A diamond in the rough, Honduras, the second largest country in Central America, fascinates visitors with its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Nature lovers can explore the idyllic Caribbean beaches, bird-rich forests, lakes, and the undeveloped rainforest of La Mosquitia, the Mosquito Coast.
The country’s most prized gems are the beautiful Gulf Islands. Surrounded by thriving coral reefs – part of the world’s second-largest reef, stretching north from Mexico – these laid-back islands attract many scuba diving, snorkeling, and snorkeling enthusiasts and travelers looking for tropical relaxation. The best way to get around these stunning places is by car. To drive vehicles in Honduras, let’s see what you will need.
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
United Nations agreement on traffic regulations
Three international conventions govern the international driving license: the 1926 Paris International Convention on Motor Traffic, the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, and the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic in 1968. The country is bound by several agreements, the most recent of which annulled and replaced the earlier ones.
The term international driving license was mentioned for the first time in a document governed by the International Convention on Motor Traffic signed in Paris in 1926 and is a translation of “international driving license.” The Treaty of Paris, and all subsequent treaties, use only the word “license” concerning all types of driving licenses.
Why should I carry an IDP?
During your journey, you may be stopped by the local police for a traffic violation or involved in a traffic accident. In such cases, having an international driver’s license can be extremely helpful.
Functionality as an ID
IDPs are a convenient travel document as it doubles as identification documents. This is advantageous if you want to keep your passport under lock and key due to security considerations. An IDP can be used instead of a national ID card, especially if your national ID card is in a language that is not internationally used.
Quicker traffic authority stops
Traffic police may have trouble deciphering your driver’s information on your license during a routine traffic stop. Having an IDP ensures that officers can quickly note down your particulars and send you on your way. This may be especially handy during the unfortunate event of an emergency or motor misfortunes.
Car rental companies
Car rental companies worldwide require you to have an International Driving Permit and a valid driving license to rent a car. This is due to the United Nations recognizing an IDP as a good driving permit. Having an IDP will ensure that your valuable vacation time isn’t wasted on trying to convince a conservative car rental agency of the validity of your foreign driver’s license.
Driving is not always easy, especially if you are abroad. One of the documents most countries require is an International Driving Permit, also known as an International Driving Permit.
Foreign tourists can use their local driver’s license in Honduras for up to three months. So, whether you have a US license or not, you can still rent a car and drive in the country. Be aware, however, that it would be worthwhile to apply for an International Driving Permit if your license is not in English or contains the characters of the Roman alphabet.
Yes, you will need an IDP, especially if your license is not in English or printed in characters other than the Roman alphabet. IDPs are required by car rental companies abroad and can help overcome language barriers, especially if you encounter officials or authorities who are not fluent in English.
Car rental in Honduras
Honduras is the ultimate country for road trips, so paying for your rental car is essential. While you can bring your own vehicle, renting a car is more convenient.
It’s known that the best places to rent a car are in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula; these are all big cities, so don’t expect rent to be cheap.
Before you envision driving in Roatan, Honduras, or touring the Mayan ruins of Copán, you must bring all the necessary paperwork you’ll need to rent a car. As with most car rental companies, the requirements you must meet when renting a car in Honduras are as follows:
- Passport (if asked)
- Credit/debit card for payment
Note that your IDP is not a stand-alone document but a supplement to your original license. However, keep in mind that your IDP is still essential. Your International Driving Permit in Honduras is the translation of your driver’s license – acting as a bridge when communicating with people who do not understand your license.
The legal minimum driving age is 18. However, car rental companies usually have age eligibility of 21-25 years. Some companies may require you to hold your license for at least two years. Some companies charge a young driver surcharge for those who wish to drive below a specific age.
Only you can decide what type of car you want to rent in Honduras. Most car rental agencies have vehicles, from vans, SUVs, and pickups to luxury cars. Tourists often rent self-driving vehicles to have more autonomy in their trips. Above all, knowing the type of car you want to rent for a comfortable and stress-free ride is essential. Therefore, you must consider your passengers when deciding the kind of vehicle to hire.
The cost of renting a car in Honduras can vary between car rental companies and depending on the season. The price may be higher if you rent a car in big cities, and it also depends on the car rental company, ranging from $10 to $50 per day.
Driving rules in Honduras
If you are traveling in Honduras, you might encounter slippery road conditions, reckless drivers, and minor criminals. Driving regulations aren’t heavily enforced, and you still must comply to prevent accidents. Please keep reading these instructions for safe travel. It has fundamental road rules that allow travelers to avoid harm if they drive on Honduran roads.
- Always carry your original license and IDP
- Wear your seat belt at all times
- Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol
- All passengers but wear a seat belt
- The speed limit is 40km/h in urban areas and 80km/h on highways
- You must be at least 18 years old to drive
Top 5 Places to Visit in Honduras
Honduras offers some of the world’s most varied tourism destinations. This is one of those great road trip destinations if you prefer traveling by bus rather than by ferries and buses. Visit these locations for an unforgettable holiday with Hondurans.
La Tigra National Park
Honduras is widely recognized for its National Park, and a second park you can visit is La Tigra National Park, 20 km from Tegucigalpa. The park contains many mammals, including peccaries, apicals, pumas, armadillos, and agouta, and it will take some work to find them, however. For the best outdoor recreation, visit during the dry season between January and March to avoid problems with warm temperatures.
Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park
Cerro Azul Méambar National Park was established in January 1987 and is also called PANACAM and has abundant forests. Tourists visit this place annually for outdoor activities, including hiking and bird watching. PANACAM has become an official National Park in Yojoa, and D&D Lodge Breweries and Restaurant provide adventurous outdoor activities in Lake Michigan. Because the national park borders Yojua Lake, it manages its activities. Drop by Cerros Azul Meámbar National Park between December – March and enjoy outdoor activities surrounded by lush greens.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
Lancetilla botanical garden is a central tropical botanical garden measuring 5km from Tela. It was created in the mid-1920s to investigate banana and plantations’ adaptability and market potential. Nowadays, many visitors visit the park to observe the magnificent trees in the gardens with their flowers. Birdwatchers can watch the flight of birds in the garden, which has over 200 species of tropical birds. Generally, the ideal time to visit Lancelilla Botanic Gardens is in the dry season of December to March.
Visit the Copá Ruins for an ancient journey and visit a famous Mayan temple in the central Americas. Diego Garcia de Palacio discovered the site in 1570. In 1979 it became a UNESCO World Heritage site and had become a widely studied Mayan city. The archaeological center has numerous structures, like its hieroglyphic staircase, temples, ball courts, and the Acropole. After touring the area, ensure not to overlook Las Sepulturas archaeological sites or Mayan sculpture museums to understand Mayan history.
Lake Yojoa, located in northwest Honduran, is the largest inland lake with 275 square miles. Kilometers. It is volcanic in origin and is 900 meters high. The lake is a popular tourist destination because people can kayak, canoe, and fish in the surroundings. Also, book a stay at D&D Brewing & Restaurant. The city hosts the most activity in Lake Yoga and surrounding areas. Make sure you make your reservation in the dry seasons of January to March for a pleasant adventure in Lake Yojoa with minimal rain.
Do I need an IDP in Honduras?
It should be noted that the driving laws in Honduras are not specific international ones. Keep your driver’s license valid throughout the country. It is also possible to make a DP application any time you need.
Can I drive in Honduras with my US license?
Is there a legal driver’s license in Honduras? Please note: Foreign visitors may use their local driving license for at least a year. You can also rent a car a few miles away to travel around America regardless.