Honduras Shopping

Honduras shopping has many rewards. Honduran arts and crafts, though not as varied as those in Mexico or Guatemala, are worth looking for and make great souvenirs. Local markets in all the major cities sell a variety of handmade items: jewelry, woodcarvings, leather bags and clothes, and straw baskets, to name but a few. Around the Mayan site of Copan, local merchants sell remarkable replicas of Mayan hieroglyphics and artwork. In Roatan shopping is a blend of modern and traditional, with indigenous craftsmen selling alongside modern diving stores.

Honduran arts and crafts vary by region. Lenca people, inhabitants of many small towns in western Honduras, sell distinctive black and white "negative pottery." In the Mosquito Coast, natives offer unique Honduran arts and crafts carved out of local tree bark. Near the Copan ruins, descendents of the Mayan people who dominated much of Central America sell replicas of Mayan art.

Honduran arts and crafts are also available at markets in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Tegucigalpa, and other cities. Roatan shopping areas have stalls offering native merchandise by Garifuna people and Hondurans from the mainland. Merchants will expect some bargaining for Honduran arts and crafts, but do not try to undercut prices too substantially; haggling is not as much a part of Honduran culture as in some other tourist destinations. Refrain from purchasing anything made from black coral or sea turtle shells and be wary about buying crafts made with colorful bird feathers or animal pelts. Unless you are sure it is not an endangered species, it is best not to buy.

Honduras shopping is not all about native crafts. Modern shopping malls around San Pedro Sula often sell clothes and other modern merchandise at prices far below those in Europe or the United States.

Honduras is also a leading producer of coffee, cigars, and fruit. A visit to the cigar factory at Santa Rosa de Copan makes a great thing to do on a Honduras vacation. Honduras shopping for fresh export-grade coffee is also a rewarding experience.

The Honduras currency is known as the lempira, after the country's national hero, a native Indian who organized massive resistance against Spanish colonists in the 16th century. The Honduras currency underwent a natural devaluation against Western currencies in the late 1990s and early 2000s but seems to have stabilized at around 19 lempiras to the dollar. Travelers from Europe and Britain may have difficulty exchanging euros and pounds for the Honduras currency; they are advised to get travelers checks or hard currency in dollars before beginning their Honduras vacation.

Lempiras come in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1. The Honduras currency is further split into centavos. 100 centavos equal one lempira. Centavo coins come in 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1. Hondurans sometimes refer to a "real," which is equivalent to 12.5 centavos, but no longer has a coin denomination.

Once you have your Honduras currency, head to a Honduras shopping area and buy some souvenirs to take a piece of your trip home with you.

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