Read more about borders, road conditions, and hotels in Honduras in this article.
When nearing the migration station (and even several km before), men may swarm around or chase after your car, offering to help you through the immigration process. You will have to be very insistent if you do not desire their services. Telling them in Spanish will help. If you do chose to use to use their services, make sure to demand receipts for every transaction, to ensure that you are paying the appropriate amounts.
You may have to pay a small fee to enter the country, despite the CA-4 agreement, depending on the border crossing. Ask for a receipt. Your passport will not be stamped by immigration.
In order to import the car, you will first give your documents and photocopies to a customs officer - who may or may not be uniformed, so ask to see ID to ensure he is legitimate. He will approach you as you near the actual border, check your papers to see if all is in order, and accompany you to the customs office for processing. There, after paying the fees indicated below, your passports will be stamped to indicate that you are traveling with a car and you will receive your vehicle import permit (permiso de entrada y salida temporal de vehiculo)
In addition to the documents listed above, you also need to provide them with photocopies of your newly stamped passport and import permit, which can be made at a nearby store or tienda that may charge around 2 lempira per copy. They also may accept Guatemalan quetzales, or American dollars, but likely at a poor exchange rate. Before you try to drive away from the border, it is a good idea to make several copies of your completed vehicle import permit, as an official further down the road may ask for this. Also, be sure to fasten your seatbelts before putting your car in motion - very attentive traffic police may be lurking just outside the border zone.
Honduras has a notoriously painful border crossing experience for most people. Read more in the Honduras-Additional Border Information article for specific border information and people's horror stories. Arm yourself with information before you get to the border, and you will have a less unpleasant experience.
According to U.S. Department of State:
Major cities are connected by an inconsistently maintained, two-lane system of paved roads.Many secondary roads in Honduras are unpaved.During the rainy season, even major highways are often closed due to rockslides and flooding from heavy rains.In the event of an accident, contact the Honduran Transit Authority (“Transito”) immediately.They may be contacted either directly through their local numbers, or through their national emergency number, *189.Honduran law requires that no vehicles involved in an accident be moved until Transit Agents arrive, not even to clear a traffic obstruction, unless you are in serious physical danger.
Some of the most dangerous stretches for road travel include:Tegucigalpa to Choluteca, because of dangerous mountain curves; El Progreso to La Ceiba, because of animal crossings and the poor condition of bridges from flooding; Route 39 through northern Olancho Department between Gualaco and San Esteban; and Limones to La Union, Olancho (route 41) via Salama and northward to Saba.Locals also refer to this latter stretch of road as the “Corridor of Death” because of frequent incidents of highway robbery.
Please refer to our Roads and Driving page for more driving information and tips.
The police set up periodic road blocks, and if your car seems unusual or they can tell you are a tourist, you will likely be asked to pull over. Sometimes they will examine your documents, ask you some simple questions, and you can proceed on your way. If you are pulled over and you don't believe you did anything wrong, see the scams and shakedowns section for techniques to avoid paying bribes.
Gas prices are expressed in the units of the specific country.
02/25/12: Price is in Honduran lempira per liter
Conversion: 1L=0.26 gallons, 18.9 Lempira=1 USD
These prices are from the gas station close to the Copan Ruins, it could be high because it is a tourist area.
If you are just trying to drive from El Salvador to Nicaragua, you will need to pass through the small Pacific coast section of Honduras. It is very possible to cross both borders in one day, as there is only about 40 miles of Honduras between El Salvador and Nicaragua. In a pinch, the Hotel Puerto Royal in Nacaome with a gated lot, swimming pool, and greasy restaurant (which is one of the few dining options in this small town) for $40/night. It's right on the highway, hard to miss.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens. (N15:44 W87:27). US$8. Entrance is off main highway on south side; look for long line of trees overhanging the highway and lots of vendor stall along the highway. There is a security gate where you can tell them you want to camp. They’ll call in to the garden and set in up. The garden itself is a few kms down the entrance road. Good shade and toilets.
Tourist Police. Secure concrete parking lot next to police station at the foot of 4a Ave NE near the beach. We had read about this option and tried it, but there was construction going on the entrance to the lot was blocked, so they said we couldn’t access it. They offered to let us camp on the street in front, but we declined because of security concerns. Could be a good spot if the fenced lot is accessible.
Tela Beach Club (N15:47.379 W87:30.770). This place, which is listed in 99 Days to Panama DOES NOT take campers.
Esso Gasolinera. (N14:1.497 W86:35.085). US$5. At the west end of town on south side road of highway from Tegucigalpa. Guard is on duty all night, so it is very secure, but not necessarily quiet. Good staging point before crossing into Nicaragua. Only amenity is toilets.
--Thanks to Anne for much of the Honduras camping information