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Honduras Travel Guide

Communications

Internet

E-mail has become a favorite way to communicate in Honduras. Larger cities and major tourist destinations such as Roatán and Copán Ruinas have a smattering of Internet cafés, and smaller towns likely have at least one. (Some designate themselves with an @ symbol on a sign out front.) It's estimated that about half of Honduran lodgings have Wi-Fi access, called Internet inalámbrico in Spanish. Even if those hotels don't have wireless in their rooms, they will probably have a strong hotspot signal in their public areas. Most hotels do not charge for Internet access, but a few international chains in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula do charge extra for room Wi-Fi. Those same hotels will likely also provide an Internet terminal or two for guests to use.

Computer keyboards in Honduras and Latin America are not quite the same as ones in English-speaking countries. Your biggest frustration will probably be finding the @ symbol to type an e-mail address. On a PC, you have to type "Alt+164" with the "numbers lock" on or some other combination. If you need to ask, it's called arroba in Spanish.

Carrying a laptop could make you a target for thieves. Conceal your laptop in a generic bag, and keep it close to you at all times.

Contacts

Cybercafes. www.cybercafes.com.

Phones

To call Honduras direct, dial 011 followed by the country code of 504, then the number of the party you're calling. Landline numbers have seven digits; mobile numbers have eight. There are no area codes.

Calling Within Honduras

To place calls within Honduras, simply dial the seven- or eight-digit telephone number. Dial 192 for nationwide information. Public phones are everywhere, but are occasionally out of order. They function with Telecard's issued by Hondutel, the national telephone company, and are sold at many stores. Telecards come in denominations of L20, L50, and L100, and can be used from any touch-tone phone.

Calling Outside Honduras

For international calls you should dial 00, then the country code. (For example, the country code for the United States and Canada is 1.)

A reasonable option for calling home is to stop by one of the many offices of Hondutel, the national telephone company. All towns of any size have at least one, and they keep hours well into the evening. At just L2 (less than $0.10) per minute, a call to the United States is a bargain. At tourist destinations, avoid the ubiquitous blue telephones with signs that say "call usa". Your credit card or the party you're calling back home will be socked with an enormous bill for the call.

To reach an AT&T operator, dial 800-0123. For MCI, dial 800-0122. For Sprint, dial 800-0121.

Access Codes

AT&T Direct. 800/225–5288.

MCI WorldPhone. 800/444–4444.

Sprint International Access. 800/793–1153.

Mobile Phones

If you have a multiband phone (some countries use different frequencies than what's used in the United States) and your service provider uses the world-standard GSM network (as do AT&T, T-Mobile, Cingular, and Verizon), you can probably use your phone in Honduras. Roaming fees can be steep: 99¢ a minute is considered reasonable. It's almost always cheaper to text message than to make a call, since text messages have a very low set fee.

If you just want to make local calls, consider buying a new SIM card (note that your provider may have to unlock your phone for you to use a different SIM card) and a prepaid service plan in the destination. You'll then have a local number and can make local calls at local rates.

If you travel internationally frequently, save one of your old mobile phones or buy a cheap one on the Internet; ask your cell phone company to unlock it for you, and take it with you as a travel phone, buying a new SIM card with pay-as-you-go service in each destination.

Contacts

Cellular Abroad rents and sells GMS phones and sells SIM cards that work in many countries. 800/287–5072. www.cellularabroad.com.

Mobal rents mobiles and sells GSM phones (starting at $49) that will operate in 190 countries. Per-call rates vary throughout the world. 888/888–9162. www.mobal.com.

Planet Fone rents cell phones, but the per-minute rates are expensive. 888/988–4777. www.planetfone.com.

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