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Tegucigalpa is the capital and largest city in Honduras and has roughly 900,000 inhabitants living in the city, 1,4 million in the total urban area. The city is located in the south central part of the country at an elevation of nearly 1,000 metres above sea level. It is the political, economic and cultural heart of the country, but compared to other sights and landmarks in the country, Tegucigalpa is not particularly interesting, nor attractive for travellers and some extra safety precautions are advised as well, especially after dawn. Both culturally as well as naturally though, there are many nearby villages and parks within short distance of the city, making daytrips when basing yourself in Tegucigalpa possible.
Tegucigalpa enjoys a pleasant tropical climate with warm and relatively humid weather but because of its elevation temperatures and humidity are more bearable than for example in the north. Temperatures average around 28 °C during the day and 18 °C at night. March to May is slightly warmer though. The dry season lasts from November until April, after which the rains start to fall, ending in October again.
Toncontín International Airport (TGU) near Tegucigalpa has several airlines with international connections including TACA to and from Miami, San Salvador and Guatemala City. Several airlines have flights to Belize and Nicaragua and other destinations include Panama City and Houston. Islena Airlines has some domestic connections to La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula. Some other small airlines serve a number of domestic flights, also to Roatan.
There are a number of bus international bus lines running to Tegus from other Central American capitals. These offer first class, very comfortable service at a reasonable price. A trip from Managua, San Salvador, or Guatemala City would cost between 20-40 USD. Ticabus, is the most affordable and frequented by backpackers. Hedman Alas, Nicabus, and King Quality, are other first class, reliable bus companies. Of course, it is also possible to travel on less comfortable, less expensive lines, but this is difficult or impossible to plan from afar. Internal travel in Honduras is easy enough, and made more easy thanks to the excellent transportation guide published by the Honduran tourism magazine called Honduras Tips, and available online at their website. Travel from La Ceiba, on the north coast, Empresa de Bus Cristina provides good service, at around 10 USD for the 7-8h trip.
95% of buses coming to Tegus arrive into Comayagüela, the sister city of Tegucigalpa. It is also reputedly one of the more dangerous parts of the city. If arriving to Comayagüela after dark, do not walk around looking for a place to stay. Even in the day, walking from bus stations in Comayagüela to a hotel or hostel any distance away would be a bit risky.
There are common bus stops throughout the town, but are unlabeled. Find a large group of people standing on the sidewalks for the largest selection of bus routes. To know the main destinations of the buses, look on the front of the bus above the windshield. Most buses operate to distinct neighborhoods and link to El Centro or the market in Comayaguela. In the market in Comayaguela you can also find many inter-city buses with various prices and various levels of comfort, ranging from the most common chicken-bus to double decker luxury buses.
Colectivos, like the city buses, run set routes from one point to another. If you see a long line of people weaving down a side walk, this is most likely a collectivo line.
Tegucigalpa has a unhealthy variety of American food restaurants: McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Subway, etc. All follow "home office" food preparation procedures and travelers can eat at them without fear of getting sick. The food court of Multiplaza will do for on-the-go meals.
Tipping in Honduras is 10%. Tipping is not generally expected at smaller restaurants but always appreciated.
Friday and Saturday nights after nine may get a tiny bit dangerous as the alcohol content in the patrons goes up. In Honduras, empty beer bottles are left on the tables until the bill is paid, so you can get a very quick visual indication of where cooler heads will prevail and where tempers may rise just by looking.
Several cheap hotels can be found 15 minutes east of the centre on Avenida Gutenberg. There are also many economical hotelitos and hospedajes (as well as some upmarket ones) around Inglesia Los Dolores, 5 calle.
|Caserio Valuz Country Inn||km 1,5 Camino a La Catarata Escondida, Zambrano, F||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|President House by Casa del Viajero||Col Lomas del Guijarro. Av Enrique Tierno Galvan Casa No. 2884.||HOTEL||-|
No matter where you are in Honduras, you should find Internet access, either in a cafe, mall, or cybercafe. Most hotels, even hostels, have their own Internet service, and more and more are beginning to have Wi-Fi service. Roughly 90% of these hotels offer Wi-Fi for free, yet some international chain hotels in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, as well as a few resorts on Roatán, charge a fee that ranges between US$6 and US$15 per day. If the hotel does not have Internet service, the hotel staff can usually point out where to find it. Expect to pay approximately 20 lempira per hour.
See also International Telephone Calls
The emergency numbers are 199 (police), 195 (ambulance) and 198 (fire). The international area code in Honduras is 504. All local phone numbers are eight digits, including the area code. Numbers either start with a 2 (landline) or a 9 (cellular).
Kiosks and convenience stores throughout Honduras sell phone cards with individual instructions on long-distance dialing, and phone booths at telephone centers will provide instructions on dialing.
Honduras's largest phone companies, such as Telefonica, operate on a GSM 850 or 1900 MHZ frequency, which several large North American carriers also use, though these frequencies are rare in other parts of the world. Any dual or multiband GSM cellphone will work in Honduras, but you might pay expensive roaming rates; it's better to buy a local SIM card and install it in your own cell phone for cheaper rates.
You can also rent a phone at kiosks located on the arrival level at the San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa airport; they are open daily from 6:00am to 9:00pm. Depending on your service, you may be able to insert your own SIM card, though you'll likely still pay regular roaming rates. Some cellphone companies in Honduras will rent phones with prepaid calling cards.
Honducor is the country's national postal service. Post offices are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm (though generally with a long lunch break) and on Saturday from 8:00am to noon. Sendings standard letters or postcards internationally start at around US$1 and take 10-14 days at least. You can get stamps at a post office and at some gift shops in large hotels. The Honduran postal service is renowned for being considerably more reliable than in other Central American nations, though if you are sending anything of value, it is still recommended to use an international courier service like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx, which have offices in larger cities.
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