Honduras is the second-largest country in Central America, packed with beauty, color and friendly people. Here's a collection of fun and fascinating Honduras facts.
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The National Bird of Honduras is the Scarlet Macaw.
One of the oldest – if not the oldest -- incidences of the cultivation and use of cacao was discovered at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, dating as far back as 1100 BC. In ancient times, cacao wasn't consumed in the form we know and adore (chocolate!) but as a bitter, frothy drink; its pulp might have been fermented for alcoholic beverages.
Honduras was once known as Spanish Honduras, in order to differentiate it from British Honduras (now Belize).
The Honduras airport in Tegucigalpa, Toncontín International Airport, is quite notorious – The History Channel's Most Extreme Airports ranked it the number two most dangerous airport in the world, due to its mountainous location and extremely short runway. Fortunately, Honduras has a second mainland international airport in San Pedro Sula. There is also an international airport on Roatan, the largest of Honduras's Bay Islands.
In the early 18th century, a 20-year-old American man named Phillip Ashton was marooned on Roatan. He managed to survive for 16 months, when he was finally rescued.
During his fourth and final voyage to the Americas in 1502, Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the Honduran Bay Islands, landing in Guanaja. He also visited the Puerto Castilla, near what is now the Honduran city of Trujillo.
The Mayan ruins of Copán represent some of the best-preserved examples of Mayan architecture, and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980. The ruins are most famed for their expansive hieroglyphics and elaborate stelae.
There are 110 mammal species in Honduras. Half are bats.
The official Honduran currency is known as the lempira, named for a 16th-century ruler of the indigenous Lenca people who led an uprising against the Spanish conquistadors.
Ninety percent of Honduras's population is mestizo: a mix of Amerindian and European ancestry. Seven percent are indigenous, two percent are black (primarily residing on Honduras's Caribbean coast), and around 150,000 are Garifuna.
A storm of sardines! A tempest of tilapia! In Honduran folklore, the Rain of Fish -- La Lluvia de Peces in Spanish – is a phenomenon occurring in the Department of Yoro, where a massive storm results in hundreds of live fish flopping all over the ground. Apparently locals take the fish home, cook 'em up, and eat them. Off the coast of Honduras lies the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System – the second largest barrier reef in the world, after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It accounts for the famously fantastic diving in Honduras, especially in The Bay Islands.
The majority of Guanaja's population lives on a tiny island off the coast of the larger island, called Bonnaca, Low Cay or Guanaja Cay. The jam-packed island is known as the Venice of Honduras, due to the waterways weaving through it.
Utila, Honduras, is a seasonal feeding site of the whale shark – the world's largest fish.
The Honduras flag includes three strips and five stars. The stars represent the five states of the Central American Union -- Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua -- with Honduras in the center.
More than 50 percent of Honduras lives below poverty levels. According to the Human Development Index, Honduras is the sixth least developed country in Latin America, following Haiti, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Guyana