What do you know about Honduras
Honduras at a glance
Tropical rainforest and dreamlike Caribbean islands, pirate bays and palm beaches, quiet indigenous villages and old colonial fortresses of the conquistadors, plus the world-famous Mayan ruins of Copán: The travel destination Honduras is rich in contrasts and unspoiled by tourists has been. The country bordering the Caribbean and Pacific was already considered one of the poorest in Latin America.
Others had long since siphoned off the wealth: the Spaniards in the gold and silver mines during the colonial period, the international trading companies and large landowners in the 19th and 20th centuries on banana, pineapple and coffee plantations. Anyone touring Honduras needs to know what they are getting into. In the rarest of cases, one needs to look out for luxury hotels and hope for a smooth organizational journey. In addition, you should always have drinking supplies and a flashlight on hand - the water and power outages due to ...
The largest cities in Honduras are the capital Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula in the northwest of the country. In both cases, the degree of attraction is limited. As in other metropolises in Central and South America, neither of the two should be ascribed to any of the two with its formative old colonial charm; San Pedro Sula is an indispensable springboard for two interesting excursions: to Omoa and to Copán. Omoa is located 65 kilometers north near the lackluster port city of Puerto Cortés and attracts with the stately Spanish fortress of San Fernando. It lies a bit inland, was built between 1752 and 1780 and equipped with more than two dozen cannons, with whose help various attacks by the British and French were thrown off. A tour leads from the Plaza de Armas into the old powder chamber, into the cannon ball bearings, the dormitories, kitchen and storage rooms. From the upper fortress plateau there are beautiful views of the sea and the green mountains of the hinterland.
The second worthwhile trip leads from San Pedro Sula in the far west of Honduras towards the border with Guatemala. After 170 kilometers and a drive through green hills and past cattle pastures, corn and tobacco fields, you reach the quiet town of Copán. Here you will find some accommodations, simple local restaurants and the Parque Central with its chalk-white church. About one kilometer outside is the Parque Arqueológico Copán Ruinas - and thus a highlight for visitors to all of Honduras, where you can venture into the mysterious world of Mayan culture. Some scientists assume that the Copán Valley was settled by the Maya as early as the fifth century BC. The Spanish conquistadors did not get to see Copán because the ceremonial and residential center was already deserted and overgrown by jungle. Only a scientific expedition in 1839, led by the American John Lloyd Stephens and the British Frederick Catherwood, brought Copán back to light. The researchers bought the huge area from the indigenous people for 50 dollars. Today the restored ruins of Copán are part of the cultural heritage of mankind and bear witness to the so-called "Classical Mayan Era" from 5th to 9th centuries. Century, when the dynasties were at the height of their power. Magnificent steles, altars and temples stand out everywhere, which has led some researchers to rave about Copán as the "Athens of the Maya". Unique in Copán are the fully sculpted, relief-covered steles, which show important personalities of their civilization in full regalia. A tour leads through the two main squares, where sacrifices once took place, as well as the ball playground, which is bordered by ramps, and the hieroglyphic staircase, which is made up of more than 1,200 blocks of inscriptions. You can also see the Mayan living areas of El Bosque and Las Sepulturas.
Even if they did not discover Copán, the Honduran West was not spared by the conquistadors. Those who opposed them, such as the brave Lenca leader Lempira (1537/38), were killed and are still revered as heroes today. The Spaniards pushed their conquest and missionary mania forward and expanded centers such as Santa Rosa de Copán and Gracias, whose colonial character with sacred architecture is still preserved today. Gracias, which was founded in 1536, is characterized by its friendly character and fertile, green surroundings. It is a city of churches, above which a small fortress hill with the Fortaleza San Cristóbal rises. A local excursion leads from Gracias to the Parque Nacional Celaque, which begins eight kilometers to the west and surrounds the Cerro de Celaque, Honduras' highest mountain at 2,827 meters.
East of Gracias one moves towards the heartland, where the national road 5 connects San Pedro Sula with Tegucigalpa. The 250 kilometer long axis leads around the beautiful Yojoa Lake - from there: excursions to the 30 meter high Pulhapanzak waterfall - and touches the town of Comayagua, founded in 1537, which was the capital of the country for around three centuries and was only replaced by Tegucigalpa in 1880. In the core area, the busy Comayagua has retained a colonial ambience. Particularly beautiful: the cathedral with its richly decorated facade.
About 90 kilometers separate Comayagua from the capital Tegucigalpa, which is embedded in a mountainous world at 930 meters above sea level. The metropolis has grown far apart and grown together from two parts: the old town and the former indigenous settlement Comayagüela on the other side of the Río Choluteca. In the outskirts there is sometimes appalling poverty. The main destinations to visit in Tegucigalpa include Parque Central with the San Miguel Cathedral, the old Franciscan Church of San Francisco, the Manuel Bonilla National Theater, the Villa Roy National Museum and the Los Dolores Church, which has a magnificent baroque facade. Numerous street stalls give Tegucigalpa the appearance of a continuous open-air market. Popular local excursions lead from Tegucigalpa to Santa Lucía (pleasant mountain climate, colonial church), to the artisan town of Valle de Ángeles (wood carvings, leather and wickerwork), to the pilgrimage site of Suyapa and to the Parque Nacional La Tigra with its foggy forests.
Tegucigalpa creates a connection to the deep south of Honduras, which is traversed by the Carretera Interamericana, the "dream road of the world", over a width of around 140 kilometers. The Pacific coastline and its nearby hinterland are determined by the 60,000-inhabitant city of Choluteca, the hot port city of San Lorenzo and the Fonseca Gulf. There are numerous islands spread across the Gulf of Fonseca, including the inhabited Isla El Tigre, which is characterized by a few beaches and where - according to legend - the notorious corsair Sir Francis Drake is said to have hidden some of his treasures.
Palm beaches in northern Honduras
Completely different images and worlds open up on the Caribbean coast, where the black Garífunas are native and occupy a special position among the Honduran ethnic groups. A piece of Africa on the Honduran coast! During the British occupation at the end of the 18th century, they were forcibly brought from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent to the Islas de la Bahía and the Honduran coastal zones. The social and family structures of the Garífunas have been preserved to this day as well as their own language, their dances and music as well as archaic religious rites. Typical Garífunas villages such as La Ensenada, Triunfo de la Cruz, San Juan and Tornabé are located near the 30,000-inhabitant coastal town of Tela. West of Tela you enter the Parque Nacional Punta Sal, a 780 km² area with tropical wet forests, mangrove forests, beaches and coral reefs. The largest city on the north coast is the friendly and bustling La Ceiba, which owes its existence to the banana industry and its connection to the national rail network at the end of the 19th century. Popular excursions lead from La Ceiba to the Parque Nacional Pico Bonito (rainforests and cloud forests around the 2,436 meter high summit of Pico Bonito) and to the Reserva de Vida Silvestre Cuero y Salado (mangrove forest, swamps, habitat of Sea cows and crocodiles). The last important city in the north is Trujillo, 150 kilometers east of La Ceiba, which was founded by the Spanish in 1525. The port town is located in a spacious bay between the confluences of the Cristales and Negro rivers and at the foot of the 1,235 meter high Cerro Calentura massif. The few places to visit in Trujillo include Fortaleza Santa Bárbara, Parque Central and the old cemetery with the grave of the dubious adventurer William Walker, who was shot here in 1860. East of the city you can reach the Laguna de Guaimoreto, known for its abundance of birds.
Apart from the scattered settlements and the Garífuna town of Limón, the Honduran world east of Trujillo has come to an end. Behind it begins the vastness of the Mosquitia, a largely inaccessible and isolated area with lagoons, mangrove forests, huge estuary areas, jungle, swamp and savannah landscapes as well as the Río Plátano biosphere reserve, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The most important places in the Mosquitia are Puerto Lempira, Brus Laguna and Palacios; Feeder only by air, tours organized through tour operators, the main means of transport is the boat.
A paradisiacal addition to Honduras opens up with the Islas de la Bahía, an archipelago around 50 kilometers off the north coast, which is regularly approached from the mainland and also from the USA. The three main islands are called Roatán (127 km²), Guanaja (56 km²) and Útila (41 km²) and attract divers and snorkelers from all over the world with their coral reef landscapes. The best tourist infrastructure - including luxurious resorts - can be found on Roatán. Sandy beaches are at the West End and Sandy Bay, all strings come together in the island's capital Coxen Hole, Oak Ridge is made up of a mosaic of multi-colored stilt buildings. Individualists are drawn to Roatán in the West End, a cozy coastal town with a drop-out and globetrotter atmosphere.
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General travel information and current Entry requirements as well as notes on security and medical care can be found on the following pages of the Foreign Office (Berlin): Foreign Office
The only two seasons are determined by the rainy season (May to October / November) and the dry season (November / December to April / May). Apart from the higher mountain regions, a warm, tropical climate dominates all year round. In most parts of the country, the northeast trade wind causes precipitation. In the north and north-east there is 2,500 mm of precipitation per year, in the rest of the country usually between 900 and 2,000 mm. Best travel time: the months with less rainfall.
The national currency is Lempira, named after the indigenous leader of the same name, who bravely opposed the Spanish conquistadors. 1 Lempira = 100 Centavos, 1 US $ currently corresponds to around 17 Lempira. Travelers should bring a certain amount of US dollars in cash (preferably "small" bills) as well as travelers' checks also made out in US dollars. Well-known credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are increasingly being accepted in hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies. However, there is a catch: As a rule, an additional surcharge of around 8% is charged for payment by credit card.
In central Central America. Honduras is bordered by Nicaragua to the east and southeast, El Salvador to the south, Guatemala to the west, the Caribbean to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The coastline is around 880 kilometers on the Caribbean side and around 150 kilometers on the Pacific side.
112,376 km², about one and a half times the size of Bavaria.
A broad coastal zone on the Caribbean side (Gulf of Honduras), a narrow coastal zone on the Pacific side (Gulf of Fonseca). Great plains on the Caribbean coast; the Islas de la Bahía (Roatán, Utila, Guanaja) and the Cayos Cochinos are in front of this. In the center and west of the country, there are medium mountain areas with heights between 1,000 and 1,800 meters, with valley basins and plateaus in between. Most of the people live in the fertile high valleys in the center of the country - including the areas around San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. To the northeast and east lie the vast river deltas of Río Patuca and Río Coco (the longest river in the country at 725 kilometers) as well as the marshes and lagoons of the Mosquitia. The south of the country, which is characterized by scrub and pastureland, is comparatively flat.
Cerro de Celaque (2,827 meters).
The president is the presidential republic, head of state and head of government.
Tegucigalpa (900,000 inhabitants).
5.5 million inhabitants, which corresponds to a population density of around 49 inhabitants per km². The population growth is extremely high and amounts to 2.9% per year. The population is made up as follows: 89% mestizo, 7% indigenous, 2% black, 1.5% white, smaller groups. The most important indigenous ethnic groups include the Chortís, Lencas, Misquitos, Pech, Tawahkas and Tolupanes and - as a further population group - the blacks (Garífunas).
Spanish (official language), English, indigenous languages and dialects.
85% Catholics, 10% Protestants, smaller religious communities.
The Carretera Interamericana, the "dream road in the world", runs through the south of the country and connects El Salvador with Nicaragua. The bus system is well developed. The east of the country (Mosquitia) can be reached by plane or boat, but many areas are not passable at all during the rainy season. The most important sea ports are Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean and San Lorenzo on the Pacific coast. Important airports in San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba and Roatán (Islas de la Bahía).
Honduras is an agricultural country. The gross domestic product is distributed as follows: 53% services, 24% industry and 23% agriculture. In contrast, around 48% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, 34% in the service sector and 18% in industry. The main export products are bananas (heavy losses from Hurricane "Mitch"), coffee, lead and zinc, while machines, chemical products and processed goods are primarily supplied. The main trading partners are the USA, Japan, Germany and Venezuela. In addition to bananas and coffee, sugar cane, cotton and citrus fruits are also grown in agriculture. Significant livestock farming. The tourism industry is aiming for new markets with eco and ethnotourism, but in a poor country like this one there is a lack of funds for effective PR campaigns.
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