Honduras is a small country settled pristinely in Central America, a country which benefits greatly from volunteer projects of all types. Though it is slowly developing, there remains a large degree of inequality in Honduras along with high levels of poverty throughout urban and rural areas. Not to mention as one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, the country faces constant threats from human expansion and deforestation. As a volunteer in Honduras you’ll have the opportunity to experience a truly beautiful landscape and thriving Latin America culture, while positively impacting local communities who are always appreciative of international help.
Honduras is a small country with only eight million inhabitants. Tegucigalpa is the country’s capital and largest city, as well as a financial, cultural, and educational center of the region. A rapidly increasing population in recent decades has caused the city to face many social problems associated with infrastructure, urban development, and access to healthcare. International volunteers are readily welcomed here in the nation’s capital to lend a helping hand on volunteer projects geared at supporting rehabilitation and growth in local communities.
San Pedro Sula, the country’s second largest city with over one million people living in the metropolitan area, faces similar circumstances. Ever since Hurricane Mitch hit nearly two decades ago, the country as a whole has struggled to regain its economic footing. San Pedro Sula, once a promising manufacturing center, has failed to gain any real momentum since then and still remains plagued by poverty and corruption.
La Ceiba, a port city nicknamed the “eco-tourism capital” of Honduras, is another popular location for volunteer work in Honduras. Many volunteer programs in La Ceiba place volunteers in rural areas among small villages or with organizations focused in environmental hotspots.
Honduras is a haven of tropical biodiversity and is home to many unique terrains and species, making volunteering throughout the countryside a fascinating and rewarding trip.
Volunteering in Honduras
When Hurricane Mitch hit, the former president estimated that it retrogressed Honduras backwards 50 years in terms of development. Nearly three quarters of the country’s crops and transportation infrastructure were wiped out, not to mentioned the devastating number of fatalities and damage to private property. Infrastructural development, access to healthcare, and community building are thus high priorities when it comes to volunteering in Honduras, which is already one of Latin America’s poorest countries, which tends to be geared toward helping the country grow economically.
Another popular placement for volunteering in Honduras is teaching English. Speaking English can be an incredibly valuable life skill for individuals across the country, who may not be exposed to such language education outside of international volunteer programs. It is also a great way for volunteers to develop their Spanish speaking skills and work closely with locals. Many smaller communities have little access to education and face low literacy rates too, so volunteer teachers can make quite a significant impact by bringing English education to these areas.
Working at orphanages or in daycare centers is another great options for volunteering abroad in Honduras. Local children benefit greatly from interaction with foreign volunteers, especially those children who are orphaned and have no other means of attaining such nurturing and personal attention.
Costs & Affordability
Honduras is a very inexpensive country for volunteering abroad – in fact the most expensive part of being a volunteer in Honduras is almost always the upfront program fees. Volunteer program fees will cover a variety of things depending on the organization, from accommodation to airport pick up and orientation. The local currency in Honduras the Lempira, which runs at about 21 to one U.S. Dollar. Most locally bought goods will be significantly cheaper than in Western or developed countries, while imported goods will likely end up costing you more.
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodations will vary depending on whether you find yourself living in an urban or rural setting. However, it is generally safe to assume that your living situation will not be luxurious. Remember that Honduras is a very poor nation – commodities like running hot water, air conditioning, and internet connection may not be readily available across the country. Most volunteer programs in Honduras will either organize or help you to organize housing before you arrive, either in group living or in a homestay.
You will likely only need a visa if you plan to volunteer in Honduras for more than 90 days. If this is the case, contact your volunteer program provider about which visa option will be right for you.
Benefits & Challenges
Volunteering abroad in Honduras is your chance to make a real positive impact on one of the poorest nations in the Americas. Ever since the devastating effects of Hurricane Mitch the country has struggled to regain momentum economically, and international volunteer organizations have played a vitally important role in bringing about change and rehabilitation.
On top of impacting the country for years to come, your time as a volunteer in Honduras will be an adventure. You will get the chance to spend everyday living and interacting with one of the most rich and authentic cultures in Central America, which is sure to be an experience of a lifetime.