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Living in Honduras

A practical guide to the way of life in Honduras

Honduras is a beautiful tropical country, but it has unfortunately a high crime rate. Expats should therefore be aware of the threats and opportunities in Honduras, which still has much to offer. Read our guide for info on safety, healthcare, education and more.

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Life in Honduras

Honduras is a republic in Central America sharing land borders with Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and with both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. The country consists of the mainland, the three Bay Islands of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, and the lesser known Swan Islands, which are uninhabited apart from a small navy base. While the country was once rich in natural resources, it is economically, politically, and socially unstable, and known to be one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere.

Healthcare in Honduras

While there are some state funded hospitals in Honduras, they are underfunded and there is a shortage of medicine. Expats living in Honduras are advised to have health insurance and use private clinics where possible. There is a high risk of both waterborne and vector-borne diseases including dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, typhoid, and bacterial diarrhea, so it is advised for expats traveling to Honduras to be vaccinated, and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using a repellent. 

There is a vast difference in water sanitation between the rural and urban areas of Honduras. It is considered unsafe to drink the tap water, even in the cities, but bottled water is widely available.

Education in Honduras

Approximately 95% of the population in Honduras is literate. The average time spent in school is 11 years, but some of this figure is due to repetition of grade years. While the enrolment rate is high at almost 100%, the completion rate is roughly half of all those enrolled. The quality of education is poor by international standards, and teacher and school accountability is lacking. A reasonable number of children are put to work instead during their school years. The child labor rate is high and the unemployment rate among 15-24 year olds comparatively low.

There are a number of schools in Honduras, some bilingual (Spanish and English) and some even trilingual (Spanish, English and Arabic, French or German). For expats moving to Honduras with children, there are many international schools, too, with some offering the British or American curriculum, and others teaching the international baccalaureate.

The National University of Honduras is a public university with campuses in most Honduran cities, nationwide, and it is thought to be one of the largest university systems in Central America. The main campus is in the capital city of Tegucigalpa and is home to the Medical School.

Safety and Security in Honduras

Honduras is reported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to have the highest intentional homicide rate in the world. That said, this is not thought to affect expatriates so much as native Hondurans. With the poverty level in the country sitting at more than 50%, there is a high level of crime, including petty theft and robbery. It is advised for expats living in Honduras to always carry a small amount of money to avoid confrontation in the event of an incident. The emergency number for the police is 199.

Expats have experienced crime at points of transit, such as on ferries to the Bay Islands, at borders with El Salvador or Guatemala, or at public transport terminals. It is wise to avoid traveling around alone, using side roads, or accepting lifts from strangers, but with some common sense, expats shouldn’t have any problems in Honduras.

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Updated on: December 06, 2018
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