The city of Yuscaran in Honduras

Yuscaran is a city near Tegucigalpa, about 70 km to the east, it is the departmental capital of El Paraiso Department. You can easily go to Yuscaran from Tegucigalpa taking the road that goes to the Nicaraguan border to the east region of Honduras. It is a paved road all the way to Yuscaran, so you can easily make a trip from Tegucigalpa in less than 2 hours.

All the east region in Honduras is very beautiful, and Yuscaran is part of that beauty. Yuscaran is a colonial city located at the foot of a very famous mountain in Honduras, that is the Montserrat mountain, which is a natural and biological reserve. The landscapes in the Yuscaran area are very beautiful, you can see a lot of pine trees all over the mountains near Yuscaran.

Yuscaran is also known as a colonial city, the architecture of the houses and buildings is very rich in terms of colonial type of destinations. One of the things you can admire in Yuscaran is that many houses and buildings are two storeys constructions. Most colonial towns in Honduras have one storey houses and buildings, but in Yuscaran the two storeys constructions are something very common.

Yuscaran was founded in the year 1730 by the Spanish. The name Yuscaran is supposed to mean "Lugar de Casa de Flores", in english it would be something like "The place of the House of Flowers". This name has a very uncertain origin, the most accepted version is that it comes from a mexican root dialect or language in this region. Anyway, the name has something to do with flowers, and there is a reason for that because you can find some of the most beautiful flowers in Yuscaran and all over this region. You can see a lot of flowers in some of the streets in downtown Yuscaran.

Going back to the history of Yuscaran, a few years later after its foundation, in the year of 1746 the Spanish found out that this region was very rich in gold, silver and other metals, so they immediately deployed all their efforts in order to get as much gold and silver as they could. Several mining companies established their bases in Yuscaran, and they ruled and owned everything for many years, going from the XVIII century all the way to the XX century.

Back then in the XIX century, Yuscaran became one of the most important cities in Honduras. Did you know that Yuscaran was one of the first places in Honduras to have electricity?. Yes, it was. Yuscaran had electricity in the year 1898 even before Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. Families and business men living in Yuscaran back then definitely had their influences.

However, several years later the old good mining times in Yuscaran were over, nothing lasts forever, right?. Every time the mining industry became harder and harder because in order to get more metals the mining companies had to make more investments, the metals were not that easy to get, they had to work their mines deep inside the mountains, and at some point of time the investments were not getting the return they were used to get when the mining industry began in the middle of the XVIII century. Finally, the mining industry stopped and left Yuscaran, so the wealth of the city was like left behind, families and business men left the city looking somewhere else where they could get more gold and metals.

But the city has survived all the way to the present times, it is one of the most important cities in the East region of Honduras. One of the most known industries in Yuscaran is a factory were they make a famous liquor which is the Aguardiente Yuscaran, the factory was installed in the year 1939, that was right before the Second World War began, and is still a very strong factory, it has more than 70 years. Ask anyone in Honduras about Yuscaran, and most people for some reason immediately associate the name Yuscaran with this famous liquor.

There are several other industries in the region, the tobbaco industry in the Department of El Paraiso is very strong, as well as the coffee industry. Some of the best coffee in Honduras is located in El Paraiso and Yuscaran region.

Anyway, Yuscaran is a very beautiful destination you must visit someday. The city was declared a National Monument in the year 1979 specially because of its history and the colonial places you can find there. More than 200 colonial houses have been accounted in the downtown area of Yuscaran.

Choluteca is the Sultaness of the South

Choluteca is a city located in the South of Honduras in the Department of the same name, the Department of Choluteca, it is the most important city in the south region of Honduras. It is strategically located in the Panamerican road that goes from El Salvador to Nicaragua. Choluteca is the only city in Honduras where the Panamerican road passes by. That road doesn´t pass through Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula or any other city in Honduras, not many people outside Honduras know this.

Choluteca is one of the cities with more history in Honduras. The city was founded in the year 1535 with the original name of “Villa de Jerez de la Frontera de Choluteca”, it was founded by the Spanish conqueror Cristóbal de la Cueva. In those years the Spanish had a tradition to establish new towns and cities in the 4 cardinal points of every new region or province, so they founded the city of Choluteca as the main city in the south of Honduras.

Another interesting piece of information about Choluteca is that it became officialy a city in the year 1845, it was like someone at the National Congress decided to name it as a city and not a town anymore. So even that the city is really about 480 years old since it was founded, it is only 166 years old since it became a city. This is kind of confusing, isn´t it?. Anyway, for the official record and as far as I concern, the city is almost 480 years old, period.

Choluteca is known in Honduras as the "Sultaness of the South", or "La Sultana del Sur" in Spanish. Choluteca is in the category of a colonial town, the downtown area is one of the best preserved colonial areas in Honduras. When you walk in downtown Choluteca you feel transported in time to the 17th century, the colonial architecture of the buildings in this area is amazing, very beautiful.

There are several buildings and structures with touristic interest for the visitors, such as the Central Park, the Cathedral, the "House of Valle" in honor to Jose Cecilio del Valle who is a national Honduran hero in the independence times from Spain in 1821, he was the one who wrote the Declaration of Independence, he is also know as "Sabio Valle", or "Wise Valle", he was definitely a very intelligent and wise man, that´s for sure. The House of Valle is the house where he was born and he used to live in Choluteca, and it is a place you must visit if you ever go to Choluteca.

The weather in Choluteca is usually very hot most time of the year, in the range of 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Almost all the south region in Honduras is very hot. So if you ever go to Choluteca be prepared for a weather like this.

If you go to Choluteca from Tegucigalpa you will need to drive about 2 hours in a paved road, and you will be going down through the mountains from 1000 meters above sea level in Tegucigalpa to a plain area in Choluteca which is almost at sea level.

One of the symbols in Choluteca is the bridge of Choluteca, it is one of the most famous bridges in Honduras, when you are about to enter into the city limits you need to go over this bridge. It was built in the year 1937, so this is a bridge over 70 years old, it´s an engineering masterpiece.

Choluteca is a city that has a very rich history, since the time it was founded and even before when native indigenous people used to live in this area, the "Chorotegas". Up until our times, the city has grown and it´s the most important and the biggest city in the south of Honduras. If you visit the south region in Honduras, Choluteca is a place to go, it´s a must.

The town of Cedros in Honduras

There is a colonial town very near to Tegucigalpa that has a very interesting political and cultural history, it is very easy to get there from Tegucigalpa, we're talking about the town of Cedros which is located in the Department of Francisco Morazan. As there are several other colonial towns in the region of Tegucigalpa, there are quite a few things about Cedros that make it very special.

There are several other towns and communities near Cedros, and we´re going to talk more about them in future posts. For now let´s say that to the North of Cedros we have El Porvenir and San Ignacio, to the south we have Talanga and the Central District where Tegucigalpa is located. To the east of Cedros we have Guaimaca, and to the west we have Comayagua, Villa de San Antonio and Vallecillo.

The town of Cedros is located in an area not very flat, it´s kind of uneven really, with hills and mountains, and it is in the middle of the Department of Francisco Morazan and right to the north of the Siria Valley. In order to get there from Tegucigalpa you have to take the road that goes to the Department of Olancho.

Cedros was founded in the year 1537 by the Spanish conqueror Alonso de Cáceres, so it is one of the oldest cities in Honduras, it was founded only a few years after the oldest city in Honduras which is Trujillo, founded in the year 1525. The original and official name of the town was "Real Minas de San José de Cedros", which means Royal Mines San Jose de Cedros. Back then the Spanish were looking all over the region for places where they could have mines, they were looking for gold and silver, so they founded several colonial towns with the purpose of establishing themselves so they could work the mines for several years, and Cedros was one of those towns.

The catholic church of Cedros is also very old, it was built in the year 1574. The church has been preserved in pretty good conditions for more than 400 years, it is really a jewel of colonial buildings in Honduras. It's not a big church, it´s a small church, but it is beautiful and very old as we said before.

Cedros has the reputation to be one of the most cultural towns in Honduras, it is a town with a very rich history and tradition of culture, religion and politics. There are two main celebrations or festivals in Cedros every year: in January we have the celebration of Patron's Saint Day in Honor to the Cristo Negro or Black Christ which was donated by King Felipe from Spain several centuries ago, and we also have in the month of August a Touristic Festival.

Cedros was also for several years the most important political city in Honduras, that was back in the 19th century. A few years after the independence from Spain in 1821, there was some kind of struggle and rivalry between Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, both cities wanted to become the official capital city of Honduras. In order to avoid arguments and discussions about this, in the year 1824 the first Honduran National Assembly ever was held in Cedros. The first Honduran Congress held their first meeting in Cedros where they decided that the capital city of Honduras was going to be alternated between Comayagua and Tegucigalpa, until they could decide with more time which city would become the capital city of Honduras. Can you believe that?. Yes, it is true.

So for some time Tegucigalpa and Comayagua were both the capital of Honduras, sometimes Tegucigalpa was the capital and sometimes Comayagua was the capital, both cities were taking turns for 25 years until the year of 1849 when the National Assembly held a final meeting again in Cedros and they decided to give Tegucigalpa the honor to become the official capital of Honduras.

The house where the National Assembly held such historical meetings in Cedros is now a touristic place in the town, it has been preserved in very good conditions for many years, it´s really a very interesting place to visit since it became a very important piece of Honduras policital history.

Cedros is now a very beautiful colonial town. If you ever happen to be in Tegucigalpa and you have one day available for going to nearby places, you may consider Cedros as a destination to visit. You will enjoy your visit to Cedros if you like spanish colonial towns and places where you can have a very relaxed time.

Boy on horse in Cedros, by markmo

Omoa and the San Fernando Fortress

In this post we´re going to talk about Omoa, another beautiful beach destination in the Caribbean Sea of Honduras. Omoa is a city located about 15 Km west of Puerto Cortes, which is the main port in Honduras. In order to get to Omoa you have to take the road that goes from Puerto Cortes to the Guatemalan border heading to the west along the Caribbean coast. The road is in pretty good condition, it is a paved road and it has been improved very much over the last few years, so you can easily make it to Omoa from Puerto Cortes in 15 minutes or less, depending on the traffic.

The region where the city of Omoa is located has a very rich biodiversity with tropical forests and mountains right in front of the Caribbean Sea, the city is located at the foot of a mountain range with the same name of the city, that is the Sierra of Omoa. The city of Omoa was a very important port several centuries ago back when the Spanish were in control of Honduras. In fact, it even became the most important port in Central America at some point of time.

Thanks to its strategical location, a big fortress was built in Omoa, it is the most famous Spanish fortress in Honduras: the San Fernando Fortress. The Spanish built this fortress with the idea to defend themselves from the pirates who used to attack all the region because they knew that many treasures were stored and shipped from Central America to Spain right here in Omoa.

Omoa was a town of native indigenous people in the year 1536, and it stayed in that condition for several years up until the end of the XVI century when it became completely uninhabited. Many years later in 1752 the city was founded for the second time under the name of Omoa with the idea of building a fortress and establish a port that could be free from pirates who used to sail the Caribbean Sea in this region, as we already mentioned before.

It took 16 years to build the San Fernando Fortress, from 1759 to 1775. Unfortunately when the Fortress was finally finished, the attacks from pirates in the region of Omoa were no longer a major problem, it seems that the pirates went somewhere else to do their stuff, or it could be that they knew that the San Fernando Fortress was going to become a hard problem for them. Perhaps the pirates figured that the Spanish defending themselves with the help of this Fortress were going to be a very difficult target to attack, so they sailed away to different destinations.

So this brand new Fortress, the most important in Honduras and perhaps the most important in all Central America, was never tested for real against the pirates, so over the following years the Fortress became like a sleeping giant, the Spanish didn´t really take advantage from it, and it was abandoned several years later until it became a prison, and it stayed as a prison for many years until the year 1870.

San Fernando Fortress in Omoa is the biggest Spanish Fortress in all Central America. In fact, it is the second biggest Spanish fortress in all America, only after the San Cristobal Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I bet you didn´t know that, did you?.

The area of the San Fernando Fortress is about 4,400 square meters. At the entrance of the Fortress there is a very well preserved Royal Coat of Arms from the Spanish Crown, it looks beautiful and it is amazing.

After the year 1870 when the Fortress was no longer a prison as we said before, it became abandoned for many years, and it was not until 1959 when the Honduras Government declared the Fortress as an Historical National Center. Over the years there have been restoration works in the Fortress, and it is now the most attractive touristic destination in Omoa, along with a museum that is located right next to the Fortress.

All this information about the San Fernando Fortress is really interesting. However, let´s not forget that Omoa is also a beach destination. Even when a visit to the San Fernando Fortress is a must when you go to Omoa, you can also enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean Sea of Honduras.

Omoa is one of the most favorite travel destinations for national visitors during weekends and holidays. Many visitors go to Omoa to spend a day with the intention to taste some fresh sea food, but especially to enjoy a day in the beaches of nearby communities, like Masca and Muchilena. Hundreds and even thousands of visitors go very often to Omoa from Puerto Cortes and San Pedro Sula. You can easily make a trip to Omoa from San Pedro Sula, it´s only about 1 hour driving to the north of San Pedro Sula, you can go in the morning, spend all day in Omoa and return to San Pedro Sula in the afternoon.

Well, we´ll be talking more things about Omoa in future posts. For the moment, hopefully you already know a few things about Omoa after reading this post.