Honduras Country Report
Companies that operate in Honduras are likely to face operational delays and long bureaucratic procedures when dealing with municipal governments. These range from local approvals for concessions and land permits to bribery and protests from local community activists. Infrastructure is poor and long traffic delays can affect cargo delivery schedules, especially near customs processing points. This is counterbalanced by the country's positive attitudes towards foreign direct investment, easy port access, and a relatively liberal labour market. Investment incentives include tax exemptions or waivers and targeted programmes to facilitate new business ventures.
There are no known terrorist groups operating in Honduras. However, changes under Honduran law currently define street gangs as terrorists, which has permitted long custodial sentences for extortion and intimidation crimes. Criminal groups demand regular payment of a "war tax" from businesses and individuals and use targeted assassinations to enforce demands. There are persistent allegations that paramilitary death squads have resumed operations in Honduras, although this has been denied by the head of the Honduran armed forces. Nevertheless, the country has a history of extrajudicial killings directed against "undesirables" including environmental activists and members of the LGBT community.
Political disputes in the aftermath of the contested November 2017 presidential election are unlikely to escalate. Ongoing border disputes with El Salvador and Nicaragua include disagreements over the demarcations of territorial water boundaries in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Fonseca, but military retaliations are unlikely. The military's primary focus is on internal security, tackling narco-trafficking and organised gangs.
Politically motivated demonstrations in major cities have decreased since the new government took office in January 2018. However, elevated violence and injury risks during protests and other demonstrations continue as police mobilise against protests with tear gas, batons, and rubber bullets to contain crowds and avoid escalations. Sectors of persistent unrest include resource extraction and infrastructure development sectors, where local activist groups countering hydro, solar, and mining activities use stones and other projectiles against police units armed with tear gas and water cannons that can sometimes result in private property damage and operational delays.
Vaccines required to enter the country
Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Honduras. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.
Vaccines recommended for all travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines recommended for most travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Vaccines recommended for some travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
Honduras (along with Myanmar and Haiti) has been the country most devastated by natural disasters over the past 20 years in terms of economic and human loss. Situational updates are available in Spanish on the website of the Honduran national civil protection (COPECO) in the event of storms or other natural disasters.
The rainy season typically lasts from May/June through October/November. During this period, floods, landslides, and powerful storms can occur, often damaging infrastructure and causing subsequent travel disruptions.
The rainy season also coincides with the North Atlantic Hurricane season. Hurricanes, tropical storms, and storm remnants can hit the country during this period, with storms particularly common in August through October. In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the region, left 7000 people dead and caused severe material damage.
There is also a risk of earthquakes. A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck in May 2009, causing property damage and several deaths.
Forest fires can strike during the dry season.
Driving conditions in Honduras are concerning due to aggressive driving habits, lax vehicle safety standards, and poor infrastructure (roads are often damaged by abundant rain, floods, and landslides). As such, vehicle collisions are relatively common.
Travel by car and bus after dark is therefore strongly advised against. As inter-city buses are often targeted by criminals, it is advisable to travel by air when possible for any long-distance journeys.
Due to risks associated with unlicensed taxis, it is advisable to only use "Radio Taxis" in Tegucigalpa and "Radio Taxi Barandillas" taxis in San Pedro Sula. In other towns and cities, choose taxis from taxi stations outside hotels and shopping centers, verifying that the driver's ID is displayed on the right-hand side of the windshield. Honduran taxis do not usually have meters; as such, it is advisable to agree to a price in advance.
The climate is tropical (hot and humid) along the coast and drier inland. Temperatures are much cooler in the interior of the country than along the coastline. The rainy season lasts from May until October (when the air is often stifling) but it rains regularly all year long along the Caribbean coast. The interior of the country and the Pacific coast region are dry from November until April. Temperatures and humidity levels are milder in the winter months.
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