Why You Should Never Go to Honduras (But it’s okay to go to Roatan!)
The crystal white beaches, lush jungles, and unbelievably diverse marine life…Roatan seems like a diver’s dream come true. Don’t be fooled though. The Bay Islands are vastly different from the mainland, which is well-known for having one of the highest murder rates in the entire world.
If you’re headed for the coasts of Roatan or Utila, you have nothing to fear. Hotels and resorts on the islands are in areas mostly devoted to tourism, and they work very hard to make your stay as carefree as possible. Don’t assume that the same holds true across the water. Travel to Honduras at your own peril. With political instability, crime, and disease prevalent throughout the country, you risk far more than you gain.
Corruption and civil unrest have plagued this country for years. Electoral fraud is rampant, and, perhaps as a result, political upheavals are far more common than they should be. The growing gap between the rich and the poor only fuels animosity, and there’s no sign that conditions will improve.
Tourists are far from a priority in a country that has done little to take care of the safety and welfare of its own citizens.
In 2015, there were 60 deaths per 100,000 people in Honduras. While the murder rate has steadily fallen from a shocking 20 murders per day in 2012, the numbers are far higher than even the most dangerous cities in the United States. Flint, Michigan pales in comparison.
Crime is concentrated in the main cities including Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba, but there are certainly no areas of the country that can be considered safe. Gang violence rules on the streets of these cities, and illegal drugs regularly pass through Honduras on their way to the United States.
Health & Sanitation:
Honduras is rife with disease including but not limited to Hepatitis A and B, HIV/AIDS, and the Zika virus. If you plan on visiting, you should know that:
- Tap water is usually contaminated and is certainly not safe for consumption. If you must get water from the sink, make sure to boil or filter it before drinking or risk contracting traveler’s diarrhea, cholera, or typhoid.
- Mosquitos in Honduras carry malaria, a fatal disease. Since there is no vaccine against malaria, you’ll have to cover up to the best of your abilities and make sure to carry insect repellent with you wherever you go.
- Medical facilities are sparse and usually inadequate. If you happen to contract a deadly disease, there is little mainlanders can do for you while you’re travelling.
Why is Roatan safer than Honduras?
Access to Roatan is fairly limited. Admittance to the island is restricted to controlled entry points including the airport, ferries, and cruise docks. Moreover, since there’s only one main road into town, it’s far easier for the police to stem the flow of mainlanders.
That being said, you should always exercise caution when travelling in a foreign country, particularly in Central and South America. Don’t walk around at night by yourself, avoid remote beaches and deserted jungle paths unless you’re with a guide, and store your valuables securely in a hotel or out of site in a zipped bag on your person if you must bring them with you.
Time to Pack Your Bags?
Roatan has, without a doubt, some of the best diving spots in the entire world. Don’t let the danger of the mainland deter you from enjoying this tropical paradise. However, make sure not to let the beauty of the Bay Islands lull you into a false sense of security.