Roatan Honduras CruiseThe United States Department of State just issued a warning to U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains "critically high."  

The warning is similar to the critical crime warning issued by the U.S. State Department last year

The warning states that ". . . crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. The Government of Honduras lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases, and police often lack vehicles or fuel to respond to calls for assistance. The police may take hours to arrive at the scene of a violent crime or may not respond at all. Members of the Honduran National Police have been arrested, tried, and convicted for criminal activities. Many more are under investigation. As a result, criminals operate with a high degree of impunity throughout Honduras."

"Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for the last five years. The U.S. Embassy has recorded more than 100 murders of U.S. citizens since 2002."

Roatan Honduras CruiseThe warning specifically mentions Roatan:

"Roatan and the Bay Islands are geographically separated from Honduras and experience lower crime rates than the Honduras mainland. The national government of Honduras, Roatan authorities, and businesses took measures in 2014 to improve tourism security. However, as on the mainland, thefts, break-ins, assaults, rapes, and murders do occur, and you should exercise caution, especially at night." 

The warning also includes cruise passengers. The warning says that although the vast majority of cruise line passengers to Roatan experience no problems, there have been reports of cruise passengers who have been victims of armed robbery and carjacking. We wrote about such incidents here and here. The warning fails to mention that a cruise ship employee was gunned down last year in broad daylight near the port, which we wrote about here

The U.S. warning says although crime remains "critically high," violence allegedly has declined in the past two years according to the State Department. Despite such assurances (no statistics provided), children in Honduras fleeing violence and drug gangs and trying to enter the U.S. remain a critical problem for U.S. – Roatan Honduras CruiseHonduran relations. President Juan Hernandez is committed to the militarization of Honduras (with the support of the U.S.) to try and stem the flow of drugs from Colombia to the U.S. But there recently have been armed confrontations between National Police and the Military Police, both of which have been accused of corruption, which many see as a new level of chaos and corruption. 

A problem plaguing both mainland Honduras and Roatan is that the vast majority of murders are carried out with total impunity. This is exactly the case with a number of killings which I wrote about on Roatan last year, like this and this and these killings involving four boys and young men whose bodies were retrieved and placed in a pickup truck while a NCL cruise ship was moored nearby. 

Meanwhile expatriate resort owners, tour operators, land owners and travel writers are assuring tourists and retirees that Roatan remains paradise.

March 3 2015 Update: Honduran Police Clean Up Declared A Failure

 

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Photo Credit: LaPrensa – top; Teledifusora Insular – bottom. 

  • ALESSANDRO MENCOS

    Out of +1 Million tourists visiting Roatan every year, VERY few incidents happen. I would invite Mr. Walker to provide statistics such as the ones he mentioned are missing from the Dept. of State. I would be interested in seeing a direct % of crimes relating to visitors / total visitors to the island per year. Living on the island and working in the tourism industry I can assure everyone the number is small… very small. I would predict LESS than 0.01% so I invite Mr Walker to prove me wrong… and then find other tourist destinations with such a small crime rate… A place like this on Earth today I most definitely consider paradise.

  • Terry Curtin

    I have been living in Roatan for more than ten years. I am much safer here than in any other big city in the US or Canada. Cut the scare tactics and BS rhetoric. I think you should be here for a while before you critize.

  • Kay Davis

    I have been going to Roatan for five years – I am lucky enough to have a driver from Roatan that takes good care of me. I met him on trip advisor. I visit Roatan the month of September.
    Last year I asked my driver to take me to the mainland of Homduras – we took the ferry over to La Cieba – rented a car – took his wife and 8 year old son with us. We drove up to the mud baths in Northern Honduras. We never had any problems. It was a great 5 days of seeing Hpnduras. The snorkeling in Roatan is the best snorkeling! You do not need a boat to snorkel at West Bay – in front of the Infinity. The locals are very friendly – – they remember me from year to year. I do not walk around the roads of Roatan – I call my driver – he picks me to run errands – just be travel smart –

  • allen nogee

    Actually when you do the math, things are not so nice. Last year 10 Americans were murdered. I don’t know how many cruise passengers went there, but you need to realize almost all of these cruise passengers were only there for a period of several hours, at most.

    So lets say there were 1,000,000 visitors for a day, this is equivalent to 2739 people living there for a year. So imagine visiting a small town of 2739 people, and 10 of them are murdered per year. I doubt that you might want to visit.

  • Judy Donie

    I don’t know where the statistics come from, but we come to Roatan every year for 2+ months and we feel safer here than in most US cities.
    The “facts” reported are leaving out some of the facts concerning some crimes.
    Like anywhere in the world, if you set yourself up for it, a crime may happen.

    The people in Roatan are some of the nicest we’ve ever met.
    We had a flat tire and a local man who lived nearby came out right away to help my husband change the tire.
    Try that in Miami.

    I highly recommend Roatan to friends and family. It is a beautiful island that has not turned into a Caribbean high-rise local.

  • Richard Adamson

    i would like to point out the very pertinent comment also included in the “travel warning” This applies to tourists and definitely to those that visit us in the Rio Cangrejal Valley on the mainland.
    “Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens visit Honduras each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work without incident ”
    To Jim Walker. The stats are misleading and apply to the gang bangers, drug dealers and other idiots that are killing each other in Honduras.
    I employ 9 families here and your constant haranguing of Honduras via the US travel warnings is putting their employment at risk. Sensationalizing the true situation with regard to tourists in Honduras is really hurting the country’s 3rd largest industry. I ask you to temper these editorials with the true facts regarding safety of our tourists here in Honduras.

  • Debbie

    Allen Noger, I live on Roatan and would like to see the names of the 10 Americans you claim were murdered here last year. I obviously have missing friends and neighbors according to your comment and clearly need to check on them. But, somehow, I don’t seem to be aware of this issue. Maybe 10 Americans died here last year (? – you need to provide a valid source) which still seems too high by my count, but natural death from old age and disease are not murder.

    There are problems here like anywhere in the world. Don’t do drugs, don’t flash wads of cash and expensive electronics around, don’t go off the beaten path as a visitor, and don’t get involved in bad business and mistreat locals. Outside of that, you won’t get into much trouble.

    What fails to be mentioned is the poverty on Roatan that needs more help. There are entire groups of missionaries here helping the impoverished and they go SAFELY through the “worst” areas while helping so many in need. If it were murder and mayhem the entire day and night, like so many want to say to jack up their business of lawsuits, none of us would choose to be here as there are options to be in other places.

    I am not a resort owner. I am a retiree enjoying the beauty, while acknowledging the imperfection, of this beautiful island. Too bad those without much factual knowledge want to act like experts. You are better off to listen to those who have daily information from living here.

    When you come to Roatan use your common sense and keep your cash and electronics hidden while you enjoy the experience of beautiful beaches, friendly locals, great and fresh local food, zip lines through the jungle and amazing flora and fauna.

  • Kristoffer

    Doctors, heal thy selves. All of you have business interests that you are protecting.

  • Me

    Hey Jim where do u vacation? I’m sure it’s not as nice and friendly as roatan you miserable old fuck you costing business owners money by reporting false accusations. What do you know all the way in Miami? Get a fucking life what does local crime have to do with cruise shippers. You should be sued by all the local business owners ignorant fuck

  • Ed

    If the government of Honduras lacks the resources to properly investigate serious crimes, why would they have any reliable statistics at all?

    The US State Department doesn’t issue these warnings for no reason. They warn that the authorities don’t have enough gas to respond to an emergency. Do you think the cruise lines will tell you that? No. Better read the State Department advisory before you disembark. Don’t let your dream vacation become your scream vacation.

  • John Goldsmith

    State Departments and External Affairs Canada are a great resource for travellers going anywhere. I tend to play it safe, so I won’t be travelling to North Korea any time soon. Crime rates against non-nationals 1n foreign countries should be taken into account.
    And a note to “Me”. Your point being?

  • John DuBose

    I have lived in Honduras for 19 years and worked throughout the country as a missionary. I don’t know where these “facts” come from, but honestly it sounds like our State Department is using these scare tactics to justify Obama’s immigration policy. The children are not fleeing crime, they are being sent to the US by their families to get a pass for the whole family into the US!! Three year old kids don’t walk thousands of miles to get away from crime, they simply go where their Mom and Dad tells them to go!!!

    Obviously there is a crime problem in Central America, but I would much rather walk the streets of Tegucigalpa than Chicago or Miami!!

    Blowing things out of proportion seems to be a trait of this administration. Causing fear to justify their own agenda is par for the course with the Obama regime as well.

  • Dave

    Not sure what to think at this point. We have been looking forward to roatan for quite some time and are scheduled to go later this year .reading all the crazy stuff on here has us second guessing. I will keep reading.

  • penelope vigon

    my client was staying at nice jamaice club and walk off the grounds of the club and was beaten up for money and smokes by 2 jamaican guys. he was helped back to the club by a nice lady and went to the hospital for care.

  • S Paul

    WOW!! As I read this, I was like, “REALLY.” I am a gringo that lives on the mainland of Honduras. I frequently travel alone throughout the country. NEVER have I had any troubles. I don’t feel unsafe at all. Like one person said, “Stay away from drugs, don’t be flashing wads of money, and showing off your electronics.” The main violence is in certain neighborhoods and associating with people of violence. It comes down to commonsense in most cases. If there is violence upon a gringo, then it’s extremely rare.

  • Deva M

    How can you have so much to say about a place that you have never visited? This makes absolutely no sense. I was born and live on the island for some years i now live in Miami fl and let me say i feel 100 times safer walking the streets of Roatan at midnight then i do walking the street of Miami in broad day light. i visit my beautiful hometown every single year and meet tons of tourist while im there and i have yet to receive any complaints about violence like someone said in a previous comment every where you go there is a possibility of violence but you can avoid that buy not putting yourself in and harmful situations like getting involved in drugs or gangs Roatan is a beautiful place to live and to vacation and anyone who visits is bound to fall in love with the extremely friendly locals and the relaxing atmosphere.

  • Brad

    I have been to Roatan 3 years in a row and last trip was alone, I travelled around this island and met wonderful locals who were always pleasant and very helpful. I was there looking at properties to buy and I will be retiring to this wonderful island as soon as I find my perfect home. Do yourself a favour and visit this paradise and you will see most of these negative comments come on no facts what so ever,,,once you meet the people of Roatan you will come to realize the truth

  • Mike

    My wife and I visited Roatan this year for the first time. We were there for one week and it was by far the best vacation and experience we have ever had. I have been to other Caribbean Islands and didn’t feel safe. At no time did we feel threatened or scared. We walked downtown on the West end at 10:00 PM at night and locals spoke and visited with us. They actually go out of there way to make sure you are having a good experience. They understand how vital tourism is and I say you owe it to yourself to visit the most beautiful, friendly place I have ever been.

  • Deborah Pate

    My husband just retired from the pipeline,we are seriously thinking about selling our small farm moving to another country. I’m seriously interested in this one.

  • william scott

    You have no idea what and who the Roatan people are. My family is from Roatan and we have owned land for over 100 years. The people on the island don’t want to stop the tourism money,but there are desperate people and things happen. Just pleAse don’t pass judgement on our great historic buitiful. Thanks but your not helping .

  • Laurs Mencos

    I was brutally shock and rape
    By my then landlady son!
    In Sandy Bay whilst been also a Ceo former
    Girlfriend. I called the police and he
    Got away with it. Then been told that
    This raper has assaulted plenty
    Girls’ beware