Honduras - Important Facts
Dec 10, 2012
Geographically, Honduras is located in the heart of Central America and with approximately 112, 500 square kilometers, is the second largest country in the Central American Republic. Honduras does not have any active volcanoes, but past volcanic activity is evident. It is known as the most mountainous country in this part of the world and shares coasts on both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, with the Caribbean being the much larger coastline. Additionally, only 49 km’s off the Caribbean shoreline, you can be at the stunning Bay Islands of Honduras. Located on the south-eastern end of the great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the most bio diverse barrier reef in the world, the Bay Islands are a premier diving destination for experienced divers, beginners and everyone in between. Aside from Honduras’ obvious natural beauty, it is a diverse country with much to offer.
Honduras has a strong network of protected areas and National Parks along the north coast. This has actually created a biological corridor along Honduras’ Caribbean coastline and provides some of the richest biodiversity in the Americas, all within this one, small country!
With over 600 km’s of coastline, Honduras is the only one of the five Central American countries that has developed its Caribbean shores. Cities such as Trujillo, Tela and La Ceiba have all developed a tourism infrastructure and provide quality hotels, resorts and restaurants for visitors to discover, all while regarding the sustainability of the environment and well-being of the local communities.
The Bay Islands of Honduras are standouts in this part of the Caribbean. Offering a distinctive culture and a different landscape from the mainland, the residents of Roatan, Guanaja and Utila are very proud of their British heritage. A popular destination, the Bay Islands provide a laid-back, English-speaking environment for diving fans from around the world.
Honduras also has a small Pacific coastline. Located in the Gulf of Fonseca – shared with Nicaragua and El Salvador – are two relatively large islands, Isla del Tigre and Isla Zacate Grende. There is certainly tourism potential in this part of Honduras, but due to the small opening into the Gulf and the islands sheltering the coast, surfing is not an option. In addition, the coastline tends to be highly populated with mangrove forests and mangrove islands. That being said, there are some lovely black sand beaches of volcanic origin and it’s worth the short trip out to see Isla del Tigre.
Honduras boasts 4 International airports throughout the country with the ability to bring in visitors; recent and ongoing upgrades to major highways make it easy to navigate Honduras once arrived.
Honduras isn’t all laid-back beach towns and lounging in the sun, there are some very bustling centers in this country. The capital city, Tegucigalpa, is home to one and a half million people and is the political centre for Honduras. San Pedro Sula, located on the north coast, is another important city. Considered to be the largest non-capital city in Central America, it houses the most important International airport in Honduras and has become the manufacturing and financial centre of the country.
In the past 20 years, the Honduran economy has been able to diversify itself. In the early 1900’s, Honduras was known as the ‘Banana Republic’ and was the largest producer and exporter of bananas in the world. Currently, Honduras is the 5th largest producer of coffee and exports more coffee than any other Central American country. Additionally, African Palm oil – widely used to produce vegetable oil – watermelon and cantaloupe are major products deriving from Honduras.
Tax incentives in the 1990s made Honduras a very attractive place for investment in bond manufacturing. As a result, the country was actually competing with Mexico and in the end, many international manufacturers including Taiwan, Korea and the U.S. set up business in Honduras. Those in bond manufacturing enterprises have become the largest year round employers in the country.
Honduras Way of Life
The typical lifestyle in Honduras depends greatly on where in the country you reside and if you are of local origin or an expatriate. If you are a North American visiting, or are considering residency, you will likely find Honduras to be very comfortable. With a wide variety of restaurants, natural attractions availability of electronic comforts (satellite TV, cell phone towers) and affordability, it’s easy to see why Honduras is becoming a popular destination for expats.
Socializing and visiting is a regular weekend pass time in Honduras. Typically meeting in a park, or at a home, are the main venues to mingle. However, it’s just as easy to have a quick bank transaction turn into a 2-hour social meeting.
Family ties are strong in Honduras with parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, children and cousins commonly living in the same home. The typical Honduran lives in what North Americans consider to be poverty - usually a two-room home with dirt floors and few modern conveniences.
Hondurans put their faith and work first and foremost in their everyday life. After that, it’s time to enjoy some fun time. The national sport is soccer and you will find the Hondurans playing it anywhere and everywhere! Additionally, cards and dice are enjoyed games and, depending on social status, cycling, golf, tennis, etc are all readily available.
Honduras is an ethnically diverse country thanks to its rich history. With more then 5.6 million people living in the country, and an annual growth of 2.6%, Honduras is continuing to become even more diverse as more people discover it as a country that they can settle in. There is much to discover about Honduras and a short visit will only scrape the surface.