Honduras and Guatemala vie for interoceanic infrastructure investment: Honduras invites investment in a transoceanic railway

By Martin Mowforth

February 2024

Key words: Honduras; tourism; transoceanic railway project; Mundo Maya Organisation.

In January this year (2024), the Honduran Minister of Tourism, Yadira Gómez, attended the 27th Conference of Iberoamerican Tourism Ministers in Spain and invited Spanish investors to participate in the construction of a railway across Honduras to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

In an interview with the Spanish News Agency, EFE, Gómez described the rail project as an alternative route to the Panama Canal, an increase in internal connectivity within Honduras and as offering tourism growth to communities in the interior of the country. But she also acknowledged that Honduras lacked tourist infrastructure.

The Panama Canal is suffering a restriction in the daily passage of boats due to the climate crisis and the drought, and this planned rail project across Honduras would be presented as another option. “We could ensure the transport of merchandise on a large scale,” said the Minister. She suggested that various countries have expressed an interest, among them the USA, Japan, Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Gómez said that Honduras was also suffering from the effects of climate change with the loss of beaches, especially in the Bay Islands, and the bleaching of coral on parts of the second most important coral reef in the world. She suggested that these problems referred not just to HondurasHHonduras but also to the rest of the region and that through this project she wanted to unite all the Ministers from the neighbouring countries with her own Ministry in Honduras.

Whilst the Minister was in Spain, she also attended the International Tourism Fair, FITUR, where she attempted to attract investors from the tourism sector and to increase the connectivity provided by airlines, especially as Spain is the European country that provides most tourists to Honduras.

She acknowledged that security within the country was an issue for the tourism industry but said that her government was trying to do all it could to combat the problem, such as the creation of specific tourist police.

Gómez said that Honduras was one of five Central American countries which make up part of the Mundo Maya Organisation and explained that her vision was for all five countries to work together to attract tourists and to ease their passage along the Maya route. It is worth noting that since the beginnings of the promotion of the Mundo Maya there have always been questions regarding the degree of involvement of the Mayan people in the promotion of the tourist scheme. The implication of such questions is that the tourism ministries of each of the five countries are promoting a money-making scheme for the tourism industry exploiting the existence of the Mayan culture whilst few of the benefits of the scheme actually find their way to the Maya Indigenous people.


  • EFE, 23 enero 2024, ‘Honduras quiere construir un ferrocarril transoceánico que conecte el Pacífico y el Atlántico: “Es un proyecto de miles de millones”, El Economista.
  • Reuters, 8 July 2023, ‘Honduras probes Chinese interest in investing $20 billion rail line’, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/honduras-probes-chinese-interest-investing-20-bln-rail-line-2023-07-07/
  • Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., 2016, Tourism and Sustainability: Development, Globalisation and New Tourism in the Third World, (4th edition) Routledge, London. (See page 234)


Not to be outdone, Guatemala develops its own interoceanic corridor

Key words: Guatemala; interoceanic transport corridor; Lakshmi Capital.


A Guatemalan interoceanic corridor is a relatively new plan, although the idea first seriously emerged in 1998 when the limitations of the Panama Canal became apparent. In February this year (2024), the Guatemalan Interoceanic Consortium (CIGSA), the Indian company Lakshmi Capital and the Office for Links and Businesses with Latin America (ODEPAL) jointly signed a letter of intent to promote the development of this megaproject.

Valued at $10 billion (USD), the project would include the construction of a multimodal transport system (road, rail and pipeline) covering a strip of land of 372 km in length and 140 meters in width to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

A communiqué issued by the Indian Embassy in Guatemala stated that “the port infrastructures will be connected by two independent systems for the transport of containers and hydrocarbons.” The communiqué added that the developments would include industrial, commercial and service zones.

It is intended that Lakshmi Capital will support the scheme with their technical experience and investment mechanisms and will facilitate the construction, implementation,,management and maintenance of the Corridor.

In the previous December (2023), Lakshmi Capital signed a letter of intent with the Salvadoran Ministry of Public Works to develop a metro system in El Salvador.



Note to readers:

News of these intentions (as described above) means that four countries of Central America – Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala – are now investigating possibilities for the development of interoceanic corridors as ways of competing with the Panama Canal.