Honduras Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Driving In Honduras
Driving standards in Honduras are generally poor. In Towns, most junctions seem to operate on the informal ‘who arrives first/eye contact’ right of way system. I found that drivers often tend to pull into traffic from side roads causing cars on the main carriageway to brake. Roads between the main tourist locations in Honduras are of an acceptable standard. In more isolated locations, roads are unpaved and four-wheel drive vehicles are advisable. While the main road network is being upgraded and widened in places, most of it consists of only two lanes. Significant construction on the highway between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula is scheduled through 2012 so drivers can expect some delays. Many secondary roads in Honduras are unpaved. During the rainy season, even major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding from heavy rains.
Crime is a concern.There have been attacks on vehicles on the roads from Limones to La Union and also from Olancho via Salama to Saba. Exercise particular caution on the roads from Gualaco to San Estaban and La Esparanza to Gracias. The isolated roads of the Department of Santa Barbara have also seen criminal activity, and hijackings of vehicles have occurred on roads in/around Tela, La Ceiba, Trujillo and El Progreso. Take great care on the highway between San Pedro Sula and Tela especially near the palm tree plantations near El Progreso where there have been a number of attacks.
Driving standards are poor and coupled with challenging road conditions this can make driving dangerous. Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include: Tegucigalpa to Choluteca, because of dangerous mountain curves; El Progreso to La Ceiba, because of animal crossings and the poor condition of bridges from flooding. The best route to the north coast from the south is CA-5 to route 21 to CA-13 via Tela to La Ceiba and Trujillo. You should always avoid driving at night as the roads and vehicles are poorly lit. In Cities drive with the windows up and doors locked at all times.
Driving on the Bay Islands is easier and more laid back than on the mainland . Utila is quiet with only one main road on the Island. Roatan is also a small Island, around 40 miles long by a couple of miles wide. There are a number of car rental options on the Island including Avis, Thrifty and Econo rent.
Renting a car for a day would certainly enable you to see the majority of the Island, though another good option, and one more usually taken by tourists is to rent a scooter or motorbike. The most established rental company on the Island is Captain Van’s, which has outlets in West Bay and West End-
Automatic scooters cost around $40 per day, and manual 125cc and 200cc motorbikes are $45 and $55 respectively.
The roads are generally in good condition, with the odd pot hole here and there, particularly in The South East of the Island between Flowers Bay and the turn off to West Bay. The main hazard is taxi drivers, stopping unexpectedly in front of you. Generally when on the road, cars give you enough room though there can be a lot of traffic between Dixon Cove ,Coxen Hole and the Southern Beaches when there are Cruise Ships visiting the Island (most days!). The Island only has one main road running North South and with a loop connecting Coxen Hole, Sandy Bay and West End- its impossible to get lost.
Once past Los Fuertes heading North, the roads are really quiet and riding is a pleasure, as you pass through hilly, green countryside bordered by the sparkling waters of the Caribbean. The paved road continues up to Oak Ridge in the North where you can take a boat ride to see the mangroves and stilt houses.If you want to get off the paved road, a reasonably dirt track leads up the West Coast through the villages of Mud Hole, Corozal and Hottest Sparrow, before emerging near the mall North of Los Fuertes – if you plan to do this route on a scooter, check with Captain Vans before setting off on the condition of the road.
These companies rent cars in Roatan in the Bay Islands
Honduras Self Driving Rules-
Of the big companies only National allow cars to be driven outside Honduras. They say “A special permit is required at a cost of $125.00 USD in order to cross the border into Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Belize & Costa Rica; Location must have a SIGNED rental agreement from customer in order to request this permit; the Honduras government issues permit 24 hours after receiving signed agreement; the permit can only be requested during the following days & business hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Drop charge for Honduras (dual) is $90.00 USD.” There may also be restrictions on taking cars on ferries and some vehicles may not be driven on non paved roads or what was referred to on Hertz site as ‘the mountains’. What constitutes a mountain I don’t know!