Honduras South-East

TEGUCIGALPA

Global Mark : 13.38

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
 4 3 4 4 5 2 5 3 15.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
12 67%(8) 42%(5) 67%(8) 6 to 18 11.75


Description : The busy yet rather pleasant capital of Honduras, in a mountain valley at an altitude of about 1000m

Comments : Not everybody like it of course but, as far as Central America's Capitals are concerned, this is one of the nicest and most relaxed city.

What to do ? Leave Comayaguela ASAP / Walk the pedestrian streets / Spot a beautiful altar in the Cathedral / Walk up to an old colonial house turned into an historical museum / Study some of the best local paintings of the 20th century / Take a bus to the hill for an amazing panorama of the city / Spot colorful toucans at the zoo / See Confucius and Jesus Christ side by side / Walk a flowered garden / See the generals & presidents old limousines / Eat lots of cakes / Watch a good movie / Buy lottery ticket at every corner / Play at the Casino Royale, between foreigners (local people are not allowed to loose money) / Dance all night long in one of the disco

What you may not like ? Arriving in town at night (no choice then but to take a taxi) / Getting lost in Comayaguela / The horny vehicles (incl all available taxi) / The beggars and poor kids / The black chokes from the cars / The armed guards in front of any major shop / Being searched before entering a bank / The water supply problems with regular cuts / Loose too much at the roulette or slot machines

How long ? One day would be long enough for the attractions & the shopping but if you wish to visit all the museums or taste all the restaurants... 

Where to stay ? 

- In Tegucigalpa, on Av. Juan Gutemberg, East of the Parque Central (10mn walk) :

  • Hotel Granada (2372381), Av Juan Gutemberg, 10mn walk east of the Cathedral / Room 120, w. shower 180, w. TV 230 / All rooms w. matrimonial bed / Go there for the clean rooms at good prices if two / What you may not like : the rooms are rather empty, there is no fan and it is expensive if alone
  • Hotel Granada 2 & 3, 2mn away / w. shower 150(1) or 180-200(2) / Free water & coffee / Another clean popular option but not too cheap
  • Hotel San Miguel, opp. mercado San Miguel / Dbl without shower 110 / Go there to check the rooms as it was full
  • Hotel Nankin (2371226), 2mn further East / w. shower & fan 120(1) or 220(2) / Go there for the OK clean rooms at good prices. Best deal for one w. shower.
  • Hotel Tegucigalpa, another 2mn / 70(1) or 100(2), w. shower 100 or 140 / No fan / Free water / Cheap & friendly but really basic and not clean. If you stay here, at least take the room not facing the noisy street...
  • Hospedaje Cosmopolitan, another 2mn / 60(1) or 75(2), w. shower 115 / No fan / Go there for the cheapest prices and the clean, relaxed & safe atmosphere, a bit away from the road / What you may not like : the rooms are basic, the cheapest have dim lighting & slim walls not going up to the ceiling (w. a few peep holes) and the noisy family. 
  • Hotel Mariposa, opp the above / w. shower & fan 80(1) or 100(2) / Go there for the cheapest prices w. shower & the a cceptable cleanliness / What you may not like : the Chinese management is not too nice and the rooms grungy

- In Comayaguela district : I would recommend this area only to people who have an early bus to take : it is rather empty of sights and dangerous at night. Nevertheless, the best deals in town are located there :

  • Hotel Colonial (2375785), 6a C, 5mn south of Mercado San Isidro / w. HW shower & fan 90(1) 100(2) / Go there for the nice clean rooms at good prices
  • Hotel California (2254664), 23a-24a C, just north of Mi Esperanza bus terminal / w. shower 70 / Free water / Go there for the correct clean rooms at excellent prices / What you may not like : the lack of fan 

Avoiding Tegucigalpa ? You will have little choice if your bus leaves early in the morning. Otherwise, you could consider staying in Santa Lucia (30mn away), Valle de Angeles (1 hour) or San Juancito (1.5 hrs). See the following sections for more details. Those three places are all charming & relaxed places and, with the exception of San Juancito, are well connected to Tegucigalpa. Only the later however offer a budget option. 

Where to eat ? You won't starve here ! And you will find anything for your western taste, from donuts to pizza ! Particularly good and numerous are the bakeries. A cheap one can be found on C. Gutierres, near the hotels : Reposteria Nelita. OK basic pizza cost L9 and cakes L5. For tacos, Tortimex, West of the Cathedral on Av. Miguel Cervantes, was recommended.

Internet ? There are three good places on Av. Gutenberg. The nicest and cheapest by the minute is Book.net on C. Las Damas : it is a relaxed place to meet people , they have a book exchange and offer free water & coffee. It cost L30 per hour or L0.5 per mn. Surf for 4 hours and get one hour free ! Just opp., Leedsys is less convivial but slightly cheaper at L28 per hour (but L0.55 per mn). Also very nice & friendly, Cyberiada (2200029), near the plaza in a pink building, is open 24 hours a day and cost only L25 per hour from 9pm to 9am (L15 for 30mn, L0.6 per mn) or L35 at other time. They also offer free coffee. 

Change ? Plenty of banks in town but not all of them change TC. Cash advance for Visa or Mastercard available. To get some US$ before your trip to Nicaragua, you will get the best rate from the moneychangers on the pedestrian street. It is worth to bargain a bit and prepare your money in advance. You do not wish to display your money belt in front of all those beggars...

A good walk around ? Start your visit of town at the Parque central, with a look at the Cathedral's beautiful altar. Then follow the pedestrian street West and turn right toward original & colorful Iglesia las Dolores. The doors are usually closed in the morning on weekday so you may wish to come back later for its gold altar dating 1742. Then walk west a bit and go up C. Morelos, toward Villa Roy, a lovely yellow colonial house turned into the Historical Museum (Wed to Sund from 8:30 to 4pm). If you reach it at lunch time, the ticket guy maybe away and you will have a free look of the few exhibits. Otherwise, it is a bit overpriced at L20 (L10 locals). Even if you do not get inside, the exterior is worth a look : old cars of the former presidents and nice garden with a view. Just S-W of the museum, Parque la Concordia reproduces some Maya carvings and is therefore worth a 5mn wander. Follow C. La Concordia down and you will reach Parque Herrera and the national Theatre. Walk again the pedestrian street toward east up to the Cathedral then take South on C. Bolivia. The Galeria Nacional de Arte (Mond-Frid 9am-4pm, Sat 9-12am, closed Sunday) is certainly worth the L10 admission fee : it is not too big but the exhibits are nice and the collection of 20th century paintings, on the first floor, quite good. From there, walk east toward C. Jon Finlay and take a bus toward El Hatillo (L3.5, will pass the Granada No2 & No3 and the cinema) and get off 20mn later (great view on the right) at the road toward Parque de las Naciones Unidas & the zoo. The entrance (L2) is 5mn walk away. 5mn more and you will reach the first panoramic view on the left and the zoo on the right. Do not expect too much of the later but I thought that the two beautiful toucans were worth the L2 admission fee on their own. A further 10mn walk and you will reach the parking. Pass it and turn left (not toward the cafeteria) to find a lovely botanical garden, the Confucius harmony garden, the massive statue of Jesus Christ and the best view over town. The last bus down from the road is at 6pm. Of course, you could also head to the park in the morning...

Other things to do ?  Beside the other museums (Museo del Hombre, Museo Historico de la Republica, Museo Historico Militar & Sala Bancatlan), you could also head to the massive Basilica de Suyapa, about 6km to the East, and its Virgen de Suyapa (the patron saint of Honduras), protected behind the wooden altar of 18th century's La Pequena Iglesia. Buses leave regularly from Mercado San Isidro in Camayaguela. 

 << Discover a few sights


The trip to Santa Lucia : SSSS / Right / L4 / 40mn
Buses to localities on the Reales Minas Route leave from Mercado San Pablo, a 20mn walk from Hospedaje Cosmopolitan (street going up on the left, just before the bridge). There are unfortunately only a couple of buses to San Juancito : I showed up at 11:20 and the next one was at 2pm only. I decided therefore to have a look at Santa Lucia first : buses leave every 45mn.
The first discovery was bad news : the village was not by the main road but 2.5km away. But the second discovery was enthusiastic : this village was the most charming I ever spotted in Central America, with cobbled streets and red-tiled roofs. It also offered an amazing view down to the Capital's valley. Enjoy !

The trip to Isla El Tigre : SSSS / Right then left / L21+ L9 / 2.5 hours + 1 hour
The trip started with a 45mn walk to the bus station, at the extreme south of 6a Av. in Camayaguela (23-24 C. to be exact). I would not recommend this walk by night but, in the early morning, it should be fine. Taking a taxi is of course a faster & safer option. 
Mi Esperanza is the company handling buses to the South. A few people were queuing for the ticket and I joined them. The bus showed up at 7am. Strangely enough, nobody seemed in a hurry to get in. What was going on ? Simple : with the ticket came a seat number. If you can, try to ask for a right-side seat, for the best scenery.
We left on time but stopped every 50 meters for the first half km. Then, one hour later, it was a 20mn breakfast break. The bus looked like a direct bus (nice reclining seats) but clearly wasn't : we stopped for another 5mn to buy mangos, sold by the side of the road ! It therefore took 2.5 hours to reach km102, the intersection for Coyolito and the boats to the island. People going to El Salvador got off a bit earlier at Jicaro Galan intersection.
There was not much to do at this crossroad but wait. Buses from San Lorenzo to Coyolito run every hour from 7 to 17. One showed up at 10:15 but was not in a hurry to leave. It did eventually and took one hour (and L9) to cover the nice 30km via mangrove swamps (best sights on the left).
Boats are always waiting for passengers. It cost L80 for the whole boat so it usually go when 10 people or more show up. This is the case with most buses. It took 20mn and L8 to reach the island.

See also the trip from Juticalpa