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Quick Facts
CapitalTegucigalpa
Governmentdemocratic constitutional republic
Currencylempira (HNL)
Areatotal: 112,090 sq km
land: 111,890 sq km
water: 200 sq km
Population6,560,608 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageSpanish, Amerindian dialects
ReligionRoman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority

Honduras is the second biggest country in Central America. It Colonial Villages (Gracias, Comayagua), ancient Maya ruins (Copan), Natural Parks (Moskitia) and Pacific and Caribbean Sea coastline, where the Bay Island offer great beaches and coral reefs where snorkeling and diving is a must. The country is neighboured by Guatemala to the northwest, El Salvador to the west and Nicaragua to the southeast.

Regions

Administrative divisions 
18 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Atlantida, Choluteca, Tegucigalpa - The capital and largest city of Honduras (1.5 million). It has international airport and offers connections by plane to San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, the door to the Bay Islands and the Caribbean Coast.
  • La Ceiba - The door to the Caribbean Coast and the Bay Island. Great beaches, and daily ferries to either Utila and Roatan, where snorkeling and diving is a must.
  • Ports and harbours

    • La Ceiba - The harbour to reach the Bay Islands.
    • Puerto Cortes - The main harbour of Honduras in the Caribbean Coast
    • San Lorenzo - The main harbour of the whole Central America in the Pacific Coast. Close to Amapala, the historical port based in the Isla del Tigre.
    • Tela - Turistic city about 1 hour from San Pedro Sula has beautiful coastline.
    • Trujillo
    • Puerto Lempira

    Other destinations

    • �tila, Roat�n and Guanaja. A natural paradise in the Caribbean Sea where snorkeling and diving is a must.
    • Lake Yojoa - The biggest lake in Honduras. It used to be a great spot for fishing but today is too contaminated.
    • Caribbean Coast.

      Climate

      Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains. Natural hazards: extremely susceptible to damaging hurricanes and floods along the Caribbean coast. The small Pacific coast region is susceptible to earthquakes.

      Terrain

      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; Natural hazards: Experiences frequent, but generally mild, earthquakes.

      Highest point
      Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m

      History

      Part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821.

      Independence 
      15 September 1821 (from Spain)
      National holiday 
      Independence Day, 15 September (1821)

      After two and one-half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982.

      Constitution 
      11 January 1982, effective 20 January 1982; amended 1995

      During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for the US supported anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Sandinista Nicaraguan Government 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 main infrastructures.

      Get in

      By plane

      Major international airports with daily flights to Miami and New York are in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa (Toncontin) and Roatan. The main international airlines serving the region are AeroHonduras, TACA, Copa Air, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, and American Airlines. For interior flights check Isle�a, Atlantic and Aerolinas Sosa.

      By train

      Train infrastructure hasn't been developed in the whole region

      By car

      From Guatemala, El Salvador, or Nicaragua. The condition of the roads was seriously damaged by the Hurricane Mitch and still hasn't been fully repaired.

      By bus

      From Guatemala - Tica Bus and Hedmann Alas From Nicaragua - Tica Bus and King Quality From El Salvador - Tica Bus and King Quality

      (see external links in this same page)

      By boat

      Boats from Belice come in to the Caribbean ports like Puerto Cortes, but schedules are not regular and cannot be checked through the internet. Cruises to (or that make a stop at) the Bay Islands, however, are somewhat common.

      Hitchhiking

      Is possible in Honduras, althoght it might be tricky to leave larger citys because its hard to find the right local bus without good area knowledge.

      In rural areas the driver sometimes might expect you to pay him (usually as much as the local bus would have cost). This should rarely be more then 2 USD (40 L).

      Hitchhiking is common in rural areas, even for single women, when there is no proper bus connection.

      Talk

      Spanish

      Languages 
      Spanish, English (Bay Islands), Amerindian dialects (lenca, miskitu, garifuna, among others)

      Buy

      Handcraft - Honduras is famous by its lenca ceramic

      Eat

      The Honduran "Plato tipico" is the most famous lunch. It consist of rice, beef meat, fried beans (frijolitos) and fried potato (tajaditas). Delicious to taste.

      Another choices are tacos, baleadas and enchiladas, inherited from the neighbour countries.

      Drink

      National beers: Salvavida, Port Royal, Imperial and the newest Bahia Taste Central American rum Flor de Ca�a (from Nicaragua) Great "licuados" -fruit juices and milk shakes- (mango, pi�a, watermelon, banana, etc.)

      Sleep

      There is a great variety of places to sleep in the main cities. Check Honduras Tips (see external links) to get updated telephones and rates.

      • Real InterContinental San Pedro Sula, [1] (http://www.icsanpedrosula.gruporeal.com/). One of Honduras� most prestigious hotels with 149 rooms and suites with modern amenities.
      • Real InterContinental Tegucigalpa, [2] (http://www.ictegucigalpa.gruporeal.com/). Located SE of downtown, right across from the Multiplaza Mall, the biggest and most modern shopping center in Honduras, only 4 miles from Toncontin Int�l Airport.
      • Clarion Hotel Real Tegucigalpa, [3] (http://www.clarion-tegucigalpa.gruporeal.com/). In the heart of the financial district and only four miles from Toncontin International Airport.

      Stay safe

      Take special care at night. It is common for a foreigner to be robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa at night. Thieves will stake out areas in front of tourist hotels, especially the Hotel Maya, in Tegucigalpa. Crime is getting higher, especially in tourist areas. The best tip is not to risk oneself walking through the poor parts of any towns, taking public transport and collaborate with burglars if one is being robbed. Life is not valuable in Central America, so give what you have and don't try to be brave.

      Ask local people about which places are safe and which are not, and follow their advice.

      Stay healthy

      Drink water from bottles or sealed plastic bags. Malaria and dengue can appear at certain locations (poorest places of the country), so ask locals to get informed. Carry a First Aid kit and have contact phone numbers with you. Hepatitis A is very likely unless extreme precautions are taken with regard to water and raw foods. Do not forget ice and brushing your teeth are an easy means of contracting Hepatitus A. It is highly recommended to receive Hepatitus vaccinations prior to travel in Honduras.

      Respect

      Follow the golden rule by do not be duped by the "culture of need". The Hondurans are very friendly but many are poor and uneducated. Demonstrate grace and respect but maintain your awareness.

      Contact

      People from Honduras are friendly. English is hardly spoken when leaving the biggest towns, so carrying a Spanish dictionary would be a good tip.

      External links

      NEWSPAPERS

      TRANSPORTATION


      Most of the rest of this article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and integrate it into the article above.


      Geography

      Geographic coordinates 
      15 00 N, 86 30 W
      Area 
      total: 112,090 sq km
      land: 111,890 sq km
      water: 200 sq km
      Area - comparative 
      slightly larger than Tennessee
      Coastline 
      820 km
      Maritime claims 
      contiguous zone: 24 NM
      territorial sea: 12 NM
      continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 NM
      exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
      Natural resources 
      timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, hydropower
      Land use 
      arable land: 15.15%
      permanent crops: 3.13%
      other: 81.72% (1998 est.)
      Irrigated land 
      760 sq km (1998 est.)
      Environment - current issues 
      urban population expanding; deforestation results from logging and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes; further land degradation and soil erosion hastened by uncontrolled development and improper land use practices such as farming of marginal lands; mining activities polluting Lago de Yojoa (the country's largest source of fresh water) as well as several rivers and streams with heavy metals
      Environment - international agreements 
      party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
      signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

      People

      Population 
      6,560,608
      note: estimates for this country 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 (July 2002 est.)
      Age structure 
      0-14 years: 41.8% (male 1,400,778; female 1,340,834)
      15-64 years: 54.6% (male 1,774,619; female 1,806,568)
      65 years and over: 3.6% (male 112,100; female 125,709) (2002 est.)
      Population growth rate 
      2.34% (2002 est.)
      Birth rate 
      31.21 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
      Death rate 
      5.74 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
      Net migration rate 
      -2.07 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
      Sex ratio 
      at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
      under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
      15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
      65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
      total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
      Infant mortality rate 
      30.48 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
      Life expectancy at birth 
      total population: 68.77 years
      female: 70.51 years (2002 est.)
      male: 67.11 years
      Total fertility rate 
      4.03 children born/woman (2002 est.)
      HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
      1.92% (1999 est.)
      HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
      63,000 (1999 est.)
      HIV/AIDS - deaths 
      4,200 (1999 est.)
      Nationality 
      noun: Honduran(s)
      adjective: Honduran
      Ethnic groups 
      mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
      Religions 
      Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant minority
      Literacy 
      definition: age 15 and over can read and write
      total population: 74%
      male: 74%
      female: 74.1% (1999)

      Government

      Country name 
      conventional long form: Republic of Honduras
      conventional short form: Honduras
      local short form: Honduras
      local long form: Republica de Honduras
      Government type 
      democratic constitutional republic
      Legal system 
      rooted in Roman and Spanish civil law with increasing influence of English common law; recent judicial reforms include abandoning Napoleonic legal codes in favor of the oral adversarial system; accepts ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
      Suffrage 
      18 years of age; universal and compulsory
      Executive branch 
      chief of state: President Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (since 27 January 2002); First Vice President Vicente WILLIAMS Agasse (since 27 January 2002); Second Vice President Armida Villela Maria DE LOPEZ Contreras (since 27 January 2002); Third Vice President Alberto DIAZ Lobo (since 27 January 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
      head of government: President Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (since 27 January 2002); First Vice President Vicente WILLIAMS Agasse (since 27 January 2002); Second Vice President Armida Villela Maria DE LOPEZ Contreras (since 27 January 2002); Third Vice President Alberto DIAZ Lobo (since 27 January 2002); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
      cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
      elections: president elected by popular vote for a four-year term; election last held 25 November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2005)
      election results: Ricardo (Joest) MADURO (PN) elected president - 52.2%, Raphael PINEDA Ponce (PL) 44.3%, others 3.5%
      Legislative branch 
      unicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional (128 seats; members are elected proportionally to the number of votes their party's presidential candidate receives to serve four-year terms)
      elections: last held 25 November 2001 (next to be held NA November 2005)
      election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PN 61, PL 55, PUD 5, PDC 4, PINU-SD 3
      Judicial branch 
      Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges are elected for seven-year terms by the National Congress)
      Political parties and leaders 
      Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Dr. Hernan CORRALES Padilla]; Democratic Unification Party or PUD [leader NA]; Liberal Party or PL [Roberto MICHELETTI Bain]; National Innovation and Unity Party-Social Democratic Party or PINU-SD [Olban F. VALLADARES]; National Party of Honduras or PN [Raphael CALLEJAS]
      Political pressure groups and leaders 
      Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras or CODEH; Confederation of Honduran Workers or CTH; Coordinating Committee of Popular Organizations or CCOP; General Workers Confederation or CGT; Honduran Council of Private Enterprise or COHEP; National Association of Honduran Campesinos or ANACH; National Union of Campesinos or UNC; Popular Bloc or BP; United Federation of Honduran Workers or FUTH
      International organization participation 
      BCIE, CACM, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (subscriber), ITU, LAES, LAIA (observer), MINURSO, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW (signatory), PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
      Diplomatic representation in the US 
      chief of mission: Ambassador Mario Miguel CANAHUATI
      honorary consulate(s): Boston, Detroit, Jacksonville, and St. Louis
      consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), Tampa
      FAX: [1] (202) 966-9751
      telephone: [1] (202) 966-7702
      chancery: Suite 4-M, 3007 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
      Diplomatic representation from the US 
      chief of mission: Ambassador Larry Leon PALMER
      embassy: Avenida La Paz, Apartado Postal No. 3453, Tegucigalpa
      mailing address: American Embassy, APO AA 34022, Tegucigalpa
      telephone: [504] 238-5114, 236-9320
      FAX: [504] 236-9037
      Flag description 
      three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), white, and blue with five blue five-pointed stars arranged in an X pattern centered in the white band; the stars represent the members of the former Federal Republic of Central America - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua; similar to the flag of El Salvador, which features a round emblem encircled by the words REPUBLICA DE EL SALVADOR EN LA AMERICA CENTRAL centered in the white band; also similar to the flag of Nicaragua, which features a triangle encircled by the word REPUBLICA DE NICARAGUA on top and AMERICA CENTRAL on the bottom, centered in the white band

      Economy

      Economy - overview 
      Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, is banking on expanded trade privileges under the Enhanced Caribbean Basin Initiative and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. While the country has met most of its macroeconomic targets, it failed to meet the IMF's goals to liberalize its energy and telecommunications sectors. Growth remains dependent on the status of the US economy, its major trading partner, on commodity prices, particularly coffee, and on containment of the recent rise in crime.
      GDP 
      purchasing power parity - $17 billion (2001 est.)
      GDP - real growth rate 
      2.1% (2001 est.)
      GDP - per capita 
      purchasing power parity - $2,600 (2001 est.)
      GDP - composition by sector 
      agriculture: 18%
      industry: 32%
      services: 50% (2000 est.)
      Population below poverty line 
      53% (1993 est.)
      Household income or consumption by percentage share 
      lowest 10%: 0%
      highest 10%: 44% (1997) (1997)
      Distribution of family income - Gini index 
      59 (1997)
      Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
      9.7% (2001 est.)
      Labor force 
      2.3 million (1997 est.)
      Labor force - by occupation 
      agriculture 34%, industry 21%, services 45% (2001 est.)
      Unemployment rate 
      28% (2001 est.)
      Budget 
      revenues: $607 million
      expenditures: $411.9 million, including capital expenditures of $106 million (1999 est.)
      Industries 
      sugar, coffee, textiles, clothing, wood products
      Industrial production growth rate 
      4% (1999 est.)
      Electricity - production 
      3.573 billion kWh (2000)
      Electricity - production by source 
      fossil fuel: 37%
      hydro: 63%
      Electricity - consumption 
      3.593 billion kWh (2000)
      Electricity - exports 
      5 million kWh (2000)
      Electricity - imports 
      275 million kWh (2000)
      Agriculture - products 
      bananas, coffee, citrus; beef; timber; shrimp
      Exports 
      $2 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
      Exports - commodities 
      coffee, bananas, shrimp, lobster, meat; zinc, lumber
      Exports - partners 
      US 39.9%, El Salvador 9.2%, Germany 7.9%, Belgium 5.8%, Guatemala 5.4% (2000)
      Imports 
      $2.7 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
      Imports - commodities 
      machinery and transport equipment, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
      Imports - partners 
      US 46.1%, Guatemala 8.2%, El Salvador 6.6%, Mexico 4.7%, Japan 4.6% (2000)
      Debt - external 
      $5.6 billion (2001) (2001)
      Economic aid - recipient 
      $557.8 million (1999) (1999)
      Currency 
      lempira (HNL)
      Currency code 
      HNL
      Exchange rates 
      lempiras per US dollar - 16.0256 (January 2002), 15.9197 (2001), 15.1407 (2000), 14.5039 (1999), 13.8076 (1998), 13.0942 (1997)
      Fiscal year 
      calendar year

      Communications

      Telephones - main lines in use 
      234,000 (1997)
      Telephones - mobile cellular 
      14,427 (1997)
      Telephone system 
      general assessment: inadequate system
      domestic: NA
      international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); connected to Central American Microwave System
      Radio broadcast stations 
      AM 241, FM 53, shortwave 12 (1998)
      Radios 
      2.45 million (1997)
      Television broadcast stations 
      11 (plus 17 repeaters) (1997)
      Televisions 
      570,000 (1997)
      Internet country code 
      .hn
      Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
      8 (2000)
      Internet users 
      40,000 (2000)

      Transportation

      Railways 
      total: 595 km
      narrow gauge: 318 km 1.067-m gauge; 277 km 0.914-m gauge (2000)
      Highways 
      total: 15,400 km
      paved: 3,126 km
      unpaved: 12,274 km (1999 est.)
      Waterways 
      465 km (navigable by small craft)
      Merchant marine 
      total: 284 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 749,243 GRT/846,942 DWT
      note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Argentina 1, Bahrain 1, Belize 1, British Virgin Islands 1, Bulgaria 1, China 8, Costa Rica 1, Cyprus 1, Egypt 6, El Salvador 1, Germany 1, Greece 18, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 2, Italy 1, Japan 7, Lebanon 4, Liberia 4, Maldives 2, Marshall Islands 1, Mexico 1, Nigeria 1, Norway 1, Panama 14, Philippines 1, Romania 2, Russia 1, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Singapore 24, South Korea 12, Spain 1, Syria 1, Taiwan 4, Tanzania 1, Trinidad and Tobago 1, Turkey 2, Turks and Caicos Islands 1, United Arab Emirates 6, United Kingdom 1, United States 5, Vanuatu 1, Vietnam 1, Virgin Islands (UK) 1 (2002 est.)
      ships by type: bulk 20, cargo 166, chemical tanker 5, container 6, livestock carrier 1, passenger 3, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 54, refrigerated cargo 12, roll on/roll off 8, short-sea passenger 4, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 1
      Airports 
      117 (2001)
      Airports - with paved runways 
      total: 12
      2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
      1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
      914 to 1,523 m: 3
      under 914 m: 4 (2002)
      Airports - with unpaved runways 
      total: 103
      1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
      914 to 1,523 m: 18
      under 914 m: 83 (2002)

      Military

      Military branches 
      Army, Navy (including marines), Air Force
      Military manpower - military age 
      18 years of age (2002 est.)
      Military manpower - availability 
      males age 15-49: 1,563,174 (2002 est.)
      Military manpower - fit for military service 
      males age 15-49: 930,718 (2002 est.)
      Military manpower - reaching military age annually 
      males: 72,335 (2002 est.)
      Military expenditures - dollar figure 
      $35 million (FY99)
      Military expenditures - percent of GDP 
      0.6% (FY99)

      Transnational Issues

      Disputes - international 
      Honduras claims Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize; El Salvador disputes tiny Conejo Island off Honduras in the Golfo de Fonseca; many of the "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras boundary remain undemarcated despite ICJ adjudication in 1992; with respect to the maritime boundary in the Golfo de Fonseca, the ICJ referred to the line determined by the 1900 Honduras-Nicaragua Mixed Boundary Commission and advised a tripartite resolution among El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua; Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over disputed maritime boundary involving 50,000 sq km in the Caribbean Sea, including the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank
      Illicit drugs 
      transshipment point for drugs and narcotics; illicit producer of cannabis, cultivated on small plots and used principally for local consumption. Also local consumption of crack cocaine.Corruption is a major problem; some money-laundering activity

      External Links

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