|Republic of Honduras
República de Honduras (Spanish)
|Motto: "Libre, Soberana e Independiente" (Spanish)
"Free, Sovereign and Independent"
|Anthem: National Anthem of Honduras
(and largest city)
|Official language(s)||Spanish,garifuna dialect , and other indigenous languages.|
|Ethnic groups||90% Mestizo
|-||President||Porfirio Lobo Sosa|
|-||Vice President||María Antonieta de Bográn|
|-||President of the National Congress||Juan Orlando Hernández|
|-||President of the Supreme Court||Jorge Rivera Avilés|
|-||from Spain||15 September 1821|
|-||from the Federal Republic of Central America||31 May 1838|
|-||Total||112,492 km2 (102nd)
43,278 sq mi
|-||August 2009 estimate||7,810,848² (93rd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2008 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2008 estimate|
|Gini (1992–2007)||55.3 (high)|
|HDI (2007)||▲ 0.732 (medium) (112th)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|Drives on the||Right|
|1||"Libre, soberana e independiente" is the official motto, by congressional order, and was put on the coat of arms.|
|2||Estimates explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected, as of July 2007.|
Honduras (Spanish: República de Honduras, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðe onˈduɾas]) is a republic in Central America. It was formerly known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras (now Belize). The country is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.
The Spanish had different terms to refer to the area that became the Central American country of Honduras.
Davidson derives Honduras from fondura, an Asturian-Leonese word meaning anchorage which is one of the first words for the region to appear on a map in the second decade of the sixteenth century applied to the bay of Trujillo. It wasn't until the end of the sixteenth century that Honduras was used for the whole province. Prior to 1580, Honduras referred to the eastern part of the province, and Higueras referred to the western part.
Archaeologists have demonstrated that Honduras has a multi-ethnic prehistory. An important part of that prehistory was the Mayan presence around the city of Copán in western Honduras, near the Guatemalan border. A major Mayan city flourished during the classic period (150–900) in that area. It has many carved inscriptions and stelae. The ancient kingdom, named rtyu, existed from the fifth century to the early ninth century, with antecedents going back to at least the second century.
The Mayan civilization began a marked decline in the ninth century, but there is evidence of people still living in and around the city until at least 1200. By the time the Spanish came to Honduras, the once great city-state of Copán was overrun by the jungle, and the surviving Ch’orti’ were isolated from their Choltian linguistic peers to the west. The non-Maya Lencas were then dominant in western Honduras.
On his fourth and the final voyage to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus reached the Bay Islands on the coast of Honduras. Columbus landed near the modern town of Trujillo, in the vicinity of the Guaimoreto Lagoon. After the Spanish discovery, Honduras became part of Spain's vast empire in the New World within the Kingdom of Guatemala. Trujillo and Gracias were the first city-capitals. The Spanish ruled the region for approximately three centuries.
Spain granted independence to Honduras along with the rest of the Central American provinces on 15 September 1821. In 1822 the United Central American Provinces decided to join the newly declared Mexican Empire of Iturbide. The Iturbide Empire was overthrown in 1823 and Central America separated from it, forming the Federal Republic of Central America, which disintegrated in 1838. As a result the states of the republic became independent nations.
Silver mining was a key factor in the Spanish conquest and settlement of Honduras. The American-owned New York and Honduras Rosario Mining Company was a major gold and silver producer but shut down its mine at San Juancito in 1954.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Honduras joined the Allied Nations on 8 December 1941. Along with twenty-five other governments, Honduras signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942. In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador fought what would become known as the Football War. There had been border tensions between the two countries after Oswaldo López Arellano, a former president of Honduras, blamed the deteriorating economy on the large number of immigrants from El Salvador. From that point on, the relationship between the two countries grew acrimonious and reached a low when El Salvador met Honduras for a three-round football elimination match as a preliminary to the World Cup. Tensions escalated, and on 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July and brought about a withdrawal of Salvadoran troops in early August. Contributing factors in the conflict were a boundary dispute and the presence of thousands of Salvadorans living in Honduras illegally. After the week-long football war, many Salvadoran families and workers were expelled. El Salvador had agreed on a truce to settle the boundary issue, but Honduras later paid war damage costs for expelled refugees.
Hurricane Fifi caused severe damage while skimming the northern coast of Honduras on 18 September and 19, 1974. Melgar Castro (1975–78) and Paz Garcia (1978–82) largely built the current physical infrastructure and telecommunications system of Honduras.
In 1979, the country returned to civilian rule. A constituent assembly was popularly elected in April 1980 and general elections were held in November 1981. A new constitution was approved in 1982 and the PLH government of Roberto Suazo assumed power. Roberto Suazo won the elections with a promise to carry out an ambitious program of economic and social development in Honduras in order to tackle the country's recession. President Roberto Suazo Cordoba did launch ambitious social and economic development projects, sponsored by American development aid. Honduras became host to the largest Peace Corps mission in the world, and nongovernmental and international voluntary agencies proliferated.
During the early 1980s, the United States established a continuing military presence in Honduras with the purpose of supporting the Contra guerillas fighting the Nicaraguan government and also developed an air strip and a modern port in Honduras. Though spared the bloody civil wars wracking its neighbors, the Honduran army quietly waged a campaign against Marxist-Leninist militias such as Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement, notorious for kidnappings and bombings, and many non-militants. The operation included a CIA-backed campaign of extrajudicial killings by government-backed units, most notably Battalion 316.
In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused such massive and widespread loss that former Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores claimed that fifty years of progress in the country were reversed. Mitch obliterated about 70% of the crops and an estimated 70–80% of the transportation infrastructure, including nearly all bridges and secondary roads. Across the country, 33,000 houses were destroyed, an additional 50,000 damaged, some 5,000 people killed, 12,000 injured – for a total loss estimated at $3 billion USD.
The 2008 Honduran floods were severe and around half the country's roads were damaged or destroyed as a result.
In 2009, a constitutional crisis culminated in a transfer of power from the president to the head of Congress. Countries all over the world condemned the action and refused to recognize the new government.
Honduras has five registered political parties: National Party (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH); Liberal Party (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH); Social Democrats (Partido Innovación y Unidad-Social Demócrata: PINU-SD), Social Christians (Partido Demócrata-Cristiano de Honduras: DCH); and Democratic Unification (Partido Unificación Democrática: UD). PNH and PLH have ruled the country for decades. In the last years, Honduras has had five Liberal presidents: Roberto Suazo Córdova, José Azcona del Hoyo, Carlos Roberto Reina, Carlos Roberto Flores and Manuel Zelaya, and two Nationalists: Rafael Leonardo Callejas Romero and Ricardo Maduro. The elections have been full of controversies, including questions about whether Azcona was born in Spain, and whether Maduro should have been able to stand, given he was born in Panama.
In 1963, a military coup was mounted against the democratically elected president Ramón Villeda Morales. This event started a string of Military Governments which held power almost uninterrupted until 1981 when Suazo Córdova (LPH) was elected president and Honduras changed from a military authoritarian regime.
In 1986, there were five Liberal candidates and four Nationalists running for president. Because no one candidate obtained a clear majority, the so-called "Formula B" was invoked and Azcona del Hoyo became president. In 1990, Callejas won the election under the slogan "Llegó el momento del Cambio" (English: "The time for change has arrived"), which was heavily criticized for resembling El Salvador's "ARENAs" political campaign. Once in office, Callejas Romero gained a reputation for illicit enrichment, and has been the subject of several scandals and accusations. It was during Flores Facusse's mandate that Hurricane Mitch hit the country and decades of economic growth were eradicated in less than a week.
Government ministries are often incapable of carrying out their mandate due to budgetary constraints. In an interview with Rodolfo Pastor Fasquelle, Minister of Sports & Culture and one of three 'super ministers' responsible for coordinating the ministries related to public services (security and economic being the other two), published in Honduras This Week on 31 July 2006, it was related that 94% of the department budget was spent on bureaucracy and only 6% went to support activities and organizations covered by the mandate. Wages within that ministry were identified as the largest budget consumer.
President Maduro's administration "de-nationalized" the telecommunications sector in a move to promote the rapid diffusion of these services to the Honduran population. As of November 2005, there were around 10 private-sector telecommunications companies in the Honduran market, including two mobile phone companies. As of mid 2007, the issue of tele-communications continues to be very damaging to the current government. The country's main newspapers are La Prensa, El Heraldo, La Tribuna and Diario Tiempo. The official newspaper is La Gaceta.
A Presidential and General Election was held on 27 November 2005. Manuel Zelaya of the Liberal Party of Honduras (Partido Liberal de Honduras: PLH) won, with Porfirio Pepe Lobo of the National Party of Honduras (Partido Nacional de Honduras: PNH) coming in second. The PNH challenged the election results, and Lobo Sosa did not concede until 7 December. Towards the end of December, the government finally released the total ballot count, giving Zelaya the official victory. Zelaya was inaugurated as Honduras' new president on 27 January 2006.
Zelaya precipitated a national crisis by trying to hold a non-binding national referendum to ask the Honduran people: "Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?" This possible Assembly then might not or more likely might have proposed constitutional changes to term-limits – as the military and the Supreme Court deemed possible – and other more likely, unrelated and legal constitutional changes.
The 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis is an ongoing constitutional crisis. President Manuel Zelaya had attempted to hold a "non-binding referendum" on the 28th of June on the desire of Hondurans to have a fourth ballot box in the upcoming November elections, which would then ask if the Honduran people wished to form a Constitutional Assembly in the term of the newly elected president. The Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that had found a prior referendum based on the same issue unconstitutional and had prohibited it. The Supreme Court had not made any determination of the final, referendum, having instead made the legal claim that any attempt by Zelaya to poll on any matter, in any way, to be illegal.
Zelaya decided to proceed on the referendum, basing his decision of the Law of Citizen Participation, passed in 2006. Zelaya illegaly dismissed the head of the military command, General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, for disobeying an order to hold the poll, but the Supreme Court ordered his reinstatement. The Supreme Court then ordered the military to detain Zelaya to take his statement. The army arrested Zelaya at his home in the early morning of 28 June 2009, the date of the scheduled vote;
Zelaya was held in an airbase outside Tegucigalpa before being flown to San José, Costa Rica. Zelaya attempted reentry into the country on several occasions. According to the constitution, it is illegal to expatriate any Honduran citizen. Roberto Micheletti, the former President of the Honduran Congress and a member of the same party as Zelaya, was sworn in as President by the National Congress on the afternoon of Sunday 28 June for a term that ends on 27 January 2010.
At first, no single country in the world has recognized the new government as legitimate; all members of the UN condemned the removal of Zelaya as a coup d'état. Some Republican Party members of the U.S. Congress have voiced support for the new government. On 21 September 2009, Zelaya returned to Honduras and entered the Brazilian embassy. The government disrupted utility services to the embassy and imposed a curfew in an attempt to maintain order in the area when Zelaya's supporters protested around the embassy.
The following day, in Decree PCM-M-016-2009, it suspended five Constitutional rights: personal liberty (Article 69), freedom of expression (Article 72), freedom of movement (Article 81), habeas corpus (Article 84) and freedom of association and assembly. It closed a radio and a television station. The decree suspending human rights was officially revoked on 19 October 2009 in La Gaceta.
Honduras borders the Caribbean Sea on the north coast and the Pacific Ocean on the south through the Gulf of Fonseca. The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast.
The Honduran territory consists mainly of mountains, but there are narrow plains along the coasts, a large undeveloped lowland jungle La Mosquitia region in the northeast, and the heavily populated lowland Sula valley in the northwest. In La Mosquitia, lies the UNESCO world-heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, with the Coco River which divides the country from Nicaragua. The Islas de la Bahía and the Swan Islands (all off the north coast) are part of Honduras. Misteriosa Bank and Rosario Bank, 130 to 150 km (80–93 miles) north of the Swan Islands, fall within the EEZ of Honduras.
See also:List of birds of Honduras The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot because of the numerous plant and animal species that can be found there. Like other countries in the region, Honduras contains vast biological resources. The country hosts more than 6,000 species of vascular plants, of which 630 (described so far) are orchids; around 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 700 bird species, and 110 mammal species, half of them being bats.
In the northeastern region of La Mosquitia lies the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a lowland rainforest which is home to a great diversity of life. The reserve was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List in 1982.
Honduras has rain forests, cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand meters above sea level), mangroves, savannas and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the Bay Islands there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang and whale shark.
The economy has continued to grow slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining low. Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% per year which has been one of the most successful growths in Latin America, but 50%, approximately 3.7 million, of the population still remains below the poverty line. According to the World Bank, Honduras is the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti and Nicaragua. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed, the rate of unemployment standing at 27.9%.
Both the electricity services (ENEE) and land-line telephone services (HONDUTEL) have been operated by government agencies, with ENEE receiving heavy subsidies because of chronic financial problems. HONDUTEL, however, is no longer a monopoly, the telecommunication sector having been opened to private-sector companies after 25 December 2005; this was one of the requirements before approving the beginning of CAFTA. There are price controls on petrol, and other temporary price controls for basic commodities are often passed for short periods by the Congress.
After years of declining against the U.S. dollar the Lempira has stabilized at around 19 Lempiras per dollar. In June 2008 the exchange rate between United States Dollars and Honduran Lempiras was approximately 1 to 18.85.
On 7 December 2006, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Energy (DOE) announced the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative, an unprecedented effort to build upon existing port security measures by enhancing the U.S. federal government’s ability to scan containers for nuclear and radiological materials overseas and to better assess the risk of inbound containers. The initial phase of Secure Freight involves the deployment of a combination of existing technology and proven nuclear detection devices to six foreign ports: Port Qasim in Pakistan; Puerto Cortes in Honduras; Southampton in the United Kingdom; Port Salalah in Oman; Port of Singapore; and the Gamman Terminal at Port Busan in Korea. Since early 2007, containers from these ports are scanned for radiation and information risk factors before they are allowed to depart for the United States.
Ninety percent of the Honduran population is Mestizo (a mixture of Amerindian and European ancestry). About 7% of the Honduran population are members of one of the seven recognized indigenous groups. The Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH) and the government of Honduras count seven different indigenous groups:
The confederation and each separate group of indigenous people have worked, since the 1980s, for bettering the life of the aboriginal peoples. Change, however, has been elusive as these peoples still face violence and discrimination. About 2% of Honduras's population is black, or Afro-Honduran, and mainly reside on the country's Caribbean coast. Most are the descendants of the West Indian islands brought to Honduras as slaves and indentured servants. Another large group (about 150,000 today) are the Garifuna, descendants of an Afro-Carib population which revolted against British authorities on the island of St. Vincent and were forcibly moved to Belize and Honduras during the eighteenth century. Garífunas are part of Honduran identity through theatrical presentations such as Louvavagu. Honduras hosts a significant Palestinian community (the vast majority of whom are Christian Arabs). The Palestinians arrived in the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, establishing themselves especially in the city of San Pedro Sula. The Palestinian community, well integrated in Honduras, is prominent in business, commerce, banking, industry, and politics. There is also an East Asian community that is primarily Chinese descent, and to a lesser extent Japanese. Korean, Ryukyuan, Vietnamese also make up a small percentage due to their arrival to Honduras as contract laborers in the 1980s and 1990s. There are also an estimated 1000 Sumos (or Mayangnas) that live in Honduras, the majority of whom reside on the Caribbean coast.
Although plurality of Hondurans are nominally Roman Catholic, according to one report, membership in the Roman Catholic Church is declining while membership in Protestant churches is increasing. The International Religious Freedom Report, 2008, notes that a CID Gallup poll reported that 47% of the population identified themselves as Catholic, 36% as evangelical Protestant, and 17% provided no answer or considered themselves "other." Customary Catholic church tallies and membership estimates 81% Catholic where the priest (in more than 185 parishes throughout the country) is required to fill out a pastoral account of the parish each year.
The CIA Factbook has 97% Catholic and 3% Protestant. Commenting on statistical variations everywhere, John Green of Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life notes that: "It isn't that ... numbers are more right than [someone else's] numbers ... but how one conceptualizes the group. Often people attend one church without giving up their "home" church. Many who attend evangelical megachurches in the US, for example, attend more than one church. This shifting and fluidity is common in Brazil where two-fifths of those who were raised evangelical are no longer evangelical and Catholics seem to shift in and out of various churches, often while still remaining Catholic.
Most pollsters suggest an annual poll taken over a number of years would provide the best method of knowing religious demographics and variations in any single country. Still, in Honduras are thriving Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran and Pentecostal churches, and together Evangelical Protestant churches, according to one source, constitute 36% of population. There are Protestant seminaries. The Catholic Church, still the only "church" that is recognized, is also thriving in the number of schools, hospitals, and pastoral institutions (including its own medical school) that it operates. It archbishop, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, is also very popular, both with the government, other churches, and in his own church. Practitioners of the Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Bahá'í, Rastafari and indigenous denominations and religions exist.
Since 1975, emigration from Honduras has accelerated as job-seekers and political refugees sought a better life elsewhere. Although many Hondurans have relatives in Nicaragua, Spain, Mexico, El Salvador and Canada, the majority of Hondurans living abroad are in the United States.
The fertility rate is at about 3.7 per woman.  The under-five mortality rate is at 40 per 1,000 live births. The health expenditure was US$ (PPP) 197 per person in 2004. There are about 57 physicians per 100,000 people.
The most renowned Honduran painter is Jose Antonio Velásquez. Other important painters include Carlos Garay, and Roque Zelaya. Two of Honduras' most notable writers are Froylan Turcios and Ramón Amaya Amador. Others include Marco Antonio Rosa, Roberto Sosa, Lucila Gamero de Medina, Eduardo Bähr, Amanda Castro, Javier Abril Espinoza, Teófilo Trejo, and Roberto Quesada. Some of Honduras' notable musicians include Rafael Coello Ramos, Lidia Handal, Victoriano Lopez, Guillermo Anderson, Victor Donaire, Francisco Carranza and Camilo Rivera Guevara.
Hondurans are often referred to as Catracho or Catracha (fem) in Spanish. The word was coined by Nicaraguans and derives from the last name of the Spanish Honduran General Florencio Xatruch, who, in 1857, led Honduran armed forces against an attempted invasion by North American adventurer William Walker. The nickname is considered complimentary, not derogatory. The main language is Spanish, spoken by 94% as first language. Minority languages are spoken by less than 4%. These are Amerindian languages such as Garifuna, Miskito, and Pech; Honduras Sign Language; and English on the Bay Islands off the coast.
Honduras This Week is a weekly English language newspaper that has been published for seventeen years in Tegucigalpa. On the islands of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, the Bay Islands Voice has been a source of monthly news since 2003.
Honduran cuisine makes extensive use of coconut, in both sweet and savory foods, and even in soups.
The José Francisco Saybe theater in San Pedro Sula is home to the Círculo Teatral Sampedrano (Theatrical Circle of San Pedro Sula)
Some of Honduras' national holidays include Honduras Independence Day on 15 September and Children's Day or Día del Niño, which is celebrated in homes, schools and churches on 10 September; on this day, children receive presents and have parties similar to Christmas or birthday celebrations. Some neighborhoods have piñatas on the street. Other holidays are Easter, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Day of the Soldier (3 October to celebrate the birth of Francisco Morazán), Christmas, El Dia de Lempira on 20 July, and New Year's Eve.
Honduras Independence Day festivities start early in the morning with marching bands. Each band wears different colors and features cheerleaders. Fiesta Catracha takes place this same day: typical Honduran foods such as beans, tamales, baleadas, cassava with chicharron, and tortillas are offered. On Christmas Eve, the people reunite with their families and close friends to have dinner, then give out presents at midnight. In some cities fireworks are seen and heard at midnight. On New Year's Eve there is food and "cohetes", fireworks and festivities. Birthdays are also great events, and include the famous “piñata” which is filled with candies and surprises for the children invited.
La Feria Isidra is celebrated in La Ceiba at the end of May. La Ceiba is a city located in the east coast. It is usually called "The Friendship Carnival". People from all over the world come for one week of festivities. Every night there is a little carnaval (carnavalito) in a neighborhood. Finally, on Saturday there is a big parade with floats and displays with people from Brazil, New Orleans, Japan, Jamaica, Barbados and many other countries. This celebration is also accompanied by the Milk Fair, where many Hondurans come to show off their farm products and animals.
The net primary enrollment rate was 94 % in 2004 , while in 2007 the primary school completion rate was reported to be 40%. 83.6% of the population of the country is literate. Honduras has numerous universities.
Water supply and sanitation in Honduras varies greatly from urban centers to rural villages. Larger population centers generally have modernized water treatment and distribution systems, however water quality is often poor because of lack of proper maintenance and treatment. Rural areas generally have basic drinking water systems with limited capacity for water treatment. Many urban areas have sewer systems in place for the collection of wastewater, however proper treatment of wastewater is scarce. In rural areas, sanitary facilities are generally limited to latrines and basic septic pits.
Water and sanitation services were historically provided by Servicio Autonomo de Alcantarillas y Aqueductos (SANAA). In 2003, a new "water law" was passed which called for the decentralization of water services. With the 2003 law, local communities have the right and responsibility to own, operate, and control their own drinking water and wastewater systems. Since passage of the new law, many communities have joined together to address water and sanitation issues on a regional basis.
Many national and international non-government organizations have a history of working on water and sanitation projects in Honduras. International groups include, but are not limited to, the Red Cross, Water 1st, Rotary Club, Catholic Relief Services, Water for People, EcoLogic Development Fund, CARE, CESO-SACO, Engineers Without Borders USA and SHH.
Transportation in Honduras consists of the following infrastructure: 699 km of railways; 13,603 km of roadways; seven ports and harbors; and 112 airports altogether (12 Paved, 100 unpaved). Responsibility for policy in the transport sector rests with the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing (SOPRTRAVI after its Spanish acronym).
The flag of Honduras is composed of 3 equal horizontal stripes, with the upper and lower ones being blue and representing the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The central stripe is white. It contains five blue stars representing the five states of the Central American Union. The middle star represents Honduras, located in the center of the Central American Union.
The Coat of Arms was established in 1825. It is an equilateral triangle, at the base is a volcano between two castles, over which is a rainbow and the sun shining. The triangle is placed on an area that symbolizes being bathed by both seas. Around all of this an oval containing in golden lettering: "Republic of Honduras, Free, Sovereign and Independent".
The National Anthem of Honduras is a result of a contest carried out in 1904 during the presidency of Manuel Bonilla. In the end, it was the poet Augusto C. Coello that ended up writing the anthem, with the participation of German composer Carlos Hartling writing the music. The anthem was officially adopted on 15 November 1915, during the presidency of Alberto Membreño. The anthem is composed of a choir and seven stroonduran.
The national flower is the famous orchid, Rhyncholaelia digbyana (formerly known as Brassavola digbyana), which replaced the rose in 1969. The change of the National Flower was carried out during the administration of general Oswaldo López Arellano, thinking that Brassavola digbiana "is an indigenous plant of Honduras; having this flower exceptional characteristics of beauty, vigor and distinction", as the decree dictates it.
The National Tree of Honduras is the Honduras Pine (Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis). Also the use of the tree was regulated, "to avoid the unnecessary destructions caused by choppings or fires of forest."
The National Mammal is the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), which was adopted as a measure to avoid excessive depredation. It is one of two species of deer that live in Honduras. The National Bird of Honduras is the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao). This bird was much valued by the pre-Columbian civilizations of Honduras.
Football is the most popular sport in Honduras. Information on all other Honduran-sports related articles are below:
|Institute for Economics and Peace ||Global Peace Index||112 out of 144|
|United Nations Development Programme||Human Development Index||112 out of 182|
|Transparency International||Corruption Perceptions Index||130 out of 180|
|World Economic Forum||Global Competitiveness Report||89 out of 133|
|Government||democratic constitutional republic|
|Area||112,090 sq km|
|Population||7,326,496 (July 2006 est.)|
|Language||Spanish, Amerindian dialects|
|Religion||Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority|
|Electricity||110V/60Hz (two-prong North American plug)|
|Time Zone||UTC -6|
Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It has colonial villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Mayan ruins (Copan), natural parks (Moskitia), and a Pacific and Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands, with great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving are exceptional by any standard. The country is neighbored by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the south and Nicaragua to the southeast.
Good amenities can be found in cities like Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, Copan Ruinas, and La Ceiba but elsewhere conditions can be primitive, especially in the rural areas. You can find good hotels even in small towns if you are willing to pay a bit more (Honduras is not really an expensive country). Nevertheless a visit is worthwhile, especially to the ancient Maya ruins in Copán, the colonial towns of Gracias and Comayagua and the fantastic Caribbean Coast.
Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains. Natural hazards: extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast. However, the last damaging hurricane was in 1998. 13,000 lives were lost from Hurricane Mitch
Mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains. Has only a short Pacific coast but a long Caribbean shoreline, including the virtually uninhabited eastern Mosquito Coast. Experiences frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes. Highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 meters.
Part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation on 15 September 1821.
After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras was a haven for the anti-Communist contras fighting the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and an ally to Salvadoran government forces fighting against leftist guerrillas.
The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused almost $1 billion in damage, affecting seriously the development of the country and its vital infrastructure.
Major international airports with daily flights to Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York and Houston are in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa (Toncontin) and Roatan. The main international airlines serving the region are TACA, Copa Air, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines, Spirit, and American Airlines. Iberia, Spain operates daily flights from Madrid to San Pedro Sula via Guatemala City (connecting with TACA). Maya Island Air also has a direct lfight from Belize to San Pedro Sula (phone number 011-501-223-1140 or firstname.lastname@example.org). For interior flights check Isleña, Atlantic and Aerolinas Sosa. Note that the interior domestic airlines frequently have flight cancellations, do not guarantee service, and are under no obligation to issue refunds if a flight does not occur. However, American carriers and their international code share partners listed above guarantee travel per U.S. industry standards. Hence, it is advisable not to rely on a domestic carrier to connect to an outbound international flight without having an alternative means to get to the departure point of the foreign bound aircraft in a timely fashion. For instance, if a flight cancellation occurs in La Ceiba headed to San Pedro Sula due to insufficient ticket sales (a common occurrence), a taxi can be hired for a $50-$100 spot price to run the distance in under two and a half hours.
Possible from Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. Cars are a good selection, but you must always be careful since the roads are not as well developed but good enough to have a pleasant ride. Traffic enforcement outside of stops to curtail the drug trade is minimal to non-existent, and drivers should be cautious of speeding vehicles as well as aggressive driving tactics (e.g. passing on uphill, curved terrain).
There is regular boat service from La Ceiba to the bay islands of Roatan and Utila.
Service to Roatan is on the Galaxy Wave II. The ferry trip costs less than flying, and leaves (mostly) on time. A round-trip prima class ticket costs $53; round-trip general class, $43. Both prima and general seating areas are comfortable and offer air conditioning and flat-screen TVs for your entertainment. The crossing takes about 80 minutes each way.
Service to Utila is on the Utila Princess. Tickets cost about $30 round trip and the crossing takes about 60 minutes.
Both ferries leave from the same dock. You should arrive at the dock in La Ceiba about an hour early to buy tickets and check luggage. **If traveling to the bay islands during Semana Santa (Easter week) it is highly recommended to fly, as the wait for a ferry can be up to 8 hours. If you are a Senior citizen you will find the rate very attractive. If you are prone to sea sickness, the trip North to Roatan can be very uncomfortable, as the Galaxy is fighting the currents. Windy days, re-consider. Otherwise it is a delightful trip, Utila to the West and the Cayos to the East. Last trip of the day to Roatan is awesome with a fanastic sunset.
FERRY SCHEDULES THE GALAXY II DEPARTUE TIMES: Roatan - La Ceiba 7:00 A.M.; La Ceiba - Roatan 10 A.M.; Roatan - La Ceiba 1:00 P.M.; La Ceiba - Roatan 4:00 P.M.
THE NEW PRINCESS DEPARTURE TIMES: Utila - La Ceiba 6:20 A.M.; La Ceiba - Utila 9:30 A.M.; Utila - La Ceiba 2:00 P.M.; La Ceiba - Utila 4:00 P.M.
Hitchhiking is common in rural areas, even for single women, when there is no proper bus connection. By asking around you will be pointed to the various departure points. Expect to pay the equivalent bus fare at the conclusion of your journey.
Spanish is the primary language spoken. English is hardly spoken outside of the biggest towns or Bay Islands. In some areas such as Utila, Spanish and English have hybridized in the context of low educational attainment to produce a pidgin tongue that can at times be indecipherable even to native speakers of both languages. Native languages (Lenca, Miskitu, Garifuna, among others) are spoken in various parts of the country, but a Spanish speaker should never be hard to find. Keep a tourist's eye out for "missionary speakers," that is, English or Spanish speaking Hondurans who retain the strong linguistic accents of the nations of their childhood teachers despite no personal links to such countries themselves (e.g. Irish-English overtones are prominent in Utila). Exhibit caution about commenting on linguistic skills to locals even positively, as those who do not speak mainstream Spanish suffer certain social stigmas (e.g. not “real” Hondurans, lower class, etcetera).
Honduras annually has a large number of mission groups and service groups that travel to Honduras.
The National currency of Honduras is the Lempira but like almost everywhere in Centeral America, the U.S. Dollar acts as a second currency and nearly every business excepts both. The U.S. Dollar is the main currency on the Bay Islands due to the frequency of cruises that come by (and by looking around, there are a lot of Americans). It is wise to carry small bills like, $1,$5,$10 and $2 (yes $2 bills, considered lucky and makes a good tip). It is very important to use only bills printed recently and to avoid notes will tears.
ATM's can be found in most cities (just use caution at night). Some ATM's dispense both U.S. Dollars and Lempiras and nearly all can be used in English. Nearly all banks exchange money just make sure to bring your passport.
As of December 2009, their are 19 Lempiras to one Dollar. Sometimes it bay be cheaper to bay in Lempiras.
If going to another country, GET RID OF YOUR LEMPIRAS, they are useless once you leave the country but can be exchanged at most borders
Handicrafts - Honduras is famous for its Lenca ceramics and cotton sock manufacturing.
If visiting San Pedro Sula, be sure to visit El Mercado Guamilito. You will find many wonderful and cheap handicrafts like hand carved wooden boxes, Lencan pottery, hammocks, paintings, leather products from Nicaragua, and beautiful hand-woven fabrics from Guatemala.
Leather Items - Honduran leather items are of fine quality at only a fraction of the price they would be overseas, making your visit to Honduras a great time to purchase these. Bags, attaché cases, belts, wallets and even garments are a bargain. One of the producers in San Pedro Sula whose quality is up to par with international standards is Danilo's Pura Piel.
Honduras has a long history as a silver mining country. Excellent artisans work the silver and produce very artistic and high quality silver products and jewelry. There are several different jewelers in town. Another popular item are paintings by Honduran artists. These usually depict colonial towns and mountain landscapes that are typical of Honduras. The best selection of these can be found at the Maymo art Gallery.
The Honduran "Plato tipico" is the most famous lunch. It consists of rice, beef, fried beans (frijolitos), and fried bananas (tajaditas). If you are lucky, it will also come with chimol, a fresh, non-spicy salsa made of tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro and lime juice.
Baleadas are a Honduran original. A baleada sencilla (simple) consists of a thick flour tortilla filled with refried beans, cheese (queso), and a type of cream similar to sour cream but not sour (crema or mantequilla). A baleada especial usually also comes with eggs in it and you can sometimes get avocado or even meat.
Other choices are tacos and enchiladas, though don't expect them to be like those in Mexico. The tacos are meat rolled in a corn tortilla and deep fried. The enchiladas are a flat fried corn tortilla topped with ground beef, cheese and a red sauce.
In the big cities, there are also plenty of chains from the U.S. like Pizza Hut, Applebees, TGI Fridays, and all the burger and fried chicken joints you can think of, like Burger King and Church's.
National beers: Salva Vida, Port Royal, Imperial and the newest Barena. To add, Barena is said to be the Miller Lite of Central America.
Coffee is great, and the brands from Copan are usually the best. Welches is considered to be the best by many locals. Coffee from Lepaera, Lempira, was judged to be the best coffee in the world but can be difficult to find, even in Lepaera itself, where most brands found in stores are from Copan.
Taste Central American rum Flor de Caña (from Nicaragua)
Great "licuados" -fruit juices and milk shakes- (mango, piña, watermelon, banana, etc.)
Use common sense at night. Foreigners are sometimes robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula at night by thieves who stake out areas in front of tourist hotels. When taking a taxi in Tegucigalpa make sure the windows are not tinted, and check for radio dispatched walkie talkies as people have been robbed at gun or knife point. Violent crime is common enough in San Pedro Sula with robberies and even gang violence. San Pedro Sula, in fact, has the highest murder rate of any city of Honduras, though mainly among rival gangs seeking to control the various illicit trades. Murder is a common day to day issue in all of Honduras. Crime has been reduced in recent years compared to right after Hurricane Mitch, but does still impact tourist areas in the large cities. Use caution when traveling alone in Honduras, at night its best to take a radio dispatched taxi no matter what part you're in.
Purified water is used in big-city hotels and restaurants, but bottled water is definitely recommended for outlying areas.
Malaria occurs in rural areas, Roatán and other Bay Islands.
Dengue fever is endemic in both urban and rural areas.
It is not recommended to buy much food in the streets (people who are selling food just by the sidewalk). Remember Honduran food can be spicy too, so be careful if you are not used to it.
Many travel agencies and different places will tell you that Honduras is a dangerous country concerning illnesses, this is not true. People are just as ill all over Latin America (nothing out of what is normal), just take the necessary precautions. HIV is a problem in Honduras so be careful as you would in your own country.
Carry a first aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you.
If hiking or spending significant time in the great outdoors, be prepared for a wide range of natural threats and nuisances including snakes, spiders, scorpions, and mosquitoes. On the upswing, however, you can actually pick fruit off the trees.
Despite violence and widespread poverty, Hondurans are friendly people who appreciate a respectful manner. As well as this it is important to greet and even introduce yourself if you are asking a question to a stranger. Of course, like any other country, if you do need to ask a question from a stranger be careful but most of the time Hondurans will be friendly and more than happy to help you.
Electricity is 110V/60Hz, as in the United States and Canada, however three-prong grounded plugs are not as common, so two-prong adapters come in handy.
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Honduras (stem Honduras-*)
Literally “depths”; from a quote attributed to Christopher Columbus, “Thanks to G-d that we have left these Depths”.