How dangerous is Honduras? – A local´s view

Honduras is said to be the most dangerous country in whole Central America. Especially the cities show a high crime rate. In 2015 San Pedro Sula was the second most dangerous city in the world. The murder rate with 1.11% was incredibly high and I wonder how one can live under such circumstances.

During my two weeks of travelling across the country I never felt threatened and in no other country were people more welcoming, helpful, generous and open to make new contacts with foreigners. In some places, especially at night, it can be quite dangerous out in the streets as the Maras violence has become a problem over the last years.

My only three-week long visit is far too short for making up a serious opinion about the security situation. So I asked locals about their views wherever I went. Putting together those little pieces like a puzzle, I’ll try to give an insight into the matter. 

Charly, La Ceiba

The security situation has got worse recently. We have problems with the gangs, the Mara. It started in L.A., where it was established, mostly by emigrated Latinos. The United States sent them back to their home countries – Él Salvador and also Honduras. Honduras was not prepared for 20,000 gang members.

Unknown, La Ceiba

Most Hondureños are pacifistic and peaceful, we don´t like violence.

Elias and Fernanda, San Pedro Sula

Yes, everybody claims San Pedro to be very dangerous. For us it is not. Living there from the beginning, we know where and how to move. Of course, there are places you don´t go to at night. If going by taxi, you have to call it in advance and use trustful agencies only. The taxis with dark windows seemed more suspicious to you? They are to protect the drivers.

If something happens, it is bad luck. I was robbed last week. Wanting to visit my father in law, I parked my car in front of his house. As soon as I got out of the car, I was surrounded by three armed men. The gun in front of my head, I told them that everything was in the car: the money, my ID, credit cards, the car keys. They could take it all, but didn’t touch me. Hands over my head I slowly walked away.

Elias, Copán

Here are no problems, in former times there were. My brother was murdered in the house over there. But today you can walk in the streets even at nighttime. It is safe because the police are patrolling the streets. And they pick up the drunk. It is mostly them who are responsible when violence occurs.

Amada, Copán

When my son started working in San Pedro I was very concerned. It is a dangerous city! His friend was attacked there because of his tattoo. So I told my son to come back and leave the job. Working in my business, he is safe here now.

Oscar, Rio Cangrejal

Usually in the smaller villages you have fewer crime problems. Here you can walk in the street at night. But there are huge problems in the towns, as the gangs are fighting because of territory and drugs. Especially in the dark it becomes dangerous. But they don´t touch tourists. If you are not involved in their businesses, you will be fine.

Wilmer, TegucigalpaWe (working on a Microbus, accompanied by his wife and 8-month-old daughter)

An assault has not happened to my bus yet, I think it is safe to go. Because of the plastic money tourists become less interesting for delinquentes. They don´t carry lots of money…

Taxi Driver, Tegucigalpa

My country is beautiful but we have lots of crime problems. Corrupt politicians and police, the Mara and hitmen… How can I live here? There are less dangerous places in the rural areas, but there is no work. I leave Honduras for 4 months every year, The rest of the time I have to live with the dangers.

Today I am going to leave Honduras, and yes it is a beautiful country. I met dozens of amazingly friendly and peaceful people. Some of travellers don´t hesitate to couchsurf, which means to live with people they don´t even know who they are, where they live and how they are going to meet them. Unfortunately lots of travellers skip Honduras when going to Central America – a great mistake in my opinion!

Of course is it best to remember the problems in order to prevent running into problems blindly. Find out where it is safe and where not, by asking locals and follow some basic safety rules, but don´t be put off from getting to know this beautiful country by frightening news and politically stamped indications!