Cruising to Honduras


Once part of Spain's vast empire in the New World, Honduras became an independent nation in 1821. After two and a half decades of mostly military rule, a freely elected civilian government came to power in 1982. During the 1980s, Honduras proved a haven for anti-Sandinista contras fighting the Marxist Nicaraguan Government and an ally to Salvadoran Government forces fighting leftist guerrillas. The country was devastated by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed about 5,600 people and caused approximately $2 billion in damage.


Location: Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and bordering the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean), between El Salvador and Nicaragua
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 86 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 112,090 sq km
Land: 111,890 sq km
Water: 200 sq km


820 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Continental shelf: natural extension of territory or to 200 nm


Subtropical in lowlands, temperate in mountains


Mostly mountains in interior, narrow coastal plains

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Cerro Las Minas 2,870 m


Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with an extraordinarily unequal distribution of income and massive unemployment, is banking on expanded trade under the US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and on debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.

The country has met most of its macroeconomic targets, and began a three-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PGRF) program in February 2004. Growth remains dependent on the economy of the US, its largest trading partner, on continued exports of non-traditional agricultural products (such as melons, chiles, tilapia, and shrimp), and on reduction of the high crime rate.


Airports: 116 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 11
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 105
Railways: total: 699 km
Roadways: total: 13,603 km


465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 131 ships (1000 GRT or over) 356,805 GRT/518,767 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 66, chemical tanker 6, container 1, liquefied gas 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 5, petroleum tanker 27, refrigerated cargo 8, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 43 (Canada 1, China 3, Egypt 1, Greece 3, Hong Kong 2, Indonesia 1, Israel 1, Japan 4, South Korea 6, Lebanon 1, Mexico 1, Singapore 12, Taiwan 2, Tanzania 1, Turkey 1, US 2, Vietnam 1) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Puerto Castilla, Puerto Cortes, San Lorenzo, Tela


In 1992, International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the delimitation of "bolsones" (disputed areas) along the El Salvador-Honduras border, but despite Organization of American States (OAS) intervention and a further ICJ ruling in 2003, full demarcation of the border remains stalled; the 1992 ICJ ruling advised a tripartite resolution to a maritime boundary in the Gulf of Fonseca with consideration of Honduran access to the Pacific.

El Salvador continues to claim tiny Conejo Island, not mentioned in the ICJ ruling, off Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca; Honduras claims Sapodilla Cays off the coast of Belize, but agreed to creation of a joint ecological park and Guatemalan corridor in the Caribbean in the failed 2002 Belize-Guatemala Differendum, which the OAS is attempting to revive; Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over a complex dispute over islands and maritime boundaries in the Caribbean Sea.

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Argentina - Belize - Brazil - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Ecuador - El Salvador - French Guiana - Guatemala - Guyana - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Peru - St. Pierre and Miquelon - Suriname - Uruguay - Venezuela

Further Reading

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