San Lorenzo, Valle, mangrove swamps and sunsets

Photo by Ennio Devoto

San Lorenzo is the most active city in the department of Valle, in the south zone of Honduras, about 60 miles away from Tegucigalpa. The city of San Lorenzo got its name from a Christian martyr. It was founded by the Spanish in 1522, but this little settlement started to be really noticed in the year 1912 when it was officially recognized as a municipality. The true development for San Lorenzo began in 1978 when Honduras Government decided to build a dock for ships in the port of San Lorenzo, located at the site known as Boca del Henecan. Today San Lorenzo is the main entrance and exit for products from the Pacific ocean.

The waters from the Pacific ocean going into the land near San Lorenzo are part of the mangrove swamps, which are one of the most known features of San Lorenzo. Most people go to San Lorenzo to enjoy the beautiful beaches at the Pacific ocean but also these mangrove swamps, which are very characteristic of this area around San Lorenzo.

The city of San Lorenzo is a rather recent touristic destination in Honduras, it has many natural attractions. In San Lorenzo you can watch and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets you could ever imagine, simply beautiful.

Cantarranas or San Juan de Flores

Photo by chamo estudio

Cantarranas is a tratidional town located 40 km north-east of Tegucigalpa, it was founded in the year 1667 with the name of Cantarranas, this means the town is almost 350 years old. The category of municipality was given to Cantarranas more than a century and a half ago. In 1889 Cantarranas officially became a district together with another nearby community, San Diego de Talanga.

On march 1934, Honduran Government extended an official recognition to Cantarranas, giving Cantarranas the title of city. In the past the valley where Cantarranas is located used to be named the valley of Liquitimaya, it means “the place where the Jiquilite works”. But what is Jiquilite?. Well, jiquililte is kind of a little tree, a bush we could say, it gets to be up to 2 meters high. A blue dye or tint called “añil” can be extracted from this jiquilite bush. People used to dye tunics and clothes with this thing.

Cantarranas is also known as San Juan de Flores. But what is the real name of this town? Cantarranas or San Juan de Flores?. Well, they say that many years ago a bishop who was in charge of the community, bishop Zepeda y Zepeda, he changed the original name of Cantarranas, and he named the town as San Juan de Flores. Since then the official name was San Juan de Flores, but everybody also knew the town as Cantarranas, so finally a few years ago the official name was changed back to Cantarranas by Honduran Government. So, as we speak, the official name is Cantarranas, at least for now, we don´t know if any other future Government will change the name again to San Juan de Flores.

Cantarranas or San Juan de Flores, whatever you like to name this town, is a very pretty traditional town, wheater is very cool in general. It’s a good option for visiting if you ever go to Tegucigalpa, it´s only 40 km away, that is about 1 hour driving by car.

San Juancito, the mining town

Photo by Nestor Irías

San Juancito is a small traditional town located 35 km north east from Tegucigalpa, it´s right at the foot of La Tigra national park. The history of San Juancito is completely related to the mining production in Honduras which started in the XVI century, and came to the highest production peak in the 1950s when San Juancito became the richest gold and silver mine in all Central America, and it was quickly and unfortunately exploited to the limit. This economic boom was the main reason for having back then in San Juancito the first power generator plant, the first telegraph and the first facilities from Pepsi in all Central America.

However those golden times for the mining era in San Juancito are long gone. Today the main economic activities in San Juancito have to do with ecology and tourism. The remains and traces of a glorious past is like printed all over the cobble stone streets and ancient buildings in the town.

Honduras touristic destinations are highlighted in World Day of Tourism

A local newspaper in Honduras recently invited its readers to share pictures of Honduran touristic destinations in order to celebrate the World Day of Tourism. Many Honduran readers celebrated by sharing some pictures of places they have visited. Most pictures were taken in beautiful spots all over Honduras. People agree that we have in Honduras many beautiful places that have nothing to envy to any other touristic destination in the world, and we should stand out these places not only in the World Day of Tourism but all the time.

Some of the pictures the readers shared were taken on the Platano River Biosphere near to La Mosquitia in the Caribbean coast of Honduras. The incredibly beautiful beaches in Tela and Roatan were also very popular among the readers. Other natural wonder that was highlighted very much was the Pulhapanzak waterfall on Rio Blanco, which is about 17 km from Lake Yojoa, in the north zone of Honduras.

According to official numbers, there is an average of 850 thousand tourists traveling every year to Honduras since 2006. The highest number of tourists was recorded in 2012 with nearly 900 thousand. This year 2013 the expectation is to reach and surpass the magical number of 1 million tourists.

Utila, Honduras is one of the best places for diving in the world

Honduras stands out once again in the top ranking of world tourism. This time is the island of Utila the one standing out in the name of Honduras. Have you heard about Lonely Planet before?. I’m sure you have, Lonely Planet is one of the most important travel guides in the world at least for the last 40 years, and according to an article they recently published, Utila is among the top ten places in the world for diving.

Lonely Planet describes that you can dive in Utila all year long, and it is absolutely true. However they recommend to do it if possible between the months of march and april, or between september and december, because in those months there is a good chance to actually see the famous whale shark. The article says that Utila actually competes with several other beautiful places in the world such as Byron Bay in Australia, Ko-Tao in Thailand, Caye Caulker in Belize, Dahab in Egypt, Gilli Trawangan in Indonesia, Santa Cruz in the Galapagos, The Visayas in Phillpines and North Male Atoll in Maldives.

Utila is the smallest of the three islands in the Bay Islands in Honduras, the other two islands are Roatan and Guanaja. The article at Lonely Planet was written taking into account the requests from their readers, who have dreamed about obtaining a license to dive, but not only a simple license to dive but in a place where they can find a combination of an idyllic destination and a recognized place known for a good diving experience. In that sense, the article describes some particular things about Utila, such as “even when the diving practice is also possible in the neighbor island of Roatan, diving courses in Utila have a phenomenal value”. The article also makes a pretty good description of the south end part of the island and the amazing and impressive coral reef barrier, which is one of the main touristic attractions in Honduras.

So if you’re looking for a great diving experience, you are welcomed to Utila anytime. Way to go Utila!

Maya misteries published by Harvard University

The worldwide famous Harvard University has recently published in september 2013 a very interesting article called “Unraveling Maya misteries”, this article is related to recent excavations at some places near Copan, one of those places is the one known as “El Rastrojon”, and some other places at the main archaeological site in Copan ruins.

At some parts of the article you can read about the peculiarity of construction at Copan, where ancient Mayans built a temple above another temple, and so on, so we could go deep into the origins of the city at Copan, and being able to know the original temples down below, that were built by the founders of Copan. This is like traveling in time, to ancient times.

In one of the pictures of this Harvard University article you can see an original relief with the name of the founder king of Copan dynasty, I bet you know who I am talking about…. K'inich Yax K'uk 'Mo' of course, I was sure you already knew this, right?. They say that in order to get inside the heart and soul of this king, it is necessary to go deep in a series of tunnels below the temples, it´s like a pathway to travel back to the past and going back to the future as well.

If you’re interested in reading the whole Harvard University article about this interesting story, be my guess and read it please, this is the link, I’m sure you will like it.

New sports center in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

The Honduras National University has just inaugurated one of the biggest sport centers in Central America. This project will host the Central America and Caribbean University Games. This new sports center is located at Boulevard Suyapa in Tegucigalpa. This sports complex was built with an investment of about 40 million US dollars, and it was constructed in a period of time of 14 months. Funding was available from the budget that Honduras Government assigns to the University. Honduras Government is supposed to transfer 6% from it’s budget to the University every year, at least that's what it should be according to Honduran law.

Construction works started in the middle of 2012, with the participation of recognized Honduran architects. The sports center is located at the south west end of the University campus, in an area of about 60,000 m2. It has a 5 story building with a construction area of about 31,000 m2. This project, as we already said, will host the Central America and Caribbean University Games in September 2013, with the participation of many countries from this region, including Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, among others. The project was developed by the construction unit of the University, which is the unit in charge of every infrastructure project at the Campus. It also has a huge parking lot, the sports center and the Olympic stadium.

The stadium sports track was designed and built according to the requirements from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which means that this stadium may be certified by any international association, so it would be recognized for any type of athletic games, including Panamerican Games.

Good for the sports in Honduras, good for the University. Let the games begin!

Infrastructure development in Ojojona

In Ojojona, a traditional town in Honduras which is known and popular specially for handicrafts and artisans, local authorities and the community recently inaugurated several infrastructure works which are part of a development program being executed in the last few years. These infrastructure projects are supported by Honduran Government and the Agency for International Cooperation for Development from Andalucia, Spain. Some of the projects have to do with the construction of a public sewage system and oxidation ponds, serving some areas of downtown Ojojona. Another project is the improvement of service and physical space of the municipal market, and also the refurbishment of three main buildings which are a patrimony of the town. Another one of the projects is the construction of a civic plaza right in the heart of the town, this project will contribute to strengthen the local identity. The House of Culture will be equipped and improved as well.

This infrastructure program is being executed in this town since 2009, with a financing of about 3.3 million dollars. In order to make sure these projects were the ones to include in this program, there was an agreement among different local sectors, people and communities.

Good for Ojojona, these projects will help the town as for the infrastructure development, which it’s always necessary. Hopefully they won´t build any modern structures in the future, so the local landscape won’t be affected and the town will remain a traditional town as it should always be.

Biodiversity at Pico Bonito National Park

I was reading some very interesting information about Pico Bonito national park, and there are some facts that I was not aware of, and it is about birds, and I’m pretty sure not many people know the following facts.

In order to make some comparisons, all USA area is approximately 9.8 millions km2, and there are about 900 species of birds in all those millions of km2. On the other hand, in a very tiny part of Honduras territory with only 1000 km2 there are more than 500 species of birds.

That´s incredible, isn´t it? We’re talking that in a very tiny part of Honduras which is 9800 times smaller than USA area, we can find a very rich place in biodiversity, not only birds but other species of animals and plants as well. That place is Pico Bonito, it was declared by Unesco as a National Park and Humanity Inheritance site. This is amazing, it´s something worth sharing with the world. I’m glad I found out about this interesting information so I can share with everybody.