Honduras is branded as a corrupt and dangerous country, with San Pedro currently ranking as number 1 most dangerous city in the world (apparently). We never went to San Pedro, so we can't comment on that particular place, but everywhere we went in Honduras felt safe and we found the people to be more helpful and trusting than any other of Central American countries we visited. We heard bad comments regarding the bus system, but as far as doing this country in your own vehicle, it seems to be the better travelling option.
Whilst Spanish is the ruling language here, we found English was widely spoken, particularly along the coast. We spoke to more Brits in Utila than anywhere else we have been so far on this trip, so it's very backpacker focused.
What's Utila like? Even though it has the 'Carribean' tag, it fails to deliver on the paradise beach front, is overrun with tuk tuks and motorbikes, and just like NYC, it never sleeps, so tranquil it is not. However, we never branched out of Utila town (due to lack of time), so we can't say much about the rest of the island, except what we've been told.
It's simply summarised as a cheap diving course location and shot-taking party island. If that's not your scene, I wouldn't bother; if it is, go knock yourself out. People say you come to Utila and never want to leave, but for us, it didn't have that effect. We got bored fairly quickly, the foods options were narrowing by the fourth day, and the Mosquitos were ruthless.
Ideally, we would've liked another week in Honduras to explore around the lake with hikes in the cloud forrest and tubing down the river, obviously go to Roatan and some of the islands off the coast (eg Cayos Cochinos), but with the Corn island flights in Nicaragua booked, we were under time constraints. Plus, we would've needed a bigger budget eg the submarine trips in Roatan are priced FROM $500usd pp. I'm sure we'll be back...
Copan Ruins - purely for the sculptures. Well preserved.
Any of the hot springs. They were all well maintained and set amongst beautiful scenery.
Horse riding through coffee plantations and through the Copan mountains.
White water rafting down Rio Cangrejal. Epic grade V and IVs.
Cheap dive courses and for us personally finishing the PADI Rescue Course.
Guifiti jungle juice ;-). You've not tasted Honduras until you've had this technically illegal concoction.
D&D brewery - homemade beers and burgers. What's not to like?! You could spend a week here doing all the activities around the lake and hikes up the mountains.
Iguana sanctuary in Utila. It's disappointing...apart the Swampy's story.
Conditions of the roads in the north, particularly off the main highway.
Saying goodbye to Gwyn's moustache. He actually looks Amish now!
The occasional rain storms in Utila.
Police checks along the highways. In fairness we didn't get stopped that much, but it's still a pain.
Gwyn getting a dodgy stomach in Utila. Apparently, it's the standard first week induction to the island...
We thought this may be straight forward because of the next 4 countries being a part of the CA-4. This is only true if you have Central American plates.
1) Cancel your temporary import for Guatemala. You will need 1 copy of your passport, licence and one copy of your vehicle title. You will receive 2 copies of the cancelled notice - keep these handy as you will need them soon. During this process they will have a poke around your car.
2) Give one copy of your cancelled import notice to the police officer on the border.
3) Clear immigration. They will try and ask for an exit fee, there isn't a fee, so do not pay! Cross to Honduras...
1) Clear immigration. You will have to fill out an entry form. There is a charge of $3USD (60 Lempiras per person here), but you can also pay in Guatemalan money.
2) Go into customs to get a temporary import for your car. Here you will need 2 copies of your passport, licence and vehicle title. If you need copies you can get some on the Guatemalan side. NB: It's a massive rip-off for photocopies at the border, so get them done before you get here.
3) They will give you a load of forms to go an pay your fees at the bank. The fee is L680 ( approx £23GBP) . This is only payable in Lempiras. Money exchange people are at the border but will give you a poor rate (1USD:19L instead of 1USD:22L at a bank).
4) The bank will give you half of your forms back and a receipt. Take these back to customs.
5) Customs will issue a temporary import certificate. Keep it safe you will need to surrender it on your exit. Keep this on you.
6) Show your temporary import certificate and passport to the border officials. They will check everything matches.
The roads in Honduras are of varying quality ranging from pot-holed nightmare, which makes any straight road a slalom, to perfectly smooth and straight. The further south you go, the better the road conditions are. Apart from the short 10km stretch up to a Jungle Lodge near La Ceiba, there is no need to a 4WD vehicle.
The road connecting Copan ruinas to the south is pretty bad. Land slides have claimed large sections of the road and most of the time there are only a few branches laid across the road to warn you of the upcoming death traps. The roads in this region have some savage pot holes. We broke 2 suspension brackets along this route. Take it easy, slow down and enjoy the scenery. Once you have made it half way to La Ceiba things get a lot smoother. My top tip for this section of road, is to follow a truck. They slow in all the right places and swerve all over the place avoiding the big holes.
The dreaded topes (speed bumps) made a re-appearance. Totaly unmarked. Totaly invisible. Mainly only present in the north of the country though.
Fuel stations are frequent and prices range from L23-L28 (roughly £0.70GBP or $1.18USD) per litre. Prices at the pump state per gallon, but it is most certainly litres.
Once again we used Caarte Data GPS for this country. It worked without a glitch and the locations were very acurate.
All the below is based on an exchange rate of £1GBP = 33 Lempira.
During our 11 days in Honduras our budget was expected to be slightly different than other countries. We had several high priced activities (such as a dive course) planned thus infating our activities portion of the budget.
As we spent some time on Utila, this forced us to eat our 3 times per day for 5 days, this again increased our eating out portion of the budget. Food in supermarkets was relatively cheap, and although the selection isn’t massive, fresh produce is readily available.
During our time in Honduras we overspent by 3000L (£90GBP). We mainly attribute this to not considering the cost of eating out on Utila during our stay here, and also due to booking onto an expensive canopy and spa day (it was worth it though).
Diesel was 23-27 Lempira (£0.69GBP-£0.81GBP or $1.16USD-$1.37 per liter). Rather curiously nearly all fuel stations state that their price is for a gallon of fuel. Rest assured it is for a litre as I cannot fit 50 gallons in our fuel tank!
|Total||Per Day||Per Person||UK TOTAL||UK Per Day||UK Per Person|
|Food||HNL 355.00||HNL 32.27||HNL 16.14||£10.76||£0.98||£0.49|
|Drinks||HNL 583.00||HNL 53.00||HNL 26.50||£17.67||£1.61||£0.80|
|Activities||HNL 14,400.00||HNL 1,309.09||HNL 654.55||£436.36||£39.67||£19.83|
|Toll Roads||HNL 0.00||HNL 0.00||HNL 0.00||£0.00||£0.00||£0.00|
|Fuel||HNL 2,985.00||HNL 271.36||HNL 135.68||£90.45||£8.22||£4.11|
|Souveniers||HNL 153.00||HNL 13.91||HNL 6.95||£4.64||£0.42||£0.21|
|van maintenance||HNL 500.00||HNL 45.45||HNL 22.73||£15.15||£1.38||£0.69|
|eating out||HNL 5,296.00||HNL 481.45||HNL 240.73||£160.48||£14.59||£7.29|
|accomodation||HNL 0.00||HNL 0.00||HNL 0.00||£0.00||£0.00||£0.00|
|Laundry||HNL 600.00||HNL 54.55||HNL 27.27||£18.18||£1.65||£0.83|
|Border Crossing||HNL 780.00||HNL 70.91||HNL 35.45||£23.64||£2.15||£1.07|
|Transport||HNL 2,064.00||HNL 187.64||HNL 93.82||£62.55||£5.69||£2.84|
|Parking||HNL 560.00||HNL 50.91||HNL 25.45||£16.97||£1.54||£0.77|
|Total||HNL 28,276.00||HNL 2,570.55||HNL 1,285.27||£856.85||£77.90||£38.95|