With about 900,000 inhabitants, San Pedro Sula is the second-largest city in Honduras after Tegucigalpa. Despite being smaller than the capital, San Pedro Sula is actually the center of industry and business in Honduras.
San Pedro Sula was founded by the Spanish in 1538, and was called Villa de San Pedro de Puerto Caballos. In the eighteenth century, the name was changed to San Pedro Sula, after the Minas Sula gold mines in the nearby village of Naco. The city was established on the site of 18 local Indian villages in the middle of the Sula Valley. The Indians were forced into labor to drain swamps and clear land for plantations and cattle ranches. Nowadays, the Sula Valley is the richest and most important agricultural region in the country.
During Spanish rule, San Pedro Sula was a center for gold mining and the minting of coins. This attracted pirates, and after attacks by British and French pirates, the settlement was moved farther inland to its present location.
Up until about the 1920s, San Pedro Sula was a small, unimportant town. However, at that time, it became the center of a boom in the banana business, and the city grew and prospered. (Many of the banana plantations were owned by American fruit companies, and Honduras thus became the first "banana republic").
There is not a lot to attract tourists to San Pedro Sula, aside from an interesting cathedral and a few museums. Most tourists who go to Honduras fly into the city's airport and move on to other areas of the country. From what I saw, San Pedro Sula is a dirty and polluted city, and I really did not enjoy my short stay there. It is also the most dangerous city in the country with respect to violent crime, and it has the highest incidence of AIDS/HIV in Central America.
Tegucigalpa is the capital and largest city of Honduras. It is situated at an elevation of 3,250 feet (991 meters) in a valley hemmed in by mountains. Many of the city's neighborhoods are located on the steep slopes of hills within the valley, offering spectacular panormaic views over the city.
Tegucigalpa was founded by the Spanish in 1578 on the site of a Lencan settlement. (The Lencans were an indiginous Indian tribe related to the Mayans). The site of the city was chosen for its proximity to rich gold and silver mines. The city was initially called Real Villa de San Miguel de Tegucigalpa de Heredia. It was not long before the name was shortened to Tegucigalpa, and nowadays most of its inhabitants call the city simply Teguz. It is widely believed that Tegucigalpa means "silver hill" in the now-extinct Lencan language. However, because the Lencans did not mine silver, scholars argue that "silver hill" cannot be an accurate meaning of Tegucigalpa. Other theories are that Tegucigalpa means "place where men meet" or even "colored stones."
After independence from Spain, the capital of Honduras switched back and forth between Comaguaya and Tegucigalpa several times. But in 1880, Tegucigalpa was permanently made the capital of the country. Up until the 1970s, the city remained small and provincial. However, during that decade, many Hondurans immigrated from the countryside into Tegucigalpa. In addition, many Chinese, and even Palestinians, moved into the city, adding to its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Nowadays, there are about 1,500,000 inhabitants in the Tegucigalpa metropolitan area.
In the colonial center of the city there are several interesting churches and cathedrals from the Spanish era, as well as a few museums. Other than that, there are not many attractions in Tegucigalpa that would be of interest to tourists. Many visitors quickly move on to more interesting parts of the country, such as the national parks, the Mayan ruins of Copán, or the diving sites off the Bay Islands.
Erin & Chris are two very nice people from New York that we met while staying at Hotel Rotterdam in La Ceiba. They have been traveling the world for the last 4 years on their BMW motorcycles seen here. They have some really great travel logs that cover pretty much every country in the world.
Now I know this is not a tip, per se, but check it out. Their journey has been an amazing one and offers great insight into many world-wide destinations including many travelogues from their experiences in Honduras!
The Beaches in Honduras are beautiful. You have plenty of them, and you can choose the one that fits your adveture spirit. My favorite beach in Honduras is Tela, Atlantida. While being in Honuras you can not miss the oportunity to visit this beach. It is located in the north coast, just around 90 kms east of San Pedro Sula.
Fondest memory: Mmmm, so many memories, food, beaches, people, what can i say.. is my home country! I like it a lot!
Copan Ruins is located just about two hours southwest of San Pedro Sula. This Mayans ruins are marvelous. There is a museum in the archeological park, that is surrounded by a green forest. While visiting this ruins you can enter the tunnels and see one of the most recently temples that archeologist had discovered. the Rosalile temple, that is shown in the picture on the left.
Fondest memory: Walking in the main square on the town of Copan Ruins, which is about 5 minutes away from the Archeological Park, is a nice experience. You can eat a traditional plate of food there, and also do a lot of shopping in the souvenir that are located along the street of this pictoresque town. You can also find a lot of cyberc@fes... and restaurants with a broad variety of food national and international cuisine.
Favorite thing: Yojoa Lake is located between the department of Cortes, Santa Barbara y Comayagua. This natural lake is surrounded by two national parks. There are a lot of activities that can be done here!... You can go and take a trip in boat or rebt a yatch and sail on the lake or go to the Natrional Parks that are located here, the Cerro Azul meambar and Santa Barbara. There you can do birdwatching... there are hundreds of differents species found.... The food ther is delicious, if you visit the Yojoa Lake don't miss a delicious plate of Fish !!!
Favorite thing: Little Maria Gabriela in the centre of this picture is the child of my first boyfriend, Abner Mauricio Garcia Molina. She is 5 years old in this picture and is dressed, along with her friends, in the folk costume of Honduras. Maria Gabriela is dressed up for the children's markets where the kids were selling their wares to raise money.
We were very picky in choosing cruise ships. Our first consideration is the price, then the travel destination and the facilities of the ship.
The Carnival seemed to fit our budget and our choices of islands they offer. Also, the Royal Caribean.
The Carnival developed their own ports in Honduras just for them to bring their customers...The bigger cruise ships have bigger connections in the Caribbean. They also have their own stores in every island they dock- seemed like.
We enjoyed our cruise (7-days only) in the Western Caribbean because it is so relaxing. And, I don't have to take care of everybody. The food was great and had so many choices, too many activities for children, adults and teenagers.
My only problem with them was that they don't really give you enough time to explore in the islands. And, their excursions are very expensive. But, you can have your own activities. Once you get to the islands, just pick and choose where to go.
The Royal Caribbean is also another choice. Their fleets are also nice and new...
Fondest memory: We were able to explore different countries in the Caribbean: Cayman Islands, Isla Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico; Belize and still able to see Miami, Florida.
We enjoyed the fine dining of the Carnival Cruise. They have the best waiters (mostly from Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand). The staff took good care of us. Their food is absolutely delicious and super gourmet!
My favorite place of all is the Copan Ruines. It´s a peaceful place with a lot of history. You learn about the Mayans and experience the spirit of the place at the same time. You can take a tour or simple go it alone. It´s breathtaking!!
Fondest memory: Olancho has the experience of being in the past. The people are very friendly and helpful, no matter what people say...my husband is from there.
Favorite thing: Honduras is a good country for wildlife, especially birds. The nature trail at Copán Ruinas is particularly good. I saw an Agouti, Blue Morpho butterflies and Scarlet Macaws there. The underwater life of the Bay Islands is specatacular too.
Dive or snorkle the area near the end of the air strip, there are many coral heads and overhangs in reasonable shallow water. (15 - 25 ft.)
Fondest memory: Althea Jackson; the lovely lady who runs Sharkie's. She was more than helpful during our stay.
Favorite thing: One interesting thing about San Pedro is the sense that it is only half built. From arriving at the airport where we had to be shuttled to the terminal because it wasn't finished, to the roads, many of which seemed to be designated as 4 lane freeways of which only half was built, to the colonies where you had a mix of people living in cardboard shacks and habitat for huminity built cedarblock huts. I can only imagine what it is like after the Hurricane when through in the summer of '99.
Favorite thing: Another thing to get used to is the security. I don't remember seeing one single police officer in my two weeks there. But I do remember seeing plenty of Honduran Army on their Jeeps loaded with heavy machine guns. I also noticed that any decent store had a man with an AK-47 or other like gun standing in front of it guarding it. It was a bit different than what I was used to coming from the US.
If you go to Honduras, be sure to visit the islands of Roatan and Guanaja. Roatan is a richly historical island with spectacular diving. It was once a pirate island and today still has some remnants of that past.
I travel there almost every year. Excellent diving at Fantasy Island and AKR. Also, dolphin shows at AKR.
Honduras is a country in the midst of being built. Like many and most of the countries in Central America, it is growing and modernizing. However, changes are slow in coming, and not the most efficient. Another VT member noted how San Pedro Sula, one of the larger cities in the country, seems half-finished. Not to quote directly. I wold have to agree with that, though in the many years of travel, I look at it from a different point of view. As I said above, Honduras, and therefore San Pedro are in the stages of building and modernizing. Note that the San Pedro airport has been under construction for how many years, five?, and is still not fully completed. Also note, that the automatic doors are not used, except by hand. Things happen sooooo slowly in these countries, and it is necessary to take that into consideration when asking why things are as they are. They don't possess the same rabid speed of life that we do, and therefore things take longer. Much longer. Thus, the cities always looks as if they are under construction, and they are.
Despite slow forward progress as a country, Honduras still captures its visitors. It is an amazing country with the same type of amazing and interesting history as the countries surrounding it.
Fondest memory: Trip to Roatan with girlfriend!
I went to San Pedro Sula a city was founded the 27th of June, 1536 by Don Pedro de Alvarado himself. The Spanish conqueror founded it with the name of "Villa de San Pedro de Puerto Caballos" and within the next 5 years it was known as San Pedro Sula, with the name Sula deriving from the local dialect Usula, meaning "valley of birds".
The Guamilito market, within walking distance from the central plaza on between the 8a and 9a Avenidas and 5a y 6a Calles N.O. offers the most complete selection of Honduran handicrafts in San Pedro Sula. The market is also a good place for vegetables and flowers.
Perhaps the most enchanting of all Mayan archaeological sites, and unquestionably the most artistic, this intriguing ancient city is easily reached from San Pedro Sula. The highway that connects these two cities is the Western highway, which leads to Santa Rosa de Copan and on to the Guatemalan border. At km 104 you will arrive at la Entrada, a junction town that has become an important commercial center for the western part of Honduras, from here you will take the road that leads towards Copan Ruinas. which will take you through lovely mountain scenery for 64 km into the Copan Valley, where the ruins are located. Total travel time between San Pedro Sula and Copan is no more than 3 hours if you have purchased a tour package.
Many tourists that visit Copan only walk into the main archaeological park, and never realize that there is a charming colonial town adjoining the archaeological park. Whatever your time schedule, you should make it a point to at least go into town for lunch.(There are a couple of restaurants at the visitors center, where many tourists end up having a bite before returning). In addition, there is a good museum with many local artifacts located in the center of town, and finally, there is Las Sepulturas, the only residential Mayan site that is open to the public in the Mayan World.
Fondest memory: The only thing still in my mind about Honduras are the conditions of the banana plantation workers. I guess I don't have to tell more about it!
3 kms anParque Arqueologicotes del, Copan, 504, Honduras
Good for: Couples
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