Moving to Honduras
Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, there are a number of factors which serve to draw expats to the beautiful Central American destination of Honduras. The country’s expat population may be relatively small, but is growing steadily with people from Germany, France, Norway and the USA, in particular, looking to Honduras to find a piece of Caribbean paradise where they can afford a better quality of life without breaking the bank.
New arrivals moving to Honduras do so for a number of reasons. Many of the foreign residents living in the country have taken advantage of the favourable property prices and low cost of living and have chosen it as their retirement destination. Others move to the country to work for an NGO, a missionary organisation or in the medical field. Due to the fact that local Hondurans who have the means leave the country in search of job opportunities overseas, there is also a huge demand for professionals with skills in sectors such as IT, administration and hospitality.
Anyone relocating to Honduras should prepare themselves for a slower pace of life and general bureaucratic backlogs. Spanish is the official language of Honduras and taking a basic language course before relocating is advisable. Those who take the time to learn the local language will find their experience far richer, thanks to their ability to interact with the locals. Crime is a social concern in Honduras and the country is experiencing a continuous rise in the number of armed robberies and violence. Generally, the most dangerous areas are parts of urban centres and the areas close to the borders with El Salvador and Guatemala. It is important to bear in mind, though, that most crimes committed against foreigners are opportunistic and expats can avoid being targeted by taking basic safety measures.
The quality of healthcare in Honduras really depends on one's location within the country. Public hospitals aren't really up to a standard or close to anything that most western expats would be used to. These facillities are sub-par due to poor funding and lack of staff. There are a few private hospitals in the urban centres but it is wise to invest in a fully comprehensive health insurance plan that covers the cost of being flown to the USA for emergency medical treatment.
Although education is highly valued in Honduran society, demonstrated quite clearly by the fact that the country has consistently had a literacy rate of over 90 percent, the sad reality is that due to economic constraints many people don't complete their studies. Public schools in Honduras aren't a viable option for foreigners as they are often underfunded and wouldn't meet the standards most expats are accustomed to and also because the language of instruction is Spanish. Therefore expats relocating to Honduras with children should be aware that there are only a handful of international schools in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, and it's best that parents start the application process early to secure a spot for their child well before they move to Honduras.
While expats relocating to Honduras may be shocked by the high levels of poverty, those who choose to settle down in this country will be rewarded with a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, a great climate and the opportunity to contribute to the development of the country. Regardless of whether one chooses Honduras as a long-term living option or only intends to stay for a short stint, there is no doubt that the experience is sure to be a truly unforgettable adventure.
Population: About 9 million
Capital city: Tegucigalpa
Neighbouring countries: Honduras is bordered in the southwest by El Salvador, the west by Guatemala and the southeast by Nicaragua. The country is also bordered by coastlines to the north and south.
Geography: The terrain of Honduras is mainly mountainous with some plains on the coast. There are a handful of islands scattered around the coast of Honduras.
Political system: Presidential republic
Major religions: Christianity
Main languages: Spanish
Money: The Honduran lempira (HNL) is subdivided into 100 centavos. Foreigners should be able to open a bank account fairly easily, and ATMs are available throughout the country, although they may sometimes run out of cash.
Tipping: A service charge of 10 percent is usually added to bills at restaurants in Honduras, but anything extra is for good service. It is customary to tip hotel bellboys and cleaning staff for good service.
Electricity: 110V, 60Hz. Plugs in Honduras have two flat blades.
Internet domain: .hn