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Would You Feel Safe Taking a Trip to Honduras?

Would You Feel Safe Taking a Trip to Honduras?

Old Aug 28, 13, 8:25 pm
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Would You Feel Safe Taking a Trip to Honduras?

So here's the situation, I have a $500 AA VDB voucher and they have some great Business Class fares from RDU-Honduras ($691 r/t to TGU or SAP). I'm considering going down for a few days after Christmas, maybe doing two days in Tegu and a day and a half in San Pedro Sula. However, the State Department's warnings and other things I've read do give me some pause. So I figured I'd get some advice from FT. Now, last year I went to Santo Domingo by myself and I'd be by myself in Honduras too and obviously I survived...how do Tegu and San Pedro Sula compare to Santo Domingo?
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Old Aug 28, 13, 9:27 pm
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Yes, but ...

Most of the problems outlined in the travel advisory are exactly those two cities. Even leaving aside the issue of their high crime rates, neither has much of interest to a traveler. If it were me, I'd fly to SAP and head to the town of Copan Ruinas, where you'll find the Maya ruins of Copan and, really, a lot of other things to see and do. There's enough there to keep you occupied for two or three days. The town also has a great selection of hotels and restaurants. The downside is that the week between Christmas and New Year's will probably be quite busy there with visitors.

The Honduran bus company Hedman Alas operates very comfortable coach service between San Pedro Sula and Copan Ruinas. Travel time is abut three hours one way. I would not attempt to drive.

www.hedmanalas.com

You want your destination to be Copan Ruinas, NOT Santa Rosa de Copan, although I think Santa Rosa is a nice place to visit too.
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Old Aug 29, 13, 2:51 pm
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I've been to all the Central American countries and Honduras was the one I felt least comfortable in. I didn't like Tegu but I have friends that have gone to SAP and enjoyed it. Not sure if its feasible with your timings but it might be better to get an internal flight to Roatan
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Old Aug 30, 13, 7:54 am
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Is there something particular in mind you wanted to do in Central America? Sight see/beach/jungle etc.
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Old Aug 30, 13, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by PICA View Post
I've been to all the Central American countries and Honduras was the one I felt least comfortable in.
+1

I take the state department warning with a grain of salt normally, but.....

I lived in Nicaragua awhile and now am in Mexico and I have also visited all the countries of Central America over the past few years. Honduras is the one I would probably not recommend at this time, just too many other safer places to go and save Honduras for later maybe when things get a little less iffy there.

Santo Domingo felt perfectly fine to me, MUCH better than Honduras.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 12:04 pm
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If I hadn't seen SJOGuy's reply, I would have written almost exactly the same thing. Those two cities are places you get out of asap to go somewhere better, not cities you visit on purpose.

Totally agree with his advice to visit lovely, peaceful, Copan Ruinas. You'll really enjoy it and you won't be afraid to walk around at night. Here's the best hotel in town, though Marina Copan is more convenient if you don't have a car, in the center.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 1:50 pm
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Originally Posted by globetrots View Post
If I hadn't seen SJOGuy's reply, I would have written almost exactly the same thing. Those two cities are places you get out of asap to go somewhere better, not cities you visit on purpose.
+1

You can also go down to the coast, and if you time it right take a boat to Roatan - I didn't time it right so ended up on a very nice mangrove tour with a couple of European tourists.

There is also whitewater rafting, but it was my impression, that similar to Belize, if it's not high season tours only run if there are enough people or you pay for the whole thing yourself.

And abovementioned busline is definitely the way to go

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Old Aug 31, 13, 1:53 pm
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Great answers so far from everyone, thank you. If I do go my plan would be:

12/26: Arrive TGU. See whatever there is to see there in the daylight, stay the night
12/27: Fly to SAP on the first flight, take the busline to the ruins
12/29: Busline back to SAP, fly home

That seems to be the best way to do it.
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Old Sep 1, 13, 7:05 pm
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If you haven't already purchased your tickets, I would like to offer my advice:

Reader's Digest Version: You likely need one more day to make this comfortable. Fly to SAP on the 26th, take a bus to Copan Ruinas on the 27th. Return to SAP on the 29th in the afternoon and fly home on the 30th. Copan is a great place and worth the extra time.

Detailed Version:

Honduras is dangerous, period. Going out at night in SAP or TGU, especially alone, should be done only if you have a reliable taxi and are going to a secure place (e.g., a nice hotel, restaurant); don't just walk from bar to bar. Even with precautions, however, things can happen. I was caught in a gun fight one evening and watched a man get shot, something that hasn't happened to me in Santo Domingo.

Don't bother flying to TGU for a day. I am not sure of your motivations for flying into TGU for less than 24 hours. You will not have time to sight-see and will simply be captive to your hotel. I would put that day towards Copan instead.

If your motivation is to experience landing at the airport - and that is a good reason - be mindful that the approach you see on YouTube is not very common. Most approaches are straight in to the south (RWY 20). Next, December is the end of the rainy season. TGU is prone to weather-related cancellations and given your short stay, a one-day delay can ruin the trip. I would fly to San Pedro instead.

If you must fly to TGU, take the bus from there directly to Copan. There is no need to spend the money on a flight to SAP. By the time you fly from TGU to SAP and then take the bus from there, you could have already been at the ruins for just the price of a bus ticket.

Buy your bus ticket and hotel early. Christmas time in LatAm is extremely busy and transport and hotels sell out, especially in quiet weekend places like Copan. Hedman Alas offers electronic bus tickets, but with their schedule you will not be able to return on the 29th and fly out the same day. There are other buses you can take that will likely allow you to do this trip in three days, but you will either need to call and pre-reserve your seat (if they allow that) or gamble on availability the day of departure.
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Old Sep 1, 13, 10:13 pm
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I have a good friend who has lived in Haiti, Cayman, Belize, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico (several locations) and at one time was married to Honduran woman and he still owns property there.

His opinion which I respect, is that the entire country is lawless and gringos have no place going there other than Roatan and that via direct flight from the USA.

Tegucigalpa, San Pedro, La Cieba, forget 'em all. El Salvador and Guatemala, too.

You want to see Central America and not a touristy all-inclusive?

Nicaragua
Panama in David, Boquete, etc.
Maybe CR, like Liberia but it is overrun by tourists and ex-pats.

You need good, not 100 word gringo, Spanish.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 9:40 am
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I think that's an awfully harsh assessment of Honduras. Security may very well be a nightmare for an expat who lives or owns property there. That does not translate into "Don't visit Honduras." Minimize your exposure to the cities (Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba) and you should be okay. And to pass on Guatemala because of a few pockets of security concerns? That's blasphemy in my book, rick.

That said, I don't see where the OP's itinerary can work. The AA and Hedman Alas schedules do not mesh. One extra day would make it doable. Flying into TGU and home from SAP serves no purpose if your real destination is Copan. If you are going to make such a trip, eliminate TGU entirely.

Must this even be a trip to Honduras? A little more time would serve you better.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 9:48 am
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I want to thank everyone for your input, it was very helpful and reminded me again why I love Flyertalk so much.

After some thought and consultations with other people in the know, I think I'm going to go to Nicaragua. I found a similar fare (though it's Y down, C back) and I can base myself in Managua and go to Granada and the Masaya Volcano National Park and have a good time.
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Old Sep 3, 13, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by CMK10 View Post
I can base myself in Managua and go to Granada and the Masaya Volcano National Park and have a good time.
That sounds good except the base in Managua

Managua is a pit - Granada would make a much better base.

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Old Sep 3, 13, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by EmailKid View Post
Granada would make a much better base.
You sure?!

Hello Muddah,
Hello Fadduh.
Here I am at
Camp Granada.


Oops, wrong Grenada. Hopefully, only the American Camp Granada has poison ivy, ptomaine poisoning, alligators, malaria, and bears...

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Old Sep 3, 13, 2:53 pm
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Much better choice given the limited time. Fly into MGA, but head right to Granada. It's about an hour from the airport. Do Masaya as your trip from there.

But, once again, it'll be the holidays. Make lodging and transport reservations in advance.
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