the cruise ship, you should consider booking a tour or a sightseeing trip through a reputable company to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
Although the overall situation has slightly improved since 2022, violent crime remains a concern throughout Honduras. The country retains one of the highest homicide rates in the world.
Drug trafficking, transnational organized crime and street gang activity is prevalent in certain neighbourhoods. Violent incidents are frequent, including:
- armed robberies
- home invasions
- sexual assaults
These crimes are carried out by criminals acting individually or as a group.
Many Hondurans are armed. Guns and other weapons, such as machetes and knives, are frequently used. Incidents of armed robbery occur mainly on urban streets during the day and on intercity buses at night.
The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly respond to, investigate and prosecute cases. Infiltration within the security forces by local gangs weaken law enforcement even further. Criminals linked to organized crime often operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras.
- Remain aware of your surroundings at all times
- Maintain your cellphone charged
- Avoid travelling after dark
- Avoid walking alone
- Keep a low profile
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- don’t resist if you’re threatened, hand over your cash and valuables immediately
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs. Thefts commonly occur in:
- popular tourist areas
- bus terminals and airports
- shopping malls and hotel lobbies
- restaurants, including patios
To avoid becoming a victim:
- be suspicious of recent acquaintances or strangers approaching you
- avoid accepting rides or invitations from strangers
- avoid hitchhiking
- ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secured at all times
- avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- avoid showing signs of affluence
State of emergency
Local authorities periodically declare a state of emergency in various municipalities to fight against gang-related crime and extortion.
While a state of emergency is in effect, security forces have increased rights to conduct searches, seizures and detain persons of interest.
If you are travelling in an area where a state of emergency is in effect:
- be aware that you may be subject to searches by security forces
- always cooperate with military and police officers
- carry valid ID at all times and be prepared for various checkpoints
- allow extra time to reach your destination
- follow the instructions of local authorities
- monitor local news to stay informed on the current situation
Express kidnappings can occur in urban areas.
These kidnappings are often committed by organised gangs or taxi drivers. The kidnappers usually take their victims to an ATM and force them to make a cash withdrawal.
- Avoid hailing taxis on the street
- If you’re threatened, don’t resist
Demonstrations and civil unrest
Demonstrations take place regularly. In Tegucigalpa, demonstrations may occur:
- at the National Congress and Central Park
- at the National Autonomous University of Honduras
- at the United States Embassy
- at the Centro Civico
- at the Presidential Palace
- at the Hospital Escuela
- on Suyapa and Centroamerica boulevards
- on La Paz and Los Próceres avenues
- along the Peripheral Ring Road
In San Pedro Sula, protesters usually gather at the Monumento a la Madre.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Honduran law prohibits political activities by foreigners. Participating in demonstrations or activities may result in you being detained or deported.
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs.
Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Spiked food and drinks
Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
- Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
- Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Advice for women travellers
Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common.
Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. Not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags to warn of unsafe conditions.
- Only undertake scuba diving and other water activities with a well-established company
- Don’t swim alone alone or outside marked areas
- Consult residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
- Monitor weather warnings
Water safety abroad
Outdoor activities, such as hiking, diving, mountain biking and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even in during summer.
If you intend to practice adventure tourism:
- never do so alone, and do not part with your expedition companions
- obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
- stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Accidents causing fatalities are common. The number of traffic accidents involving tourists has also increased.
Many roads are poorly delineated due to regular flooding. Driving can be dangerous due to:
- roaming livestock and wildlife
- poorly maintained roads and bridges
- unpaved roads
- inadequate lighting
- lack of signage
- lack of guardrails
- winding mountain roads
- overloaded or poorly maintained vehicles
- slow-moving or heavy traffic, especially in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa
If you’re travelling by land, use caution between:
- El Progreso and La Ceiba
- Chamelecón and Copán via Cofradía
- Copán and Gracias Lempira
- Limones to La Unión
Between Tegucigalpa to Trujillo, you should use the RN39 and transit via Gualaco, San Esteban and Bonito Oriental rather than the RN41 via Salamá et Sabá.
Drivers don’t respect traffic laws. They often drive at excessive speeds. They may be aggressive and reckless.
If you drive in Honduras:
- always drive defensively
- maintain a heightened awareness along all routes
- plan your trip ahead of time, especially if you plan to visit a rural area
- avoid road travel at night
- keep your car doors locked and the windows closed at all times
- avoid picking up hitchhikers
- carry a cell phone and a charger
- avoid renting cars and motorcycles from operators who don’t provide insurance
- ensure that helmets meet international safety standards
Police officer impersonation
Gang members and criminals sometimes disguise themselves as police officers. At legitimate police checkpoints, you should see:
- a police vehicle
- green cones
- at least five police officers
If you have any doubts, you may contact the Honduran Transit Authority by dialing 911 to confirm the location of the roadblocks and the identity of the individuals stopping you before rolling down your window or opening your door.
Sometimes, thieves also pose as victims of road accidents.
- Don’t stop to help a person at the side of the road
- Report any suspicious incidents at the next police checkpoint
Public transportation in Honduras is unsafe and unreliable.
Most urban public buses are poorly maintained. Drivers are reckless. Accidents are common.
Incidents of armed robbery are frequent on public buses. Incidents of arson have also occurred.
- Avoid intercity public transportation
- Use only companies that offer non-stop service from your place of departure to your destination
Some taxis are an acceptable option for transportation.
When travelling to the airport, you may pre-arrange your pickup with your hotel prior to your departure. Authorized airport taxis drivers wear easily identifiable ID badges.
- Use a reliable taxi company recommended by your hotel
- Don’t use white street taxis
- Never board taxis at taxi stands or flag taxis in the street
- Never use shared taxis
- Make sure the driver doesn’t pick up other passengers along the way to your destination
- Note driver’s name and plate number
- Negotiate the fare in advance
- Make sure you have small bills as taxi drivers often don’t make change
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Honduran authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada .
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months from the date of entry.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Canadian passports
Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days Business visa: not required for stays up to 90 days Student permit: required
If you intend to study in Honduras, you must obtain a student permit which can be obtained from the immigration authorities once you arrive in the country.
National Institute of Migration – Government of Honduras
You must register online using the official Government of Honduras websites prior to entering or leaving the country by:
You must fill out the following forms:
- Immigration pre-registration
- Customs declaration
- Immigration pre-registration form – Government of Honduras (in Spanish)
- Customs declaration form – Government of Honduras
Immigration authorities will stamp your passport upon arrival and write down the number of days you are allowed in the country. The 90-day period is not guaranteed, and the decision is at their discretion.
You may face a fine and possible delays if you fail to present an entry-stamped passport when departing Honduras.
- Make sure your passport has been stamped upon arrival
- Take good note of the maximum length of your approved stay
Central America-4 Border Control Agreement
Under the terms of the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement (CA-4), Canadian tourists may travel freely within any of the following CA-4 countries:
- El Salvador
You can travel between these countries for up to 90 days without having to undergo entry and exit formalities at border immigration checkpoints.
You must still check in at immigration counters when you enter or exit these checkpoints.
The 90-day period begins at the first point of entry to any of the CA-4 countries. You will be fined if you exceed the 90-day limit.
You can apply for extensions of up to 30 days at a time, at the discretion of the immigration authorities. You must request this extension and pay the required fee at the Honduran immigration office before your first 90-day limit expires.
Other entry requirements
Customs officials may ask you to show them:
- a return or onward ticket
- proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay
Children and travel
The age of majority in Honduras is 21. The country has strict requirements for the entry and exit of minors.
A minor must show a written and notarized authorization to travel:
- signed by both parents if travelling alone
- signed by the non-travelling parent if travelling with one parent only
The written authorization must be in Spanish and authenticated by the Honduran authorities prior to arrival.
This is also enforced if the minor has a residential or citizenship tie to Honduras inherited from one of the parents, even if the tie has not been legally registered.
- Travelling with children
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Relevant Travel Health Notices
- Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
- COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Be sure that your routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes. There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination.
Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving. Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times: • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin. • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area. • Wear permethrin-treated clothing. If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living.
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
In this destination, rabies is commonly carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. In this destination, rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects .
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Medical services and facilities
Good health care is limited in availability. The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.
Public medical services and facilities remain below Canadian standards. Medical facilities are understaffed and underfunded. They lack medical supplies and adequately trained professionals.
You should use private health care where possible. There are some private clinics and hospitals in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa as well as in tourist areas such as the Bay Islands. However, they are often limited and services are expensive.
Doctors typically require upfront payment in cash. They may only speak Spanish.
Emergency services may not be able to access areas outside of major cities. Emergency medical facilities are also very limited on the Bay Islands. Major medical procedures and surgeries may require medical evacuation to a major centre.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Some prescription medication may not be available in Honduras.
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in the country.
- Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
- Always keep your medication in the original container
- Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
- Carry a copy of your prescriptions
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .
Transfer to a Canadian prison
Canada and Honduras are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Honduras to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Honduran authorities.
This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences or heavy fines.
Honduras is used as a drug trafficking hub between South and North America.
- Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
- Don’t transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases
- Never exchange money for strangers, as this is a common request from money launderers
- Drugs, alcohol and travel
Honduran law prohibits the export of:
- antiques and artifacts from pre-colonial civilizations
- some birds, feathers, flora and fauna
Disputes related to property acquisition or other investments are costly and take time to resolve.
Many tourists have reported complications during real estate transactions in Honduras.
If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Honduras:
- seek legal advice in Canada and in Honduras before making commitments
- choose your own Honduran lawyer specializing in real estate
- avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller
- visit the property in person before purchasing
- carefully review the sales contract as it may contain irregularities
- confirm the name of the last owner and verify that the property is free of any mortgage or taxes from the local property registry (Instituto de la propiedad)
- confirm that there are no heritage or land ownership disputes
It’s illegal for foreigners to participate in local political activities, rallies or public demonstrations in Honduras.
Political involvement may result in your deportation or expulsion.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Honduras.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Honduras, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .
Travellers with dual citizenship
Honduran law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, same-sex couples are not legally recognized.
LGBTQ2 travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
Avoid public displays of affection.
Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Honduras.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Honduras, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Honduran court.
If you are in this situation:
- act as quickly as you can
- contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Honduras to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
You may drive in Honduras with your valid Canadian driver license for up to 3 months.
At all times when driving, you must carry:
- your driver’s license
- your passport
- the vehicle’s registration
In the event of a car accident:
- remain at the scene
- don’t move your vehicle until the authorities arrive
- call 911 to report the accident and request Transit Police
Failure to remain at the site may be considered an admission of guilt under Honduran law. However, some accidents may attract a crowd that could turn hostile. If you feel unsafe:
- ensure your windows and doors are locked
- drive to the nearest police station or a secure location
- report the accident to the police and your insurance company as soon as possible
If you are involved in a road accident causing injuries, you may be temporarily detained, regardless of culpability.
International Driving Permit
The currency in Honduras is the lempira (HNL).
You cannot exchange Canadian dollars in Honduras. You can easily exchange U.S. dollars.
ATMs are available in urban areas but not all foreign cards work at all ATMs or points of service. They may be rare in rural areas.
A valid passport is required for all financial transactions.
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
The rainy season extends from May to November. It can lead to severe flooding.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable due to mudslides and landslides. Bridges, buildings, and infrastructure may be damaged.
- Monitor local media for the latest updates, including those on road conditions
- Stay away from flooded areas
- Monitor weather reports
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
Wildfires are common between December and April.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.
In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
Earthquakes and tsunamis
Honduras is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes and tsunamis can occur.
Even minor earthquakes can cause significant damage.
Tsunami warnings may be issued after a strong earthquake. A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.
- COPECO - Honduran disaster relief agency (in Spanish)
- Earthquakes - What to Do?
- Latest earthquakes - U.S. Geological Survey
- Tsunami alerts - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
In case of emergency, dial 911.
There are tourist police forces in the following cities:
- San Lorenzo
- Santa Lucía
- Valle de Ángeles
Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua
For emergency consular assistance, call the office of the Embassy of Canada to Honduras, in Tegucigalpa, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services .
take normal security precautions.
Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.
Exercise a high degree of caution
There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.
Avoid non-essential travel
Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.
Avoid all travel
You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.
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Cruise Ship Law Blog
Crime Rates in Honduras Remain High; Will Cruise Ship Passengers Be Safe in Port?
Written by LM&W Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.
That being said, it surprises us that certain countries are still not seeing a significant decrease in crime rates, despite the fact that authorities claimed initiatives would be enacted to tackle the problem. In fact, the Department of State in the United States has just issued another travel warning this month about the continually high crime rate in Honduras, one of the most popular cruise destinations.
The Department, which also issued a travel warning for Honduras a few months ago, stressed that the “level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high”, but the nation “lacks the resources to address these issues.”
The warning goes on to explain that Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world since 2010, with the Honduran Ministry of Security reporting a homicide rate of 75.6 per 100,000 people in 2013.
Several of these murder victims have been cruise passengers and crew members. Our maritime lawyers reported on the tragic death of a Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) crew member back in April, who was fatally shot after a gunman attempted to steal his Smartphone in Roatan Island, a favorite cruise port for many. Though the assailant was apprehended, cruise passengers and crew members continue to be easy targets for criminals, who know full well that foreigners are much more likely to carry cash on them, as well as jewelry, cameras and other valuables, and will not likely follow up with a police report since the time in port is relatively short.
NCL pulled out of Roatan Island shortly after the shooting, but has since resumed regular operations. But should cruise lines take further action, given that the nation’s authorities do not appear to be getting a handle on crime levels?
The answer to that is tricky because while crime continues to escalate and pose a threat to travelers, it is unlikely cruise lines will discontinue calling on a port for too long. Caribbean itineraries remain the most popular for cruise travel, and Roatan Island is a main port for those itineraries. If a cruise line were to pull out of Roatan indefinitely, they would likely lose a ton of revenue.
Of course, while revenue would be lost, undoubtedly, many passengers and crew members would be saved from potential dangers. Aside from shootings, travelers and crew members frequently fall victim to robbery, kidnapping and assault, especially sexual assault. Some cruise lines warn their guests of areas where crime is most likely to occur and advise them to remain as close to port as possible.
However, even remaining close to port can backfire. The NCL crew member that was killed was shot near the dock. And the report even states that many of the crimes are committed by the Honduran National Police! Does this mean there really aren’t any safe places in some of these island destinations? Unfortunately, maybe not.
According to the warning, “The vast majority of serious crimes in Honduras, including those against U.S. citizens, are never solved.” This means that some victims may never be able to obtain justice for the wrongs they have suffered. Given this fact, should cruise lines pull out of dangerous ports that continue to show critically high violent crime rates? Yes, of course. Cruise lines are required by maritime law to keep passengers and crew members safe, but like we said, the fact that cruise lines can lose a significant chunk of revenue if they were to do so means that it is highly unlikely ships will stop calling on Honduras, or any other dangerous port for that matter.
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Published on June 30, 2014
Categories: Crewmember S.O.S. , Cruise Passenger S.O.S. , International Maritime
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Honduras Travel Restrictions
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Can I travel to Honduras from the United States?
Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Honduras.
Can I travel to Honduras if I am vaccinated?
Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Honduras without restrictions.
Can I travel to Honduras without being vaccinated?
Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter Honduras without restrictions.
Do I need a COVID test to enter Honduras?
Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Honduras.
Can I travel to Honduras without quarantine?
Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.
Do I need to wear a mask in Honduras?
Mask usage in Honduras is not required in enclosed environments and public transportation.
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Restaurants in Honduras are open with restrictions. Bars in Honduras are .
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Cruise Ship Travel
While cruising is a popular way to travel, there are some health concerns to be aware of. Find out more about health issues on cruises and steps you can take to stay safe and healthy during your trip.
If you are feeling sick before your voyage, do not travel and ask your cruise line about rescheduling or reimbursement options. If you feel sick during your voyage, report your symptoms to the ship’s medical center and follow their recommendations.
Common Health Concerns During Cruise Travel and what You Can Do to Prevent Illness
- Respiratory illnesses like influenza , COVID-19 , and the common cold. Get your annual flu shot and get up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines . Check directly with your cruise line about their COVID-19 testing or vaccination protocols before travel. If you have a weakened immune system , talk with your healthcare provider about your cruise travel plans. Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer . When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue to prevent spreading germs. Consider wearing a mask in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor areas.
- Norovirus. Symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, primarily caused by outbreaks of norovirus, have been reported. To prevent norovirus , wash your hands with soap and water before eating and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or touching things that other people have touched, such as stair railings. Avoid touching your face. For more information, visit CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program website.
- Seasickness. Cruise ship passengers may experience seasickness or motion sickness. If you know you get seasick or think you may be likely to get seasick, talk to your healthcare provider about medicine to reduce your symptoms. Some common medications, including some antidepressants, painkillers, and birth control pills, can make seasickness worse.
- Sunburns. Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher when traveling. Protecting yourself from the sun isn’t just for tropical beaches—you can get a sunburn even if it’s cloudy or cold.
- Bug bites. On your trip, use insect repellent and take other steps to avoid bug bites. Bugs, including mosquitoes and ticks, can spread diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and Lyme. Many ships visit ports where these diseases are a concern.
Before Your Trip
Check CDC’s destination pages for travel health information . Check CDC’s webpage for your destination to see what vaccines or medicines you may need and what diseases or health risks are a concern at your destination.
Make sure you are up to date with all of your routine vaccines . Routine vaccinations protect you from infectious diseases that can spread quickly in groups of people. Outbreaks of chickenpox, influenza, and COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
Many diseases prevented by routine vaccination are not common in the United States but are still common in other countries. Crew members and fellow travelers often board a cruise ship from destinations where some diseases are more common than in the United States or where vaccination is not routine.
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider or a travel health specialist that takes place at least one month before you leave. They can help you get destination-specific vaccines, medicines, and information. Discussing your health concerns, itinerary, and planned activities with your provider allows them to give more specific advice and recommendations.
Plan for the Unexpected
Prepare for any unexpected issues during your cruise ship travels with the following steps:
Prepare a travel health kit with items you may need, especially those items that may be difficult to find at your destination. Include your prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines in your travel health kit and take enough to last your entire trip, plus extra in case of travel delays. Depending on your destination you may also want to pack a mask , insect repellent , sunscreen (SPF15 or higher), aloe, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, water disinfection tablets, and your health insurance card.
Get travel insurance. Find out if your health insurance covers medical care abroad. Travelers are usually responsible for paying hospital and other medical expenses out of pocket at most destinations. Make sure you have a plan to get care overseas , in case you need it. Consider buying additional insurance that covers health care and emergency evacuation, especially if you will be traveling to remote areas.
If you need medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care During Travel .
If you traveled and feel sick, particularly if you have a fever, talk to a healthcare provider and tell them about your travel. Avoid contact with other people while you are sick.
- Cruise Ship Travel in CDC Yellow Book
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Is Roatan, Honduras Safe for Travel? (+ Things to Do)
Roatan is an increasingly popular cruise port, but Honduras has a bad reputation for safety. Is Roatan Safe to Visit?
Located off the northern coast of Honduras, Roatan is a beachy island filled with sights to explore. With its gorgeous beaches and epic scuba diving, Roatan has become a magnet for cruise ships in recent years.
While there are great things to see and do in Roatan, there’s no denying Honduras’ questionable reputation when it comes to safety, both for locals and tourists. Still, Honduras is a beautiful country, and the Caribbean island of Roatan is one of its safest places for international visitors.
This post contains everything you need to know about visiting Roatán, including the best things to do and how to stay safe.
The Best Things to Do in Roatan
1. scuba diving.
Roatan is a part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world, and its scuba diving is world-class. The main reason that foreigners visit Roatan is for scuba diving. If scuba diving is too extreme for you, you might consider snorkeling instead!
There are countless dive sites off the coast of the island that you won’t want to miss if you are an avid diver. Diving outfitters are found all over the island, and they have the best information on the potential dive sites to check out.
2. Gumbalimba Park
Gumbalimba Park is one of the best places to visit on Roatan. This park offers visitors the opportunity to interact with tropical birds and capuchin monkeys. There are also zip lines here, which are a great activity for any thrill seekers in your group.
Gumbalimba Park is family-friendly, and it is very affordable by international standards. It is located near the West End, which is about 25 minutes from Coxen Hole.
3. Sandy Bay
Sandy Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on Roatan. While the Bay Islands are all filled with stunning beaches, Sandy Bay is one of the best and most accessible ones. It is the perfect place for a beach walk, and it can be reached very quickly from Coxen Hole.
4. West Bay Beach
While Sandy Bay is Gorgeous, West Bay has a lot more going on. This area has its own pretty beach, as well as a slew of great restaurants, bars, and shops. This is one of the most popular places for cruise ship passengers to visit on the island, as it has a lot going on and a lot to do.
If you decide to visit, be sure to buy your tickets in advance and show up on time. The Louvre is one of the most prestigious museums in the world, and we definitely recommend checking out the only Louvre location outside of France if you have the time!
5. Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hang Out
One of the most unique things to do on Roatan is to visit Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hang Out . This venue allows visitors to see and interact with various species of sloths and monkeys in a safe and sustainable way. It is located just to the east of Coxen Hole, and is a place you won’t want to miss.
6. Little French Key
Little French Key is a private island off the coast of Roatan that offers snorkeling, paddle boarding, and other outdoor activities. It is relaxing, clean, and tranquil. There are several different packages available for visitors, ranging from just transportation and entrance to that plus access to the activities and necessary equipment.
Is Roatan a Good Cruise Stop?
Roatan is an increasingly popular cruise port thanks to its pretty beaches and coral reefs. Due to its relatively close proximity to Belize City and Cozumel, Roatan is often included on itineraries that stop in Mexico and Belize.
While Roatan is certainly a good cruise stop, I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best. I have visited the majority of major cruise ports in the Caribbean, and I wouldn’t rank Roatan near the top. There are some nice areas with good restaurants and activities, but that can be said about almost every cruise port.
While Roatan is certainly a good cruise stop, I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best.
Many cruise passengers visit Roatan because they see it as a safe window into Honduran culture, but this is a bit miscalibrated. Roatan is absolutely part of Honduras, but much like Hawaii is distinct from the continental United States, Roatan is distinct from the Honduran mainland. Roatan is a nice place to visit and can be thoroughly enjoyed, but I wouldn’t pick a cruise itinerary specifically because it stops in Roatan.
The one exception to this is if you enjoy scuba diving. Roatan is surrounded by the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second largest barrier reef system in the world.
If your travel plans don’t include scuba diving, I wouldn’t specifically recommend visiting Roatan.
How to Get to Roatan
Cruise ship to roatan.
Roatan is most commonly visited by U.S. citizens as a cruise stop. In this case, very little explanation is needed about how to get to Roatan Island!
Fly to Roatan
However, if you want to visit without taking a cruise, you will need to fly into Juan Manuel Galvez Airport (RTB) in Coxen Hole. As the airport is very small, you will likely need to have a layover somewhere else in Central America, with the most probable stop being Tegucigalpa (TGU).
From Roatan’s airport, most parts of the island can be reached in under an hour. The island is only about 20 miles long, and the main roads are mostly of decent quality. There is also a ferry that runs twice daily from La Ceiba to Honduras and back, which is only convenient if you are already in Honduras.
– R E A D –
How to Get Around Roatan
TAXI | BUS | RENTAL CAR
Roatan is served mostly by taxis and public buses. There is no other form of public transportation. There are bus routes that run from Coxen Hole to each end of the island, and they are very affordable.
Renting a car is possible, but usually not recommended. Driving in Roatan can be difficult, and taxis are generally very affordable for foreigners. Unless you are staying in Honduras for an extended period of time, your best bet is usually to either hire a driver or rely on taxis for the duration of your trip.
your best bet is usually to either hire a driver or rely on taxis for the duration of your trip.
Where Is Roatan?
Roatan is an island located 40 miles off of the northern coast of mainland Honduras. It is about 150 miles east of Belize. Honduras is one of the largest countries in Central America, and Roatan is its biggest island.
Roatan is located near the western end of the Caribbean Sea. Other popular nearby destinations include Cozumel , Belize City , Cancun, and Tulum . Because of its location, Roatan is often included as a stop on cruise ship itineraries from the United States that visit the western part of the Caribbean.
Is Roatan Safe to Visit?
To put it bluntly, Honduras has a terrible reputation for safety. It is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, and it has often earned a reputation as the murder capital of the world. Many areas of Honduras are known worldwide for violent crime, and the country is riddled with gang violence.
There are very few places in Honduras that are truly safe to visit.
The capital city, Tegucigalpa, is one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America. Even coastal cities like San Pedro Sula are generally unsafe for tourists.
Some popular tourist destinations, like Roatan and La Ceiba, are safe enough to visit. However, it is important to remember that there is no perfectly safe place in Honduras, and you should always remain in tourist areas. Even if you are in a tourist destination, there is a high chance of petty theft if you don’t take the proper precautions.
Safety Tips for Roatan
There is no way to guarantee your safety anywhere in the world, but there are some things you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible. Most crime in Roatan is indiscriminate, and you’re more likely to fall victim if you’re an easy target. Staying safe requires a blend of preparation and common sense.
1. Only Carry What You Need for the Day
Even though violent crime toward tourists is very low in Roatan, you should still carry as little as necessary while you visit. Carry only the cash you need, leave valuables in your hotel room or on the cruise ship, and opt to carry credit cards instead of debit cards.
Credit card charges can always be disputed later, but money withdrawn from an ATM at gunpoint is gone forever. Armed robbery is not very common in Roatan, but that doesn’t make it impossible.
2. Don’t Appear Wealthy or Flash Valuables
Serious crime against tourists is relatively rare in Roatan, but it can still occur. One of the best things you can do to minimize the risk is to dress as humbly as possible. If you walk around wearing designer brands and fiddling with your brand-new iPhone, you’re much more likely to be targeted than someone wearing simple clothes and staying off of their phone.
3. Stay in After Dark
If you are visiting on a cruise, you will likely only be on the island during the daytime. However, if you visit Roatan on your own trip itinerary, you will likely have multiple days. If you are staying on the island overnight, it is imperative that you stay in after dark.
While there are nice bars and restaurants on the island, the risk of a crime occurring is much higher at night. While Roatan might be the safest place in Honduras, that isn’t saying much. After all, Honduras has been known for having the highest per capita murder rate in the world, and nowhere is fully immune.
4. Beware of Dishonest Taxi Drivers
We had great experiences with taxi drivers in Roatan, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does. It is always a good idea to map your ride on your phone and follow along throughout the drive to make sure that the driver goes in the right direction. Kidnapping occurs somewhat frequently in mainland Honduras, and while it isn’t likely in Roatan, it is surely possible. As long as you are traveling during the day and you keep your driver honest, you will likely be fine.
5. Avoid Visiting Remote Areas of the Island Without a Trustworthy Guide
Roatan is a beautiful place, and you’re bound to want to explore it. However, it is always best to explore with a trustworthy guide.
Most of Roatan’s biggest highlights are underwater, but the island also has its fair share of beautiful hiking opportunities. If you plan to explore any unfamiliar areas of the island, be sure to hire a local guide.
Is Roatan Worth Visiting?
Roatan is worth visiting if you enjoy outdoor adventures, like zip lines and scuba diving. The beautiful beaches are great places to relax, and the restaurants and bars in the main public areas are very nice. While it isn’t very unique from many other Caribbean islands , it is still a beautiful place with its own unique culture and plenty to offer.
Roatan is worth visiting if you enjoy outdoor adventures, like zip lines and scuba diving.
Many travelers fear visiting Central America because of perceived safety concerns. The beautiful island of Roatan presents travelers with an opportunity to safely visit a Central American country and get a taste of its culture. The main towns on Roatan are all generally safe to visit, and the crystal clear waters are enjoyable for the majority of the year.
If you are visiting Honduras, you won’t want to skip Roatan. Much like Brazil’s Ilha Grande , it is a special place that is located just off the north coast of Honduras.
If you’re planning a trip to Roatan, let us know! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay present!
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Is It Safe to Cruise to Roatan Honduras?
By Anna Duncan
Are you planning a cruise to Roatan, Honduras but wondering if it’s safe? This beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea is a popular destination for tourists from around the world, but like any other place, it’s important to know about potential safety concerns before you go.
Crime Rates in Roatan Roatan has a reputation for being one of the safest destinations in Honduras. However, like any other tourist destination, visitors can be vulnerable to crimes such as theft, petty crime or scams.
It’s important to take precautions and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t leave your valuables unattended on the beach or in public places and don’t carry large amounts of cash.
Natural Disasters The Caribbean region is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms. These usually occur between June and November. If you’re planning your visit during this season, check weather reports frequently and follow instructions from local authorities.
Transportation Safety Roatan has limited infrastructure compared to other tourist destinations. The roads are often narrow and winding, which can make driving risky for inexperienced drivers. Taxis are available but make sure you negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi.
Diving Safety Roatan is known for its beautiful coral reefs and diving spots; however, it’s important to choose licensed diving operators that have proper safety equipment and procedures in place. Before diving or snorkeling, make sure you understand the risks involved and follow the instructions provided by your guide.
Tips for Staying Safe in Roatan
- Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Avoid walking alone at night.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash or valuables with you.
- Choose licensed tour operators with good reviews.
- Be cautious when driving and negotiate taxi fares beforehand.
- Check weather reports frequently during hurricane season.
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Here are couple of threads that relate to safety.
For the safety and sanity of others, you should find a cruise that doesn't stop in "Honduras."
Where are you from? If you're from the US, it's considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world, too. You could get killed for no reason at all while going to a school, a church, a theater, a concert, or even just walking down the street.
2,500 to 4,500 people per day answer: No.
Are we here on this TA Forum afraid? No, but we are not your every day pod people. Maybe check on Cruise Critic for a scientific and well reasoned answer, yes or no.
Maybe passengers do sit on the ship when in port. Maybe they feel better there, maybe it's the Ice Cream Buffet. The world can be a scary place, certainly if you blindly accept blanket government statements, much less anything written on the Internet.
Except here on TA. Well, Dorothy, you're not in San Diego anymore.
If that website scares you then you should stay on your ship. You might try looking for a cruise that has all its port days in 100% safe locations, maybe an Alaska cruise .
Mainland vs an island.
Well Honduras as a whole had a murder rate of 42.8 per 100k in 2017.
Highest city in Honduras is San Pedro Sala at 51.58 per 100k (2015)
ST Louis has a murder rate of 65.83 per 100k (2015)
Baltimore has a rate of 55.48 per 100k
New Orlens has a rate of 40.1 per 100k
Don't go to those places in the US.
The highest city murder rate is Los Cabos mexico at 111.3 per 100k (2015)
"Never get out of the boat"
Almost got eaten by a f'en tiger
LOL mamajelli, your link is hilarious. Thanks for sharing. I love #2 which says the second most dangerous thing you can do is buying medication overseas. First, it says it's "very" illegal. It's not. In other countries, you are subject to their laws, not american laws. And it says the medications are not subject to FDA approval. They aren't but you have to wonder how people in other countries survive.
I think this person is having a laugh at your expense....I cannot honestly see how this can serious
great link ;-)
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15+ Tips and Things to Know About Visiting Mahogany Bay (Roatan) on a Cruise
Sitting about 30 miles off the coast of mainland Honduras, Roatan is a popular destination for cruise ships — especially those sailing from Galveston, New Orleans, and other ports on the Gulf of Mexico. And within Roatan is a small area surrounding a cruise port known as Mahogany Bay.
A destination for Carnival ships, if you’re sailing on the cruise line to Roatan, this is where you’ll port. Not only does the spot give you the feel of a private port of call with its own beach, shops, and more, all designed for cruise passengers, but it’s also an ideal starting point to explore the rest of the island.
So whether you want to just relax and work on your tan or you want to go experience one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world, you can do it all from Mahogany Bay. And if you’re visiting the area, there’s plenty you should know before you arrive. Below, we’ve detailed important tips and things to know about visiting Mahogany Bay in Roatan on a cruise.
Map of Mahogany Bay, Roatan
It helps to have an idea of the lay of the land before you get off the ship. Fortunately, the area is relatively small, and the ship is always visible so you don’t run the risk of getting lost. In total, it only takes about 15 minutes to walk completely from one end of the port area to the other, with the ship right in the middle.
Go Enjoy the Free Beach (10-Minute Walk)
The first thing you’ll notice as your ship docks is the gorgeous white-sand beach to the east. With green trees, white sand, and blue water, it’s a postcard-perfect view from the ship. The best news? It’s absolutely free to go and enjoy.
Simply head off the ship and hang a right to get over to the sand and water. There you’ll find bars/restaurants, loungers, facilities, and some of the most gorgeous water you can imagine. Hitting the beach is definitely one of the most popular things to do and you’ll find lots of company hanging out, soaking up the sun.
There are Multiple Great Spots for Photos
Want a picture in front of the ship? What about a sign for Mahogany Bay? Or a sign that says what you’ll definitely think while you’re there: “I wish I could stay here forever”? There are multiple spots all around the Mahogany Bay area that are perfect for getting those souvenir photos.
And don’t worry about missing them. The only one that’s a little harder to find is a spot in front of the ship, which is on the Nature Trail in Mahogany Bay. All the others are highly visible as you walk from the ship toward the beach.
Think of Mahogany Bay as Two Sections
As mentioned, the port area of Mahogany Bay is designed for cruise passengers. It has everything that you could need and is essentially broken down into two areas.
As you exit, you’ll follow the path to the first section, which is a large open area surrounded by a number of shops, including those selling everything from high-end jewelry to a craft market with locally made goods. There is also an exit here to grab a taxi or tour bus for excursions to other parts of the island, along with a few spots to get a drink.
Then there is a pathway that takes you over to the second section of the port, which is the beach area. It’s just a few minutes walk, or there are alternate ways to get there (more on this below). This section is likely where you’ll spend most of your time should you decide to stay near the ship.
Wi-Fi Access Is Available
These days you can get Internet access on the ship, but it can be pricey and a bit slow. For instance, buying Carnival’s highest-tier plan will run you about $20 per day during your cruise. If you just want to check in occasionally, then you can wait until you get into port. Most ports have somewhere that you can access wi-fi, and Mahogany Bay in Roatan is no different.
As you exit the ship into the main shopping area, head to the left. There you’ll see a small yellow and green kiosk where you can pay $5 for unlimited wi-fi for the day covering the shopping and beach area. This is way cheaper than what you’d pay on the ship and gives you a chance to check-in back home when you just want access for a few hours.
Forgot Something? There’s a Pharmacy in Port
Inevitably, no matter how much you pack, you’ll forget something. That’s just the way it goes. While ships have shops where you can pick up forgotten items, you’ll find more variety — and usually cheaper prices — if you can wait until you get into port. There, you’ll almost always find a small “pharmacia” selling anything you might need.
That’s the case in Mahogany Bay. If you look in the shopping area of the port, you’ll find a small pharmacy that has lots of toiletries and the such for passengers who need to pick something up while in port.
There’s a Nature Trail to the Beach You Don’t Want to Miss
If you are walking over to the beach area, then you have two options to get there. There’s a regular pathway that most people take, but there’s also a nature trail that’s worth checking out.
As you head down the main paved path, you’ll see a rocky path off to the right for the trail. It has some elevation change and uneven ground, so it may not be for everyone. But if you can handle it, the trail takes you slightly back into the woods toward the water. In our visits almost nobody is there at all, giving more peace and quiet. The best part is that it offers some neat views of the ship that most people don’t see.
Don’t Want to Walk? Take the Chair Lift
One of the unique features of Mahogany Bay is one you can easily see from the ship. The port offers a chair lift that takes you from the main shopping over to the beach. You catch the lift near the exit from the shopping area. It costs $8 for kids and $14 for adults (though prices may change).
One thing to know is that the ride is a bit slow. It goes at about the same pace as walking but also stops to load and unload passengers. That means being up in the full sun with no shade. It will give you a good view and is a neat experience, but just take note of the weather. If it’s hot and still, you might be more comfortable walking.
“Clamshells” Are a Must on the Beach… Or Find the Shady Spot Farther Down
The beach at Mahogany Bay is beautiful. There’s little doubt that you’ll want to spend some time on it. But you’ll also want some shade. For most people, that means renting one of the “clamshell” covers that are lined up on the beach. They are a bit expensive — $26 for a spot — but it’s worth saving your skin from the sun.
If you want to save some cash, then one tip is to head down the beach a little farther. There you’ll find loungers that are underneath the shade of some small trees. It gives you some relief from the sun and saves your wallet.
Remember, This Is Just a Small Portion of Roatan
For many, visiting Mahogany Bay is idyllic. But if you’re an explorer, then know there is a whole lot more of the island to check out. All told, Roatan is 30 miles from end-to-end, with gorgeous beaches dotted around. If you’re a diver or snorkeler, the area has one of the largest barrier reefs in the world. In other words, it might be worth checking out the excursions offered or set up your own up for when you visit. There’s an entire world out there beyond the port area.
Bring Some Cash Into Port
While Mahogany Bay is for the enjoyment of cruise passengers, it’s not just an extension of the cruise ship. That means unlike some private islands you might visit, you can’t just use your keycard to pay for things in port. Instead, it’s a good idea to bring cash with you. Yes, you can use credit cards, but we like to use cash instead of risking using the card in a place where we are leaving that afternoon.
Drinks/Food Are Available in the Port Area
One the highlights of any port is being able to grab something to eat or drink somewhere other than the ship. While we think the food on a cruise ship is overall pretty good, eating anything for several days in a row can wear on you.
So if you want to hit the beach, the good news is that there is are bars/restaurants that serve cruise passengers… and they are just steps from the sand. Just keep in mind that you’ll pay tourist prices. While many ports offer cheap drink specials for those passing by, with only a few options available, we found the prices were inline with what you’ll pay on the ship.
Want to Hit the Water? Lots of Rentals Are Available
Sure you can go swimming, but there are plenty of other ways to get out on the water. From kayaks to snorkel gear to paddle boats to personal floats, they are all available for you to rent. Just head over to the beach area and you’ll see the building for rentals
Just be prepared for the prices. Renting snorkel gear cost $20, while a kayak was $34 an hour. Even an umbrella for the beach was $26. Here’s a full list of prices from a recent trip:
- Snorkel gear: $20/day
- Floating mat: $9/day
- Hydro Bike: $30/hour
- Paddle Board: $30/hour
- Fun Cat (small boat): $50/hour
- Sea Clam: $60/day
- Clamshell: $26/day
- Sea Hammock: $30/day
- Aqua Cycle: $26/half hour
- Aqua Cycle Boat: $60/half hour
- Paddle Boat: $46/hour
- Kayak: $34/hour
- Umbrella: $26/day
There Are Lockers to Store Your Valuables
Want to hit the beach? You can leave your valuables with your stuff, but that means having to keep an eye on things. Instead, there are lockers available for visitors. Head up to the rental station (where things like kayaks and snorkel gear are also for rent). The cost is $6 for a locker, along with a $6 deposit.
Need a Shower or Restroom? Yep, They Are Available
If you’re planning to hit the beach, it’s good to know that showers and restrooms are available to visitors for no charge. You’ll pass the restrooms as you make your way to the beach and go through a “tunnel” between two buildings. Showers are farther down the beach, past the restaurants. There is a line of about 6-8 stations where you can rinse off the sand and salt water. While they are nothing fancy (just a bunch of shower heads lined up), it feels amazing to get all the sand and salt off the body after a day at the beach.
Adventurous? Try “Fish Therapy”
We weren’t brave enough to try it, but many people were — and it was quite the spectacle. Near the beach (right next to the shower heads) is a small building that has several tanks of water lined up. As you walk toward it, you might think that people are just soaking their feet. But a closer inspection reveals there are fish in the tanks.
This is “fish therapy” where people soak their feet and dozens of tiny little fish eat all the dead skin cells. Predictably, the spot had many people talking and lots of people stopping to take a look. It’s something that you don’t see every day, so if you get the chance and have the urge, try it out. Those who tried it raved about it afterward.
Bring a Towel, Keycard, and ID From The Ship
For a day at the beach you don’t need much, but there are a couple of important things to bring. First, you want to bring a beach towel from the ship. You are allowed to bring them with you (as long as you return it), and it’s something you’ll definitely want as we didn’t see any towels available at Mahogany Bay.
Second, you’ll want to bring your room keycard. This is scanned as you get off the ship (so the staff knows you are onshore when accounting for passengers) so there isn’t a real danger of forgetting it. But, you’ll also need to bring photo ID. The cards and ID are checked as you head to the beach and again as you go to return to the ship to ensure that you’re with the cruise and not a tourist who happened to wander into the wrong area.
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Where can I go to see monkeys?
What I am looking for nice sandy beach and not rocky? In Aruba we rent a car and drive. just wondering if this is advisable in Rotan?
So if you are on Carnival, you’ll head to Mahogany Bay on Roatan, which is private area for passengers. There is a very nice sandy beach that you’ll see from the ship. If sailing to the other port on the island, then you can make your way to the west end of the island via taxi. I’m sure you could rent a car, but it might be easier just to pay a taxi driver to drive you around for the day.
My second home is on Roatan. One day when a ship was in port, I drove over to Mahogany Bay to check it out. I was able to sneak into the shopping area and looked around, purchasing a few tee shirts. But when I wanted to check out the beach area, I was barred from doing so. As far as I am concerned, that was Carnival’s loss. The one time I landed on Roatan with my friend on a cruise ship, it was with Norwegian and therefore was in Coxen Hole.
I agree with Michael above that this is my favourite island in the Caribbean, bar none. It is lush and tropical with jungle, as opposed to many that are little more than deserts. I tend to stay away from the tourist areas when ships are in port, and there are plenty of other beaches on-island that have few tourists most of the time. The roads sure have improved, especially where my home is, with both routes I can use now being concrete. I just hope that Roatan stays close to what it is now, and not like many of the islands that are just expensive tourist traps.
This is by far my favorite port in the western Caribbean. I have visited approximately 11 times and have to say, as much as there is things to do at the cruise center, venturing beyond the port is a must!
The beach at Mahogany By is man made, yes it’s a nice beach, but nothing like visiting the Little French Key and West Bay Beach.
Nice work on this post tanner, very thorough and informative!
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Is Roatan Safe? Read This Before you go (Updated 2023)
Is Roatan Safe?
Roatan is one of the safest travel destinations in the world. Although the crime rate is low, Roatan has a high police presence and a well-trained security force. In addition, the island has a strong community spirit, and residents are quick to report any suspicious activity. As a result, Roatan is an incredibly safe place to visit. Read this before you book a flight to Roatan . If you are thinking of booking a place to stay or excursions in roatan, check out discoverroatan.net!
Here are my recommendations of things to do in Roatan:
- Stay at the Infinity Bay Resort in Roatan
- Do an underwater shipwreck snorkeling excursion
- Do an underwater sea scooter adventure
- Go horseback riding
- Play with monkeys & sloths
Roatan Relies on Tourism
Because of the high amount of tourism that cruise ships offer, the people of Roatan know it must remain a safe and comfortable place. The number one economic driving force in Roatan is tourism. Making tourists feel safe is one of the island’s top priorities .
As someone who has stayed in both West Bay and West End many times, I can vouch that it is safe. As a young woman in my early twenties who has been coming here for years, I feel comfortable walking around by myself. Whether I am going to dinner, the beach, or drinks on a Saturday night, I have never felt uncomfortable or unsafe in Roatan.
Read also: 35 of the best things to do in Roatan
Always be Aware
Of course, like everywhere in the world, some people will take advantage of you if they know that they can. That is why it is important to always travel smart. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and do not put yourself in unsafe situations.
With this being said, Roatan is like anywhere else on Earth. Sure, there is petty crime. But as long as you are safe and confident, you should not let the fear of safety stop you from traveling Travelers can feel confident that they will be able to enjoy their vacation without worrying about their safety.
My Experience in Roatan as a Young Woman
Roatan is an extremely popular tourist destination, and I have been there many times. Roatan is safe to visit, even for female travelers who are traveling alone. I have always felt comfortable walking around and meeting new people. Every time I go, I seem to come back to the states with a dozen more connections than I did when I left the states. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and I have never had any problems.
Is Roatan Safe for Women? Tips for Travelers
Traveling to Roatan is an amazing experience that I think everyone should try to do if they have the chance. Just because the crime rate in Roatan is low, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious . When traveling anywhere, even in your own neighborhood, it is important to keep your physical, mental, and financial security in mind. Here are some tips to staying safe when traveling to Roatan that you can apply every time you travel.
Keep your belongings close to you
When you are on the beach or in town, it is important to keep your belongings close to you. There’s so much security at the beaches, that it is probably safe to leave your bag and towel unattended in your chair while you swim. I usually don’t take a bag and just keep my phone under my shoes and towel.
When I am walking around town, I keep my purse close to me, either in front of me or over my shoulder. I never put my bag down, even for a second, when I am out in public. This may seem like common sense, but it is important to be vigilant when you are in a new place.
Keep your valuable items in a safe in your hotel
This goes for your passport, jewelry, and any other items that you would be devastated to lose. It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to keeping your valuables safe. Most hotels provide safes for your valuable belongings, even in Roatan.
Always remember that the hotel staff has keys to the room, including maids, front desk workers, etc. It is important to keep your passport and cash in a safe that is locked at all times. Hotel safes allow you to set the code each time you use it, so no one (other than you) will know the combination.
Don’t carry all of your cash on you
This is a tip I try to follow whenever I travel, not just when I go to Roatan. When you carry all of your cash on you, it makes you an easy target for thieves. Keep some cash on you for small purchases and leave the rest in the hotel safe.
Avoid walking alone at night
This is a tip I always follow, no matter where I am in the world. It is always best to travel in groups, especially at night. If you are out at night by yourself, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and not put yourself in any unnecessary danger. Keep an eye on the people you pass, keeping your head up and off your phone. Don’t let your guard when you travel, especially at night. Keep in mind that staying in busier areas, like the main road, rather than a back road, is the safest option.
Do not leave your drink unattended
When you are out at a bar or club, it is important to never leave your drink unattended. Even when going out to dinner and sitting alone, if you go to the bathroom take your drink with you. This is something that I have always done, even when I am with friends. When you leave your drink unattended, you are risking having someone drug it.
Drugging drinks are extremely common everywhere. Especially for women, but sometimes men too, be careful of accepting drinks from anyone other than your waiter. Know how you can protect your drink from being spiked .
Be aware of your surroundings
This is a tip that I think is important for everyone, not just when traveling. It is so easy to get caught up in what you are doing and not pay attention to your surroundings. It is important to be aware of the people around you and what is going on around you.
This goes for when you are walking around town, at the beach, or anywhere else. Keep your eyes off your phone when you are walking, riding in a taxi, etc. Know where your taxi driver is supposed to be taking you ahead of time.
Trust your gut instinct
It is always better to be safe than sorry. If you are ever in a situation where you feel unsafe, it is important to trust your gut instinct and get ouT as soon as possible. Don’t worry about being polite or not wanting to cause a scene. Your safety is more important than anything else.
Is Roatan safe for cruise passengers ?
Roatan is generally considered safe for cruise passengers. The island is policed by a local police force and actively seeks to protect travelers from any security threats. As with any foreign destination, it is important to use caution when traveling, but Roatan has seen a decrease in crime since introducing their tourism industry in the mid-1990s.
Problems with living in Roatan, Honduras
Some of the issues that can arise when living in Roatan, Honduras include:
- High cost of living: The cost of living in Roatan is higher than other parts of Honduras. Groceries, housing and entertainment expenses can become expensive very quickly.
- Poor infrastructure: The roads and public transportation are often not up to date with modern standards, making it difficult for visitors to get around the island.
- Limited job opportunities: Jobs are limited on the island, with most employment opportunities geared towards tourism or foreign businesses.
- Crime: Although crime rates have decreased since introducing their tourism industry, there is still a risk of pickpocketing and muggings throughout the area.
The Truth About Roatan: You got this!
If you follow these simple tips, you will have a great time in Roatan and avoid any unsafe situations. Roatan is an amazing place and I have never felt unsafe when I have been there.
Have you ever been to Roatan? What tips would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
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The 15 Most Dangerous Places To Cruise To In The World
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Tragic tales of unsuspecting tourists who fall victim to scams or — worse — serious crimes, make for sensational headlines. It happens commonly enough to dampen the enthusiasm of even the most dedicated travelers. Thankfully, cruise lines and global tourism boards know it’s in their best interests financially to keep their guests safe and happy. Still, you might want to give extra care and consideration if you’re planning to make these following destinations your next port of call.
These are the 15 most dangerous places in the world to take a cruise.
1. El Salvador
El Salvador’s natural beauty is hard to resist, but its dubious distinction of having one of the world’s highest murder rates is hard to ignore. If you’re committed to exploring here, take caution and do your research. This piece gives a good balance of the risks and rewards of the country.
2. Roatan, Honduras
Cruise fans, beware. The Honduran judicial system lacks sufficient resources to cope with the country’s high rate of violent crime and offers little deterrent to criminals. As such, Honduras has a high rate of murder and other violent crimes such as armed robbery and sexual assault. Avoiding remote areas and traveling after dark, and always book shore excursions with long-established, trusted operators. These are the most sensible steps you can take to minimize danger.
3. Mindanao, Philippines
In Mindanao and the surrounding area of the Sulu Sea, garden-variety dangers such as armed robbery are the least of anyone’s worries. Instead, terrorist and criminal operatives are thriving on a deadly game of kidnapping for ransom. While the stunning shores may be calling your name, think long and hard before planning a cruise that includes Mindanao and take your government’s most recent advisories into account.
4. Tunis, Tunisia
The city of Tunis combines of gorgeous architecture, charming streets, lovely shops, and delicious food. Unfortunately, recent terrorist activity has left an ugly scar on the city, even more so since cruise ship tourists have been targeted. At the Bardo National Museum, the “Louvre of Africa” bullet holes from terrorist attacks mar the priceless exhibits . If this is a destination you can’t resist, take heed of your government’s latest security advisory, avoid nighttime travel, and choose well-respected, long-established tour operators.
Paolo Costa / Shutterstock
5. Margarita Island, Venezuela
Margarita Island would be a strong contender for the title of “World’s Most Beautiful Island”. Unfortunately, it is equally qualified as one of the most dangerous. The volatile Venezuelan economy, armed robberies and kidnappings that occur in broad daylight, and a government that’s complicit in most crimes means that there are few resources dedicated to protecting tourists. Staying safe here means keeping a low profile, attracting no attention — and staying far away from illicit drugs. That’s smart advice for all destinations, but especially so in Venezuela, where drug-related offences carry very harsh penalties.
6. St. Kitts and Nevis
While many travelers report having a wonderful time on these lovely islands, there is a significant wealth gap between the local residents and the comparatively flush tourists who flood the ports of call. As such, robberies aren’t unheard of and crimes of financial opportunity are a concern. If you decide to go and indulge in some of their delectable cocktails , keep your wits about you.
7. Izmit, Turkey
With terrorist attacks in nearby Istanbul and its position in an active earthquake zone, Izmit isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s “the closest place to the ISIS wars that extremists can reach by cruise ship — an opportunity of which they’re definitely taking advantage, especially since cruise ports are more lax about security than airports.” Yikes!
8. St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
For a destination that purports to be family-friendly, there’s a high rate of drug use, robbery, and murder in St. Thomas and the US Virgin Islands. Their nearby counterparts, the British Virgin Islands, boast an extremely low crime rate by comparison, but there’s another danger to consider. The roads are poor quality, rocky and steep, with no real lighting at night. You’re required to drive on the left hand side of the road, just like in Great Britain. Best to leave driving here to the experts.
9. The Ivory Coast
A gateway to western Africa, travelers love the Ivory Coast for its proximity to amazing game drives and exceptional birdlife. However, terrorism is a concern here, and in 2016 Islamist gunmen fired on a popular tourist resort. The capital city and port of call, Abidjan, had the dubious distinction of being ranked 23rd on a 2016 list of the worst places to live in the world.
Alucardion / Shutterstock
10. Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Sometimes the concept of what is or is not dangerous is a matter of personal opinion. But Port Harcourt, on the Gulf of Guinea, isn’t a destination that’s up for debate. The region’s been called the most dangerous maritime area in the world and an epicentre of maritime crime. Constant threats of piracy and terrorism make this a no-go destination for even the most adventurous of travelers.
11. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio is an intoxicating city — and a perilous one as well. Pickpockets thrive on the city’s famous beaches (as do pollution and bacteria from raw sewage) and more aggressive thieves operate at night. Health threats from the Zika virus remain problematic, and the legendary party scene is marred by drugs slipped into drinks. Guides like this one can help you navigate Carnival safely.
12. Dhaka, Bangladesh
Say what you will about the criminal gangs of Dhaka, but you can’t deny that they’re organized. They coordinate their efforts to extort ship captains into buying safe passage through the Bay of Bengal. But when the negotiations don’t go smoothly and the authorities intervene, ships are caught in the crossfire of shootouts between gangs and the Coast Guard. Hundreds of fishermen die every year at the hands of marine criminals and tourists aren’t immune to the violence either.
13. Jakarta, Indonesia
Piracy thrives around the Indonesian capital, and troublemakers are equally problematic onshore. Popular tourist hotspots like Starbucks coffee shops have been targeted by terrorist attacks, and more run-of-the-mill problems like petty crime are common. In Jakarta’s hot nightclubs, it’s not unusual to hear of drinks being spiked and for the waiting unofficial taxis to double as the scenes of robberies and assaults.
14. Aden, Yemen
Safety and security have sharply deteriorated in recent years as Yemen finds itself the victim of a civil war and a U.S.-backed Saudi intervention in that civil war. The death toll is catastrophic. Aden, a once beautiful port with a great coffee scene , is suffering. Somali pirates like to hang out here, and there was a terrorist attack at the airport in 2016. If your cruise itinerary includes a “Red Sea tour”, Aden may well be your stop and you might want to think twice.
15. Venice, Italy
Aside from the usual worries, like pickpockets and stumbling on a cobblestone, Venice is the furthest thing from a dangerous cruise destination. But it’s deserving of a spot in this list because there is danger here. Only this time it’s the destination that’s in danger, not the visitors! In recent years, tourism in Venice has exceeded the city’s capacity to sustain itself in a way that’s protective of its history, architecture, and Venetians themselves. And cruise day trippers are a significant part of the congestion. If you do visit — and it’s hard not to feel the call of this gorgeous city — choose a shore excursion provider that’s committed to sustainability. You’ll be helping to preserve the city for subsequent cruise passengers AND your choice will take you away from the hordes that line Rialto Bridge. That’s a winning combination!
Interested in reading more about the damage tourism is going to the floating city? Read Why Future Generations May Not See Venice .
Vanessa Chiasson is an award-winning freelance writer, editor, and blogger from Canada bringing warmth and depth to travel and human interest narratives. In the industry since 2012, Vanessa coaches writers from all backgrounds, areas of focus, and experience levels on developing business strategies that support their artistic endeavors. She chronicles her cozy travel adventures at TurnipseedTravel .
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How Safe Is Honduras for Travel?
- Honduras : Safety by City
- San Pedro Sula
Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America.
It shares borders with Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south, and Nicaragua to the southeast.
It boasts natural beauties, colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), a breathtaking history that can be experienced during a visit to the ancient Maya ruins, natural parks, both Pacific and Caribbean coastline, and the Bay Islands, that are basically just jaw-dropping beaches offering world-class snorkeling and diving.
Experiencing the coral reefs in the Caribbean paradise of Bay Islands: Utila, Roatán, Guanaja, and the Hog Islands is an exceptional adventure.
Visit the impressive ancient Maya civilization in Copán and marvel at its sculptures that are world-known for their quality.
Be a witness to several Mayan sites such as the main acropolis with the hieroglyphic staircase and the Rosalila Temple, Las Sepulturas, and El Rastrojon.
There there’s one more natural wonder: Lake Yojoa — the biggest lake in Honduras, famous for the little picturesque restaurants offering delicious fried fish by the lake.
- Warnings & Dangers in Honduras
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Honduras is somewhat safe to visit, though it has many dangers. You should be aware that tourist hotspots, public transportation and some streets are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists on the streets, too.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
Public transport is highly risky in Honduras. There have been robberies in public transport and buses are sometimes stopped while the robbers attack or harass the passengers. Be wary of unlicensed taxis since you might get kidnapped and robbed.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
As for pickpocketing and bag snatching, it is a recurring concern on the streets of Honduras, so be careful and hold your bags tightly by your side. Make sure you don't flash your valuable possessions on the street, or better yet, leave them in your accommodation.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
As for the natural disasters in Honduras, the rainy seasons that lasts from May to November brings many disastrous threats such as hurricanes, landslides, mudslides and flooding. Apart from that, Honduras is located on an active earthquake zone so tremors can be expected.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
Mugging is also an issue in Honduras. In such a situation, hand over all your possessions immediately and do not resist. Armed bandits often attack minibuses and vans loaded with tourists traveling from the airport to their hotels in Sand Pedro Sula. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
The risks of terrorist attacks in Honduras are low, but since they shouldn't be ruled out, it is important that you remain vigilant at all times and aware of your surroundings.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
As in almost any country, there is a great risk of getting scammed if you're a tourist. Always check everything twice and negotiate everything in advance. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Many women have traveled alone to Honduras and haven't had any problems at all. However, this country isn't the safest in terms of females traveling solo, especially at night and you should exercise precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations. Be very careful when interacting with men, even hotel employees.
- So... How Safe Is Honduras Really?
Though Honduras is a gorgeous country, you should keep in mind that Honduras has extremely high rates of crime.
The most common form of crime is petty theft, pickpocketing and purse snatching occurring all the time on the streets of Honduras.
This obviously means that you should keep your valuables in a concealed place and avoid going out with jewelry and flashy objects.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are known for robberies that happen both during day and night, often carried out by two-man teams on motorcycles that snatch items from pedestrians.
Violent crime is a serious issue in Honduras, with crimes such as kidnappings, rape, assaults, and murders.
Armed robbery is a common problem, with armed bandits attacking minibusses and vans loaded with tourists traveling from the airport to their hotels in San Pedro Sula.
Sometimes they even stop the buses in order to rob and assault the passengers and drivers.
Murder rate may be the biggest concern for foreigners.
During the period between 2010 and 2015 Honduras had the highest murder rate in the entire world.
Many accidents occur shortly after the victims arrive in Honduras and it may be so because there are criminal sources at the airports tipping off the information they pick up about tourists’ whereabouts and accommodation.
Because of this, visitors are strongly advised against discussing the details of their travel plans and accommodation in public.
- How Does Honduras Compare?
- Useful Information
- Visas - Most countries do not need a visa in order to enter Honduras for any stays shorter than 30 days. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your date of arrival. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Honduran lempira is the official currency in Honduras. All larger towns and cities have ATMs all around but be careful when handling it on the streets. Credit cards are usually accepted in tourist related establishments.
- Weather - Honduras has tropical climate which is characterized in this country by cooler, milder weather in the mountains with lower temperatures of about 16°C to 20°C. The north coastline is very hot with rain during the year, and though it feels milder with the offshore breezes relieving the temperatures, the sun is very strong.
- Airports - Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport also referred to as La Mesa International Airport is the main and busiest airport in Honduras. It is located 11 km east of the city of San Pedro Sula.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Honduras, because it would cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
Honduras Weather Averages (Temperatures)
- Average High/Low Temperature
Honduras - Safety by City
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Honduras
- Are There Sharks in Honduras?
- 10 Safest Cities in Honduras
- 5 Impressive Facts About Roatan
- 10 Things for Quick Adrenaline Boost in Utila, Honduras
- Where to Next?
9 Reviews on Honduras
Wow, I had no clue things are that bad… I was researching things a bit before booking our plane tickets to visit Honduras for a second time for a business-related trip… I stayed in Tegucigalpa last time and oh boy, was it crowded, I felt like in an ant village.
Safe if you avoid key points
I stayed at the Marriott hotel and traveled by Uber so I didn’t have the chance to see the city in its whole. I remember reading about their criminality rates and I was a bit scared but luckily the trip went ok in my case.
Honduras the Murder Capitol
My son was murdered there in2017 and nothing their Government did. HONDURAS IS A HORRIBLE COUNTRY TO VISIT. I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS PLACE IS EVEN ON THE MAP
Terrible place too dangerous
Ridiculous why go there
its safe but avoid gangs and avoid walking late
i live in honduras i mean its not completey Safe because there is a lot of armed robbery murders drugs and in fact i live in sps/San Pedro sula and murders and drugs are common but that;’s normal life here i mean car accidents are also common.
Never again for me
I made the mistake of not researching Honduras’ safety before the trip, I was just glad I scored cheap plane tickets to somewhere warm. Never making that mistake again! I was mugged in broad daylight without someone making the slightest effort to do something…
Most people are wonderful but there’s a lot of crime
Honduras is a beautiful place but also a dangerous place as well. It’s too bad that the police and the Government doesn’t do more to protect its people and tourists because this country has so much to offer. I’ve been there 3 times already and I will probably go a few more times in the next few years. I actually love the people there and have made good friends over the years. I had to go there because of work related things and I also had a bit of time to travel the country and visit some of the major cities and also some smaller ones and even villages like Comayagua (which is beautiful) while there.
Most people are very friendly and hospitable but there are also a lot of criminals that operate here. I’ve seen (almost) all of it while I was here and it’s not pretty. There needs to be a serious police presence if this is to ever stop, otherwise I can’t, in good conscience, tell others to visit Honduras. It’s just too dangerous and you always have to be on the lookout, even in the daytime.
San Pedro Sula is very dangerous and I would avoid it if possible. This article is correct in saying there are criminal sources at some airports tipping off the criminals about tourists arrivals and routes. Be very careful that you are not overheard here.
I know of people getting robbed, beaten or killed even while it was light out and both in secluded and circulated areas. The locals know which places to avoid and when but tourists don’t.
The people here deserve a lot better and I would rate them with 5 stars for their love for their country and for their hospitality. But, taking in account all the dangers this should be a 2.
I’ve been to honduras 🇭🇳 before 3 times my wife was born there but now is us citizen she was born and raised in the town called tela. it is a very nice town by the beach although you do see armed guards at the stores and bank and gas stations but I guess that how it is also you can get fresh fish red snapper grouper and shrimp and the people I have met are friendly what I would say always be aware of your surroundings any where you go you should be 🙂 fine plus all the fresh fruit !!!
Honduras crying out…
If you’re a drug nut looking to score drugs, you will encounter the scum of HONDURAS and DANGER! They should ALL be eradicated from our country! I’m a Honduran/American speaking not as a foreigner, but a born raised British Honduran. The Honduran people are the kindest, most hospitable people, they would give you the clothes off their backs! CORRUPTION, greed and poverty is what infest HONDURAS! If every drug dealer were force to consume all the drugs their caught with until they’re demise, have this action as law of the land for selling drugs in Honduras this will STOP in a matter of months or 2 dealers dying. This one thing will free the Honduran people from drugs, opresión and eliminate the poverty, impuestos de Guerra. This will set free a country with incredible natural resources and the incredible population primed to reach they’re real potential. They will be no need to migrate to the USA because the natural beauty of HONDURAS, the love all citizens have for their country, they’re hard working primed them for success!! What’s needed? A president with BALLS enough to implement sincerely the freedom from opresión the people live under the shadows of drug peddling scums….
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US transport chief aims to ensure Cruise, other self-driving vehicles safe
Posted: November 20, 2023 | Last updated: November 20, 2023
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Monday the federal government will do everything it can using existing regulatory powers to ensure that General Motors robotaxi unit Cruise and other autonomous vehicles are deployed safely.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt resigned on Sunday, a day after apologizing to staff as the company undergoes a safety review of its U.S. fleet. Cruise pulled all of its vehicles from U.S. testing after an Oct. 2 accident in San Francisco that involved another vehicle and ended with one of Cruise's self-driving taxis dragging a pedestrian.
"We're going to do everything we can with the authorities we do have, which are not trivial," Buttigieg told reporters.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), part of Buttigieg's department, has opened an investigation into whether Cruise is taking sufficient precautions to safeguard pedestrians.
In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Cruise to remove its driverless cars from state roads, calling them a risk to the public and saying the company had misrepresented the safety of its technology.
Two dozen unions including the Transport Workers Union of America, International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Auto Workers this month urged Buttigieg to do more to ensure the safety of autonomous vehicles (AVs), saying that "NHTSA must initiate an industry-wide investigation to determine the true extent of the safety failures behind the scenes."
Cruise's woes are a setback for an industry dependent on public trust and the cooperation of regulators. The unit had in recent months touted ambitious plans to expand to more cities, offering fully autonomous taxi rides.
Cruise competes with Alphabet's Waymo in deploying autonomous vehicles and had been testing hundreds in several cities across the United States, notably its home of San Francisco.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Will Dunham and Chizu Nomiyama)
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How safe is a cruise ship in a storm?
Friday November 17 2023, 14:25pm
In November 2023, Storm Ciarán triggered a tempest in the Bay of Biscay, where around 100 people were injured on board Saga’s Spirit of Discovery. In March 2019, Viking Sky experienced a blackout and loss of propulsion off the coast of southern Norway; the ship started to drift towards the rocky shoreline, battered by extreme weather, resulting in all guests having to be evacuated by helicopter. The effects of increasingly wild winter storms on cruise ships are becoming more profound.
October 2023 was the hottest on record globally, climate data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service shows; while the Royal Society has noted that Earth’s lower atmosphere is becoming warmer as a result of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the likelihood of damaging winds.
In my 40-year career as a cruise writer and maritime historian, I’ve encountered plenty of bad weather affecting cruises. I’ve sailed through a hurricane crossing the Atlantic to New York and a typhoon in the South China Sea; my passage to Antarctica was more rock than roll; and I succumbed to mal de mer as fierce winds churned on a voyage to the Outer Hebrides.
Did I feel that my number was up during any of these encounters? Not once. I had complete faith in the expertise of the master mariners on the ship’s bridge and the structural integrity of the steel-clad keel that was cutting through the angry seas. I recall there was barely a ripple on my Martini in the Queen’s Room aboard the venerable liner QE2, when the band played the jazz classic Stormy Weather while outside a force ten wind raged.
Main photo: a cruise ship in Varigotti, Italy (Alamy)
This article contains affiliate links, which may earn us revenue
When are you most likely to experience storms on a cruise ship?
Ocean-going ships can encounter ferocious seas whether they’re searching for the northern lights along the Norwegian coast in winter months; or crossing the Drake Passage, between the southern tip of South America and the Antarctic peninsula, notorious for the “Drake shake”. Hurricane season in the Caribbean officially lasts from June 1 to November 30 and frequently impacts cruise schedules.
The North Atlantic can pack a punch from September until February, when the barometric pressure plunges, giving even the sturdiest ships a rollercoaster ride through squally seas. Another seaway where storms lurk during autumn and winter months is the Bay of Biscay. This portion of the Atlantic, located off the west coast of France and the northern coast of Spain, is renowned for restless seas that can test the mettle of even the most seasoned sea dog.
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Can cruise ships withstand storms?
Cruise ships have thick steel hulls that can withstand the ravages of a storm. The vessel might list to one side, then the other, in a motion known as rolling. Alternatively, a forward movement might pitch down into the swells before rearing up again. None of this should cause concern, as every ship has been tested in simulated storm conditions. You might notice the swimming pool is emptied and outdoor decks closed off but, inside the ship, the well-trained crew knows what measures to enact to make passengers safe and comfortable.
What are cruise ships doing to protect themselves?
As operational safety is an absolute priority, cruise lines are increasingly one step ahead in forecasting bad weather. They have the latest meteorological equipment, as well as an arsenal of weather charts, satellite images of storm activity, and even computer models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US. Royal Caribbean Group, as an example, has a “storm centre” at its Miami headquarters, where, during hurricane season, a wall of screens is monitored by the company’s chief meteorologist, James Van Fleet.
One man who’s been at the helm when nature throws a tantrum is Captain Dag Dvergastein. With five decades of experience sailing the globe with Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn and now, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Dvergastein has valuable insight. “Each ship is constructed to a class standard such as Lloyds or Bureau Veritas to certify safety,” he says. “Ships of all sizes will experience movement in heavy weather, but the larger the ship, the less the movement. Stabilisers minimise the rolling motion, thus maximising comfort.
“With a severe weather forecast, ship’s management teams will do their utmost to mitigate the effects of stormy seas. If the outlook is poor, the captain may decide to extend the stay in port. If the ship is at sea, it can seek shelter in the lee of an island, but sometimes there’s no option but to operate through turbulent seas. Operational decisions are made in consultation with the maritime team at head office, the captain, and the onboard navigation team.”
What can I do to stay safe on a cruise ship during a storm?
Savvy cruisers often select a cabin in the middle of the ship, which is undoubtedly less prone to movement. Although they’re the most expensive options, penthouses and suites, often located on the higher decks, can be challenging when the motion of the ocean goes up a gear. Old salts listen to announcements from the captain, but they know “lively” is a well-worn euphemism for “raging” when it comes to the state of the sea.
Safety is always the top priority. Andy Harmer, managing director at cruise industry trade association Clia UK & Ireland says: “The first line of decision-making is always based on what is the safest course of action based on current and potential challenges. There are rare occurrences where unpredicted storms arise outside of forecasts. In these situations, the crew has extensive training to navigate the situation, with the safety and comfort of the guests as the top priority.”
If you’re concerned about storms, there are simple measures to take. Time your voyage to minimise the chance of bad weather; a transatlantic crossing in spring, for example, might be a better bet than a crossing in November. Book a cabin low down in the centre of the ship. If the captain announces rough weather ahead, put loose items in your cabin away where they can’t fly around. And don’t forget the motion sickness pills.
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Do not pack the camo! Here's why you shouldn't bring camouflage clothing on a cruise.
If you’re packing for a cruise, you may want to bring a swimsuit for pools on board or some dressier attire for formal nights. But passengers should consider leaving their camouflage clothing at home.
Camouflage is illegal to wear in more than a dozen countries, including many popular Caribbean cruise destinations like Barbados , Jamaica and Saint Lucia. “It's often because the government wants only members of the military to be wearing those colors,” Royal Caribbean International said on its website .
Cruise lines may not prohibit camouflage on board, but it could cause trouble during stops.
If passengers manage to get off the ship at a port where it’s prohibited, they could be fined depending on the place and how strict their rules are, Joanna Kuther, a New York City-based travel agent and owner of Port Side Travel Consultants, told USA TODAY. However, she said it’s unlikely they’d be arrested.
These items are banned on cruises: Read this before you pack.
Travelers caught with camouflage in a number of Caribbean destinations also “will be forced to give it to the authorities,” Royal Caribbean said on its website. Cruise lines may share destination-specific requirements online, and note them in the details of shore excursions .
Kuther noted the rules typically apply to camouflage of any color or pattern, and to both clothing and accessories. “Basically, I tell my clients, as a rule, just don't bring it, don't wear it while you're cruising,” she said.
Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].
The best way to minimise illness risk on cruises, after Grand Princess COVID and gastro outbreak
A cruise ship that docked in Adelaide this week has garnered national headlines due to a simultaneous outbreak of COVID-19 and gastroenteritis.
Despite the dual illnesses, health authorities declared the outbreak over when the cruise liner docked, while only a handful of passengers, on a ship that can hold 4,000, became ill.
As Australia approaches the summer holiday period, the fate of the Grand Princess has brought holiday illness into the spotlight.
Epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett says there are many steps holiday-goers can take to minimise the risk of illness during their time off.
What can you do to mitigate personal risk?
Chair in epidemiology at Deakin University Professor Catherine Bennett says cruising is like any other form of holiday, and people should think about the specific risks and what they could do to stay well.
She said there were steps people could take to reduce their risk of contracting infections while on board cruise ships.
"Keeping distance where you can, staying outdoors on the ship as often as you can rather than being in shared indoor settings, avoiding crowded areas within indoors on ships," she said.
Professor Bennett said it was important that people did not ignore symptoms and were responsible for their individual behaviour to moderate risks to others.
"If they do have symptoms … go and see the ship's doctor, they have guidance in place about who might need to quarantine," she said.
"I do think cruise ships are safer now than they were before the pandemic, and I hope the same is true for other dense population holiday areas."
Government says cruise ships pose higher risk of illness
The Department of Health described cruise ships as a higher-risk setting for communicable diseases such as gastroenteritis and respiratory infections, including influenza and COVID-19.
In a statement from its Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the department said these viral infections could be serious, particularly for people who were at higher risk of severe illness.
"The risk is higher on-board cruise ships than in the general community due to the high numbers of people mixing in relatively closed spaces, and the typically longer duration of cruises compared to other transport," the statement said.
However, Professor Bennett said risks were not confined to cruise ships, but can affect any settings where people mingle in close quarters.
"Whether that's prisons, boarding schools, aged care, for example, they're all places where if there is an outbreak it is of concern, so we tend to document it more than we would in, say, a hotel or resort," she said.
"Ships [are another] key one where we have, in the past, also had foodborne disease or other person-to-person outbreaks being reported, even before the pandemic."
She said that the COVID-19 pandemic had, however, brought some positive changes to cruise ship health protocols, including better ventilation.
"I think ships are now quite prepared for this, and hopefully that means that outbreaks that were occurring before this pandemic are also managed in better ways so that fewer passengers are impacted," she said.
Industry insists passenger wellbeing is a top priority
Princess Cruises' website states that the safety of passengers is the company's top priority.
"All of our onboard medical facilities meet or exceed the standards established by the American College of Emergency Physicians," it read.
"Our onboard medical facilities are staffed by full-time registered doctors and nurses."
"In addition to twice-daily office hours, they are available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency."
Health authorities say a dual outbreak of COVID-19 and gastroenteritis onboard a cruise liner is now over after it docked in Adelaide with only a handful of sick passengers.
Bridget Hancock has worked as a performer on cruise ships for almost seven years and said cruise ships had serious health protocols in place.
She said during outbreaks of illness, all staff including performers were required to help with sanitisation and cleaning roles.
"[Outbreaks] are about as common as they are everywhere in the world on land, it's just that they tend to get reported more on ships," she said.
"Honestly, it's one of the most hygienic places in the world."
- X (formerly Twitter)
Cruise liner bound for adelaide suffers dual outbreaks of covid and gastro.