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the knee of Central America, bordered to the south by Nicaragua
and El Salvador and to the west by Guatemala. It has a 644km (399mi)
long Caribbean coast and a 124km (77mi) pipsqueak of a Pacific coast.
The Caribbean Bay Islands and, further northeast, the distant Swan
islands are both part of Honduran territory. Three-quarters of the
country is composed of rugged hills and mountains, ranging from
300 to nearly 2850m (984 to 9348ft) in height.
Lowlands are found only along the coasts and in major river valleys.
Deforestation is occurring at a rate of 3000 sq km (1170 sq mi)
a year, which, if continued, will turn the country into a treeless
desert within the next 20 years. However, there are still largely
untouched areas, especially in the Mosquitia region.
Fauna includes jaguars, armadillos, wild pigs, monkeys and alligators,
and abundant bird life such as toucans, herons and kingfishers.
The climate in Honduras varies between the mountainous interior
and the coastal lowlands and between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
There is great
snorkeling, diving and swimming around the Bay and Hog islands,
and nice beaches around Tela and Trujillo. For the best walks, try
Parque Nacional Celaque, 45km (28mi) 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. Parque Nacional
Pico Bonito, a few km south of La Ceiba, has trails around the fringes
of the 500 sq km (195 sq mi) unexplored reserve and a challenging
peak for mountaineers.
The interior is much cooler than the humid coast, and temperate
Tegucigalpa has maximum temperatures varying between 25 and 30°C
(77 and 86°F). The rainy season technically begins in May and lasts
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. The tourist season on the Caribbean coast is
between February and April, during the US winter.
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 remaining Indian tribes have their own
distinct languages. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, but
there are also many other Christian sects and denominations, including
Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, Pentecostals,
Assemblies of God, Evangelicals and so on. The indigenous tribes have
their own religions, often existing alongside Christianity and incorporating
elements of African and Indian animism and ancestor worship. Honduran
crafts include woodcarving (notably wooden instruments), basketry, embroidery
and textile arts, leathercraft and ceramics. The country's cuisine is
based around beans, rice, tortillas, fried bananas, meat, potatoes, cream
has a tropical climate, tempered by the interior's higher elevations.
The mean annual temperature in the interior is 21° C (70° F). The coastal
regions are warmer, with oppressive humidity, and an annual average temperature
of 27° C (81° F). The dry season is November–May. Annual rainfall averages
102 centimeters (40 inches) in some mountain valleys and 254 centimeters
(100 inches) along the north coast.
Adequate medical care is not available in some parts of the country. Visitors
to Honduras should ensure that all their routine immunizations are up
to date. Vaccination for hepatitis A, tetanus/diphtheria, adult polio,
and typhoid are essential.
Visitors to Honduras
must present a passport valid for at least three months. No visas are
required for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United
Kingdom, the United States, and most western European countries for tourist
visits of up to 30 days. A ticket for return or onward travel is required.
Citizens of other countries are required to obtain a tourist card, which
can be purchased from Honduran consulates. It is possible to obtain a
visa extension once you are in Honduras.
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