Travelers to Honduras  have the option of financing their trip with U.S. dollars, travelers checks (American Express preferred), expensive wire transfers, Visa or MasterCard cash advances, or through an ATM with various international networks.
Most banks in Honduras are open 8 a.m.–noon and 1:30–4:30 p.m. Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–noon Saturday.
Exchanging money at banks is usually not an arduous affair, especially if you have cash. That said, in late 2008 certain banks began to adopt a policy allowing only account holders to exchange dollars. Banco Atlántida is one bank that continued to allow anyone to exchange dollars.
There are also authorized money exchangers (casas de cambio) at the airports, on the peatonal in downtown Tegucigalpa , and hanging out on 2 Calle SO in San Pedro Sula  (although it’s wise to only change small amounts with these guys, simply because you don’t want to flash a lot of cash around).
In other towns and cities, certain shop owners are often known to change dollars. The rates offered are usually similar to the banks’ rates. Transactions are quite open and safe, and not at all shady.
If you need to change lempiras into dollars, the black market changers are the best source. Banks have strict limits on how many dollars they are allowed to sell, and casas de cambio offer poor rates.
Any traveler on a long trip without means of accessing money on the road should bring travelers checks. However, be aware that travelers’ checks are not always easy to change in Honduras  outside of cities and tourist areas like the Bay Islands  or Copán. If you are planning to travel in rural areas, be sure to change enough to cover your time away from the cities.
American Express is by far the most recognized travelers check—others, such as Thomas Cook or Visa, are more difficult to exchange. On rare occasions, banks may require you to show your original purchase receipt to change checks, so keep it with you.
The American Express agent in Honduras  is Mundirama Travel, with offices in Tegucigalpa  (at Edificio Ciicsa, corner Av. República de Chile and Av. República de Panamá, tel. 504/232-3943 or 504/232-3909, fax 504/232-0072) and in San Pedro Sula  (next to the cathedral on 2 Calle SO, tel. 504/550-0490 or 504/550-1193, fax 504/557-9022). AmEx holders can purchase travelers checks with their card at these offices.
Visa and MasterCard are often accepted at the more expensive hotels and restaurants in cities and some large towns, as well as with travel agents, tour groups, and car-rental agencies. American Express is much less commonly accepted, and the Diner’s Club or Discovery card even less so. In small towns and villages, credit cards won’t get you much more than blank looks.
Visa holders can get cash advances from several banks, including many branches of Banco Atlántida and Banco del Occidente. BAC Bamer will also offer advances on a Visa and is the only place to go for those using a MasterCard. In general, the banks don’t charge excessive commissions, if at all, but they usually offer a poor exchange rate. Unless you have a debit card link, the advance is then posted to your credit card account, where it begins to compound interest daily, rather than monthly like any normal purchase. So if you plan to use this method, find some way to make payments by phone directly with Visa (if your account is linked to a bank account) or with the help of someone back home immediately after the advance, to avoid wasting money. While both HSBC and Citibank have branches here, the systems are not linked internationally (as per Honduran law), although if you have a HSBC or Citibank account in another country, these may be the places where you are able to get the lowest transaction fees.
A number of ATMs now work with international networks. This is, in our experience, by far the easiest and cheapest way to deal with money in Honduras . The exchange rate is always the best available (outside the black market, which isn’t much different), and, of course, it’s very fast and convenient. Extra charges are not excessive (around US$3), and they’re easily offset by taking out US$300 in lempira at a time, if the machine allows. Visa networks are available at the ubiquitous Banco Atlántida, while Plus and Cirrus are common in the bigger towns and cities.
Note: More than one traveler has written in about getting temporarily scammed, apparently by Honduran banks, through ATMs. The travelers used their card, but the machine said it couldn’t give money and returned the card. However, they later learned their accounts had been charged the amount of the attempted withdrawal. In the end, the travelers were, through their home bank, able to get the matter dealt with, but not without a lot of hassle. For the record, we’ve never had a problem, and it appears to have been a couple of isolated instances. Keep an eye on your account anyhow, by Internet if possible, while on the road.
It is possible to receive MoneyGrams at Banco Atlántida in Honduras , while Western Union transfers are received at Banco de Occidente and at Western Union offices. Money can be sent and received at any Western Union representative—to retrieve the money, all you need is the transfer number and a passport. Money is received in lempiras, unless you have a dollar account with the receiving bank. These should only be used in desperation, as they charge exorbitant service fees and offer very poor exchange rates. If you must use them, the service fees are larger for smaller amounts of money—US$12–15 for US$100 sent, but only US$50 for US$1,000 sent.