Caribbean diving, jungle trekking or city dwelling, make sure you have travel insurance for your trip to Honduras.
Honduras is a picturesque spot in the Americas, home to fine white sand beaches, an impressive range of flora and fauna and a lively cultural scene. As a well-established tourist destination, Honduras boats a wide range of museums, archaeological tourist sites, resorts and natural attractions including world renowned dive sites. Neighbouring Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Caribbean ocean, Honduras has long drawn backpackers and travellers on their Central American adventure.
Like other countries in Central America, there are certain risks of travelling to Honduras and at this time the Australian government recommends travellers exercise a high degree of caution on their travels. This article will outline some of the risks to be aware of and what you should look for in your travel insurance policy.
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- Crime. Violent crime remain an issue in Honduras, including gang violence, carjackings, murder, armed robbery and assault. Firearms are common and there have been mass-shooting incidents in urban centres in the past. If you are robbed or attacked, assume your assailants are well armed and do not resist. Drink spiking occurs, and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS means victims of sexual assault should seek medical attention immediately. The Bay Islands are generally safer than the other areas of Honduras with significantly lower levels of crime. Border regions generally cary higher levels of crime and with smuggling prevalent.
- Ensure you have enough travel cover in place for any high value items you plan on bringing on your trip.
- Travel insurance can also cover stolen documents. Passports and other identification are popular targets and is can be advisable to get cover in place and keep secured.
- Weather events. Hurricane season in Honduras is from June to November. This is when flooding, landslides, heavy rains and road closures and service disruptions are more likely to occur. Monitor local media for weather news and updates, and if travelling during hurricane season familiarise yourself with evacuation plans at all your accommodation. Waterproof travel documents and other essentials, and expect delays when travelling in heavy weather.
- Travel insurance for cancellation can be advisable. If extreme weather at your destination disrupts your travel plans you can get reimbursed for missed flights.
- Transport risks. Exercise caution while travelling in Honduras. You are advised to only travel in daylight as the risk of carjacking and robbery sharply increases after dark. Keep your windows closed and doors locked, and be wary of roadside robberies, particularly when driving from an airport or in a rental car, as tourists may find themselves targeted. Poorly maintained roads and vehicles and unpredictable local driving habits may contribute to the dangers, as can farm animals and pedestrians on the road. Avoid unlicensed taxis, do not hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers, and stick to radio-dispatched and hotel cabs.
- Consider travel insurance rental car excess cover and liability cover if you will be driving a rental vehicle in Honduras.
- Disease. Mosquito-borne diseases, including dengue fever, Zika and malaria, are present in Honduras, with a particular risk during the rainy season from May to November. Consult your doctor prior to travelling, and consider deferring travel plans if you are pregnant. Water and food-borne illnesses and other transmissible diseases like HIV/AIDS, typhoid and tuberculosis are also a hazard, and travellers are advised to take all sensible precautions, including avoiding ice cubes and raw foods, and drinking only boiled or bottled water.
- Travel insurance with medical repatriation and evacuation is recommended as certain conditions might necessitate an airlift to facilities in Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, or to the United States. This costs tens of thousands of dollars, minimum.
- Seismic activity. Honduras is located in an active earthquake zone, and as a coastal region may also be subject to tsunamis. Travellers should familiarise themselves with evacuation procedures in their area and check local media for updates.
- Travel insurance can reimburse you if an earthquake or other disaster in Honduras disrupts your travel plans.
- Adventure activities. Zip-lining, bungee jumping, skydiving and other adventure pastimes in Honduras give you a chance to get the blood pumping in unique surroundings for a thrill to remember. But travel insurance policies generally won’t cover adventure sports by default so you might want to look into getting specific cover for these.
- Scuba diving, snorkelling and water sports. Honduras is a world-class scuba diving and snorkelling destination so there’s a good time to be had whether you’re a pro diver or are only just learning. Note that travel insurance conditions for scuba diving can vary between providers, especially in regards to depths covered.
- Museums and historical sites. Honduras has been attracting visitors for hundreds of years, many of whom have left their own architecture and cultural remnants behind. Some of the unique archaeological attractions in Honduras highlight the blend of colonial and traditional influences that have shaped the nation. Many can be found in the big cities, but others are more far-flung. If you’re pre-booking your visits or going with a tour group, consider tour cancellation cover for peace of mind.
In the event of a medical emergency in Honduras, your number-one priority is to ensure your own safety and seek medical attention.
- The standard of medical services in Honduras is highest in the major cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, but still limited even there. Outside these areas, health services become very sparse, so travel insurance for medical evacuation and repatriation is highly recommended.
- Doctors and hospitals will generally require payment up-front, even for life-threatening conditions. It is important to make sure your travel insurance policy pays for medical emergencies up-front, or alternatively, ensure you are able to pay the costs, potentially thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, out of pocket and then try to claim them back later.
In the event of an emergency in Honduras, you have several important points of contact.
- The Australian consulate in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Contact them for miscellaneous or legal issues. Although the practical help they can provide in certain situations may be limited, they can still offer advice and point you in the right direction. Call the consulate in Honduras on (504) 2236-6936 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your insurer. Your travel insurance provider should operate a 24-hour claims helpline – avoid insurers that are not contactable 24/7. Contact them as soon as you are reasonably and safely able in the event of any claim.
Honduras is part of the Central American Border Control Agreement (CA-4) along with Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. This means that if you have a valid entry card for one of these countries you can use it for all them.
Australians do not require a visa to enter Honduras, and instead simply need a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. This lets you stay for up to 90 days, renewable for another 30 days once you’re in the country.
The best time to visit Honduras is in February and March, when the weather is predictably warm and dry, the attractions are open and the forests are still lush. April to June has similar advantages but with somewhat wetter and less predictable weather.
Travel is not advisable during the wet season as you will likely encounter road closures, including those resulting from collapsed bridges.