Honduras map

Region by Region

Tegucigalpa: Founded in 1578 when the Conquistador Pedro de Alvardo left Mexico to travel south in search of gold - instead he found silver. The name Tegucigalpa means silver hills in the local Indian language. The city has sustained little damage or destruction from either earthquakes or fires, preserving the original colonial town's architectural integrity. Hurricane Mitch, however, flooded the surrounding area and extensive damage has now been repaired. The modern city has excellent hotel facilities including casinos, disco and surprisingly lively nightlife. City tours take visitors up El Picacho for a panoramic city view, then on to see examples of colonial and Moorish architecture followed by artisan shopping )mahagony, ceramics, leather work). In the evening the National Theater has frequent music and dance performances. The Museo Nacional de Villa Roy, home of a former president, houses a permanent exhibition of Honduran archaeological treasures. A popular day trip out of the city includes the handicraft center in the Valley of Angeles with a stop en route at the small mining village of Santa Lucia.

San Pedro Sula: Fast growing as an important industrial and agricultural center, San Pedro Sula is conveniently situated between the country's two most popular tourist attractions: the ruins of Copán and the Bay Islands. It is a popular gateway to both.

Copán: A two hour drive from San Pedro Sula, the ruins of Copán are a major classic Mayan site. Rediscovered by Stephens & Catherwood in 1839, the area has been beautifully excavated by the Carnegie Institute. Copan was the scientific center of the Mayan world where major mathematical and astronomical calculations were made. The site is best known for large, standing, carved stele, and the famed Hieroglyphic Staircase - the longest continuous Mayan hieroglyphic writing ever discovered. The staircase is now covered with a large protective covering, but is accessible for viewing. Copan also has a large, new museum beside the main visitor entrance. Also now open in nearby El Puente, is a smaller, but imposing pyramid complex that may be easily added to a Copan visit.

The Bay Islands: Popular destination in Honduras for active North American travelers - specifically for the region's incomparable diving (both serious SCUBA and skindiving). Main islands are Roatán, Guanaja and Utila. Also two smaller islands, Barbareta and Cayos Cohchinos, now have small resorts. Accommodations on the three larger islands range from deluxe resorts to inexpensive dive camps. Full dive equipment and facilities, including decompression chamber available. Because the islands were once a British Colony, the language is an interesting (and easily understandable) English dialect called "island speak."

National Parks: Twenty national parks have been created within Honduras. Most popular with international visitors are: La Muralla, a virgin cloud forest accessible by road from Tegucigalpa, features a large wildbird population, high biodiversity, marked trails and campsites; Punta Sal is a tropical wet forest/mangrove near Tela best reached by boat. The park is highlighted by migratory coastal birds, monkey habitats, coral reef, Garifuna villages, unspoiled lagoons, and virgin beaches.

Wildlife Reserves: There are currently 10 national regions designated to assure survival and recuperation of fauna species considered rare, threatened, or in danger of extinction. The most accessible reserve is: Curo y Salado a vast tropical wet forest and mangrove that begins 17 miles west of coastal La Ceiba. The reserve is accessible only by boat or narrow gauge "burra" banana train. Here one may inspect Central America's largest manatee reserve, plus a large habitat of howler and white face monkeys. Dormitories and boats are available for park visitors.

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