Honduras Lempira - HNL
Visitors to Honduras use the lempira, the decimal currency used in this country. It is divided into 100 subunits called centavos.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
All the coins available for this currency are denominated as centavos. They are available as 5, 10, 20 and 50 centavo amounts. The banknotes are all denominated as lempira, and they come in a variety of amounts. These are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 lempira. The currency amount is often preceded by the letter L for lempira.
From past to present – the history of the lempira
The lempira has been the chosen currency of Honduras since 1931. Before this the country used the Honduran peso – just one of several pesos in use around the world. There is no sign that the currency will ever be replaced by anything else in the foreseeable future.
How to get hold of the Honduran lempira
You can get hold of the currency before you go to Honduras but you will also be likely to need some of it when you get there. The best way to do this is to get cash from cash machines in banks. Be sure you don’t withdraw more than you need and try to stay alert to who is around you before you use the machines. If you can use an ATM inside a bank, this is the better option.
While some countries freely accept traveller’s cheques, Honduras is not one of them. You might be lucky but to be honest the odds are against you. The best bet is to bring US dollars to exchange for lempira or to get money out of the cash machine. You can pay for goods using lempira or card payments, but if you intend to do the latter you should check the establishment does accept your type of card before you offer it. Don’t let it out of your sight either, as this will enhance the odds of fraud.
It is probably best to leave your debit card at home as they are notoriously difficult to use in Honduras in any manner. This means you will take your credit card instead, but do be sure you notify your card issuer prior to going. The last thing you want is to find it stopped so you cannot use it when you need it most.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Honduran lempira
All you have to do is use an up-to-date currency converter to find out what the latest exchange rate is. Remember to enter your own currency first and then find the Honduran lempira next. You can do this easily by entering the initial H and it should pop up as one of the next choices. It makes it easier to find. If you then order your lempira from a bureau de change you will be able to assess how much commission you are paying, as they will charge slightly different rates to the ones given to you.
If you want to find out more about Honduras and the UK’s relationship with the country (including travel advice about visiting there) go to https://www.gov.uk/government/world/honduras now.
Travelling safely with the Honduran lempira
While terrorism is thankfully low here you should be alert to the potential of violent crime. While it is possible to go on holiday here and have a great time with no trouble at all, it pays to assess the risks before you go and to see whether there are any updates on travel risks.
Many tourists head to the nearby Bay Islands and these are said to be much safer than locations on the mainland. Wherever you go, make sure you protect your money and don’t carry around anything more than you really have to. Carrying smaller sums of money in different pockets is a good idea, but if someone demands cash don’t try to resist – this can only exacerbate the situation.
It is also wise to protect your valuables by carrying as little with you as possible. If your hotel has a safe you can use, be sure to make the most of it.
Where to spend your lempira in Honduras – and what to spend them on
Honduras is located in Central America, on the thinner part of the land mass south of Mexico. It shares a border with Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. A small section of its southern edge meets the waters of the Gulf of Fonseca, while the northern border meets the Gulf of Honduras.
You may well not know the name of its capital, as it is difficult to pronounce – Tegucigalpa. There is a lot of history in this city, hundreds of years of it, and this makes it fascinating to find out more about. The centre of the city is the most historic part and there are appropriately several museums here that are worth a look. Among them you will find the National Anthropology and History Museum, which as you can imagine gives you a wonderful insight into the country and how it has come to be the way it is today.
One of the more popular places tourists head for when they visit this country is the Bay Islands. These can be seen in the Gulf of Honduras on a map. There are three islands here, and they are called Guanaja, Roatan and Utila. Guanaja is chock full of pine trees and looks quite amazing up close. Thankfully most of the island is now a nature reserve so its future is more secure than it might have been if tourism had been allowed to run rampant. If you are looking for a diving holiday this could be the ideal destination as a coral reef surrounds this particular Bay Island. This is one of the quieter islands and Utila and Roatan are more packed with tourists than this one is, so it all depends on what you want to do and the type of holiday you want as to whether you would like to visit it.
Roatan is a popular spot for lots of people looking to come to Honduras. It has lots of gorgeous beaches to offer, and this is one of the reasons why the island is popular among those looking for a relaxing beach holiday. You can still go diving here though if you have the experience, although there are other activities that are available. A good example is to head for the Butterfly Garden, a spectacular garden featuring more than a dozen different species of butterfly. If you always struggle to see butterflies up close at home, this will be the ideal antidote!
Utila is smaller than the two islands mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay it a visit. It is good for casual walks as there are some great footpaths here and the flat landscape around you means the walks aren’t too taxing in hot weather either. Of course as is the case with the other Bay Islands you can dive here too, although Utila is better known as the ideal destination for those who want to dive but have never done so before.
Another option on the mainland is the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. This has earned the right to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and you will find it on the north eastern side of the country. It is a mountainous area but it leads right up to the northern coast and provides a stunning tropical rainforest area to explore. Monkeys, macaws and sea turtles among other animals call this home. It is possible to hike through the area as well as taking a tour that will encourage you to learn more about the rainforest and its inhabitants.
If you like the idea of getting some activity while you are on holiday, perhaps you have the nerve to try some rafting. This is possible if you head for Rio Cangrejal. The site is popular among those who want to try shooting the rapids in a raft, although there are many other similar activities you can try here too. Nature has created a site that is popular among thrill seekers and if you are one of them it would be a shame not to visit the area to find out more.
Finally you may want to explore a little more of the Mayan history of Honduras. If you do, don’t miss out on seeing Copan. This is a fairly conservatively sized site compared to some of the Mayan ruins seen in other countries, but it is still worth a look. You can stay nearby and enjoy the local hospitality as well as seeing many of the historic structures here that are available for tourists to marvel at.
Wherever you decide to go in Honduras, there are certainly some amazing sights to be seen here. Whether you opt for the Bay Islands or the mainland, or you want a relaxing holiday or a few adventure sports thrown in, Honduras will not disappoint you.