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Preface Last Updated: 2/18/2004 5:48 PM

Honduras, the second largest and one of the least developed of the Central American countries, continues to be a hospitable place for Americans (over 11,000 reside there permanently). Despite its turbulent political history, Honduras has enjoyed over 20 years of democratic stability. Relations between the U.S. and Honduras have been friendly, the result of significant historical ties (going back over a century and the establishment of large banana plantations), cultural affinity, and extensive business and family ties with the U.S. (an estimated 800,000 Hondurans live in the United States).

Thanks to the U.S. and other international support, the country has made significant progress in its recovery from the 1998 devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch, one of the strongest storms of the 20th century. American employees and their families find that Honduras presents many challenges, including a high crime threat, difficult traffic and road conditions, moderate health risks and limited recreational opportunities. On the other hand, the friendliness of its people, the natural beauty of the country, easy access to the U.S., and the overall positive working environment set the stage for a rewarding tour.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/18/2004 5:58 PM

The Republic of Honduras is situated in the middle of six republics comprising, along with Belize, the Central American Isthmus between Mexico and Panama. Roughly triangular in shape, Honduras is the bend in Central America and has a 459-mile Caribbean coastline to the north and narrows in the south to 89 miles at the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the west by Guatemala, the southwest by El Salvador, and the east and southeast by Nicaragua.

Honduras also has insular possessions, including the picturesque Bay Islands, formed by the summit of a submerged mountain range in the Caribbean. Farther northeast lie Swan Islands, previously used by the U.S. as a weather research station and now recognized as Honduran territory.

Honduras has an estimated land area of 43,277 square miles, slightly larger than Tennessee. Second largest of the six Central American republics, it ranks 14th in size among all Latin American nations. However, population distribution is unequal. The northeastern part is thinly inhabited. It comprises 45% of the entire national territory and only contains 9% of the population.

Honduran topography is exceptionally rugged. The Central American Cordillera (mountain range) crosses Honduras from east to west, making it the most mountainous of the six republics. Three-quarters of the country is composed of rugged hills and mountains, ranging from about 900 feet to nearly 9,350 and averaging about 4,000 feet in height. Tegucigalpa is at 3,200 feet above sea level. Government estimates list 64% of the land surface as mountainous and 36% as plains and valleys. The highest mountain peaks are in the southwest. Lowlands make up the northern and eastern coastal plains, a narrow southern coastal plain, and the river valleys. The principal rivers are in the north and flow into the Caribbean. Geographically and commercially, the country consists of two general regions: the highlands of the interior and southern Honduras and the tropical, banana-producing North Coast. Southern coastal lowlands are grouped with the highland region because of their economic linkage with Tegucigalpa and their southwest central location.

The climate in Honduras varies between the mountainous interior and the coastal lowlands and between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The interior is much cooler than the humid coast, and temperate Tegucigalpa has maximum temperatures averaging between 77ºF and 86ºF. The rainy season technically begins in May and lasts until October. This means that the interior and Pacific coast are relatively dry between November and April, but on the Caribbean coast it rains all year. The wettest months on the Caribbean coast are from September/October to January/February.

Population Last Updated: 4/12/2004 2:48 PM

There is evidence of Maya settlements since at least 1000 B.C. at Copán in western Honduras. Columbus set foot on the American mainland for the first time at Trujillo in northern Honduras in 1502 and named the country after the deep water off the Caribbean coast (Honduras means “depths”). The Spanish settled Trujillo in 1525, but soon became interested in colonizing the cooler highlands. They established a capital at Comayagua in central Honduras in 1537 and this remained the political and religious center of the country for 350 years. Independence from Spain was granted in 1821. Honduras briefly became part of independent Mexico, but then joined the Central American Federation. In 1838 Honduras declared independence as a separate nation and Tegucigalpa became the capital in 1880.

At the end of the 19th century, land on Honduras fertile north coast was purchased by U.S. fruit companies on generous terms, in order to ship bananas to the southern USA. Three U.S. companies (Standard Fruit, Cuyamel Fruit, and United Fruit) eventually owned 75% of all Honduran banana groves. Bananas accounted for 66% of all Honduran exports in 1913, making the companies extremely powerful players in Honduran politics. Each company allied itself with domestic political factions, and the rivalries between the three U.S. fruit companies shaped Honduran politics in the first half of the 20th century.

During the 1980s, Honduras was surrounded by the turmoil in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Strong U.S. influence, economic aid, and military assistance maintained stability in Honduras throughout this period, as the country became the focus of U.S. policy and strategic operations in the region. Since then, Honduras' problems have been largely economic, with falling exports, a growing foreign debt and a stagnant per capita income. Aid from the U.S. diminished after the Central American conflicts ended in the early ’90s.

In November 1998, international aid and relief workers poured into Central America to help with the recovery from the devastation left by Hurricane Mitch. Honduras was the hardest hit by Mitch’s rampage. The three days of rain that followed Mitch caused landslides and floods that buried towns and destroyed over 100 bridges throughout the country. When the Rio Choluteca flooded, it devastated Tegucigalpa, the capital, sweeping debris down river and leaving behind an ocean of mud. Reconstruction projects related to this disaster with massive assistance from the U.S. Government and other countries continued through the end of 2001. As a consequence, the U.S. official presence in Honduras has once again grown. The attitude of most Hondurans toward the U.S. is positive and our economic and cultural influence in Honduras is enormous.

The population of Honduras is approximately 6.5 million people, with a growth rate of 3%. The overall population density is 132 people per square mile, with the greatest concentrations in the small towns and villages in the northern coastal and central areas. Population distribution is concentrated in a rough crescent beginning at the South Coast, running through Tegucigalpa and Comayagua to San Pedro Sula, and then eastward along the North Coast through Tela to La Ceiba. The Central District, Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela, have a population of approximately one million. Beginning in 1950, migration to the city from rural areas caused the urban population to rise sharply. Other major population centers are San Pedro Sula, with its three-quarters of a million people and the country's industrial center; Puerto Cortés, Progreso, and La Ceiba on the North Coast; and Choluteca in the south. Approximately 44% of the population live in the cities, while the rest live in rural areas and small towns and villages.

Most Honduran indigenous populations have assimilated into the Hispanic-American culture. Today more than 90% of the population is comprised of mestizos, a mixture of Caucasian and indigenous. A Caribbean population of African ethnicity known as the Garifuna is centered on the North Coast and the Bay Islands. Many Catholic Palestinians immigrated to Honduras in the early part of the 20th century. Known locally as "turkos", their descendents are active in commerce, trade and politics.

More than 50% of the Honduran population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. Basic dietary staples are corn (usually prepared as tortillas), red beans, rice, fish, and eggs. Meat and fresh vegetables are added to the diet as one moves up the economic scale.

Spanish is the principal language and is spoken throughout the country, although English (spoken with a broad Caribbean accent) is the language of choice in the Bay Islands. The small indigenous tribes have their own distinct languages.

The family is the basic social unit. Family ties extend to cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and even godparents. Many families are large and often include representation from several social strata and different political affiliations.

Although Roman Catholicism predominates, freedom of religion exists, and membership in other religious organizations, principally evangelical Protestant, is increasing. The indigenous tribes have their own religions, often existing alongside Christianity and incorporating elements of African and Indian animism and ancestor worship.

About 20,000 U.S. citizens reside in Honduras, including several thousand U.S. citizen children of Honduran parents. A small international community includes British, Dutch, Chinese, German, Italian, French, Finnish, Greek and Spanish citizens.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/30/2002 6:00 PM

Honduras constitutional democratic government comprises three separate and equal branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The 1982 Constitution gives people the right to choose the President and representatives to the unicameral National Congress through secret and direct balloting every 4 years. In January 2002, Ricardo Maduro was inaugurated as President, following free and fair elections. President Maduro is the sixth freely elected President since democracy was restored in 1980. Incumbents of the two major parties have peacefully handed over power to a successor from the other party following free elections. The media is free to express opposition viewpoints, and Hondurans freely exercise freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

The two major political parties in Honduras are the National Party and the Liberal Party. Both have roots in the conservative/liberal division that has dominated Central American politics since the early 1800s. Despite a history of bitter and often violent partisan clashes, both parties can be characterized as centrist in ideology and committed in principle to the democratic process of political change. Three small parties, the Christian Democratic Party, the Innovation and Unity Party, and the Democratic Unification Party are recognized legally and function freely; all three are represented in the National Congress.

For administrative purposes, Honduras is divided into 18 departments, which are subdivided into 298 municipalities. Each department has a governor appointed by the President and they are an extension of the executive branch of the national government. A mayor and a council administer each municipality and are elected every four years at the same time as the President. Councils vary in size, depending on the size of the municipality.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/30/2002 6:00 PM

Arts and education in Honduras are insufficiently developed. The National School of Fine Arts sponsors showings of local art. The National School of Fine Arts and the National School of Music train qualified students. The Ministry of Culture directs these institutions and sponsors the Cuadro Folklorico of Honduras and Gar­funa, a Caribbean coast ethnic song and dance group. The National University has a theater group that presents occasional plays in Spanish. Instituto Hondureño de Cultura Interamericana (Binational Center) infrequently presents concerts, lectures, and local art shows.

The Institute of History and Anthropology, a part of the Ministry of Culture maintains a small museum in one of Tegucigalpa’s historic houses and offers exhibits on topics of natural history, Honduran political history, and archeology. A study center at the museum conducts archeological studies and preserves Mayan artifacts. A second museum devoted to Honduran history can be found in downtown Tegucigalpa. There is also a museum of North Coast history and anthropology in San Pedro Sula and an excellent museum at the famous Copán ruins.

Education in Honduras is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 13. The government has pledged to raise the literacy rate, which stands at 82%. In 1998 the national average for years of education completed was 5 for urban and 4 for rural areas. The percentage of the population completing primary school is 61%, secondary school 17%, university 4% and 18% have no education.

Tegucigalpa has six institutions of higher education. The National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) in Tegucigalpa, with branches in San Pedro Sula, Comayagua, Santa Rosa, Olancho, and La Ceiba, is the major institution of higher learning. In 1982 a scientific center of investigation was established at UNAH and the university organized a marine biology center at its branch at La Ceiba. UNAH and the local professional associations, such as the College of Engineers, share the responsibility of issuing professional licenses. The public Universidad Pedagogica Nacional (a teachers’ college), and the first private university, José Cecilio del Valle, a Catholic university, are also located in Tegucigalpa. Through extension programs, nondegree students can elect courses in painting, drama, archeology, and sculpture at any of these institutions. The newest private university in Tegucigalpa is the Central American Technical University (UNITEC), founded in 1987. UNITEC offers 2-year programs, as well as BS and MS degrees in fields such as accounting, computer science, and human relations. The private University of San Pedro Sula was founded in 1972 and offers degrees in business administration, economics, architecture, and anthropology. The most recent private universities founded in Tegucigalpa are CEDAC and UTH.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/18/2004 6:09 PM

Honduras’ major industries are coffee, bananas, shrimp, beef, sugar cane, tobacco, and forestry. Its major trading partner is the United States accounting for about 50% of the country’s total imports and exports. Honduras is extremely vulnerable to the volatile fluctuations of banana and coffee prices.

Since the mid-1950s, Honduran industry has grown significantly. Textiles and apparel production continues to be a key industry in Honduras. The value added in the maquiladora (assembly for export) sector amounted to US$541 million in 1999. Detergents, chemicals, light metals, and food products are manufactured primarily for local consumption. The chief industrial areas are near the capital and the San Pedro Sula Puerto Cortés corridor.

Some 18% of the total land area of Honduras is cultivated, most of it on the coastal plains. Coffee generates US$160 million in annual export revenues, bananas US$200 million, and sugarcane US$28 million. Coffee exports accounted for 12% of all Honduran exports in 2001. The principal food crops are corn-532,000MT, beans–88,000MT, and rice–7,245MT. Citrus fruits and pineapples also are exported.

The livestock population in 1999 (most recent census figures) numbered 1.8 million cattle and 600,000 pigs. Chickens are raised for local consumption. The fish catch includes cultivated shrimp, caught shrimp, lobster, and tilapia. Cultivated shrimp is by far the most profitable -- shrimp farms are a growing industry, and shrimp is a major export.

Forestry is an important industry in Honduras. Rudimentary lumbering methods and poor transportation facilities have hampered reforestation programs. Valuable woods cut include pine, mahogany, ebony, walnut, and rosewood.

Deposits of silver, zinc, gold, and lead are mined in Honduras. Other resources include iron ore, coal, copper, and antimony.

Honduran crafts include woodcarving, basketry, embroidery, and textile arts, leather craft, and ceramics.

Honduras has four international airports located in Tegucigalpa, the capital city; San Pedro Sula, the commercial center; the coastal city of La Ceiba and the tourist center of Roatan in the Bay Islands. Puerto Cortés (Honduras first container loading facility) and Puerto Castilla (across the bay from Trujillo) are major Caribbean ports. The primary Pacific port is San Lorenzo.


Automobiles Last Updated: 4/12/2004 3:06 PM

Since public transportation is crowded, dangerous, and inconvenient, a personally owned vehicle is recommended in Honduras. Under Honduran law, the importation, purchase, and sale of personally owned vehicles (POVs) is controlled as follows:

Two vehicles with no limit on engine size for Chief of Mission and staff with the diplomatic title Minister Counselor, Counselor, First through Third Secretaries, Military Attaché, and all American direct-hire USAID employees. All other personnel are restricted to one duty-free vehicle with no limit on engine size. The Department of State and other US government agencies pay for the shipment of only one vehicle, regardless of how many an employee is permitted to import duty-free. Peace Corps does not pay for vehicle shipment.

Automobiles should be consigned in the same manner as your household effects (HHE). They need not be boxed for shipment but all detachable accessories, other than the spare tire and jack, should be removed. The vehicle will normally be trucked from the port of entry (Cortez) to Tegucigalpa.

In June 2002 the Honduran government passed a new law forbidding the importation of any vehicle over 6 years old. If your personal vehicle will be 7 years old or older by the time it arrives in Honduras, you should not ship it to post. Contact your parent agency about vehicle storage arrangements and plan to purchase another, newer vehicle.

To facilitate the duty free entry of your vehicle, you must provide a copy of the title, bill of sale and proof of insurance, if purchased in the U.S. If a vehicle is financed, a letter should be obtained from the lending institution describing the vehicle, original price, loan amount and certification that the original title is held by the lending institution. The General Services Office (GSO) works with the Honduran Government to obtain the duty-free entry, registration, and license plates for incoming vehicles.

The Honduran Government requires third-party liability insurance for all personally owned vehicles as well as for all rented or leased vehicles. Minimum coverage is Lempiras 100,000 (US $11,000) and proof of insurance must be presented in order to register the vehicle. The required insurance can be obtained after arrival from several local companies. GSO can provide a list of local companies approved for business in Honduras. The cost of the insurance will vary based on the age and make of your vehicle and is normally cheaper than if purchased from a U.S. company. If you purchase liability insurance from a U.S. company, you must obtain a letter certifying that they are licensed to conduct business in Honduras. Failure to provide this certification could impede or prevent the registration and licensing of your vehicle.

All U.S. employees and family members who drive must have a Honduran driver's license. The Foreign Ministry will provide a Honduran driving permit after arrival for persons on the diplomatic list. For diplomatically assigned personnel, the identification card serves as the official driver’s license. A valid U.S. driver's license may be used until the Honduran license is issued. A person must be at least 18 years of age to drive in Honduras.

Unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel are readily available. At the present time, US-hire American employees are permitted to purchase duty-free gas at designated Texaco stations at 40% savings from the normal “pump” price. Gas prices vary and change often. Prices are typically higher than in the U.S. Tax-free gasoline purchase cards can only be requested for tax exempt personnel after their arrival at post.

Repair facilities are fair to good. Factory authorized dealers are franchised in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula but most do not keep major parts in stock. The parts that are available are normally more expensive than in the U.S. due to import taxes. Depending on size and weight, repair parts can be ordered and shipped from U.S. suppliers via the APO.

Parts for Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, Jeeps, and Fords are available, and repairs are generally reliable. Four-wheel-drive or high-ground clearance cars/trucks are a good choice due to road conditions, especially in rural areas. Air-conditioning is recommended, as are heavy-duty shock absorbers and springs and a locking gas cap. The Regional Security Office also recommends dark window tinting as a crime deterrent. Window film for this purpose can be purchased and installed locally.

Most major auto manufacturers have dealers in Tegucigalpa. U.S. and European specification cars can be purchased, but non-U.S. spec vehicles may not be imported into the U.S. after your tour without extensive and costly modifications. To review the special regulations regarding shipment of foreign-made vehicles to the U.S., please contact the State Department Office of Travel and Transportation. Since unleaded gasoline is readily available throughout the country, there is no need to remove catalytic converters or other pollution control equipment.

Dangerous road conditions and local traffic make driving a challenge, both inside and outside the city. Traffic police do not have the resources to enforce the rules of the road or respond quickly in the event of an accident. Compliance with traffic laws is strictly voluntary, with drivers routinely taking advantage of the lack of enforcement by blocking traffic, failing to yield, passing on blind corners, etc. Taxi drivers are the worst offenders, slowing or stopping in the middle of the street to troll for passengers, then proceeding at high rates of speed, running red lights to arrive more quickly at their respective destinations. Stopped buses, slow-moving vehicles, and pedestrians crossing the roadway add to the hazardous conditions. One must drive defensively at all times, keeping eyes forward and remaining alert. For safety and security reasons, mission personnel are currently prohibited from driving outside of the city after dark.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/19/2004 10:10 AM

Individually operated buses and microbuses (busitos) provide public transportation service within Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and nearby cities such as Choluteca and Danli. Bus fare is inexpensive, but transfers are not given and it is often necessary to take several buses to a given destination. For security reasons, the Regional Security Office (RSO) does not recommend this mode of transportation for American Embassy personnel.

Taxi service is adequate in downtown areas of Tegucigalpa. Some taxis follow a pre-set route and drivers routinely pick up as many passengers as possible along the way. In addition, most taxis do not have operational seat belts and other safety features. If you use a taxi at major hotels or the airports in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, they charge more than the normal rates, but are better equipped and more reliable. A radio dispatched taxi service is currently the recommended choice of RSO. Most taxis are not metered, so one must negotiate the fare first and advise the driver not to pick up additional passengers along the route.

Rental cars are available but expensive and require a major credit card and a valid driver's license. Make sure that you check the vehicle closely for damage prior to signing the rental agreement. If there is any undocumented damage to the vehicle at the time it is returned, the driver will be held responsible.

Long-distance bus service is available from Tegucigalpa to other cities in Honduras and to principal cities in Central America. Mission personnel seldom use this service as buses are typically overcrowded and rarely meet U.S. safety and comfort standards. However, there is a relatively safe and reasonably priced express bus service between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula and between San Pedro Sula and Copan.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/12/2004 2:51 PM

American and Continental Airlines currently have non-stop daily flights between Tegucigalpa and the United States. American Airlines flies from Miami to Tegucigalpa and Continental Airlines flies from Houston. Both flights arrive in mid-day, returning to the U.S. after about an hour on the ground in Tegucigalpa. Taca Airlines, a Central American carrier, provides service to San Pedro Sula, Miami, New Orleans and Houston, as well as to Guatemala City, San Salvador, Managua, San Jose, and Panama.

Islena Airlines and other domestic carriers connect Tegucigalpa with La Ceiba and the Bay Islands. Charter service and aircraft rentals (small single and twin engine equipment) are available from private flying services operating out of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rates the local aviation authority as Category 2, indicating that it is not in compliance with international standards for aviation safety oversight.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 2/19/2004 10:35 AM

The Honduras Telecommunications Company (Hondutel) provides domestic and international telephone service. Existing telephone service is normally adequate, but obtaining a new telephone line is difficult and may require a wait of up to a year. The Embassy has adopted a policy that a house may not be rented for Embassy personnel if it does not already have a working phone line. Landlords normally provide one telephone for the residence. Additional phones may be provided and installed by the tenant. Obtaining telephone repair service from Hondutel is sometimes difficult, and phone outages can last several days while repairs are pending.

There is a per-minute charge for all local calls after certain amount of free minutes are used. There is also a per-minute charge for all calls to celular phones. Additional calls and/or increased calling times, including calls to a local Internet service provider, increase your local phone bill.

Direct-dial, long-distance calling is available to most other countries, including the United States. Night rates are charged from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Direct-dial calls placed from the continental U.S. to Honduras are considerably cheaper than calling from Honduras.

The Embassy telephone system will receive calls placed with a pulse telephone, but only recognizes touch-tone for the automated call distribution and voice mail systems.

Wireless Service Last Updated: 2/19/2004 10:36 AM Two celular telephone companies currently operate in Honduras -- Celtel and Megatel. Although adequate in urban areas, cell phones normally do not function well in rural areas of the country. Arrangements can be made with one of these companies for purchase of a new phone or for reprogramming of a phone purchased in the U.S.

Internet Last Updated: 2/19/2004 10:43 AM

Internet connections are available in Tegucigalpa and other major cities in Honduras. There are a number of Internet service providers, and Internet cafes are located in most areas of the city.

The phone company’s lines and equipment are old and dial-up connections are slow and unreliable, with frequent disconnects. Most mission employees use wide-band service from Multivision and Cable Color, both of which also provide cable TV connections. Wide-band service is expensive and somewhat spotty, with frequent unexplained outages. AOL, CompuServe, and other American-owned international Internet companies do not offer service in Honduras.

Bring your own computers and peripherals as they are expensive if purchased in Honduras. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is highly recommended for personal computer equipment. These are available locally at somewhat higher than U.S. prices. Cable modems and connection cards are also expensive if purchased locally.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/19/2004 10:54 AM

The local postal system is not recommended for mailing packages. Surface mail between Honduras and the U.S. takes 4 to 5 weeks, and the local Post Office cannot be depended on to give notice that a package has been received, plus it is difficult to clear packages through Customs.

Official Americans and their family members use the APO (military postal system) for all personal mail. Letters, newspapers, magazines, and packages arrive via the FedEx flight from Miami Monday through Friday. APO parcels may weigh no more than 70 pounds, with a maximum combined length and girth not to exceed 108 inches. (maximum size is roughly equivalent to a standard computer monitor box.) Transit time for first class mail is normally 10 days or less; publications and large packages sent other than first class is normally take more than 10 days. Some mail may take three weeks or more, especially during the holiday season. U.S. stamps may be purchased at the APO office. Address APO mail as follows:

Name Unit number, Box number APO AA 34022 (obtain unit and box numbers from CLO Coordinator or parent agency representatives at post)

The Diplomatic Pouch is generally restricted to official correspondence. The average transit time is six weeks. The Pouch may not be used for personal mail but may be used for prescription medicines, eyeglasses, or orthopedic supplies. The Diplomatic Pouch is restricted for incoming mail to 20 kg (44 pounds) and no larger than 13” x 16” x 26”. Outgoing pouch items are restricted to letter mail only. The Pouch address is:

Name/Office 3480 Tegucigalpa Place Department of State Washington, D.C. 20521–3480

Pouch mail is not available to all agencies. Please check with your agency to verify that this service is available prior to sending any official items.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/19/2004 11:08 AM

Radio reception is satisfactory. U.S. style music is featured on several stations, but news and advertising are in Spanish. A shortwave radio is necessary to receive international broadcasts, including the Voice of America (VOA).

Several local TV stations operate in Tegucigalpa, all with Spanish-language programming. Cable TV service is available for a modest installation fee and a monthly charge, typically bundled with wide-band Internet service. Most cable stations are in Spanish, although the four major US networks are also available. BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, ESPN (in Spanish), and entertainment-oriented stations (HBO, OLE, CINEMAX, etc.) area also included. Many of these stations are aimed toward Latin audiences and do not follow U.S. programming schedules. Service is good to fair, with frequent outages and unannounced channel reconfigurations.

Local video clubs are available with an initial membership fee and a charge per rental. Many videos are dubbed in Spanish. Others are in English with Spanish subtitles.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 2/19/2004 11:11 AM

Four Spanish-language daily newspapers are published in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. One weekly English-language paper is published in Honduras.

Major sources of English-language news are the Miami Herald, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. They normally arrive the day after publication. Private subscriptions are available but expensive. U.S. newspapers are also on sale in major hotels.

Several small bookstores in Tegucigalpa carry limited selections of paperbacks, U.S. magazines, and children's books. The Binational Center library carries a good selection of U.S. newspapers, magazines, and some technical journals. The CLO Office contains a small paperback library, mostly donations from outgoing mission personnel.

The Embassy newsletter, The TeguciTattler, is published every second week and distributed free of charge to Embassy personnel.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/19/2004 11:17 AM

A full-time Foreign Service Nurse Practitioner, 2 part-time nurses, and a receptionist/secretary staff the Embassy Health Unit. The regional medical officer is located in El Salvador. Primary outpatient care is available to all eligible employees, their spouses and dependent children up to 21 years of age. To register for Health Unit services employees and family members must bring immunization records, copies of their latest medical clearances and medical records from their previous posts. These items should be hand-carried to post, to avoid a long wait for Health Unit services.

Although the Health Unit has some pharmaceutical and medical supplies, employees and dependents with a long-term condition should bring an adequate supply of medication and/or make arrangements with to ensure a continued supply from the United States. Drugs may be obtained locally but are sporadically available and finding the exact item needed can sometimes be difficult. The Health Unit provides periodic health briefings and a post health manual to all new employees.

Many local physicians attended medical school in the U.S. or Europe. Diagnostic facilities, such as radiology units and laboratories, provide adequate basic services, but serious medical conditions often result in medical evacuation to the U.S., normally Miami. Three private hospitals are utilized and two have emergency services. Emergency care is considered poor. Hospitalization is usually limited to short stays, as comfort and nursing care are only fair and service is extremely limited.

Medical specialists are available locally, but may not be up to U.S. standards. Ophthalmology and optometry services are good. There is an ophthalmology clinic with up-to-date outpatient care services and 24-hour emergency services. Lenses, frames, glasses, and accessories are imported, but are cheaper than in the U.S. Routine dental care is quite good and orthodontic care is excellent and inexpensive.

Community Health Last Updated: 4/12/2004 3:12 PM

Tap water is not potable in Honduras, but bottled water is commercially available and safe for consumption. The mission contracts with local vendors to deliver 5-gallon bottles of drinking water to each residence free of charge. Reputable restaurants use ice from commercial sources and it is considered safe for consumption.

Honduras has limited environmental sanitation and community health controls. All raw food products, such as fruits, vegetables, and meats should be considered contaminated and must be pre-treated with chlorox, peeled or properly cooked. Most endemic health hazards, including intestinal parasites and bacterial infections, such as typhoid and infectious hepatitis, are directly related to water and food contamination. Pasteurized milk and other dairy products are available and considered safe for consumption if purchased in reputable grocery stores.

Water outages occur several times per week year round. In the latter part of the dry season (February-April) shortages are more frequent, and water rationing measures are ordered by SANAA, the local water company. All Embassy homes have water storage tanks (cisterns) with electric pumps. The tanks must be monitored and water truck deliveries ordered if/when the storage tanks get too low.

During this same period, burning of fields and vacant lots around and within the city results in an excessive amount of smoke in the air. Upper respiratory infections and lung ailments, such as allergies and asthma, may be exacerbated during this period. If you suffer from any of these illnesses, bring nebulizers, vaporizers, air purifiers and any necessary medications.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/19/2004 12:43 AM

All persons traveling in Honduras, if they travel outside the city to low-lying areas, are at risk of contracting malaria and/or dengue fever. A prophylactic regimen best suited to your profile is recommended prior to travel outside of Tegucigalpa. To avoid mosquito bites, insect repellant and long-sleeved clothing are important. Sleeping areas should be adequately screened. In areas of heavy infestation, mosquito netting is advised.

Immunizations for Hepatitis A, B and typhoid are recommended to reduce the risk of contracting these diseases. Persons adhering to good hygiene and following the above recommendations concerning food and water consumption minimize their chance of exposure to hepatitis. Tetanus shots should be updated prior to arrival.

Rabies is endemic in Honduras, but does not constitute a serious health problem in the cities. Pre-exposure rabies vaccine is available in the Health Unit for persons working in outlying areas.

Automobile and pedestrian accidents are still the most common cause of serious injury. Driving is always a challenge, even during the best of conditions. Since emergency health care is limited, the best advice is to stay alert and always drive defensively. Traffic laws are routinely ignored. There is very little lane discipline and it is fairly common for other drivers to block oncoming traffic when turning left. Driving at night outside the city of Tegucigalpa is currently prohibited by the Chief of Mission.

The Health Unit will brief new employees and their dependents upon arrival, discussing any specific health concerns. As part of this orientation, employees will receive further information on the proper treatment of water and fresh produce; precautions regarding meats, seafood, milk and milk products, etc.; local physicians and medical facilities; medications; CPR and basic first aid; and courses and physical exams for domestic employees. If you have health problems or concerns you would like to discuss in advance of your arrival, please contact the Health Unit.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/19/2004 12:56 AM

In January 1986, a reciprocal agreement for employment of eligible family members outside of the U.S. mission was signed with the Government of Honduras. Any employment of family members under this agreement must be approved in advance by the Chief of Mission. The family member must also obtain a work permit from the Honduran government.

Within the mission there are a few positions reserved exclusively for family members -- the CLO Coordinator and a limited number of Consular Associates. Although family members may now compete for any locally-recruited position, most positions either require specialized skills or are relatively low-paying.

The CLO maintains a skills bank for all eligible family members. Spanish language proficiency and computer skills are helpful and are required for most positions. Family members interested in employment opportunities should talk with the Human Resources Officer and the CLO Coordinator after arrival at post. All internal job announcements are also published on the mission's internet web site:

Local bilingual schools offer teaching positions for U.S. certified teachers. Salary and benefits vary depending on whether the contract is negotiated in Honduras or in the U.S. Family members interested in teaching are encouraged to contact the schools directly at the addresses listed below under Dependent Education.

For general information on overseas employment, please contact the Family Liaison Office, Room 1212, Main State, Telephone: (202) 647‑1076.

American Embassy - Tegucigalpa

Post City Last Updated: 2/19/2004 1:07 PM

Tegucigalpa, capital of the Republic of Honduras, is located in a mountain-ringed valley about 3,200 feet above sea level. One such peak is Mount Picacho that reaches over 7,000 feet. Tegucigalpa is 82 miles from the Gulf of Fonseca on the Pacific coast and 230 miles from the Caribbean to the north. The population is about 1 million.

The capital of Honduras is a busy, noisy city nestled into a bowl-shaped valley. It has a fresh and pleasant climate. The surrounding ring of mountains were formerly covered in pine trees, but are increasingly denuded by agriculture and new housing. It is provincial and picturesque, full of contrasts between the antique and the modern. Streets of stairs connect one level of the city with another and in places, the city climbs the hillsides on terraces. Narrow streets with blank walls pierced by heavy doors and iron-grilled windows, and reddish tile roofs all add to an impression of architectural unity in the city center. The unity is interrupted by new buildings and modern residential sections in the areas surrounding the original town. The Choluteca River separates Tegucigalpa from Comayagüela, its lower-income sister city. Seven small bridges connect the two cities, which are now both part of greater Tegucigalpa.

Colonial Spaniards founded Tegucigalpa in 1579 as a silver-mining town called Tegus Galpa, meaning hill or mountain of silver in the native Indian language. In 1880 Tegucigalpa became the capital of Honduras. Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela were originally separate towns. In 1898, the two were united with the provision that each should retain its own municipal council. It was not until 1938 that they, together with other neighboring communities, were united to form the Central District.

Tegucigalpa’s altitude contributes to a moderate climate, and most days feature spring-like temperatures. Moderate to cool nights relieve the occasional hot days. The average temperature is 74ºF, but temperatures may range from as low as 55º F to as high as 90º F. Seasons vary more in rainfall than in temperature. The rainy season usually begins in late May and continues through mid-December, with heavy rains ending in late October. During the rainy season, showers occur in the late afternoons and early evenings but the days are mostly sunny and clear. From January to February, cooler temperatures and strong winds prevail. The hot, dry season in Tegucigalpa can be uncomfortable and lasts for about 3–4 months, beginning as early as mid-January and reaching its peak in April. During this time water shortages occur, the earth becomes brown and parched, and heavy dust and smoke from brush and grassland fires pollute the air, sometimes closing the local airport.

Security Last Updated: 2/19/2004 1:10 PM

Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and other cities have a high crime threat, and a correspondingly high level of caution is recommended at all times. Street crime is the principal concern with purse snatchings, pickpocketing, carjackings and robberies in urban areas on the rise.

Employees should apply the same common sense traveling in Honduras that is required in any high crime area of any major U.S. city. Jewelry should not be worn in public areas and obviously large sums of money should not be displayed or even carried. Whenever, possible, group travel is recommended, particularly after dark.

Public buses are not recommended for transportation, and taxis do not have safety belts and are not up to U.S. safety standards. All highway travel after dark should be avoided.

All mission housing is protected through a security alarm system monitored by an Embassy hired local guard force. The guard force patrols the neighborhoods in which the official American community resides on a continuing basis day and night. If an alarm is triggered, they respond within approximately three (3) minutes. In the event of an emergency when the occupant is home, call switches are installed in strategic locations inside the house. If the occupant pushes the emergency switch, the alarm is transmitted to the guard force command center for immediate action and response. As an added precaution against intruders, houses also are equipped with concertina wire around the top of the compound walls.

The Regional Security Office schedules a detailed security briefing for all newcomers immediately following their arrival at post.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 5/24/2004 5:21 PM

The U.S. and Honduras established diplomatic relations in 1838 when the Central American Federation dissolved. A Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Rights that was ratified in 1928 regulates relations between the two countries.

The first U.S. Embassy was in Comayagua, the colonial capital of Honduras. The Embassy moved to Tegucigalpa in 1880 when the capital changed. From the 1880s to 1919 a U.S. Consulate operated in San Juancito, because of American silver mining interests in the nearby village of El Rosario.

The current Chancery was constructed in 1955 on Avenida La Paz and is about 5 minutes by car from downtown Tegucigalpa. In July 1990, an annex immediately adjacent to the Chancery was completed. The Chancery and Annex accommodate all State Department offices, including the Consulate. In addition, the complex houses the Defense Attaché (DAO), Corps of Engineers (USACE), Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS), Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) Liaison, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). There is a leased, seven-story building directly across the street from the Embassy that houses the USAID Mission. Treasury has a one-person tax assistance office near the Embassy. The Peace Corps offices are located about a half mile from the Embassy and the U.S. Military Group (MilGroup) is located across town near the Toncontin Airport.

The Embassy is organized in a manner consistent with most diplomatic missions around the world.

The Executive Office is composed of the Ambassador and the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM). The DCM is second in command and functions as the Ambassador's Chief of Staff. He/she directs the Mission in the Ambassador’s absence, assuming the title Chargé, d’Affaires ad interim.

The Political Counselor directs the Political Section (POL) and advises the Ambassador on human rights, labor issues, and military affairs. This office also provides general political reporting and analysis to the Ambassador and administers the counternarcotics program funds provided by the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Bureau.

The Economic Counselor directs the work of the Economic Section (ECON), Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) units. In addition to promoting U.S. economic and business interests, the office reports and analyzes macroeconomic trends, trade, maritime issues, environmental and energy policy, civil aviation, intellectual property rights, and telecommunication issues.

The Public Affairs Section (PAS) advises the Ambassador on press and media relations and cultural affairs. The Public Affairs Officer (PAO) also functions as the Mission’s public spokesperson. This office is responsible for educational exchanges and cultural affairs programs.

The Consul General manages the Consular Section (CONS) and oversees American Citizen Services (ACS), passports, citizenship registration, warden system, welfare and whereabouts, federal benefits, the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit and the Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Unit. A Consular Agent is located in San Pedro Sula to assist with American Citizen Services on the North Coast.

The Regional Security Office (RSO) is responsible for all security issues and oversees the 8-person Marine Security Guard (MSG) Detachment. The RSO also conducts personnel investigations, controls badge access to the Embassy, runs the residential security program and supervises an extensive local guard force contract.

The Joint Administrative Office (JAO) provides administrative services to the U.S. government agencies that participate in the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services (ICASS) agreement. JAO is staffed by State Department personnel and includes Budget and Fiscal (B&F), Community Liaison Office (CLO), General Services Operations (GSO), Health Unit (HU), Information Management (IM), and Human Resources (HR).

Federal agencies under the authority of the Chief of Mission (COM) are:

The U.S. Agency for International Development has had a presence in Honduras for more than forty years. Their current objective is the promotion of a more democratic and prosperous country through poverty alleviation, economic growth and support of an open economy, and participatory society. USAID’s ongoing programs include economic growth, environmental protection, health and population, and strengthening democracy. In response to the severe damage to Honduras caused by Hurricane Mitch in October 1998, USAID/Honduras oversaw more than $300 million of the Central America and the Caribbean Emergency Disaster Recovery Fund to meet reconstruction needs. The focus of the reconstruction effort was economic development, physical rebuilding of infrastructure, community building, and reduction in vulnerability to future disasters and improved governance. This program was largely completed by December 2001.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)–Assists with the construction of local civil work programs and some Hurricane Mitch reconstruction Projects.

Defense Attaché, Office (DAO)–Advises the Chief of Mission on Honduran military affairs and capabilities. DAO activities include general military representational duties, reporting and analysis. The DAO office is composed of representatives from the Air Force, Army and Navy.

U.S. Military Group (MILGRP)– Established by a 1954 Military Assistance Agreement, it manages the U.S. Government foreign military assistance and training programs and it provides advisers, training, supplies, aid, and military sales. MILGRP is also responsible for managing the Army Post Office (APO).

Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS)–This office promotes the sale and trade of U.S. agricultural products and does agricultural reporting and analysis. The Regional Office is located in Guatemala and the ECON Section oversees the daily in-country activities.

Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) advises and provides technical assistance and support to the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources on prevention and surveillance of several exotic animal and plant diseases/pests.

The Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) promotes the export of U.S. goods and services to Honduras. The Commercial Attaché, is located in Guatemala and the in-country activities are overseen by ECON.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)–works with the Honduran police on counternarcotics issues. It also provides technical assistance and training to Honduran authorities on these matters and does antinarcotics reporting and analysis.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)–manages issues having to do with immigrant visas and citizenship eligibility, as well as cooperation with Honduran authorities on alien smuggling issues.

Peace Corps (PC)–This is the world’s second largest program and has been active in Honduras since 1962. Its approximately 125 volunteers serve in 6 different projects: hillside farming extension, child survival, water and sanitation, economic development, natural resource management, environmental education and municipal development. New volunteers arrive two times a year and receive in-country training. The offices are located a half mile from the Embassy.

Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF Bravo)–The U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami, maintains a liaison office within the Embassy in support of the U.S. military task force stationed at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base. JTF Bravo conducts and supports combined joint military operations within Central America, in order to promote regional cooperation and improve the ability of the region's military to carry out their new peace time missions. This facility is located approximately one and one-half hours from Tegucigalpa.

The Department of the Treasury manages a small tax assistance project in the Direccion Ejecutiva de Ingresos, one block from the Embassy.

Services available to Embassy personnel:

Cafeteria Located in Annex 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Banco Atlantida Located in Annex Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Check cashing for local currency and dollars

Bancomer USAID Building (across the street from Chancery) Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-noon and 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Check cashing for local currency and dollars

Commissary Located in Chancery Monday-Friday Hours: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Embassy Gym Located in Chancery Open 24 hours Locker and shower facilities available

Travel Offices Located in Annex & AID Building Hours: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday Arrange official trips and personal travel

Switchboard Daytime: (504) 236-9320 or 238-5115 Afterhours: (504) 236-9325 FAX: (504) 236-9037

Embassy Business Hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/19/2004 1:18 PM

While every effort is made to immediately move new arrivals into permanent housing, it may occasionally be necessary to assign incoming employees to temporary housing for a limited time. Advance written notice of arrival helps reduce waiting times. Employees should be sure their parent agency notifies the GSO housing office, CLO Coordinator and HR Office as soon as a firm arrival date has been established.

Arriving personnel for whom housing is not yet available usually stay in one of the major hotels or in an apartment hotel located near the American School. Major hotel facilities include a coffeeshop, dining room, swimming pool with poolside service, sauna and exercise facilities. Discounted rates for U.S. Government personnel are available on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis at any of these facilities.

Most local hotels do not allow pets, and local kennel services are extremely limited.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/19/2004 4:13 PM

The Ambassador occupies a U.S. Government-owned residence that overlooks the city of Tegucigalpa. It is a contemporary design constructed of native stone. Built in 1957-58, the residence is divided into three wings. One wing contains the family living quarters and recently underwent extensive renovations. It consists of a master suite, three additional bedrooms, a family room/kitchenette, game room and study. The utility wing has a garage, four domestic staff bedrooms, laundry area, kitchen and family dining room. The third wing consists of two stories: a lower level with an entrance hall and study and an upper level with a large formal reception room, dining room, pantry, sitting room, powder room, and library. The residence is furnished with a baby grand piano and paintings and other artwork provided through the Department of State's “Art in Embassies” program. The beautifully landscaped grounds cover 7 acres and include a 20’ x 40’ swimming pool with adjoining bath house, a tennis court, basketball court and sand volleyball court. There is also a short jogging trail on the property.

The Deputy Chief of Mission’s (DCM) home is a leased, multi-story house overlooking other side of the city. The first floor contains a large living room, sitting area, sunporch, dining room, study and kitchen, which is accessible to separate outside staff quarters. The second floor has a master suite, three family bedrooms, two additional baths, sunporch and family room. The ground floor contains a guest suite, recreation room, living room and a small storage area. The grounds include two small patios and a swimming pool.

Housing policy for all U.S. government personnel is established by the Inter-Agency Housing Board based on the relevant interagency guidance from Washington. The Housing Board has representatives from all agencies and formally assigns housing to everyone under Chief of Mission authority.

In instances where employees have special housing requirements, the Management Officer or other agency representative should be contacted well before the employee's arrival at post to identify the need and ensure appropriate housing is assigned. The housing market in Tegucigalpa is erratic and it takes time to locate suitable housing. Current ICASS standards allow GSO/Housing up to 90 days from written notice of an employee's arrival date for the selection, leasing, assignment and preparation of housing for an incoming family.

All housing assignments must meet applicable 6 FAM space standards, post security requirements and Housing Board-approved rental ceilings. Pooled housing is assigned based on rank and family size. State operates an OBO-approved housing pool for itself, DEA, DHS, TAT and part of DAO. USAID operates its own housing pool according to the same guidelines. Peace Corps runs its own leasing program. MilGroup, COE, JTF-Bravo, Treasury and the other part of DAO use the living quarters allowance (LQA) program, allowing elmployees lease their own housing. LQA housing proposals must be approved by RSO and the Housing Board before leases may be signed.

Most Embassy housing is less than 10 minutes away from the Embassy by car. Apartment buildings are scarce and only a few Embassy personnel live in apartments. The majority of American families occupy single family homes with three to four bedrooms, two to three baths, and a small servant's quarters. Houses are typically two or more levels because of the hilly terrain. Most homes have small patio areas and/or gardens, enclosed by perimeter walls. Ceilings tend to be high and floors are usually tile. Closet space is usually adequate.

State Department, USAID and Peace Corps provide their direct-hire employees with a Hospitality Kit, sometimes also called the “Welcome Kit.” The kits are distributed on a first come, first served basis. A Hospitality Kit is also provided at the end of your tour for use after pack-out. The Hospitality Kit normally contains:

Linens: bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths; bath mat for each bathroom in use; set of sheets, blanket, and bedspread for each bed in use; one pillow per person;

Dishes: place settings, including dinner plate, small plate, bowl, and cup and saucer; sugar bowl and cream pitcher; flatware (knife, fork, salad fork, teaspoon, and tablespoon); set of steak knives; and glasses (water and juice);

Kitchen utensils: set of carving knives; bottle opener cork screw; vegetable peeler; manual can opener; whisk; set of stainless kitchen utensils (six assorted large spoons and forks for cooking and a small pitcher); cutting board; 2 dish cloths; pot holders; frying pan; 3 sauce pans; 4 baking pans; tea kettle; 2 stainless mixing bowls; plastic serving bowl; colander; plastic pitcher; set of food storage containers (24 piece); ice cube tray; dish drainer; microwave; toaster; coffee maker; and microwave;

Other: iron and ironing board; 21 clothes hangers; shower curtain; and vacuum.

Items that come in sets (towels, dishes, flatware, and glasses) usually come in groups of four. If there are more than four people in your family, please make sure your sponsor knows to request extras for you. The Hospitality Kit is to be returned immediately following the arrival of your air freight.

Furnishings Last Updated: 6/2/2004 1:10 PM

The State Department, USAID, and PC supply all major appliances–washer, dryer, refrigerator, freezer, and stove–to their employees. Stoves and water heaters may be electric or gas. If gas, refill tanks are provided and the cost is reimbursable by the parent agency. Microwaves are not provided. USAID started providing dishwashers in 2004. State now provides vacuum cleaners.

State Department, USAID and Peace Corps employees have government- provided furniture. USAID furniture is provided to all direct-hire and offshore USPSC employees and may, in some circumstances, be provided to other contractors, depending on their contract.

When appropriate, a large rug for the living and dining rooms is provided. Beds in master bedrooms are queen size; all others are twins. Also provided: step-ladder; garbage can; 5-gallon drinking water bottles (2 per family); and table fan. A complete listing of household furnishings is available from the General Services Office (GSO) for State employees and the equivalent office for other agencies.

Furniture sets do not include linens, dishes, microwaves, or other small kitchen appliances, clocks, iron or ironing board, gardening tools and hoses, hairdryers, telephones, radios, TV or stereo equipment, stereo stands or cabinets, or any furniture for servants quarters. Personnel wishing to hire a live-in employee must provide the necessary furniture.

Air conditioners are provided for occupied bedrooms only. All government leased housing includes a generator set or a power inverter (similar to a large UPS) to run electrical equipment during power outages. Sometimes unoccupied bedrooms are left empty. If extra furniture is available, unoccupied bedrooms can be furnished to accommodate guests.

The Defense Attaché’s Office (DAO) and the U.S. Military Group (USMILGP) are not provided with government furniture. Some major household appliances are provided; however, it may be necessary to include a refrigerator, freezer, stove, washer, and/or dryer in your shipment. Employees of these agencies should contact their agency directly to determine what appliances they should bring to post.

Power failures and fluctuations are frequent and can damage electronic equipment such as PCs and CD players, TVs, VCRs, and microwaves. Voltage regulators or surge protectors are recommended for all sensitive electronics. An UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is strongly suggested for personal computers. Battery operated clocks are a must, especially alarm clocks.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/19/2004 5:17 PM

Electricity: As in the U.S., electric current is 110v, 60cycle, AC, with some houses having both 110v and 220v outlets. All U.S. direct-hire employees have government-installed generators or power inverters to provide electricity during power outages.

Security: Houses have protective grills over windows and glass doors. Deadbolt locks are installed on on entrance doors. Alarm systems for Embassy-leased houses are connected to the contract security service provider's office. A mobile team responds when the alarm is triggered. The security contractor also provides 24-hour roving patrol service that has an English-speaking dispatcher on duty at all times to provide an emergency response within minutes.

Water: All houses occupied by Mission personnel have water storage tanks (cisterns) and some type of pumping system to cover periods of water outages, especially during the dry season. City water is not potable, but bottled water is widely available and is delivered to your house in 5 gallon bottles.

Climate Control: Air conditioners are installed in all occupied bedrooms. You may wish to ship a small space heater for the cooler days in December and January. Most houses have one or more ceiling fans. Likewise, you may want to bring additional fans or room air conditioners for the computer room, guest room, etc. Fans and space heaters are available at local commercial outlets.

Food Last Updated: 4/9/2004 12:07 AM

All U.S. Government personnel with duty-free privileges are eligible to join the United States Embassy Personnel Association (USEPA), which runs a small commissary in the Embassy compound. The commissary stocks a limited number of basic foodstuffs and specialty items. Other items may be ordered by case lot through USEPA. The commissary also stocks duty-free liquor, wine, and U.S. beer. See "Social Activities" for additional information on USEPA.

Pasteurized fresh milk, cheese, butter, eggs, cooking oil, and ice cream are all available locally. Locally bottled beer and soft drinks are also readily available. Several supermarkets sell adequate beef, chicken and pork, although the cuts and taste can differ from those purchased in the U.S. Frozen and fresh fish and shrimp may be purchased at reasonable prices. Supermarkets carry fluctuating supplies of local and imported food items and local meats. There are occasional local shortages, mostly because of poor inventory management and/or long shipping lead times. Items imported from the U.S. are expensive due to high transportation costs and import duties.

The supply of American merchandise has improved with the opening of the U.S.-owned Price Smart a few years ago. This is a warehouse membership operation and bulk buying is often required. Chicken, fish, and U.S. quality meats are available as well as dry goods, including electrical appliances and other household items.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are available year round, but the supply and quality varies with the season. Local vegetables include tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, string beans, beets, corn, eggplant, and lettuce. Avocados, oranges, grapefruits, bananas, lemons, melons, pineapples, and other tropical fruits are abundant year round.

U.S. brands can be hard to find. Employees who are unwilling to substitute local brands for their favorite U.S. products can sometimes get them through USEPA or by catalog through the APO.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/19/2004 5:36 PM

The weather is tropical by day and cool in the early morning and evening. During the cool season (mid-November to February) it may be chilly during the day. Long sleeves, light sweaters, and jackets can be useful at times; however, summer clothing is normally suitable all year.

Military: Personnel belonging to DAO and MILGP wear civilian clothes or short-sleeved summer uniforms. Officers of DAO and MILGP are required to wear dress uniforms or fatigues on occasion.

Office/Representational: Office attire varies by grade and job function. Men wear suits and ties and women wear professional suits and dresses when attending meetings in the Embassy community and with local officials. Tropical weight suits are appropriate year-round and lightweight wool suits or slacks with sport jackets are comfortable during cooler months. Slacks, dress shirts, and ties are suitable for days when no official meetings are scheduled. “Casual Fridays” are permitted, provided that personnel have no official meetings or outside responsibilities that day. Honduran government officials almost always wear suits or the equivalent for women–with dark suits predominant.

Black-tie functions are rare, but if you have a tuxedo or dinner jacket, bring it with you. In the absence of a tuxedo, a dark suit is sufficient for formal wear. Women wear gowns or cocktail dresses on only a few formal occasions and dresses and suits for the more common, less formal representational events.

Casual: A good supply of sports clothes and informal clothing is required. Bring lightweight clothes and include street-length dresses and skirts, separates, and sports clothes in your wardrobe. Generally, shorts are not worn except for sporting activities and at the beach. Rainy weather and unpaved streets are hard on shoes, so plan accordingly and bring a good supply. Locally made shoes are generally poor quality, and larger sizes can be difficult to find. Imported shoes, while available, are more expensive than in the U.S.

Women should bring plenty of lingerie and stockings, since sizes, styles, and colors are geared toward Honduran, not U.S., tastes. Again, imported items are available, but expensive.

Children Last Updated: 2/19/2004 5:38 PM

Purchase clothing and shoes before coming to post or identify a reliable stateside supplier that has Internet or mail order capability. Local prices for imported children’s clothing are high and selections are limited. Children need lightweight clothing for most of the year with light sweaters and jackets for the cooler months. Most schools in Tegucigalpa require uniforms; materials for all school uniforms can be purchased locally. (see Dependent Education.)

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/19/2004 5:51 PM

Bring linens, glassware, dishes and flatware (dining tables comfortably seat eight), kitchenware, and battery-powered clocks. Consider bringing shower curtains and rings, closet fittings (clothes hangers and garment bags), heavy-duty nails and screws/anchor bolts for cement walls, small kitchen appliances including a microwave, ice chest, electric iron and ironing board, gardening tools and hoses, extra lamps (especially task lamps or desk lamps), radios, CD players, stereos, VCRs, TVs, PCs, and books. Also useful are extra telephones; party favors and decorations; children’s birthday gifts, greeting cards, games, and toys; favorite brands of cosmetics and perfume; and playing cards. If you are interested in outdoor cooking, you may wish to bring a gas or charcoal grill (caution -- gas cylinders must be purchased locally; they may not be shipped in your household effects). Favorite decorator items and framed pictures and other wall hangings can make you feel more at home.

Most items are available in Honduras. However, small appliances, electronics and kitchenware are more expensive here than in the U.S. Many items are available by mail order and on the Internet. Check with the CLO Coordinator for local prices and availability of specific items.

Furniture: There are fine woodworkers in Honduras who produce beautiful carvings, wooden trunks, and furniture using cedar and mahogany. These articles may be purchased ready-made at tourist centers and artisan shops or made to order by the manufacturer. Less expensive wood shops make more utilitarian furniture.

It is recommended that you leave your valuable antiques, family photo albums and other heirlooms in storage, due to rough handling by packers, shippers and household staff. Excessive dryness/humidity and termites can also damage wooden antiques.

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/19/2004 5:57 PM

Local tailors and seamstresses are available in Tegucigalpa for fabrication of simple, inexpensive clothes. A variety of fabrics are available in all price ranges, but quality materials can be expensive. If you sew, bring patterns with you.

Laundry and dry cleaning services are available and the cost is comparable to U.S. prices. Dry cleaning is adequate for most fabrics, except leather. Shoe repair is satisfactory. Garment bags are recommended to protect seldom worn clothing from dust and moths.

Simple repairs for radios, TVs, and household appliances are available, but local repair of delicate equipment should not be attempted. Plumbers, electricians, and carpenters are available, but workers are not trained or equipped to American standards.

Furniture refinishing is good, although delivery may be slow. If you furnish the materials, reupholstering is good and inexpensive by U.S. standards. Imported furnishings are available but expensive.

State and USAID residential maintenance teams respond to routine requests to maintain and repair government-owned property, assist landlords in contracting labor to fulfill their maintenance obligations under lease agreements, perform minor repairs that are too small to be practical for contracting, and respond to emergency maintenance requests after duty hours. Under our lease agreements, major maintenance is primarily a landlord responsibility. Landlords have no responsibility to make improvements, other than those specified in the lease agreement.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/19/2004 6:04 PM

Most families employ one domestic servant who does cleaning, washing, ironing, and some cooking. Large families and persons with extensive representational responsibilities sometimes hire additional household help. Many Mission families also employ full or part-time gardeners. While it is not a responsibility of the employee to provide a maid for the convenience of maintenance, it does facilitate the repairs at the residence when one is present. In addition, it allows for a presence in the house during work hours, thus providing additional security for the residence.

Because of cultural differences, it can be difficult to get household help that would be considered reliable by American business standards. Even if previously employed by Americans, servants often require close supervision and training. Unexplained absences are common. Servants generally speak only Spanish.

Many mission families hire full-time, live-in domestic staff. The employer must furnish the living quarters, including bedding and linens, as well as supplies such as bathroom tissue and soap. Some domestic employees may also wish to have their children live in. In this case, the employer and employee must agree on the specific arrangements, including food and living space for the children. It is customary for the employer to furnish uniforms or work clothes, although some domestics wear street clothes. Part-time domestics are also available and are normally provided meals, but not living quarters.

Conditions under which domestic employees may be hired are controlled by the Honduran Labor Code. It favors the employee over the employer, who is responsible for paying certain medical expenses, Christmas gratuities, summer bonuses and other benefits. The CLO Coordinator has summaries of the Code.

Check character references from previous employers carefully. Make sure all prospective domestic employees have the proper official identification. The Regional Security Office will verify these documents and perform a local background check. All domestics should have a chest x-ray, blood test, and stool sample. Ask to see your domestic's current health card. In most cases it is wise to obtain a complete pre-employment physical exam for your domestic employee, at your expense.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/19/2004 6:06 PM

Spanish-speaking religious organizations representing the following are found in Tegucigalpa: Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, Assembly of God, Central American Mission, Baptist, Four-Square Gospel, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mennonite, Lutheran, Mormon, Southern Baptist, Methodist and World Gospel Mission. The indigenous groups have their own religions, often existing alongside Christianity and incorporating elements of African and Indian animism and ancestor worship. English-language Catholic and Protestant services are available including the non-denominational Union Church.

Catholicism is the leading religion in Honduras, but Protestant denominations have grown in recent years. Highlights of the religious calendar in Tegucigalpa are Christmas (Navidad) and Easter (Semana Santa or Holy Week). The week between Christmas and the New Year is celebrated with much gaiety and fireworks. Holy Week is rigorously observed with most stores and all local government offices remaining closed from Thursday through Sunday. Honduran Catholics also celebrate February 2nd and 3rd as feast days of the Patron Saint of Honduras, Our Lady of Suyapa.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 4/26/2004 3:11 PM Additional information on the schools discussed here is available from the Community Liaison Office (CLO). While The American School is designated as the reference school for Embassy personnel (the education allowance is based on the tuition of this institution), your choice of schools is strictly a personal decision. Those eligible for the education allowance can be reimbursed up to the amount it would cost to send their children to the American School. We encourage each family to investigate all available schools prior to making a decision on the school their children will attend. Please note that the education allowance is insufficient to cover the complete cost of the other two schools that are accredited in the United States.

The academic year for most bilingual schools begins the third week in August and ends in May. Students need to be pre-registered for all schools. The Community Liaison Office will assist families with pre-registration once a school has been chosen. All schools require the following documents at the time of enrollment:

Copy of birth certificate Copy of photo page of passport Two current passport size photos (B&W or color) Previous school records The American School. The American School (K-12) is the largest of the three U.S. accredited schools, with approximately 1,100 students. It is a private, nonprofit institution and is currently the reference school for education allowance purposes. All children of official mission personnel are accepted for enrollment. Advance registration is required but all US government students will be accepted. The address is:

American School of Tegucigalpa

Unit Number 2908 APO AA 34022 Internet:

The school is located in a residential area called Colonia Las Lomas del Guijarro, in close proximity to most American Embassy neighborhoods and within 10 minutes drive of the Embassy. An elected school board, which includes U.S. mission members, administers the school. The student body consists of 10% U.S. and third country nationals and 90% Honduran nationals. The school receives guidance and grants from the State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools and is accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges. There is an active parent-teacher organization.

Classes are conducted in English. There is Spanish language instruction for non-native speakers. The school follows a U.S. curriculum. In high school, the school offers three programs: college preparatory for U.S. colleges and universities; an International Baccalaureate (IB) program; and a program that prepares students for the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Overall, children of Embassy personnel score above average on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and gain acceptance to U.S. colleges of their choice. Extracurricular activities include cheerleading, band, sports, drama, and chorus.

All students, grades K to 12 wear uniforms. Boys wear uniform pants with white, short-sleeved shirts and dark socks. Girls wear uniform jumpers with white, short-sleeved blouses and white socks or uniform pants with white, short-sleeved blouses and dark socks. All shirts and blouses must have the American School patch sewn on the sleeve. Material for the jumpers and uniform pants, navy with white pinstripes, is available at the school, as are the patches. Shirts and blouses are readily available from the school or local merchants. A navy blue sweater or windbreaker is appropriate for cooler days. Most students wear tennis shoes or, on occasion, black or dark brown dress shoes.

Academia Los Pinares. The Los Pinares school (K-12) is also based on an American curriculum and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The education allowance does not cover the entire cost of this institution. It is a private religious school located in a highland area approximately 40 minutes by bus from Tegucigalpa. Embassy children are not granted automatic admission. Enrollment is approximately 650 students. The student body consists of 15% U.S. citizens, 5% other nationalities, and 80% Hondurans. Additional information on the school can be obtained by contacting the following:

Director Academia Los Pinares Apartado 143C Tegucigalpa, Honduras, CA Internet:

A Honduran curriculum is also offered in grades 7 to 12. Bible study is a required course and all courses include Christian principles and emphasize moral values. Classes are in English with daily Spanish-language courses included in the curriculum. Pinares offers a full range of sports activities, band and chorus.

Academia Los Pinares students wear dark green uniforms with green and white checkered shirts and white socks. Uniforms and shirts can be made at post from locally purchased material. Many students wear tennis shoes.

Discovery School. The Discovery School, is a smaller, private school located in a residential area of Tegucigalpa called Colonia Lara. An American curriculum and a hands-on approach are followed from kindergarten through tenth grade. Class size does not exceed 15 students. Classes are in English with daily Spanish language courses included in the curriculum. Enrollment is 125 and the student body consists of 28% U.S. citizens and 72% Hondurans and other nationalities. Embassy children are not granted automatic admission and the education allowance does not cover the entire cost. This school recently received accreditation by SACS. Information on the Discovery School is available by contacting the following addresses:

Discovery School TGU 00015 P.O. Box 025387 Miami, FL 33102-5387 Internet:

Other Bilingual Schools. While the majority of children in the official community attend one of the three schools mentioned above, there are other bilingual schools in Tegucigalpa. Please contact the CLO for information on these schools or on Spanish-speaking schools.

Away From Post Last Updated: 2/20/2004 12:11 AM Because of the post’s proximity to the U.S., educational facilities elsewhere in Central America and Mexico are rarely used as an away-from-post schooling option. Families interested in boarding schools normally make the necessary arrangements with private schools in the U.S. and Canada. A higher away-from-post than at-post allowance is granted for dependents beginning with grade 7.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 2/20/2004 2:03 PM

The Embassy sponsors a Spanish-language training program and has established an independent learning language laboratory with a variety of software programs and videos for use by the mission community. If space is available for classroom instruction, dependents are invited to participate in the program. The independent learning laboratory is always available to dependents. Local Spanish teachers are available for private lessons, and several private schools offer classroom instruction.

Local universities have limited facilities for international students and all classes are taught in Spanish.

The National School of Fine Arts conducts classes in ceramics, painting, woodcarving, and sculpture. All instruction is in Spanish. Several private schools/studios around the city offer instrumental music, dance, aerobics and martial arts classes. Guitar, piano, and marimba lessons are available. Tegucigalpa has ballet schools for children and adults. Karate, tai chi and judo classes are available for all ages.

French-language lessons are taught at the Alliance Francaise under the auspices of the French Embassy. The Alliance offers an excellent curriculum, from begining to advanced French studies.

Recreation and Social Life Last Updated: 2/20/2004 2:09 PM

The CLO Coodinator manages an ambitious activities program and encourages organizational participation from volunteers with specific skills and interests. The CLO Coordinator also sponsors periodic orientations, town hall meetings and holiday events. There are also various sports and non-official activity groups organized by mission members and other diplomatic missions in Tegucigalpa..

Sports Last Updated: 2/20/2004 2:45 PM

Honduras offers a variety of sports activities for all ages including hiking, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, white water rafting and horseback riding. The La Tigra National Park, a cloud forest about 40 minutes from town, offers excellent hiking opportunities. Fishing is most frequently done in the Gulf of Fonseca, about two hours away. Water sports are mostly confined to the north coast, about five hours north by car, or the Bay Islands, about five hours away by plane. Vehicle transportation within Honduras can be dangerous, however, and a high degree of caution is needed when traveling outside the city.

Little League basketball and soccer are played at the American School after school and on Saturdays for children through grade 7. Adults and older teens can join in pickup basketball and volleyball games on weekends at San Miguel, a local Catholic school, or at the American School.

The Ambassador’s residence has a heated swimming pool, a tennis court, basketball court and volleyball court for use by official Americans and their guests. The residence is currently open every day except Sunday. Liability waiver forms must be completed and returned to the Management Office prior to using the pool. The RSO requires 24 hour advance written notice of when guests are invited.

The mission has a well-equipped exercise room located in the Chancery. It is open to all employees, American and Honduran, as well as to American family members. In addition, there are several commercial gyms in the city. Two of the most popular are Cybex and Gold’s Gym. Membership costs vary based on individual needs. USEPA members can obtain a special discount from the Cybex Club.

There are two local country clubs that offer tennis and golf memberships to mission members. Villa Elena, a 40-minute drive from Tegucigalpa, is the most popular due to the quiet, secluded location. The club offers swimming, tennis and golf and annual dues are reasonable.

Horseback riding can be enjoyed year round. A stable near the outskirts of town offers English riding lessons. Open range riding is also available at the Pan-American Agricultural School in Zamarano, a 45-minute drive from town.

The Bay Islands range from 20 to 40 miles off the north coast. The largest three are Roatán, Guanaja, and Utila, all available by single engine plane via La Ceiba. The scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing in these islands are excellent.

Photography is a popular hobby. You will find considerable human-interest subject matter and panoramic scenes. The most popular types and sizes of film are available as is film developing service. Mail-order firms in the U.S. can also be used for photo processing. Digital photography is catching on, and many mission members no longer use conventional 35 mm cameras.

Bring all sporting equipment and special clothing to post -- the local selection is limited and prices can be quite high.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/20/2004 5:51 PM

Tegucigalpa: The focus of the old city is the domed 18th century cathedral, which has a baroque interior filled with fine art. Parque Central, in front of the cathedral, is the hub of the old city. Interesting buildings include the old university, Antiguo Paraninfo Universitaria, now an art museum; the contemporary Palacio Legislativo, constructed on stilts; the old Casa Presidencial, a beautiful old building which has been converted into a museum situated above the river; the 16th-century Iglesia de San Francisco, the first church built in Tegucigalpa; and the National Cathedral of San Miguel, begun in 1756 and consecrated in 1782.

A drive or walk up the cobblestone streets to the old La Leona section of the city leads to La Leona Park, with a lovely view of Tegucigalpa. Standard security precautions should be taken when walking in this area, especially at night.

Concordia Park is a small park that has replicas of the Copán ruins.

The El Centro market is located in Comayagüela. Walking in Comayaguela is not recommended as this is a high-crime area of the city.

By driving to the top of one of the the higher peaks overlooking the city, you can visit the extensive Picacho Park. Included is a large playground for children, a botanical garden, and the "Cristo de Picacho" statue that can be seen from all areas of the city. (Weekends and Honduran holidays are crowded.)

The Feria Centroamericana de Tourismo y Artesan­ía, a Central America international artisans and tourism fair, is held annually in Tegucigalpa in early December.

Another famous church, the Basilica of Suyapa, is the home of the patron saint of Honduras. This huge, gothic church is on a hill southeast of the city and can be seen from all over town. The Virgin of Suyapa is believed to have performed hundreds of miracles. A fair in her honor is celebrated during the first two weeks of February. The services and festivities attract pilgrims from all over Central America.

Valle de Angeles is a 30-minute drive over a paved mountain road that winds through the hills. It is a center for arts and crafts and a good place to find hand-carved mahogany and cedar objects and other handicrafts of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Valle de Angeles is an old Spanish mining town restored to its 16th century appearance.

Santa Lucia, just off the road to Valle de Angeles, is a charming old colonial village with steep stone streets and a small stone church overlooking the valley of Tegucigalpa. The age of the church in Santa Lucia is unknown, but a wooden plaque dated 1598 was found in the old building.

La Tigra National Park, 40 minutes northeast of the city, is one of the most beautiful places in Honduras. Located at an altitude ranging from 6,000 to 7,000 feet, the pristine 18,480-acre park is in a lush cloud forest on property formerly owned by a U.S. mining company. The company closed in the 1960s and donated the land to the Honduran government. La Tigra is a popular destination for hikers.

The Pan American Agricultural School at Zamorano is a 45-minute drive from Tegucigalpa over a paved but poorly maintained mountain road. The school grounds are beautiful, well maintained and the limestone buildings are of attractive colonial-style architecture. A store on the school grounds sells fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, coffee and meats produced by students at the school. Mission personnel are invited to use the school’s swimming pool, tennis courts, and soccer fields and, for a small fee, may ride the school’s saddle horses.

Nearby is San Antonio de Oriente, a picturesque mining town, and home of well- known Honduran primitive painter, Juan Antonio Velasquez. It is a morning’s hike from the Pan-American Agricultural School grounds, or you can go by four-wheel drive vehicle.

Comayagua, the former capital of Honduras, is situated in a broad valley about 1-1/2 hours north of Tegucigalpa. Comayagua was the colonial capital from 1537 to 1880. The cathedral, located in the center of the town, was built between 1685 and 1715. It contains colonial paintings and boasts one of the oldest clocks in the world. The clock was made over 800 years ago by the Moors for the palace of Alhambra in Seville, and was donated to the town by King Philip II of Spain. Comayagua’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Central America. The first university in Central America was founded in Comayagua in 1632 in the Casa Cural, which now houses the newly renovated Museo Colonial. The museum has religious art spanning four centuries of colonial rule. Comayagua’s first church was La Merced, built between 1550 and 1558; other fine churches include San Francisco (1584) and La Caridad (1730).

Daní hosts a fair the last weekend in August. It is also home to several hand-rolled cigar factories. Danli is about 2 1/2 hours east of Tegucigalpa.

Lake Yojoa, the largest lake in Honduras, is about 2 1/2 hours north of Tegucigalpa. There are several hotels and restaurants around the lake. Soto Cano Air Base also maintains a Morale and Welfare facility on the lake and rents out boats to Embassy personnel. They require that the operator take a safety course prior to renting a boat. Swimming and fishing in Lake Yojoa is not recommended due to high bacteria counts.

An hour’s drive from Lake Yojoa is Pulhapanzak Falls. A jeep or four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

Choluteca is reached by a paved road, the spur that connects Tegucigalpa with the Pan American Highway on the South Coast. El Tigre, a 2,568 foot high volcanic island in the Golfo de Fonseca is home to the quiet fishing village of Amapala, a favorite retreat for wealthy Hondurans. Apart from the tranquillity, the other major drawing cards are the views and the seafood. Small boats and a car ferry connect the island with Coyolito on the mainland.

Copán: Embassy families have found the Copán Ruins to be one of the “must see” sights in Honduras. The country’s cultural heritage includes these remains of a once great center of pre-Columbian civilization in Central America. This Mayan city rose and mysteriously declined seven centuries before Columbus set foot on Honduran soil. Since its discovery in 1893, the Copán has been explored, excavated, and studied by some of the world’s leading archeologists. The archaeological site is open daily and includes the stelae (carved stone columns) of the Great Plaza, portraying the rulers of Copán, dating from C.E. 613; the ball court and hieroglyphic stairway; and the Acropolis, which has a superb carved relief of the 16 Kings of Copan. All archeological relics are the property of the government. Honduran law and a U.S. treaty prohibit their exportation.

The beautiful village of Copán Ruinas, with cobbled streets passing among white adobe buildings, is one kilometer from the famous Mayan ruins. The village has a lovely colonial church and an aura of timeless peace. There is a popular fair in Copán Ruinas in March and a cultural fair in December. There are a number of hotels and restaurants in different price ranges.

For the best hikes, try Parque Nacional Celaque, 28 miles southeast of Santa Rosa de Copán. It contains the country’s highest peak, a lush cloud forest, the headwaters of 10 rivers, and a majestic waterfall. There are also vertical cliffs for expert mountain climbers.

North Coast: San Pedro Sula, the commercial center of the country, hosts a fair the last week in June. The RSO currently does not recommend personal travel to San Pedro Sula due to the high crime threat.

Tela, about 5 hours north of Tegucigalpa, is a favorite Honduran beach town. It’s a small, quiet place, with superb seafood, several good places to stay and some of the best beaches on the north coast. The best beach is east of the town, in front of the Hotel Villas Telamar. This facility used to be the United Fruit Company’s housing compound for resident Americans. Charming cabins from the ’40s surround a more modern hotel and restaurant. There is a popular fair in Tela in mid-June.

La Ceiba, another north coast town, celebrates Carnaval during the third week of May with parades, costumes and street music. Near La Ceiba is Pico Bonito, located a few kilometers to the South. Pico Bonito has trails around the fringes of a 195 square mile forest reserve. It is the largest protected area and least explored in Honduras except for the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in La Mosquitia. The Eco-lodge at Pico Bonito sits adjacent to the park and is a first class resort, offering daily trips to surrounding towns such as Tela and La Ceiba, hikes, white water rafting in the national parks and tours of the local butterfly farm. Room rates at the lodge are quite high, but visitors all agree that they are worth the extra expense.

The small town of Trujillo has played an important role in Honduran history. It sits on the wide arc of the Bah­a de Trujillo and has lovely beaches, coconut palms and gentle seas. Though it has a reputation as one of the country's best Caribbean beach towns, there are few tourists, except during the annual festival (late June). Apart from the attractions of the beaches, there is a 17th-century fortress, the grave of William Walker and a Museo Arqueologico. To the west of the town is the Barrio Cristales, where the Gar­funa people live; this is the place to go for music, dancing and revelry.

The Cayos Cochinos, or Hog Islands, are a group of small, privately-owned islands and cays 10 miles off the north coast near La Ceiba. Indigenous tribes once inhabited them, but the islands took their name from the conquistador Cortés, who tried to farm there. There is good snorkeling and diving around these islands, some of which have black coral reefs. Boats to the islands can be hired from Nueva Armenia, 25 miles east of La Ceiba.

Bay Islands: Roatán, Guanaja, and Utila, the three largest of the Bay Islands, lie 30 miles (on average) off the north coast of Honduras. They are surrounded by a barrier reef that offers great snorkeling and diving. The islands’ economy is based mostly on fishing, but tourism is becoming increasingly important. Utila offers low-key tourist facilities, while Roatán is gradually joining Guanaja as a more up-market retreat. Most low-budget travelers head to West End on Roatán, but Utila is the cheapest of the three islands to visit. Whichever island you choose, make sure you bring plenty of insect repellant -- the mosquitoes sand fleas are voracious, especially during the rainy season.

The Bay Islands have an interesting history, including evidence of Mayan habitation. The descendants of English settlers now populate what was once the haven of buccaneers and pirates. The islands, in many ways, still identify more with the English-speaking Caribbean than the Honduran mainland. Their laguages are English, Creole and Spanish. The Bay Islands offer lovely scenery, excellent snorkeling and diving, a relaxed atmosphere, and good seafood. Sailing yachts and fishing boats can be chartered and small cays can be rented for overnight stays.

It is possible to get to the Bay Islands by driving to the north coast and taking a ferry. However, most visitors travel by plane. Air service is erratic and extra time should be allowed to arrive and return -- bad weather often strands travelers overnight on the islands or in La Ceiba.

Mosquitia: The Miskito, Paya, and Mayungna Indians inhabit the vast inaccessible region in northeastern Honduras called La Mosquitia. The pristine wilderness and abundant wildlife includes manatees, monkeys, alligators, and bird life. Infrastructure is nonexistent, so be prepared to rough it, carry food supplies and eat with local families. Attractions include the magnificent R­ío Plátano Nature Reserve and boat trips on the rivers and lagoons.

Driving: Honduras has 23,000 miles of roads, of which only 2,000 are paved. Potholes and rock slides are constant hazards, particularly during the rainy season. Night driving outside of Tegucigalpa is currently prohibited, because of poor road conditions, farm animals and pedestrians on the road, slow-moving and unlit vehicles, and heavy commercial traffic.

When political and security conditions permit, it is possible to drive to neighboring Central American countries. If you plan to travel to surrounding countries, it is recommended that you first consult the Consular Section and the RSO for current travel advisories, security concerns, travel restrictions or known road hazards.

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/20/2004 6:05 PM

Home entertaining and dining out are the most popular forms of entertainment. Movie theaters are also popular, as U.S. movies are shown in modern air-conditioned theaters at two local malls.

Various universities and ministries of the Honduran Government sponsor shows, exhibits, and plays. (See Arts, Science, and Education for more information.) Occasionally, cultural attractions are sponsored by the U.S. Government, other embassies, or diplomatic groups. Locally-produced concerts, folk festivals, and plays are occasionally offered. Getting to these events is sometimes problematic due to the high crime threat and lack of secure parking.

Tegucigalpa has many restaurants from fast food to formal dining. Fast food chains include McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Many of these chains offer home delivery. American chain restaurants, such as TGIFriday's, Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday and Tony Roma's are also found in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Local restaurants include Italian, Chinese, Mexican, continental and traditional Honduran fare. Honduran meals typically include beans, rice, tortillas, fried bananas, grilled meat, potatoes, sour cream and grated cheese.

There are many individually owned stands selling pupusas, a popular tortilla-based dish, hot dogs, tacos, ice cream, etc. The quality varies widely, and the Health Unit does not recommend consuming this kind of street food.

Social Activities Last Updated: 4/9/2004 12:17 AM

Ample opportunities exist for social contacts with Honduran nationals in all agencies and at all levels. The international community includes 22 diplomatic missions, various honorary consulates, and representatives of international organizations and U.S. businesses. There are frequent opportunities for social contacts among members of the diplomatic corps.

Contacts are more limited for persons who do not have diplomatic titles or who do not work directly with Honduran government officials. It is still possible to develop friendships and lead an interesting social life. Employees and their spouses can expand their contacts by joining activities and organizations.

Damas Diplomaticas, open to all female diplomats and wives of employees on the diplomatic list, holds monthly teas and sponsors an annual event to raise money for needy organizations.

Several orphanages welcome volunteers, and local churches sponsor various charity projects. The English-Speaking Women's club is open to any English-speaking woman, regardless of nationality, and offers an excellent opportunity to meet Hondurans, Americans, and women from other countries. The club offers a monthly entertainment program and a variety of classes such as oil painting, international cooking, discussion groups, bridge, mahjong, book club, etc.

While there are frequent social functions and activities within the U.S. Embassy community, the pace of your social life outside the mission is determined by your willingness to reach out and your ability and willingness to speak Spanish.

The United States Embassy Personnel Association (USEPA) operates a small commissary in the Embassy, selling many regular household items, snack foods, soft drinks, duty-free liquor and tobacco products. USEPA will also organize bulk purchases from the U.S. for discount prices. The organization also offers group rate memberships to a local gym (Cybex Sport Center), which has weights, aerobics classes, an indoor pool, basketball and raquetball courts. New USEPA members are asked to pay a refundable membership fee of $100 for singles and $200 for families. The fee will be fully reimbursed as part of the check-out procedure when the employee leaves post. If a member's commissary account exceeds his/her membership fee before the end of the month, he/she will be asked to settle the bill within two working days. At the end of the month all members are asked to pay the balance of their commissary accounts.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 4/9/2004 12:33 AM

U.S. mission members receive occasional invitations to official and private receptions and cocktail parties. Attendance at these functions is useful in establishing and maintaining working-level contacts as well as social relationships.

Officers of all agencies should bring or have printed here a minimum of 100 business cards. Cards and invitations may be printed locally at a lower cost than in the U.S.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 4/9/2004 12:36 AM

Social conduct for Mission members is based on common courtesy. All U.S. Government employees and their dependents are expected to comply with local laws and regulations, avoiding any action that could be interpreted as taking advantage of their diplomatic status. Proper comportment assists in the maintenance of good relations between the U.S. and Honduras. Remember that you represent the United States of America, even when not performing your official duties.

Protocol requirements vary among agencies and between agency offices. Entry level officers and non-diplomatic (administrative and technical staff) employees generally have fewer formal protocol requirements. All American officers are expected to pay a formal visit to the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission as soon as possible after arrival and immediately prior to their departure.

Invitations to host government receptions and other events often arrive only a few days before the function. All employees are expected to RSVP on any and all invitations that request such a response.

At official events hosted by the U.S. Ambassador, mission members are expected to serve as co-hosts, arriving early, helping entertain the invited guests and remaining until other guests have departed. Such an event should be viewed as a work requirement as well as a social occasion.

Hondurans normally send flowers or a small gift the first time they are invited to your home. Reciprocal gifts are not expected, but thank you notes are appropriate.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/9/2004 12:45 AM

Post Orientation Program

Employees receive an abridged tour of the Embassy during their administrative check-in, followed by a more detailed orientation by specific offices. The Regional Security Office briefs all new employees upon entry and provides, a separate security briefing for spouses and older dependents. The Health Unit presents individual medical briefings for employees and dependents. The General Service Office, Human Resources Office and other administrative offices conduct person-specific orientations on the services they provide. There are a number of post policy documents provided to newcomers, e.g., the Post Housing Handbook and the local policy on the use of official vehicles. Most of these ducuments are posted on the Embassy web site, available on the State unclassified system at

The Community Liaison Office Coordinator provides a comprehensive orientation packet for newcomers, assigns official and social sponsors, assists with settling in activities, and conducts a wide range of programs and activities that foster a sense of community within the Mission. A formal post orientation program for employees and their dependents is offered two times per year, typically in conjuction with the Ambassador's regular town hall meetings.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/9/2004 1:25 PM

When the Embassy is notified of your assignment you will receive a welcome cable with details for making your arrival and accommodations as comfortable and problem-free as possible. If you do not receive this information, or do not follow the suggested advice, your move will be difficult and stressful. It is therefore critical that newly-assigned employees advise the Human Resources Office (HRO) or USAID Executive Office (USAID/EXO), as soon as possible of their arrival plans. Closer to the actual date, incoming employees should send a telegram confirming the date, time, and flight number of their arrival. Include information on the number of accompanying family members and family pets. In addition, you should advise your official sponsor or the General Services Office of any special needs that must be met in connection with your arrival.

A visa is not required for U.S. citizens staying less than 30 days; however, an official or diplomatic passport is mandatory for each employee and family member. Permanently assigned employees and family members will need to obtain a Honduran visa within 30 days of arrival. The Management Office assists with obtaining this visa from the Honduran government.

Almost all incoming personnel arrive by air at Tegucigalpa’s Toncontin Airport. All people traveling to post on U.S. government-financed tickets must comply with the Fly American Act, using one of the two American carriers that have daily non-stop flights into Honduras. American Airlines operates daily service from Miami and Continental Airlines from Houston.

The following APO addresses are available to all permanently-assigned, direct-hire American employees of the U.S. government and their authorized family members. In some cases U.S.-hire personal services contractors may also be eligible for APO services. Foreign-hire employees, interns, other types of contractors and temporary duty (TDY) employees are not eligible for APO. Please confirm your eligibility with your parent agency prior to mailing any letters or goods via the APO.

Name, Agency/Section Unit ____ , Box ___* APO AA 34022

*Contact your parent agency for the correct unit and box numbers

Note that 5 FAM 323(g) prohibits incoming employees from mailing packages of household goods to circumvent the weight limits on their air freight or surface freight shipments.

There are occasional delays in receiving luggage, especially when planes are full or when the transit time in Miami or Houston was short. It is a good idea to include in your carry-on bags a change of clothing, toiletries, special medicines, etc. You should also plan to hand-carry the following items to post: passports, immunization records, original vehicle documents, insurance papers, personal effects shipment inventories, personal checks, original medical records, copies of wills and other legal documents, prescriptions and prescription medications, school records and other school enrollment materials, and original veterinary papers for all accompanying pets. Finally, you should bring ten (10) ID-size photos for each adult and two (2) for each child.

Driving to post from the U.S. is possible, but not recommended for security reasons. If driving to post, you will need visas and health cards for all countries transited or visited en route to Honduras. An international driver’s license is recommended for driving through Central America.

Personal effects shipments, including air freight, household effects and personally-owned vehicles, should be marked as follows:

American Embassy Name of Employee, Name of Agency Tegucigalpa, Honduras, CA

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 11/21/2003 3:31 PM

The Embassy must receive permission from the Honduran government for duty-free entry of unaccompanied air baggage (UAB), household effects (HHE), and personally owned vehicles (POVs). The Honduran Government permits direct hire personnel of all agencies duty-free entry of their personal effects, provided they are imported for bona fide personal use.

Incoming families must arrange for their personal effects to arrive in Honduras no earlier than one month in advance of the employee's arrival. Shipments that arrive too far in advance will incur storage charges and may cause delays in the customs clearance process. If your effects are shipped several months before your anticipated arrival in Hondurans, your shipping instructions should include a request for the effects to be held at ELSO Antwerp or the US Despatch Agency in Miami until closer to your arrival date.

Personal belongings, including POVs, cannot be sold until 6 months prior to an employee’s transfer from post. A request to sell personal property for more than $180 or the equivalent in lempiras must be approved in advance by the Administrative Counselor. Approved sales should be made at or below acquisition cost. Any profit on the sale of goods may not be retained. The Embassy normally approves the conversion of local currency into dollars to accommodate the sale of personal property when the approval was given in advance.

In addition to the above restrictions, POVs must be registered in the country for 3 years prior to being sold, unless the employee permanently transfers in less than 3 years or the vehicle is stolen or involved in an accident that renders it unusable. Taxes must be paid at the time of sale, unless the automobile is sold to someone with duty-free privileges. This tax makes imported vehicles expensive for purchase by Hondurans. The employee may need to re-export the vehicle at the end of the tour.

UAB and HHE. Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) takes from 2 to 4 weeks to arrive from the U.S. It should contain clothing and household items to accommodate your family needs until your Household Effects (HHE) arrive. In planning your UAB, be aware that permanent housing is normally available prior to the arrival of the HHE.

If you mail items to post to be held for your arrival, it is recommended that you send them insured through the APO scheduled to arrive no more than 1 month before your arrival date. Check with your agency to determine availability of storage space for goods received in advance of your arrival. See Mail and Pouch for address information.

As this is a furnished Post for Department of State and USAID personnel, only a limited HHE shipment is authorized. HHE arrives by ship at Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean coast and trucked to Tegucigalpa. Shipping services are regularly available from New York, New Orleans, and Miami to Puerto Cortés.

Pets Last Updated: 6/2/2004 1:12 PM

If you are planning to bring a pet to post, you must check airline restrictions on pet travel and make reservations well in advance. All U.S. airlines now restrict pet travel during the summer months. It is important to check and double-check that your pet is still confirmed for travel on the date scheduled, and to have alternate plans in the event your pet's travel is delayed. Detailed information on pet travel is available at the Overseas Briefing Center at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, or by visiting their web site at

If you bring your pet with you, you must have a health certificate from a U.S. veterinarian, dated no earlier than 10 days before your arrival, as well as proof of immunization against rabies and parvo between six and twelve months prior to arrival. A Honduran import permit must be presented to the airline when boarding in the U.S. and to the Honduran customs authorities upon arrival in Honduras. Your official sponsor will obtain this permit through a Honduran veterinarian. Your sponsor will need fax copies of your pet's U.S. health certificate, the photo page of your passport, and information on the type/breed, color, sex, weight and age of your pet. The cost of the import permit is approximately $50 per animal. The document normally takes several days to obtain, so you should provide the necessary information to your sponsor as soon as possible after receiving the (10 day) U.S. veterinary certificate.

You may also arrange to ship your pet separately as air cargo, but this is a more costly option. Arrangements on the U.S. side must be made via a commercial pet shipper. In addition to providing the above documentation, you must arrange for a local customs agent to clear the pet upon arrival in Honduras. GSO can assist by providing a list of reputable customs agents. There are additional fees for the commercial U.S. shipper, the actual shipping costs and Honduran customs agent.

All incoming pets are considered livestock by the Honduran customs authorities. As such, they are subject to import fees. These charges vary widely, depending on the breed and size of the animal. The fees cannot be waived for diplomatic personnel.

Local veterinarian services are fair to good and pet food is available in the commissary and other local stores.

While post does not discourage families from bringing pets, it is the post's policy that the employee must assume personal responsibility for all costs, including any damage to government-leased residences and government-owned furnishings. As part of the check-out process an employee must pay for complete fumigation of the residence and any pet-related damages to the house or its contents.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 4/9/2004 2:03 PM

The Ambassador must authorize in writing the importation, possession, and transportation of personally-owned firearms by official American employees and their dependents. Firearms may be used for sport shooting and target practice in approved areas. This Ambassador will not authorize the carrying of firearms outside of the home for personal protection, nor will he/she allow the storage of firearms within government offices. Only sport rifles and shotguns will be authorized. Handguns and military-type weapons may not be shipped to post.

Prior to arrival, employees who intend to ship firearms to post must submit a written authorization request to the Ambassador through the Regional Security Office or the USAID/EXO. Honduran law requires permits for all personally owned firearms.

Mission personnel who import firearms must either export them at time of departure or sell them to other U.S. mission personnel. The sale or local purchase of any firearm must have the prior written approval of the Ambassador.

If you are interested in importing a firearm, please request a copy of the complete post firearms policy from the Post Regional Security Officer (RSO).

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 4/9/2004 2:14 PM

The official monetary unit is the lempira, named after a heroic native chief who fought against the Spanish Conquistadors. Ten lempiras is usually written as L 10 or 10 Lps. Lempiras are divided into 100 centavos. Bills are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500 lempiras. Coins are issued in 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavos.

The Central Bank of Honduras regulates currency imports and foreign exchange. For more than 70 years the official exchange rate remained fixed at L2 = US$1. In 1990, as part of a major economic restructuring program, the government of Honduras devalued the lempira and it is now subject to periodic readjustment according to the supply and demand for dollars and other economic factors. As of this writing, the value of the lempira is L18 = US$1.

The official system of weights and measures is the metric system, but the English system (pounds, gallons, etc.) is used most in markets, shops, and gasoline stations. The old Spanish system (e.g., varas vs. meters) is used in some legal affairs. Most mechanics and carpenters are familiar with U.S. weights and measures.

Payroll and Banking. All American direct-hire employees, civilian and military, receive their salary payments via direct deposit to their financial institutions from the appropriate finance center. The Embassy cashier disburses cash and U.S. Treasury checks to employees for travel advances and other payments.

Daily accommodation exchange is available to all personnel of all agencies in the Embassy and USAID buildings. Local bank offices are located in the respective buildings, and checks drawn on U.S. banks may be exchanged for dollars or lempiras.

Employees needing to cash checks over $500 are asked to give 24 hours’ notice. Residential telephone bills may be paid at the bank windows. You may establish a local lempira account or apply for credit cards, payable in lempiras, at one of these two branch offices.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/9/2004 2:31 PM

Tax Restrictions

The Honduran Government issues tax exemption coupon booklets to mission employees with duty-free privileges. However, the issuance of these booklets is normally delayed for several months after arrival. A few local merchants do not always honor them, and the process for replenishing used books is cumbersome and bureaucratic.

By agreement with Texaco and the Honduran government, the Embassy issues special gasoline tax exemption cards for use at selected Texaco stations. The tax savings are substantial -- about one dollar per gallon purchased.

Vehicles and other personal property must be imported for bona fide personal use and cannot be shipped to Honduras solely with intent to sell or transfer. Personal effects and household goods are imported duty-free in accordance with privileges outlined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

Automobiles and personal effects imported duty-free may not be sold until 6 months prior to an employee’s transfer from post. Vehicles must be registered in Honduras for at least 2 years prior to being sold. An exception can be made if an employee permanently transfers in less than 2 years. In any event, taxes must be paid at time of sale, unless it is sold to a diplomat or someone else with duty-free privileges.

Upon departure from post, the management counselor must approve the sale of vehicles and personal property with an aggregate value above US$180. Approved sales must be at or below the original acquisition cost; any net profits must be donated to charity. The Embassy will provide reverse accommodation exchange when large amounts of local currency have been received for items sold just prior to an employee's departure.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 4/30/2002 6:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published in this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Acker, Alison. Honduras: The Making of a Banana Republic. Boston: South End Press, 1988.

American University. Foreign Area Studies. Area Handbook for Honduras. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1984.

Chamberlain, R.S. The Conquest and Colonization of Honduras. Francisco Morazan, 1950.

Charnay, Desire. The Ancient Cities of the New World. Checchi: AMS Press, Inc.,1973 Honduras: Greenwood Press, 1977.

Coe, Michael. The Maya. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1973.

Goetz and Morley. The Sacred Book of the Ancient Quiche Maya. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1981.

Karnes, Thomas L. The Failure of Union: Central America 1824-1975. Tempe: Arizona State University, 1976.

Karnes, Thomas L. Tropical Enterprises, The Standard Fruit and Steamship Company in Latin America. Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1978.

Kepner and Soothill. The Banana Empire. Russell & Russell, 1963.

MacCameron, Robert. Bananas, Labor and Politics in Honduras (1954- 1963). New York: Maxwell School, Syracuse University Press: 1983.

MacLeod, Murdo J. Spanish Central America: A Socioenonomic History, 1520-1720. California: University of California Press, 1973.

McCann, Thomas. An American Company: The Tragedy of United Fruit. New York: Crown, 1976.

Peckenham, Nancy and Street, Annie. Honduras: Portrait of a Captive Nation. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1985.

Rosenberg, Mark B. and Shepherd, Philip L. Honduras Confronts Its Future. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1986.

Thompson, J. Eric. The Rise and Fall of Maya Civilization. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977.

Williams, Mary. Anglo-American Isthmian Diplomacy 1815-1915. Russell & Russell, Inc., 1965.

Fiction and Travelogs Bard, Samual A. Waikna. Adventures on the Mosquito Shore. Florida: University of Florida Press, 1965.

Carr, Albert H.Z. The World and William Walker. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

O’Henry. Cabbages and Kings. Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1953.

Parker, Franklin D. Travels in Central America 1821-1840. Florida: University of Florida Press, 1970.

These and other books are in the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC) library.

Useful Internet Sites http://www.users.ticnet/com/dlb/

Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/9/2004 2:41 PM

The Embassy is closed on the following American and Honduran holidays. Note that Honduran holidays falling in the middle of the work week are normally observed on the following Monday. For the past two years the government of Honduras has exchanged local holidays from elsewhere on the calendar for the first few days of Easter week, allowing employees to take the entire week off. Due to minimal operation of facilities and heavy air traffic, it is recommended that travel be avoided during major holiday seasons.

New Year’s Day (A&H) January 1 Martin Luther King’s Birthday (A) Third Monday in January President's Day (A) Third Monday in February Holy Thursday (H) Thursday before Easter Good Friday (H) Friday before Easter Day of the Americas (H) April 14 Honduran Labor Day (H) May 1 Memorial Day (A) Last Monday in May American Independence Day (A) July 4 American Labor Day (A) First Monday in September Central American Independence Day (H) September 15 Francisco Morazan’s Birthday (H) October 3 Columbus Day (A) Second Monday in October Discovery of America (H) October 12 Armed Forces Day (H) October 21 Veterans Day (A) November 11 Thanksgiving Day (A) November 22 Christmas Day (A&H) December 25

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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