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Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

Miami, Florida
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Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

As a hotel owner in Honduras for many years, we probably serve an average of 25 guests per day, 365 days a year. I can tell you with all honesty, that the number of guests we have seen at our properties over the years who have encountered security related problems in Honduras is in the handful. The vast majority of crimes take place in the big cities where the majority of travellers spend very little time. Transport from San Pedro Sula - Copan Ruinas, Copan - San Pedro Sula - Tela - La Ceiba for example is via a wonderful 1st class bus line, Hedman Alas www.hedmanalas.com Their buses are comfortable and completely secure and their check on procedure is similar to the security one would find at an airport - so no problem there. Many Peace Corps volunteers encounter problems on public transport as they rely on 2nd class buses, walk in large cities alot to save money and thus are more exposed to potential problems - however the average traveller can avoid much of these problems by taking 1st class buses, private shuttles, taxis in the cities and not strolling in bad or potentially bad neighborhoods. Copan Ruinas for ex is perfectly safe, one can stroll the streets here day or night with no problem - it is very laid back. This is actually true of much (in fact the majority) of the country, save inner cities where one must take precautions. But as I mentioned the chance of wandering into a dangerous neighborhood as a tourist is basically nil. As permanent residents in Honduras Peace Corps volunteers are unfortunately much more exposed to crime; their houses and apts are broken into, they live in poor neighborhoods or poor parts of the country for the most part and as mentioned they travel via 2nd class buses, stay in cheap hotels often located in less than desireable neighborhoods, they are young, they drink and party and often walk to save money, thus they are more of a target to opportunistic local criminals. Tourists can basically avoid all of this by sticking to 1st class bus lines, tourist shuttles, staying in decent hotels and not venturing off at night alone in big cities. Basically these are the general precautions a tourist would take anyplace in the world.

Recently I had the chance to vacation in Mexico; Chiapas, Yucatan, Oaxaca. According to press reports Mexico is a very dangerous place. But southern Mexico and in fact the majority of Mexico is extremely safe and wonderful for travelling. Media reports tend to label an entire country in a certain way, as the media has done with Mexico and now Honduras, but the reality on the ground is something quite different. Does Honduras have a serious crime problem? Sure. Does Mexico? Yes. But hundreds of thousands ( and in the case of Mexico - millions) visit each year and the vast, vast majority have absolutely no problem whatsoever.

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1. Re: Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

Last summer I traveled from San Pedro Sula to Copan Ruinas on a Hedman Alas bus and enjoyed the trip very much. Copan is a lovely town and the surrounding area was so lush and green. My only regret is that I only spent five days there. Although I did have a traveling companion, I did spend a considerable time exploring on my own and felt perfectly safe at all times. I would not hesitate to return to Copan Ruinas and hope to explore more of Honduras in the future.

I certainly agree with the comments made by CopanHonduras and feel many press reports overstate the so-called dangers. If one behaves in a reasonable manner and trusts ones instincts one can usually avoid problems. Last year I went on two trips of one-month duration each. The interesting thing is that the places I personally have been warned about have proven to be some of the best places I have ever been to; Honduras of course, Guatemala and areas of Mexico, such as Mexico City, Chiapas, etc.

Unfortunately, it seems that ‘Tourist robed of camera by machete wielding hoodlums’ sells more newspapers than ‘Tourist enchanted by Copan Ruinas’…

No place in the world is completely safe, so given reasonable precautions, one may as well go everywhere, including Honduras.

San Pedro Sula
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2. Re: Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

I lived in San Pedro Sula for 4 years and was always watchful because of the high crime so when I visited Copan it was amazingly wonderful because it was so safe. I even liked taking the Casasola Express bus to Copan because I prefer a bus with the windows open - less nauseating on that winding road and easier to see the countryside. All the small towns I visited were very safe also. In San Pedro I just never went out after dark and that kept me safe although I had plenty of friends robbed during the daytime. Be careful in SPS.

ocean beach CA
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3. Re: Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

Thank you for your post. My husband and I will be visiting Honduras in a few days. News just came out the the US is withdrawing the peace corps because of a danger threat (someone was shot in the leg in San Pedro Sula). Needless to say, many family and friends have been calling to express concern.

I was happy to read this becuase it expresses what I was thinking completely. Thank you for assuaging my nerves!

4. Re: Observations on Security Concerns: Copan & Honduras

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