ahhh, the life of a diplomatic princess . . .

The Pros and Cons of Life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

It’s that time again — bidding season. Not for us, thank GAWD, but for many others (you have my sympathies). I know some folks love bidding season, for me whatever patina bidding season once had is gone and I just dread the researching and the waiting. And waiting. And waiting …

I’ve decided to do my Foreign Service blogger duty and write out my list of pros and cons of life in Tegucigalpa, I hope it helps folks. Plus, if I don’t blog about something besides PETA Imma lose my damn mind.

So, here is my list. I’ll start with the cons first so we finish on a high note.

The Cons of Teguc:

1. Not being able to go out on foot. This is, by far, my biggest issue with living in Teguc — to the point that I really had to scrounge around for the others because they’re so minor to me. But there is potential for violent crime and post states that going out and about on foot is a no no. This is a quality of life issue, it’s a major quality of life issue for a runner, especially since Teguc has some really nice straight aways for running and all I can do it look at them longingly while we drive past. Now, having said that, once you leave the city you are good to go — walk around (or run) to your heart’s content. I’ll write more about that in the pros section. Also, in contrast to what we’d heard before we moved here, driving at night is fine, just know where you’re going and don’t wander into areas that are not safe.

2. The security situation. Loads of narcos out there, folks, and they don’t play. But let’s keep things in perspective. Our major cities have hot spots for violent crimes, and they have all the things that cause it, and Teguc is no different. Be smart, stay out of the areas you’re not supposed to be in, practice safe driving techniques, pay attention to your OPSEC — you should be fine. I don’t dwell much on the security situation, I think folks blow it out of proportion. Bad stuff can happen no matter where you are but you choose whether or not to live in fear (which is different than just being cautious). So don’t let this prevent you bidding Teguc.

3. Traffic. It sucks. ‘Nuff said.

4. The air quality can get obscenely bad at the end of the dry season but it’s temporary so not a huge deal.

5. I’m thinking … I’m thinking …

The Pros of Teguc:

1. Post morale. While I realize this is fluid I wanted to list it here because it’s pretty awesome. Local staff are fantastic, knowledgeable, responsive, and friendly. And our Ambassador? He’s like the Old Spice guy of Ambos — you wish your Ambo was as cool as our Ambo is. Seriously.

2. Loads of fun weekend trips. There is a huge national park with lots of hiking (La Tigra), a very large park up in the hills of Teguc (El Picacho — where you can RUN), and there are beautiful colonial villages to visit (Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucia to name just two). There are also other activities I’ve heard about but not yet done, like the children’s museum, which I’m told is fantastic. Farther afield there are fun and completely manageable, even with kids, weekend trips. Our favorite so far is Lago Yajoa, where we’ve gone so many times that we have yet to visit other places because sometimes when you travel so much you just need spots that are comfy and familiar, right? We’ll branch out soon. If you do visit Yajoa, make sure to stay at the D & D Brewery and Lodge, it’s not only lots of fun but the people are some of the nicest you’ll meet and they have fantastic guides who can take you around to all the best spots in the area. D & D is also within walking (or RUNNING) distance from Lenca ruins, which are very cool to explore, and the national park they’re in is large enough that you can spend the whole day hiking. The beach is, in my opinion, too far for a weekend trip, it took us about five hours to get to Tela, but I’ve been told the beaches of El Salvador are much closer and very nice (they’re on our list).

3. Proximity to the rest of the Mayan world. The Ruta Maya is at your fingertips here, and it’s awesome! We recently took a trip to Tikal, Guatemala. It’s a long haul, it took us two days to get there, but it is so worth it. We stayed on the beautiful island of Flores, which is incredibly charming, (another hotel recommendation, Hotel Isla de Flores is inexpensive and very sweet, also has great food). We’re planning what we’re referring to as our epic adventure for this winter, where we will visit as much of the Ruta Maya as we can squeeze into a few weeks — Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

4. The Honduran people. They are warm, welcoming, and very down to earth. And they don’t mind gringos in the slightest, which is a plus. The folks I’ve met not only tolerate my awful Spanish but are very patient when I can’t seem to spit the right words out or when I look at them with that awkward deer in the headlights look I get when I don’t understand something. And they have a real pride when it comes to their country, which they should, because it’s an absolute gem.

5. Discovery School. It’s small, which is important to us, and the teachers, administration, and staff are fantastic. They’ve got an open door policy — which I appreciate because, while I’m not a helicopter mom, I do like to pop in and say hi to my babies now and again. Our kiddos are pretty scary smart and I feel that their teachers at Discovery picked up very quickly on their strengths, and they provide them with the avenues to move forward and be challenged. The teachers also recognize the areas where our kids need extra assistance (or where they’re just being a bit more lax than they should be — yea, I’m talkin’ to you, kids).

6. Bonus Pro: The cost of living and availability of stuff. You can get just about anything here and it’s relatively inexpensive. Imports are pricey, of course, but that’s to be expected. Travel is not expensive and that’s a huge bonus for a family of 5. You can make it expensive, of course, but you don’t need to pay big bucks to stay somewhere decent or to have fun while traveling.

So there you have it, my list of pros and cons. I was very hesitant to green light Honduras because of the whole “Murder Capitol of the World” headline but I am so glad that we did. We bid Honduras for the job, which we’ve never done before, but we’ve ended up loving it because it’s a fantastic country. Bid Teguc — know what its limitations are but don’t let them stand in your way because they pale in comparison to what makes this a special country.

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8 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Life in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

  1. stapeliad on said:

    I really enjoy reading about your life there. Please do a post on food! And bathrooms…plumbing etc. And bugs- mainly how you make them go away. I bet there are a LOT of really scary bugs there. eek.

    I’m totally with you on the not living in fear thing. We do our best to be safe….and live at the same time.

    • The food here is good — there are lots of great restaurants and the fresh produce in the market is amazing. We’re vegetarian and don’t have any problems finding good stuff to eat in Teguc or when we’re traveling. Bathrooms, and plumbing, can sometimes be a bit iffy but aren’t bad. It’s pretty typical in that a lot of places don’t want you putting paper into the toilets, that was true for a lot of the places we went in Costa Rica too. So far we’ve seen fewer bugs then we did in Costa Rica, we had a tarantula in our pool there, that was just GAH! After nearly 4 years living in Central America I’ve developed a pretty strong, for me, stomach for bugs (spiders don’t make me scream anymore). We haven’t had many problems in our house, other than leaf cutter ants who love all my flowers. We have 5 cats though so bugs would be pretty foolish to take up residence here. You see big bugs when traveling but, again, I’m pretty immune to them at this point.

      • stapeliad on said:

        Congrats on your bug-fear-immunity. I don’t think that would be possible for me. Tarantula- ACK! I’m also veg (well except some fish), so- yay for nice produce.

        My stupid cats would be too lazy, entitled, and useless to get any bugs.

        I can just imagine all the fantastic painting spots you have down there.

  2. Pingback: The Pros and Cons of Life in Tegucigalpa | Unaccompanied Baggage

  3. lesliemjensen on said:

    Its so refreshing to hear from someone who likes this post. We left in 2012 by would go back in a heartbeat. While you do need to keep your wits about you, I definitely agree that the perceived danger is completely overblown. Yes, there is street crime, yes there are murders. What there is not is rampant anti American sentiment, Honduran people are generally really cool and as long as you exercise caution like you would in any big third world city Tegus is great.

  4. Pingback: Why I Can’t Quite Bring Myself to Visit My Favorite Village | mom2nomads

  5. Brittany Phn on said:

    Thanks for posting! I am looking to relocate with my family to Tegucigalpa. You had mention that you are a family of 5, whats your average monthly expense (food, entertainment, housing, transportation etc.) thanks! Brittany

  6. Hello to everybody looking for a more affordable
    And relaxing lifestyle via central or south america

    I will begin with since i am fluent in spanish and have traveled in mexico and colombia,that you would be pleasently surprised….you can find available all the amenities you,re used to at home in the u.s.a or canada for a much lower price..of course do your own diligence on the selected country you plan on seeing or residing in…

    1…use common sense dont flash jewellery or brag about success being rich..
    2…adapt to the local culture and law systems and practices can be at a snails pace so always be patient
    4…be aware of any taxes imposed or other residency requirements

    So do your own research and you will enjoy yourself..

    All i can say is its a true blessing to have these countries available instead of the very stressful north american lifestyle..

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