Honduras

– visited August 2014 –

I am on a whirlwind tour of Central America; time is short as I have to be in New York soon. But better to get a quick impression of the countries than not getting any impression at all.

At the time of my visit, Honduras is known as one of the most dangerous countries on earth. San Pedro Sula, its second biggest city has the distinction of currently being the city with the highest murder rate in the world. Out of 100,000 inhabitants, 180 get murdered per year. As San Pedro Sula has about one million inhabitants that means 1,800 people killed. As a comparison, the rate for the United States is 4.7, for Germany it is 0.9. I speak with people in the small town of Santa Rosa de Copán. No, they are not worried here but they would never set a foot in one of the big cities. I feel safe walking around as well, even after dark.

I visit the beautiful Maya ruins of Copán, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The intricate stone carvings are superb. The bank in the little village has six armed security guards. Four outside of the door, and two inside. The guards inside will only open the door when signalled to do so by the outside guards. I finally reach San Pedro Sula. I was tempted to stay, there is even a hostel but I do not have much time left, so I only change buses. There is a gun shop at the bus station. Out of town, I end up sitting in the front seat of a Toyota Coaster. I am shocked by what I see, so much drunkenness, so much desperation.

I visit the old fort of San Fernando in Omoa before crossing the border to Guatemala.