Facts About Honduras: The Land of Great Depths

A boy in a white shirt and a straw hat with red trim is standing in front of two girls next to a chain link fence.

Honduras is a stunning Central American nation that borders Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Pack a bag and let’s travel (virtually) to Honduras — which translates as “great depths.” In the east of Honduras, you will find lowlands and mountain slopes bordering the Caribbean Sea. To the north are alluvial plains and coastal sierras. The central land comprises rugged mountains, while along the Pacific Ocean in the west are lower mountain slopes and fertile soil. From the biodiverse Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve and bay islands to Lake Yojoa, which is nestled among volcanos, you’ll find amazing vistas at every turn. As you continue your journey through Honduras, don’t forget to visit the ancient ruins of Copan — once a thriving Mayan city — and to keep your eyes peeled for jaguars, crocodiles and toucans.

Sadly, Honduras also is plagued by high crime rates, child marriage and instability. Over 60% of the population lives in poverty and in rural areas, and 1 in 5 people lives in extreme poverty. Despite the difficult challenges many Hondurans face, there are also many beautiful cultures and traditions to celebrate. Learn some interesting facts about Honduras that will teach you about this fascinating country that is home to nearly 60,000 Compassion-assisted children!

Key Facts About Honduras

Here are some quick, interesting facts you should know about Honduras.

  • Population: 9,235,340
  • Capital: Tegucigalpa
  • Official language: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
  • Area: 43,278 square miles, a little larger than Virginia
  • Economy: While historically dependent on the export of bananas and coffee, Honduras has diversified its export base to include apparel and automobile wiring. Other agricultural products include citrus, corn, African palm, timber and seafood. Sugar processing, wood products and cigars are important industries. Honduras suffers from extraordinarily unequal income distribution and high underemployment.

Culture and Traditions of Honduras

Let’s explore the culture and traditions of Honduras! There are so many it’s hard to know what to investigate first. Here are a few fun facts.

Religion: There is no state religion in Honduras. However, the government consults with the Roman Catholic Church and occasionally appoints Catholic leaders to quasi-official commissions on key issues of mutual concern. Roman Catholics make up 46% of the population, while 41% of Hondurans identify as Protestant. About 10% do not identify with a religion.

Clothing: Traditional dress in Honduras is generally reserved for holidays and festivals. But women in rural or Indigenous communities may choose to dress more traditionally. Traditional clothing in Honduras is bright, colorful and hand-stitched. Women wear long, sleeveless dresses with cloth belts, while men dress in white shirts and pants with sombreros and red scarves. Today, many Hondurans wear styles like the ones worn in the United States. In the cities, it’s common for both male and female working professionals to wear casual business outfits, such as suits, blouses, heels and dress shoes.

General culture: The majority of Hondurans are “mestizo” – a mix of Spanish and Indigenous ancestry. However, there remains a small Indigenous population mostly centered in the southwest portion of the country or in isolated villages. Along the Caribbean coast, a significant part of the population speaks English and is of West Indian and African descent. Etiquette and social courtesies are important in Honduras. Hondurans play “fútbol” (soccer), baseball, volleyball and basketball. They also enjoy parties and street festivals

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Music and Dance of Honduras

Honduras is a melting pot of artistic styles. Native American, African and Spanish colonial influences blend together to form unique Honduran music and dance styles.

“Punta” is the most famous traditional music in Honduras. African rhythms and Spanish lyrics combined with energetic drumming create this exciting music style. Traditional instruments include the marimba, caramba, maracas, claves and conch shell. Honduran folk music is played during traditional celebrations. However, Hondurans often listen to music from Mexico or the United States.

Most dancing in Honduras consists of folk dance. The punta dance, also known as “banguity” (translated “new life”), is done in accompaniment to punta music. Other dances include the “sique” (seek) dance, which originated from the early Indigenous people. The “malido wanaragua” features masked performers who act out a battle.

Food and Drink of Honduras

Hondurans know how to prepare yummy food! Staple ingredients in most meals are rice, beans, tortillas and some form of meat. Fried plantains, known as “tostones,” as well as seafood are also common additions. Here is a quick sample of Honduran cuisine!

Plato típico, which translates as “typical dish,” is considered the national dish of Honduras. This hearty meal is assembled from a variety of foods that are cooked separately. If you order a plato típico, you can expect a platter loaded with beef, sausage, cracklings, plantain chips, beans and rice accompanied with sour cream, tortillas, cabbage, avocado, cheese and lime. What an ensemble!

Pinole, also called pinol or pinolillo, is the delightful national drink of Honduras. This ancient beverage is made from ground maize (corn) mixed with cocoa, agave or honey, cinnamon, vanilla and a variety of spices. Pinole remains popular today and is known by endurance athletes as a nutritious and energizing drink.

Arroz con leche is a delicious, sweet snack popular throughout Central America. Only a few simple ingredients are required: rice, milk, sugar, raisins and seasonings. This dessert can be served hot or cold. Learn to make arroz con leche!

Baleada is a dish you must try when you visit Honduras. Consisting of a thick, wheat flour tortilla filled with mashed fried beans, the baleada is a popular street food. Baleadas may also be stuffed with cheese, eggs, avocados, hot sauce and sour cream.

A Story From Honduras: Saved From the Gangs

Miguel is a humble, hardworking young man who’s gifted at technology but kept failing his subjects at high school. The teenager lives in a gang-dominated community where young men, unless they have the opportunity to train for a job, often join a gang.

Staff at Miguel’s Compassion center know this and work hard to help teenagers stay in school and off the streets. Tutors at the center helped Miguel to improve his grades and showed him that failing a test does not define him — it is simply an opportunity to try again and improve. Now Miguel is doing much better in school!

Besides encouraging youths to complete their high school education, staff members have launched a variety of vocational training. This not only equips youths with skills to provide job opportunities but also keeps them off the radar of the gangs.

Last year, Miguel enrolled in the barbershop workshop. He says, “Being a barber is a delicate job because our clients’ hair cannot be messed with … I appreciate I was given such an opportunity because I can earn money from it and afford my university dream.”

Despite living in a slum and having no technology at home, Miguel also thrived in the technology workshop. He learned to pilot a drone and represented his Compassion center as a drone pilot in a national race competition!

Next year, Miguel will finish high school and hopes to study systems engineering at a university.

Read More Stories From Honduras

BONUS: Fun Fact About Honduras

The coral reefs of Honduras are part of the massive Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System — only the Great Barrier Reef of Australia is larger!

Photos of What Daily Life is Like in Honduras

Do you want to keep learning about the beautiful country of Honduras?

Facts About Compassion and Honduras ›

A boy wearing traditional Honduran clothing

Each week on the blog, we’re posting an article of facts about a different country where sponsored children live. Keep an eye out for the countries that interest you the most!

21 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Rene December 12, 2020

    So agree with Mike Burcher!!! I was told by CI long before COVID that it takes them several WEEKS to process a gift. Incredible as that same day my family had given a gift to friends in India that literally arrived in minutes. Totally get that there have to be precautionary steps to avoid impropriety but GOD’S CHILDREN need food, water and shelter now, not in weeks. I continue praying for improvements, in meantime keep supporting CI.

    1. Kaye-Lin
      Kaye-Lin December 14, 2020

      Hi Rene. We are so thankful for the love and care that you have for your sponsored children. While gifts do take weeks process, your sponsored child is still receiving your monthly support that helps to meet their needs throughout the month. Along with this, we also have a disaster relief fund that helps provide immediate food, water, and shelter after a natural disaster occurs. Please know that your sponsored child’s church is working hard to make sure that your child and their family is taken care of. As you mentioned, we do have many steps in place to make sure that the gifts you send are being used properly. We have found that wiring money directly to the families can actually endanger families that are struggling, rather than helping them. We believe in working with the families so that the money is being used to help the family in the best way possible. Though gifts are working differently during COVID-19, we are still doing our best to make sure these gifts are being used properly. I hope this information helps! If you have any questions, please send us an email at socialmedia@compassion.com. Blessings!

  2. Avatar
    Erica Johnson December 10, 2020

    Thank you! I appreciated the information and pictures.

  3. Avatar
    Mike Burcher December 10, 2020

    I appreciate this blog, as I sponsor two girls in Honduras. At the same time I am surprised there is no mention of the destruction from the November hurricanes or the thousands of displaced and newly homeless people. Compassion has real opportunity as “boots on the ground” to make a difference in this situation, and I pray you will.

    1. Kaye-Lin
      Kaye-Lin December 14, 2020

      Hi Mike. Thank you for blessing your two girls through your support. We are so thankful for the love and concern that you have for them. Though this blog did not mention the hurricanes, please know that we are doing our best to support these families. We are periodically receiving updates from our church partners in Honduras, and you can find these updates here: https://www.compassion.com/where-we-work/crisis-updates.htm. Along with this, we have the disaster relief fund that is helping to provide immediate food, water, and shelter for the families who have been impacted by the hurricanes. Please know that if your children were affected by the hurricanes, we would contact you directly. I hope this information helps. If you have any questions, please send us an email at socialmedia@compassion.com. We are happy to help!

  4. Avatar
    Tenille December 10, 2020

    It is so nice to receive this blog and learn about the country where we Sponsor a young man. This is a reminder of how much they need Compassion International, the spirit of Christ demonstrated through the Organization and how people of God support one another through prayer and provision.
    Thank you for all you do!

  5. Avatar
    Pat Jensen December 9, 2020

    Thank you for all you do for children in Honduras. I love hearing from Isaac and after reading the blog above, I can envision more and pray more specifically for him. And his family. I’m looking forward to hearing from Isaac soon again! Merry Christmas to all of you at Compassion! God bless your ministry!
    Always in Him,
    Pat

  6. Avatar
    Eve W Webb December 9, 2020

    Thank you for the blog about Honduras. I have been blessed to make six mission trips with a medical and dental team to places in Honduras. That is why I like to sponsor children of Honduras. I found the people there to be polite, social and very interesting. I wish I could revisit the places I went to on mission trips. I have very fond memories of these trips. I pray God will richly bless Honduras and its people. Thank you for all you do to help them. In God’s Precious and Holy Name.

  7. Avatar
    Marcy December 9, 2020

    Thank you for giving us the cultural info of Honduras. We love our compassion child so much. He is so anazing.. Thank you for the Compassion program and because of your program a million and half children are being helped. God Bless you all. May God give you strength and encouragement to continue this blessful mission you have done and continue to do. In Christ AMEN

  8. Avatar
    Anne December 8, 2020

    Thank you for sharing more about Angel’s home. I really miss hearing from him. I want to know he is safe and well. I am praying that the center will open soon so he can write. I am anxious to hear from him.

  9. Avatar
    Sherri December 8, 2020

    Thank you for sharing! This was awesome!

  10. Avatar
    Rosalie Gilcrest December 8, 2020

    I as well was hoping to read about what the hurricane has done to the country. My compassion child, Daniel, lives there. Thank you.

    1. Kaye-Lin
      Kaye-Lin December 9, 2020

      Hi Rosalie. Thank you for caring so deeply for Daniel. We completely understand the worry and concern that you may have after Hurricane Iota and Hurricane Eta hit Honduras. Please know that if Daniel and his family were affected by these hurricanes, we would contact you directly. In the mean time, you can read more about the impacts of these hurricanes here: https://www.compassion.com/where-we-work/crisis-updates.htm. We are updating our website as often as the country office in Honduras is able to notify us any changes. I hope this information helps! If you have any questions, please send us an email at socialmedia@compassion.com. We are happy to help!

  11. Avatar
    Sandy Bolton December 8, 2020

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful message about where my child lives. I understand he lives at the foot of the mountain. I know he loves soccer and it was wonderful to see the picture’s of the children. Thank you Compassion International for all you do. I’m so blessed to e a part of it.

  12. Avatar
    W F December 8, 2020

    This blog was very informative as to the culture and foods of this beautiful country. As a sponsor, it was helpful to put in context the life struggles of my child’s country and to stay out of gangs and in school. May God continue to bless this organization and Honduras.

  13. Avatar
    Debra Garner December 8, 2020

    Very Informative! Well done. Thanks you.

  14. Avatar
    Mary Bunch December 8, 2020

    I thought I was finally going to get some current information since the two hurricanes hit Honduras. I know the child I sponsor was in one of the areas hardest hit. I want some REAL information, not pictures taken before COVID. That was at least 10 months ago.

    1. Mackenzie
      Mackenzie December 8, 2020

      Hi Mary! We are still receiving updates from our church partners in Honduras about the affects of the recent hurricanes. However, we are happy to look and see if we have any specific information about your child. Could you please send us an email at socialmedia@compassion.com so we can speak with you further?

  15. Avatar
    Thomas Scott December 8, 2020

    This is so wonderful, very interesting. Loved the pictures. Gives me more to write about.

  16. Avatar
    Shelba Cook December 8, 2020

    Thank you for sending information about the area in which my child lives. Thank you for caring for him and all the other children. My God bless you tremendously .

  17. Avatar
    June Chewning December 8, 2020

    Thank You! This is awesome…

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