Honduras, formally the Republic of Honduras, has a population of approximately 7 million people and is 43,277 sq mi (112,088 sq km). As the second largest of the Central American countries, Honduras is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the east and south by Nicaragua, on the southwest by El Salvador and the Pacific Ocean, and on the west by Guatemala. Tegucigalpa is the capital and chief commercial centre.
Honduras has a tropical, rainy climate. The climate varies from tropical in the lowlands to temperate in the mountains. Over 80% of the land is mountainous with ranges extending from east to west at altitudes of 5,000 to 9,000 ft (1,520–2,740 m). Honduras has rain forests, cloud forests (which can rise up to nearly three thousand meters above sea level), mangroves, savannahs and mountain ranges with pine and oak trees, and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the Bay Islands there are bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, parrot fish, schools of blue tang and whale shark.
In La Mosquitia, lies the UNESCO world-heritage site Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, with the Coco River which divides the country from Nicaragua. The Islas de la Bahía and the Swan Islands (all off the north coast) are part of Honduras. Misteriosa Bank and Rosario Bank, 130 to 150 km (80–93 miles) north of the Swan Islands, fall within the EEZ of Honduras.
The Country of Honduras is home to people from various ancestries, from the Mayan Indians, who left us the Copan Ruins archaeological site (considered one of the most artistically advanced and detailed of all Mayan cities) to the Garifuna communities (known in Europe as the Black Caribs) which are found today on the Island of Roatan, Cayos Cochinos, and coastal towns within Honduras. 90% of the population are mestizo, 7% Amerindian, 2% black and 1% white; are Spanish-speaking and nearly all Roman Catholic. First time visitors to Honduras are amazed by the warmth of Honduran hospitality.
Natural resources include timber, gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, iron ore, antimony, coal, fish, shrimp, and hydropower.
The economy has continued to grow slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized with average wages remaining low. Economic growth in the last few years has averaged 7% per year which has been one of the most successful growths in Latin America, but 50%, approximately 3.7 million, of the population still remains below the poverty line. According to the World Bank, Honduras is the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti and Nicaragua. It is estimated that there are more than 1.2 million people who are unemployed, the rate of unemployment standing at 27.9%.
About half of the electricity sector in Honduras is privately owned. Water supply and sanitation in Honduras vary greatly from urban centers to rural villages. Larger population centers generally have modernized water treatment and distribution systems. Rural areas generally have basic drinking water systems with limited capacity for water treatment.
In June 2008 the exchange rate between the United States Dollars and Honduran Lempiras was approximately $1 to 18.85 Lempiras.