Frequently Asked Questions

La Moskitia

Gracias a Dios is the eastern-most department of Honduras. Though it is the second largest department in the country making up about 15% of the land mass, it is sparsely populated, and contains extensive pine savannas, swamps, and rain forests.

In 2005, the estimated population of 76,278 only accounted for 1% of the total population of Honduras. The sparcity and ethnic make-up of the region result in it being undervalued and overlooked by Honduran society and government. This region is also known as ‘La Moskitia’ due to the indigenous Miskito people that inhabit it, even though the Miskito span an almost equal distance into bordering Nicaragua. Even with several key “municipalities,” La Moskitia is considered poor and remote even by Honduran standards. The standard of living, income, and access to healthcare is far lower than the national averages—all of which are already among the lowest in Central America.

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the Honduran health-care system at 131 (of 190) in the entire world – the lowest ranking of all Central American countries.  With few exceptions, the government provides little or no health services in the La Moskitia region, leaving the vast majority of care to be supplied by charity and missionary organizations.   The lack of infrastructure (roads) in the region makes health-care delivery virtually impossible without the use of aircraft.

Puerto Lempira

Puerto Lempira is the capital of the Gracias a Dios department in eastern Honduras.   Though it does not have paved roads, it is the largest town in the La Moskitia region of Gracias a Dios.   Puerto Lempira is located on the shores of the Caratasca Lagoon.  The natural beauty of Puerto Lempira is awe-inspiring;  the physical poverty of Puerto Lempira is humbling.

You will fly to Puerto Lempira on a 15 passenger plane and land on a dirt runway.   The airplane trip is breath-taking!

General Conditions

  • Electricity:  The electric service at the House of Hope has improved during the past year. We usually have electricity for some period of time every day but this is not guaranteed.  The usual range now is 18-20 hours a day.  The usual hours of electricity are 8-9 AM until 2-4 AM. Although at times we have gone almost one week without electricity, this has not happened to us recently.  Bring a small flashlight and extra batteries; you may need it at night.  A small battery operated fan may also be helpful.
  • Telephone: Cell phone service is available. We can make and receive phone calls from the US.  If you bring your US cell phone, check with your carrier to make sure you have international services and the rates.  There is an Honduran cell phone at our guest house, and this is the least expensive way to call the US. Honduran cell phones may be purchased in La Ceiba.
  • Noise: Some people have difficulty sleeping at House of Hope because of the noise of crying babies and children and also because of the noise from roosters and dogs. Light sleepers may want to bring earplugs.
  • Credit cards: Only 2 businesses in Puerto Lempira accept credit cards so you should not plan on using credit cards in Puerto Lempira. Credit cards are accepted at the hotels and airports in La Ceiba and San Pedro Sula for plane tickets. It is also difficult to cash Travelers Checks in Puerto Lempira.

Health Information

  • Immunizations: No special immunizations are required to enter Honduras. However, the CDC recommends that Tetanus booster should be up to date. Additionally, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccine are recommended for healthcare teams.   Please visit the CDC website for recommendations for traveling to Honduras.  These recommendations can be costly depending upon your provider.
  • Dogs: Do not pet strange dogs. Less than 1% of dogs in Honduras receive rabies vaccine.
  • Medications: Bring prescription medications in their original container. Carry prescription medications in carry on luggage. Bring a copy of the prescription if possible. It is difficult to get some medications in Puerto Lempira but most medications can be obtained in La Ceiba.
  • Malaria prophylaxis: The rooms at House of Hope all have screens. Volunteers should bring repellant. The mosquitoes that carry malaria are most active at dawn and dusk. If your group plans to make a lot of visits to outlying villages then we recommend malaria prophylaxis. Check with your physician for malaria prevention medication. There is still no chloroquine resistant malaria in Honduras. Chloroquine is relatively inexpensive and available as a generic medication. In addition to anti-malarial medication, clothing may be treated with insect repellant permethrin spray that lasts through repeated washings.
  • Hydration: It is very important to stay hydrated in the tropics. Every team member should bring along a water bottle. We will provide purchased purified water during your stay at House of Hope. Some people also like to bring along something to flavor the water such as Crystal Light To Go or Green Tea To Go.
  • Sun exposure: It is much easier to get sunburn in the tropics than it is in the US. We suggest the use of hats, sunglasses with UV protection and sunscreen with SPF number of 30 or higher.

Travel

You can expect to do most of your business during travel in Spanish once you leave the United States. It is best to have a translator or person on your team who can speak Spanish well. Please remember that Spanish is a widely spoken language and there are numerous dialects. As you represent the Lord in your travel remain calm and you will adjust to the different dialects you will encounter. A calm spirit is best when trying to communicate with others of a foreign language; it is also helpful to remember that the Spanish speaker is probably having an equally hard time adjusting to you.

Your flights will culminate in a final leg that leads you into Puerto Lempira. The plane is a commuter plane with approximately 15 seats. The flight is breathtaking as you make your way around the Honduran coastline. You will land at our “international airport” that consists of a wonderful souvenir shop and long dirt runway. Expect that you will cross this runway on many occasions… be cautious and ALWAYS look both ways.

Below are a list of airlines teams have used:

If you are needing to travel by bus here is the name of an organization some teams have used from San Pedro Sula to La Ceba:

It is possible to avoid the bus altogether and book connecting flights that lead you straight into Puerto Lempira.