Honduras travel advice - Operation Wallacea

Expedition Information

Honduras travel advice

Please read each of the sections below carefully. They provide important information relevant to your Operation Wallacea expedition in Honduras, including travel recommendations prior to your expedition commencing. Of course, should you require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Operation Wallacea office.

School groups that have chosen a fully inclusive expedition package do not need to book their own flights or in-country travel as these will be provided by Operation Wallacea.

Updated: October 2016

Start and Finish Times

University Students and School Groups:

The Honduran research assistant expeditions have a variety of start and finish locations and dates, depending on which expedition you join. All university expeditions start on the Wednesday and finish on the Tuesday (see expedition descriptions for the start and finish points of each option). All school expeditions start on a Wednesday at 0700hrs in San Pedro Sula and finish on a Tuesday at 0900hrs in La Ceiba. Forest dissertation students need to either start on 7th, 14th or 21st June whilst marine dissertation students need to start their research (after completing necessary training courses) on 15 or 22 June or 29 June.

Field Staff and Medics:

If your contract starts in the forest, the official start point is Gran Hotel Sula, San Pedro Sula on the first day of your contract at 07.00hrs. If your contract finishes in the forest, the end point is Gran Hotel Sula, San Pedro Sula on the final day of your contract at 12.00hrs.

If your contract commences in Utila, the official start point of your expedition is La Ceiba on on the first day of your contract at 14.00hrs. If you are leaving the expedition from Utila your contract will end at La Ceiba on a Tuesday at 08.00hrs .

If your contract commences in Tela, the official start point of your expedition is Tela on the first day of your contract at 12.00hrs. If you are leaving the expedition from Tela your contract will end in Tela on a Tuesday at 08.00hrs .

Booking International Flights

Groups and individuals will need to book international flights to arrive in San Pedro Sula on the Tuesday before your expedition starts and to depart from San Pedro Sula after 16:00hrs on the Tuesday your expedition ends.

Staff will need to arrive into San Pedro Sula on the day before your contract starts and you can book your homeward flight out of San Pedro Sula after 16:00hrs on the final day of your contract (for example, if your contract ends on a Wednesday, do not book a flight before 16:00hrs on that day).

Packaged School Groups

Operation Wallacea will be in contact with the group leader directly and will provide you with a fully inclusive quote for your international flights, internal travel and expedition costs.

Non-Packaged School Groups (Booking Your Own International Flights)

If you are booking your own international flights departing from a country other than the US, then we recommend that you contact the following air suppliers who are all familiar with the Operation Wallacea expedition programme and will be able to provide you with a competitive quote.

Travel Nation
Tel: 01273 964 034
E-mail: Markb@travelnation.co.uk

STA Travel
Tel: 0161 667 0083
E-mail: amber.watson@statravel.com

When you have booked and confirmed your flights you should enter all the details through the Opwall portal and email a copy of your itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com.

Volunteers

Once you have booked your expedition with us you will be contacted by our preferred travel partner Travel Nation who will provide you with competitive quotes for your international flights.

Travel Nation
Tel: 01273 947 313
E-mail: opwallvolunteers@travelnation.co.uk
International Contact: +44 (0) 1273 947 313

When you have booked and confirmed your flights you should enter all the details through the Opwall portal and email a copy of your itinerary or E-ticket to flights@opwall.com.

 

Booking In-Country Travel

The internal travel package* between San Pedro Sula Airport and the expedition start and end points will be arranged by our Internal Travel team and is not included in the expedition cost, unless you have chosen a fully inclusive expedition package.

When you have confirmed the details of your international flights you will receive a quote for your internal travel package, which will include airport meet and greet, any required travel and accommodation, as well as full representation.

Honduras internal travel packages start at £133 depending on your particular requirements.

*Includes airport meet & greet, any required travel and accommodation and full representation.

Medical and Travel Insurance

Opwall has insurance in place to provide medical and repatriation cover up to £1 million for all participants on the expedition.  We do this through Cover-More who are a global insurance company covering in excess of a million travellers every year. Detailed medical and evacuation plans are sent to Cover-More’s medical emergency team in advance of the expeditions.  If there are any medical issues on the expeditions all plans have been agreed in advance so there are no delays in providing any medical support that might be needed.  The medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall also covers travel to and from the site.

In addition to this medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall, it is strongly recommended that you have top-up insurance (which can also be provided by Cover-More) to cover the following items:

  • If you have an existing medical condition that may be exacerbated by the expedition and require additional medical treatment in hospital other than that provided by the Opwall medical staff in the field at each site, or may even require repatriation in severe cases, then the Opwall medical and evacuation cover will not cover the costs of this additional medical treatment and evacuation. For pre-existing medical conditions then specialist insurance cover can be obtained from Cover-More.
  • Need to cancel the expedition and flights because of illness to you or a close family member, call for jury duty or other insured conditions making it impossible to reach the departure point for the trip.
  • Costs of re-booking connecting flights, boat or overland transfers to the start and from the finish points of the expedition in the event of delays caused in connecting flights or overland transfers due to delayed flights, ferries or buses because of mechanical breakdown of transport or adverse weather conditions, strikes, industrial action, riot or civil commotion, bomb scares, criminal or terrorist acts, etc.
  • Loss of personal baggage, clothing or items such as cameras or electronic items or the costs of having to buy replacement items if baggage is delayed.

For participants who depart from and return to the UK, a special policy which dovetails into the medical and repatriation cover provided by Opwall can be obtained from Cover-More. If you wish to purchase a ‘Top-Up’ travel insurance policy to cover additional benefits such as cancellation and baggage please contact the Customer Service team at Cover-More Insurance Services on 01245 272408 quoting reference CMU0009.

Note for Canadian volunteers joining the expeditions all the travel insurance elements described above are included in the package provided by Victor Travel.

Visas

Passport
Please be aware that your passport must have at least 6 months validity (period before expiry) at the time of your arrival into Honduras. Failure to have at least 6 months validity on your passport will ensure denial of entry into Honduras.

Visas
British, Canadian, US nationals and members of the European Union can be issued a Honduran visa for up to 90 days on arrival at San Pedro Sula, so there is no need to apply in advance for a visa. If you are a national of another country please make sure that you contact the Honduran Embassy or Consulate in your country to obtain relevant visa information, and also contact your nearest Operation Wallacea Office.

Transiting through the US
If you are transiting through the US, most Europeans (and some other nationalities) will need to register for an ESTA before travelling (see full list of countries). The ESTA costs $14, and can be paid online during the online application process. Nationals of other countries should check with their local US embassy. Without an ESTA or US Visa you will not be allowed to board your flight to the US. For a full explanation, and to apply for the ESTA see Electronic System for Travel Authorization. The ESTA and visa’s for the US do not apply to nationals of Canada, Bermuda or Mexico, who are normally free to travel into the US.

Cultural Advice

In general, the Central American culture is very relaxed, and Western volunteers should have no problems with the Honduran culture. However, as is the case wherever you are travelling, try to remember that, particularly in remote areas where the locals very rarely see non Honduran, the impression that you make will likely be a lasting one. Treat all locals with respect and courtesy, and behave in a responsible manner.

Alcohol: Though alcohol is widely available in Honduras, drunkenness is not acceptable. Though beer is available at the marine research base, you will be asked to limit your consumption to a maximum of a couple of beers a night. It is also important to remember that drunkenness poses a serious risk to health and safety. For this reason spirits are not permitted on any of our sites. No alcohol is permitted in Cusuco National Park.

Dress Code: Honduras is reasonably relaxed regarding dress code, however, please be respectful when in local communities or away from the beach.

Relationships: The majority of volunteers will form friendships with local people and for many this is one of the highlights of the expedition. This is obviously a very positive thing which Operation Wallacea wholeheartedly encourages. It can also be a potential problem area. If in doubt speak to one of the experienced staff members on site.