HONDURAN Facts & Figures
Size: over 112,492 km²
Population: an estimated population of almost eight million
Weather / Climate:
Best time to visit:
The climate is tropical with cooler, more temperate weather in the mountains. The north coast is very hot with rain throughout the year, and though the offshore breezes temper the climate, the sun is very strong. The dry season is from November to April and the wet season runs from May to October.
Lightweight cottons and linens; warmer clothes are recommended between
November and February and in the mountains. Waterproofs are needed for
the wet season.
Honduras shares borders in the southeast with Nicaragua, in the west with Guatemala, and in the southwest with El Salvador. To the north lies the Caribbean and to the south the Pacific Ocean. The interior of the country comprises a central mountain system running from east to west, cut by rivers flowing into both the Caribbean and Pacific. The lowlands in the south form a plain along the Pacific coast. The Gulf of Fonseca in the southwest contains many islands which have volcanic peaks. The large fertile valleys of the northern Caribbean lowlands are cultivated with banana plantations. However, large areas of land in Honduras are unsuitable for cultivation. The majority of the population lives in the western half of the country, while the second-largest concentration of people is in the Cortés area which extends northwards from Lake Yojoa towards the Caribbean.
The Spanish language is the predominant language, while (pidgin) English is spoken along the Caribbean and the Islas de la Bahia Department. Indigenous Amerindian languages (in several dialects) and Garifuna is also spoken, though English is becoming more popular everywhere where it was not widely spoken, due to efforts by the government, including making English the second language . Along the northern coast live communities of Garifuna speakers who maintained a separate culture.
Population:8,143,564 (July 2011 est.)
0–14 years: 36.7% (male 1,528,271/female 1,464,428)
15–64 years: 59.5% (male 2,431,607/female 2,412,951)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 136,03/female 170,272) (2011 est.)
Population growth rate:1.888% (2011 est.)
Birth rate:25.14 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate:5.02 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:-1.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15–64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:20.44 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.61 years
male: 68.93 years
female: 72.37 years (2011 est.)
Total fertility rate:3.09 children born/woman (2011 est.)
Ethnic groups:Mestizo or white (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Religions:Roman Catholic 47%, Protestant 36%, other 17% (from the "International Religious Freedom Report," 2008) CIA World Factbook 2009: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant, 3%
Languages:Spanish, Amerindian languages
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.2%
female: 76.3% (2003 est.)
Honduran cuisine is a fusion of African, Spanish, and indigenous cuisine. Its most notable feature is that it uses more coconut than any other Central American cuisine in both sweet and savory dishes. Regional specialties include fried fish, tamales, carne asada and baleadas.
Other popular dishes include: meat roasted with chimolcarne asada, chicken with rice and corn, and fried fish with pickled onions and jalapeños. In the coastal areas and in the Bay Islands, seafood and some meats are prepared in many ways, some of which include coconut milk.
Among the soups the Hondurans enjoy are bean soup, mondongo soup (tripe soup), seafood soups and beef soups. Generally all of these soups are mixed with plaintains, yuca (cassava) and cabbage, and served with corntortillas.
Other typical dishes are the montucas or corn tamale, stuffed tortillas, and tamales wrapped in banana leaves. Also part of Honduran typical dishes is an abundant selection of tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, plum, zapotes, passion fruit and bananas which are prepared in many ways while they are still green.
Soft drinks are often drunk with dinner or lunch.
Hondurans usually have a large, hearty breakfast. It typically consists of fried eggs (whole or scrambled), refried beans, Honduran salty sour cream (mantequilla), hard olancho cheese, avocado, sweet fried plantains, and tortillas. It is common for most households to first prepare tortillas, a staple for nearly every dish, which are used throughout the rest of the day. Other breakfast favorites include: carne asada (roasted meat) and Honduran spicy sausages (chorizo). Like many other places throughout the world, a good breakfast will be accompanied with hot, dark—in this case Honduran—coffee.
Street vendors often sell for breakfast baleadas made of the flour tortillas, toppings such as eggs, meat, and even pickled onions; And small Tamales made of sweet yellow corn dough, called "Tamalitos de Elote" eaten with sour cream; fresh Horchata and Posole is also common.
Sopa de caracol
Sopa de caracol(conch soup) is one of the most representative dishes of the Honduran cuisine. This soup was made famous throughout Latin America because of a catchy song from Banda Blanca called "Sopa de Caracol." The conch is cooked in coconut milk and the conch's broth, with spices, yuca (cassava), cilantro, and green plaintains known as guineo verde. Other varieties including crab, fish or shrimp are known as Sopa Marinera.
Carneada is considered one of Honduras' national dishes, known as Plato Típico when served in Honduran restaurants. While it is a type of dish, a Carneada or Carne Asada, like its Mexican counterpart, is usually more of a social event with drinks and music centered around a feast of barbecued meat. The cuts of beef are usually marinated in sour orange juice, salt, pepper and spices, and then grilled.
The meat is usually accompanied by chimol salsa (made of chopped tomatoes, onion and cilantro with lemon and spices), roasted plátanos (sweet bananas), spicy chorizos, olanchano cheese, tortillas, guacamole and refried mashed beans.
Rice and beans
Rice and beans is a popular side dish in the Honduran Caribbean coast. The dish is typically cooked in coconut milk with cilantro and spices.
Fried yojoa fish
A famous dish throughout the country, which is found in the Yojoa Lake. The fish is spiced and salted and later deep fried. It is served with pickled onions, pickled red cabbage, and deep fried plátanos tajaditas (sliced bananas).
The baleada is one of the most common street foods in Honduras. The basic style is made of a flour tortilla which is folded and filled with refried beans, quesillo or Parmesan cheese and sour cream. Many people add roasted meat, avocado, plaintains or scrambled eggs as well. There are Honduran Fast-food chains that serve different kinds of Baleadas.
Maize and tortillas
Tortillas are to Hondurans what bread is to Europeans. Corn, or maíz, is a staple in Honduran cuisine. Eating corn comes to Hondurans as an inheritance of their Maya-Lenca ancestors; the Maya believed corn to be sacred, and that the father gods created men from it.
Some tortilla based dishes include: Tacos Fritos: Tortillas are filled in with ground meat or chicken and rolled into a flute. The rolled tacos are then deep fried and served with raw cabbage, hot tomato sauce, cheese and sour cream as toppings.
Catrachitas: A common simple snack, made of deep fried tortilla chips covered with mashed refried beans, cheese and hot sauce. A variant of this snack are de Chilindrinas, deep fried tortilla strips with hot tomato sauce and cheese. It is common in Honduran restaurants to serve an Anafre, a clay pot with melting cheese or sour cream, mashed beans and sometimes chopped chorizo (Honduran sausage) heated on top of a clay container with burning charcoal, and tortilla fried chips to dip in. Similar to Swiss fondue.
Enchiladas: The whole Tortilla is deep fried and served with a variety of toppings. First ground pork meat is placed, next raw chopped cabbage or lettuce, then hot tomato sauce, guacamole and a slice of boiled egg.
Chilaquiles: Tortillas are covered in egg and deep fried. Afterwards placed in a wide container to form a layer of tortilla as a base. Cheese, cooked chicken and hot tomato sauce with spices is then added. Again place another layer of tortillas and continue to do so to make something like a Tortilla Lasagna. Place in the oven and let cook until cheese melts and the tortillas are soft. Served with thick sour cream.
Tortilla con Quesillo: Two tortillas with quesillo, a melted cheese, in between and then pan fried; served with a tomato sauce. Mashed beans are sometimes also added as a filling with the cheese.
Taken from wikipedia
Places to go in HONDURAS
If ten of us were to travel to Honduras on vacation, each of us would have differing lists of the best vacation places. All of us travel with different sets of eyes, each seeing our own realities even as we look at the same event. Here are my “must-see” places, cities, villages, or scenery from Honduras.
A FLIGHT INTO ONE OF THE BAY ISLANDS
When you fly to the Bay Islands (Roatan, Utila, or Guanaja) out of La Ceiba or San Pedro Sula, you will be treated to the most spectacular view of the richest blue waters of your life. The Bay Islands boast of having the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. No wonder that scuba divers and snorkelers from around the world trek here.
Take off your shoes and visit the shops along the beach of West End, stopping every 100 feet for a soda, a Salva Vida (the Honduran beer, literally Life Saver), or a coffee. Visit Rudy's for a smoothie. Take a water taxi to West Bay (better yet, stay there for the quiet). Sit on one of the piers and watch the sun slowly plunge in the west. Then, visit one of West End's bars and take in some distinctive island music. Swim, snorkel or scuba dive the day away at one of the fine beaches at West End or West Bay. Eat at the Lighthouse Inn (West End) at about 3 p.m. when they are not so busy, coaxing owner Miss Mavis out of the kitchen. She is one of the finest storytellers you will ever have the pleasure of meeting.
Copan Ruinas (often referred to by tourists as just Copan, which is actually the name of the department, not the town). No trip to Honduras would be complete without a stop at the Ruins. But what would Copan Ruinas be without them? It would be a delightful, charming village of 1,200 people that is tourist-friendly while not being overly touristy. Visit the market (immediately behind the municipal building, off the square). Spend time in the city square. Evenings bring out entire families. After dinner, saunter over to the Welchez Cafe (near the Hotel Marina Copan,same owners) for the apple pie, ice cream, and espresso coffee. Yep, I said apple pie and it is very good. Pick up several pounds of coffee to take home. In Copan, as elsewhere in rural Honduras, make sure you look upwards each evening for a sky amazingly awash with stars.
SAN PEDRO SULA
Without a doubt, a visit to the Museum of Anthropology and History is worth it. The two-story museum is manageable. Arranged as an inviting series of displays, you will walk through the history of the San Pedro Sula valley, the arrival of the Spaniards, the conquest, and the interplay of the Spanish and Indigenous cultures. Many of the displays have English placards that enhance the time spent here.
While San Pedro Sula boasts a large open-air market, it is over-stocked with $3 tourist items. There are better open-air markets throughout Honduras so there is no need to spend too much time here. One part of the market not to miss is the northeast corner where about 100 women each has a small cooking area, making tortillas by hand as they have been made for centuries. San Pedro Sula residents come in for their daily 2-dozen
Ceiba, as Hondurans call it, has to be my favorite city in all of Honduras. If asked why, I can not give a definitive answer. This is a city teeming with life and energy. Find a good, local buffet. Visit the cathedral for a mass; walk Ceiba's city square. Shop in the open-air market. Visit the Butterfly Museum. Have fresh fish for lunch. Dance the night away to Caribbean sounds from the clubs near the sea (1 Calle). Ride the entire city perimeter in a local bus for three lempiras. Search out that soccer game. Look for a good bottle of Honduran rum (ron). Flor de Caña Reserva Rum is made in Honduras and Nicaragua. It is excellent 7-year old rum. In La Ceiba, a clerk wanted to sell me 20-year old Guatemalan rum for $31. That bottle is still on the shelf.
While not an overly attractive town, Gracias is so rich in history, it should not be missed. Stand in the village square and imagine the area, as it might have looked when Captain Juan de Chavez entered the area in 1536. (In 1544, Gracias became the administrative center for all Spanish matters within Central America.) Stroll the town, taking in the colonial architecture, seen clearly in the the 3 churches in town. Mosey on up to Guancascos Restaurant for a dinner on the terraced patio. Magnificent view of the surrounding area. Catch the stars after dark. Celaque National Park is a mere 9 kilometers from Gracias and has hiking trails even for the casual hiker. The cloud forest holds Honduras' highest peak at 9,350 feet. Celaque is the sacred heart of Lencan (the indigenous people of the area) spirituality. Hikers should ask at Guancascos or Hotel Erick for transportation ideas because a bus does not make the trek to the park.
Taken from: http://travel-to-honduras.com
Doing business in HONDURAS
The economy has continued to grow slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining low. Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% a year, one of the highest rates in Latin America, but 50% of the population, approximately 3.7 million people, still remains below the poverty line. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed, the rate of unemployment standing at 27.9%. According to the Human Development Index, Honduras is the sixth poorest/least developed country in Latin America, after Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Guyana, and Bolivia.
The government operates both the electricity (ENEE) and land-line telephone services (HONDUTEL), as ENEE receives heavy subsidies for its chronic financial problems. HONDUTEL, however, is no longer a monopoly, as the telecommunication sector was opened to private sector on 25 December 2005, as was required under the CAFTA. The price of petroleum is controlled, and the Congress often ratifies temporary price regulations for basic commodities.
Gold, silver, lead and zinc are produced at mines owned by foreign companies.
After years of decline against the U.S. dollar, lempira recently stabilized at around 19 lempiras per dollar. In June 2008, the exchange rate between U.S. dollar and lempira was approximately 1 to 18.85.
In 2005, Honduras signed the CAFTA, the free trade agreement with the United States. In December 2005, Puerto Cortes, the main seaport in Honduras, was included in the U.S. Container Security Initiative.
On 7 December 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy announced the first phase of the Secure Freight Initiative, an unprecedented effort to build upon existing port security measures by enhancing the U.S. government’s authority to scan containers from overseas for nuclear and radiological materials to better assess the risk of inbound containers. The initial phase of Secure Freight involves the deployment of nuclear detection and other devices to six foreign ports: Port Qasim in Pakistan; Puerto Cortes in Honduras; Southampton in the United Kingdom; Port Salalah in Oman; Port of Singapore; and the Gamman Terminal at Port Busan in Korea. Since early 2007, containers from these ports have been scanned for radiation and other risk factors before they are allowed to depart for the United States.
Taken from wikipedia