Honduras - Limited LCA
2.1.4 Honduras Port of Lempira

Port Overview

The Port of Lempira, situated at the southern shore of the Caratasca lagoon is the largest settlement in the area and serves as point of entry for goods to be distributed in the eastern part of the department of Mosquitia. Vessels calling at Lempira have to pass the shallow passage from open sea into the Lagoon, which limits the size of vessel used to landing crafts and coastal vessels (actually comparable to medium sized fishing vessels) up to 50 m length, with a load capacity up to approx. 150 t.

The passage into the lagoon shifts constantly, a boat sounding the water depth will guide the vessel through the channel. Daylight and a relatively calm sea is necessary for the manoeuvre, the vessel’s draught is limited to 2.4 m at low tide (tide is given to be 0.5 to 0.75 m).

If the vessel’s draught exceeds this limit and weather permits, lightering will take place at anchor outside the lagoon.

Unloading takes place:

  • At anchorage close to Lempira’s small boat and passenger jetty (N 15° 16’ 10”, W 083° 46’ 07”). Cargo is man-hauled into boats and landed.
  • At the small roro-jetty at La Piur (N 15° 12’ 20, W 083° 46’ 05”), 15 km out of town towards the South situated in the Laguna Wahanta. A barrier limits the entry to 2,1 m draught.
  • The channel south of Kaukira (N 15° 18’ 55”, W 083° 35’ 33”).

At Piur and Kaukira vessels equipped with cranes (currently 2 vessels of the vessels calling Lempira) can use these to lift heavier items ashore. Cargo is mostly transported onward on the extensive network of lagoons, channels and rivers, weather permitting also along the coastline. Sea-going fishing boats, propelled by outboard engines, can carry up to 1.5 to of cargo. Larger boats are also used. A dirt track connects Lempira to some inland settlements and to the border with Nicaragua – though there is currently no bridge crossing the Rio Coco.

Small warehouses or warehouse space can be rented from local traders at Lempira and Kaukira, WFP is using a temporary structure at Lempira.

No website, no key port information is currently supplied by maritime internet sources. 




Province or District:

Gracias A Díos

Town or City:

(Nearest location with distance from port)


Port's Complete Name:

Puerto Lempira


N 10° 16’ 04”


W 83° 46’ 15”

Managing Company or Port Authority:

(If more than one operator, break down by area of operation)

Dirección General de Marina Mercante

Management Contact Person:

Jorge Martinez

Nearest Airports


International (Airlines):

Tegucigalpa – Toncontin Airport (United etc.), La Ceiba – Goloson Airport, San Pedro Sula – Ramon Villeda Morales Airport


1.5 km long runway in Lempira, not paved

Military, other Runways:



Port Picture

Description and Contacts of Key Companies

WFP and UNDP maintain local representatives. 

Port Performance

Of the three discharging sites, operations at Puerto Lempira are the most basic. Very small scale operations, depending on vessel’s gear, landing crafts and manual labour.




Yes / No

From <month> to <month>

Rainy Season


May – Oct., impact on discharge operation caused by the accompanying strong winds

Major Import Campaigns





June to Nov., hurricane season, main hurricane season starting September

Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

There are only negligible port charges. Man-hauling cargo is usually charged per item to the vessel, loading and discharging cost are included in the transport cost payable to the shipping company.

Berthing Specifications

The approach to the loading/discharging sites is restricted by the lagoon entrances: Laguna de Caratasca 2.5 m for Lempira and Kaukira, 2.1 m to approach El Piur.

Tide is given 0.5 to 0.75 m. 

General Cargo Handling Berths


Port Handling Equipment

Is the port equipment managed by the government or privately? 


Container Facilities


Customs Guidance

Import cargo are usually transhipped from another port of entry in Honduras (usually La Ceiba), customs are cleared there. There is, however, a local customs office, office hours Monday to Thursday 09:00 to 16:00 hrs, Friday 09:00 to 15:00 hrs.

Terminal Information

Multipurpose Terminal

No Multipurpose Terminal existing.

Main Storage Terminal

No Main Storage Terminal existing. WFP is maintaining a provisional storage at Lempira’s military compound, warehouse space can be rented from local traders.


Facilitated by the vessel’s owner.

Hinterland Information

Special consideration should be given to the availability of outboard engine fuel in the Gracias a Díos department. The communities along the beach, the rivers and channels are accessed by outboard-driven boat. Consequently sufficient quantities of fuel should be stored at all times to enable the onward transport from Puerto Lempira - using lagoons, rivers and channels - which depends on small boats and launches.

Unpaved roads lead to the border with Nicaragua (currently no bridges in existence, trading with Leimus reported) and Mocarón

Port Security

All loading and discharging activities are overseen by the military. 



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