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This page has these categories, San Pedro Sula, The Bay Islands, and a frequently asked about section, Foreign Ownership ...
 
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San Pedro Sula...

Located 265 km. northwest of Tegucigalpa, and is considered the fastest growing city in Central America. The city has a nice pleasant atmosphere, without pollution or the hectic street life of the Capital city. It is the Industrial Capital of Honduras. Since San Pedro Sula is newer than Tegucigalpa, it has a better city layout, wider streets, and more of the modern shopping malls.

Most of the incoming factories from foreign countries are locating in San Pedro Sula.

This is the second largest city of Honduras and its industrial and commercial center. Located on the North Coast (Atlantic/Caribbean side) about 30 miles inland. Here you will see vast banana plantations in the surrounding areas. These plantations are largely owned by the United Fruit Company. The population is about 900,000.

Warmer than Tegucigalpa, it has an average temperature of 80F to 90F degrees year round. November through February being the coolest months.

San Pedro Sula is located in the Sula Valley and is flat in comparison to the mountainous Tegucigapla. Urban problems exist here too, but not to the great extent as the capital. Often SPS is used as a visitors base for visiting other parts of Honduras such as changing planes to go the Bay Islands, visit Copán or the North Coast.

Hotels of San Pedro Sula
Hotel Copántl Sula is San Pedro Sula's finest hotel. Prices range from $145 a day for a double, suites up to $350 night. Excellent coffee shop and great Sunday brunch is served. Recommend you see the hotel even if you don't plan to stay there. The hotel is located some distance from downtown in a quieter, more affluent neighborhood. Restaurant, suites available, convention facilities, cocktail lounge, steak house, gym, swimming pool, color TV, hot water and a casino is available in the evenings. Carretera a Chamelecon, Colonia Los Arcos. Telephone 53-0900 and 53-4170. Fax 57-3890.

Hotel Gran Sula is an excellent choice. Located downtown across from the Parque Central it is close to all services. Expect to pay $95 to $120 a day for a double. Suites are available up to $150 night. The most well known and popular hotel in town. Clean, well maintained, hot water, swimming pool, TV, bar and just about everything you'd want. It has the only dependable 24-HOUR COFFEE SHOP in town. Upstairs the dining room GRANADA is superb. It is a great place to have dinner and they serve an excellent buffet lunch during the week. 1a Calle, between 3 and 4 Avenidas. Across from Parque Central. Telephone 52-9991 to 52-9999, fax 57-7000. Recommended.

The lobby has offices of the Molinari Rent A Car as well as the Maya Tropic Tours and several other tourist serving agencies. Let's put it this way, the Gran Sula is to SPS as the Hotel Honduras Maya is to Tegucigalpa. Central Park is right in front, Banks and businesses are within walking distance. A parking lot is near the corner for convenience.

Hotel Bolivar, located about two blocks from Parque Central it is in a convenient location. Medium priced at $30 to $50 a night. The staff in this hotel is excellent and will do their best to make your stay enjoyable. It is clean and was renovated a few years ago. Available with or without TV, has a pool in the patio, dining room, laundry service, enclosed parking. 2a Calle, 2a Avenida NO, No. 8. Telephone 53-3218, 53-3224, 53-1811, fax 53-4823.

Hotel International Palace, near downtown, 8 Avenida, 3 Calle, $35 to $45 double, clean, small, but excellent restaurant, color TV in room, hot water, good choice if you like firm beds. Nice people! Telephone: 52-2838 or fax 57-7922. Don't be put off by the smallness of the restaurant, the food is fabulous!

Apart-Hotel El Almendral, a suites hotel with economy prices $25 to $35, very nice, lots of space, TV, parking, laundry. 16 Avenida B, 12 Calle B, SO, Colonia Trejo, back of Texaco station on Avenida Circunvalación. Telephone 56-8008, 56-8989 and 56-7559, fax 52-4446. Takes Visa and MasterCard.

Hotel Ejecutivo, $25 night, all major credit cards accepted, clean, good staff, restaurant good for breakfasts. Located one block from the Stadium, 2 calle, 10 Avenida, 1 block to the south of Cine Presidente, telephone 52 5868, 52-4289, fax 52-5868.

Hotel Terraza, located downtown, 6 Avenida #31, between 4 and 5 Calle, SO, clean, lower priced at $15 to $18 a day. Top floor has the "terraza". Has its own restaurant. Telephone 52-0790, 53-3108, fax 57-4798.

Hotel San Pedro, also downtown, 3rd Calle #2, SO. between 1 y 2 Avenidas, walking distance to Parque Central, economically priced at about $15 to $18 for a double. Has restaurant, air conditioning, color TV on cable. Simple, basic accommodations, good economy choice. Prices range from $5 to $18 night Telephone 53-1513 and 53-4014.

Hotel Colombia, economical, downtown, with or without air conditioning, $10 to $15 a night. Telephone 53-3118.

Bed & Breakfast, two rooms with one bath, guests are picked up at the airport and given a tour of SPS for $45 per couple. Rio Piedras area, Calle 9, S.O., Casa 239D, Avenidas 23 y 24. Location within walking distance of Las Tejas, Pat's or Jose y Pepe. Phone/fax 57-4056. Transportation and tours available. Operated by English speaking guide, Javier Pinel. Recommended.

Brisas de Occidente, an economy hotel, $5 a night. Backpacker recommendation.

Restaurants of San Pedro Sula
Restaurante Don Udo's, European cuisine, moderately priced, one of the best in SPS, off Avenida Circunvalación, three blocks from the fountain Bella Vista, Boulevard Los Proceres, Sometimes crowded, reservations recommended, lunch from 11:30 to 2 AM dinner 6 to 11 PM Sunday brunch 8 to 12 noon, breakfast Mon.- Sat. 7 to 10 AM Tel. 53-3106, fax 57-2040. Recommended;

Restaurante La Carreta, as far as atmosphere and elegance, one of the best in town, pricey, good steaks, Avenida Circunvalación, 17 Avenida between 2 and 3 Calles, Barrio Las Andes.

Restaurante La Cascada, international menu, meat and seafood specialties. Open for lunch and dinner. Full service bar with giant TV, Avenida Circunvalacion, 1 y 2 Calle N.O., telephone 57-1087.

Pat's Steak House, best steak house in town, on Avenida Circunvalación. Meals are $10 to $12, 5 Calle, 17 Avenida No. 22, Rio Piedra, tel. 53-0939.

Restaurante Alejandro's, international cuisine, moderately priced, pleasant atmosphere, Avenida Circunvalación, between 5-6 Calles, SO, No. 128, telephone 52-1191.

Restaurante Las Tejas, good basic menu, economical. On Avenida Circunvalación, 9 Calle, between 16 and 17 Avenidas, tel. 52-2705.

Restaurante Rio de Plata, very good Uruguayan style beef. On 17 Avenida 10 and 12 Calles, SO, near the Pandaria Los Andes.

Restaurante Estancia Parrillada, Uruguayan meat restaurant on Avenida Circunvalación near Los Angeles Hotel, telephone 52-3002.

Restaurante Vicente, 7a Avenida, between 1a-2a Calles, excellent Italian food, economical, long established business, now in present location for about two years. Telephone 52-1335.

Cafeteria Vony, this is a coffee shop located about three blocks from the Hotel Gran Sula, 1 Calle, and 7 Avenida. American type food is served, 7 AM to 9 PM Telephone 58-1972.

Restaurants Candiles I and Candiles II, are near each other about 3 blocks from Parque Central. Recommended by locals.

Pizzeria Italia, located on 1a Calle corner of 5a Avenida, they have the same owner as Restaurante Vincente.

San Pedro Sula also has fast food restaurants, Burger King, Wendy's,Mc Donalds,  Pizza Hut, Pollos Popeye's and so forth, just ask they're not too difficult to find.

The Bay Islands...

Just off the Caribbean coast is the Bay Islands, known for their crystal clear waters and white powdered sands. Investors have already discovered the three islands, Roatan, Guanaja, and Utila, and the prices reflect this.

Of the Bay Islands, most expatriates live on Roatan, population, 14,000. The population is less on Guanaja, population 8,000, but the prices of real estate are 40 to 50 percent less than Roatan.

Roatan is the most developed of the three islands and is more expensive because of this. Home building lots for inland lots start at $25,000 and up to $250,000 for for finished beach front lots. Condominium prices on newer projects range from $100,000 for a small one bedroom, to $400,000 for large oceanfront units.

Honduras' Northern Caribbean coast is noted for its beautiful beaches. Good real estate buys are still available. Preferred towns are Trujillo, La Ceiba, and Tela due to the beautiful beaches and infrastructure.

For assistance in buying real estate , complete the request form and include any comments or specifications of what interest you.

Land titles date back to the Spanish Crown. The  government  runs property registration called "Registro de la propiedad Hipotecas y Anotaciones Preventivas del departmento de Francisco Morazon" This is the official registry.

Foreign Ownership...

Currently, restrictions on the ownership of  land located in the Honduran border and coastal areas are regulated by Article 107 of the (1982) Honduran Constitution, which translated from Spanish states the following:

The land belonging to the State, the municipalities, communities or of private property located in the areas bordering other States, or in the littoral of  both seas, in an extension of 40 kilometers inland and in the islands, keys, reefs, sand banks (etc.) may only be owned possessed or had, under any title, by Hondurans by birth or by companies formed entirely by Honduran shareholders and by institutions of the state. (The infringement) of this disposition will result in the annulment of the respective act or contract.

The acquisition of urban assets located in the borderline areas indicated above will be the object of a special legislation.

It is forbidden for Property Registrars to record documents that contravene the above regulations.

The reason for the existence of this constitutional article is historic. Honduras has been at war or had border clashes with all three of its neighbors during this century (the last of them the infamous "Soccer War" in 1969).  Several thousand dead later, all of Honduras' borders have been established via international arbitration, or recently, in regard to El Salvador, by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The constitutional prohibition is not new.  It existed in both the 1956 and the 1965 Constitutions, as Articles 159 and 101 respectively.  Since the rights of the State do not suffer from a statute of limitations, in theory, any title awarded to a foreigner during that time could be forfeit upon the
appropriate action presented before the Honduran court system. Any Registrar who violated the Constitutional prohibition would be liable for the violation of the law. However, I know of no case such as the one I have outlined.  In fact, I have read several titles at the Roatán Property
Registry which have clearly been awarded to foreigners.

In 1990 the government of Mr. Rafael Leonardo Callejas issued Decree 90/90 which, in accordance with the second paragraph of article 107, regulated foreign ownership of urban land located in the areas regulated by article 107.  It was not necessary to amend the Constitution, as it had provided
precisely for such special regulation.  Consequently, this is the law until it is repealed or amended.

In essence, decree 90/90 authorized foreign ownership of coastal areas under two different parameters:
a) for residential purposes - foreigners are allowed to purchase up to 3000 m2 (about 3/4 of an acre) in urban areas for the purpose of building their homes, which they must complete within 36 months counted from the date of their document; or
b) for tourism purposes - foreigners may purchase as much land as they want for "previously approved" tourism projects. Other than that, there are no exceptions to the article 107 rule.

Due to the issuance of Decree 90/90 the sale of land in Roatan and other coastal for residential purposes boomed, but some people wanted more than 3000 m2, hence an adequate legal vehicle to enable them to acquire more land had to be conceived. (By the way, another decree, which I do not have so therefore cannot share, establishes that all of Roatán is considered to be urban area.)  The answer was to form Honduran stock corporations in which the original owners were Honduran who endorsed their shares over to the foreign owners and simultaneously appointed them as the sole administrator or president of the board of directors of the company. 
Although this scheme is viable and widely used, it is inherently risky in that, contrary to article 107, the corporation seems to be 100% Honduran owned, but in reality is not, and may therefore cause the annulment of the ownership title.  Of course, in order to view documented evidence of foreign
ownership, the plaintiff (presumably the Honduran State) would need to get a court order to inspect such documents.
What is the future of Constitutional Article 107?  I do not claim to know, but over the past two years, several projects have floated around.  The latest such project received widespread press coverage around the time I was introduced to this list, and contemplates another amendment which would allow tourism-related businesses to purchase as much land as they wanted. 
The President of Congress even went as far as to state that the reform would take place regardless of opposition.  This proposed reform promptly elicited opposition from the garífuna tribes in the North Coast, who fear that since most members have no titles to their lands, then the same lands can be taken away by powerful foreigners with money.  The furor has died down and all sides are currently negotiating.

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