Key Country Facts
A unique fact is that the Bay Islands in Honduras are in the second largest coral reef in the world. Honduras is the #6 world coffee exporter and #1 in Central America, Arabica beads, bananas, & wood. The capital is Tegucigalpa and the main religions are Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Mennonite, Jehovah’s Witness, and around 300 smaller Protestant groups. Its main exports are coffee, shrimp, automobile wile harnesses, clothing, palm oil, gold, bananas, fruit, lobster, and cigars. The time zone is 1 hour behind EST, though it does not use Daylight Saving Time.
Also interesting for those who love white water rafting is that the Patuca River in Honduras is known for rapids called “El Portal del Infierno,” meaning, “The Gates of Hell.” Despite having a lot of farming, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Central America. Most of the money goes to a few wealthy farmers and to agricultural businesses, with very little money trickling down to the workers.
Honduras is known as the bad boy in Central America. And to be honest, with good reason. 1.4 of its 8.5 million inhabitants live in a lawless region. The capital city “Teguz” is paralyzed by fear, caused by nothing less than domestic terrorism. Rival gangs Mara Salva Trucha (smart trout), 13th and 18th street gang members off one another daily and these executions are shown on the local news stations, one after another. But it doesn’t stop at murder. Extortion is a huge problem … and fees paid by small business owners to the gangs is a significant overhead expense. So, what if you don’t pay? You’ll end up dead … or you’ll have to pay for a private security company to protect you.
A fellow North Carolinian I met here had three friends murdered in Teguz last year, and his doctor was murdered for not paying the gang leader. While I’m always vigilant while traveling and don’t normally obsess about security, I took great care while in Honduras. The foreigners who live here told me that gangs will slit your throat for a dollar.
To be fair, Honduras is more than murder, but it’s hard to extoll its virtues. I don’t recommend visiting Copan Mayan ruins or the jungle lodges in Rio Cangrejal because you have to fly into San Pedro Sula (the world’s homicide capital). While I didn’t get to Roatan or Utila I’ve been told they’re safe from the aforementioned troubles.