A Common Question About Honduras
Yesterday I got an email from a Canadian Citizen who is considering a visit to Honduras. As many modern travelers, they have done some research about Honduras before their trip. The USA, Canada and many other countries have a habit of issuing travel warnings and advisories. Honduras, for some reason, seems to always get terrible reviews. Because of this, many travelers end up canceling their trip to Honduras. Following you will find a transcript of their email:
“My husband and I are from Canada, and had planned on visiting Honduras this spring ’17. Just yesterday I noticed that both U.S./CANADIAN governments issuing warnings about Honduras. They recommend not to travel to Honduras if you don’t NEED to go, and to leave asap if you are already there. What I have been reading is there are land disputes and protests along the Trujillo coast. Thieves/drug gangs targeting tourists specifically and police impostors robbing or carjacking/kidnapping. Are political unrests/violence worsening?
I know Honduras is a 3rd world country and poverty is everywhere. We have never had any issues traveling to these types of countries before. But is very hard to find out the TRUTH about what is really going on there. ( We are land owners in Trujillo-are we at risk?).
We were to land in Roatan, ferry over to La Ceiba and over to Trujillo and back. Are we in any kind of danger? We don’t want to get to the mainland, be in a predicament we cannot safely get ourselves out of.
We do want to see the beauty/history of the country but not at the expense of our lives. How much of this do we take with a grain of salt? Is the violence escalating? Are tourists in danger? We are not flashy travelers, or looking for trouble, but need to know!!
PLEASE DO NOT SUGAR COAT!!!!!!!!”
I am sure that many potential travelers ask themselves the same questions. I know for a fact that many decide not to come to Honduras. This is a shame, first because they miss out on a lovely, hospitable country. Second, because their travel money makes lives much easier for thousands of Hondurans that live from tourism related jobs. I will answer the above questions being as honest as I can. I have been a resident of Honduras since 1993. Physically, I am Caucasian, and look much like a European or North American. I mention this, because I am taken for a tourist in Honduras on a regular basis.
True Honduras Safety, Without any Sugar Coat:
Are Tourists Specifically Targeted?
Honduras, just like any other country in the World, can be dangerous. It can also be safe. One thing is a fact, tourists are not specifically targeted at all. Furthermore, tourist areas, such as hotels, national parks, beaches, airports, and other attractions are safe. About 85% of the murders that do happen in Honduras, are related to drug and gang violence. They usually happen between rival groups and within the territories they control. They only control small areas or neighborhoods in the larger cities. Small towns, rural areas and tourist destinations are pretty much gang free. To be more specific with the first question, No tourists are not targeted at all!
Is There Political Violence in Honduras?
2017 is a political year in Honduras. We will elect our next government in November 2017. As everywhere else in the World, many people are passionate about their political following. It will be common for political rallies to take place this year. Rarely is there any political violence in Honduras. As in any foreign country, it is not a good idea to get involved in politics if you are not a citizen of that country.
Are There Land Disputes and Protests Along the Trujillo Coast?
There has been an ongoing property ownership issue and land disputes in the Aguan Valley. This area is between La Ceiba and Trujillo. Violence has taken place in this area, but it is only within the large African Palm plantations. But not within the cities, and much less so in Trujillo. The fact that cruise ships are including Trujillo as a port of call is proof that tourists are safe in Trujillo. No Cruise Ship line will even consider adding a new port of call if there is a significant risk to their passengers. They will just look for another port of call.
The current administration under President Juan Orlando Hernandez has been taking steps to improve the safety in Honduras. Much remains to be done, but a lot of progress is evident. There is a strong political will to make Honduras a safer country for its citizens. Many travelers do visit Honduras despite the travel warnings. Most comment in regards to how safe they feel. Many enjoy the fact that they are few tourists. This means that they can enjoy the beaches, national parks and other areas with few fellow travelers.
The true Honduras safety facts are that Honduras is safe to travel in if you have any common sense and use it. You will love the generous Honduran hospitality. Hondurans will make a true effort to provide a friendly and generous reception and entertainment of their guests. This regardless of whether the visitors are friends or strangers.
The above is my honest, unbiased opinion about true Honduras safety when it comes to travelers. I hope you find it useful!