Central America Honduras

San Pedro Sula – It’s the Most Violent City On Earth, but is it a Holiday Destination?

July 19, 2014

San Pedro Sula was once again recognised at the ‘most violent city of earth’, with a murder rate of 169 people for every 100,000.

“Satan himself lives here in San Pedro,” a mortician from the second largest city in Honduras told The Guardian. “People here kill people like they’re nothing more than chickens.”

Over the last few years, homicides in Honduras have risen, even while violence falls in neighbouring countries like El Salvador and Guatemala.

Arms and drug trafficking have flooded the country, contributing to high gang violence. Lax gun laws (civilians can own up to five personal firearms), corruption, and poverty make life in San Pedro Sula even worse.

What’s more, inmates have controlled Honduras’ 24 prisons since the state gave up on rehabilitating convicts, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Taken from the Business Insider

With information like that floating around, one has to ask, is it worth the risk?

Initially we’d planned to visit the islands off the Northern coast of Honduras which would have had us spend a day in San Pedro Sula… because flight would have arrived around 8am and out outbound sector wasn’t until 10pm, it would have left us either wandering the streets with our packs or waiting it out inside a (presumedly pretty basic) airport for 14 hours.  Neither of these prospects sounded particularly appealing and with a quick onwards connection to Puerto Rico and our cruise, we would have limited time to replace our gear if it was pinched.

With that in mind, and in a bid to save money, we decided to spend time in Belize (we were originally only going to use it as a jumping off point) and continue on to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen in Mexico.  It’s a better use of our time and money as we’ll be in that area anyway and flights to Puerto Rico worked out cheaper out of Mexico, and we don’t need to spend the day walking the streets of San Pedro Sula (Honduras) with for all intents and purposes, all our worldly goods.

Without doubt, you can’t believe everything you read online.  There’s also the potential of danger being sensationalised for any number of reasons.  Is it really as bad as it’s made out to be?

I remember travelling solo to New York as an 18 year old female, at a time when crime was a much bigger problem than it is now, and feeling surprisingly comfortable walking around at night by myself.  It may have been youthful ignorance, but there’s no doubting that I felt safer there at night than I ever would walking Auckland City by myself in the dark.

At the end of the day, we decided it just wasn’t worth the risk (or the extra money and time).  We’re excited to explore Belize and see more of Mexico so for us, leaving Honduras and Costa Rica, was a simple decision to make (though it was much harder to say good-bye to my Costa Rican dreams for now).

Ignoring the fact that money and time played a significant role in our decision making, would you have made the same choice?

There’s a lot to be seen off the beaten path and we’re not risk adverse in our travels, but when does the risk outweigh the potential reward?



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