San Pedro Sula, Honduras

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This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.

San Pedro Sula is the commercial capital of Honduras and indeed, a longer-stay town for business travelers, but of little interest for leisure travelers, who are always en-route to something more interesting elsewhere, such as the north coast and the Copan ruins. However, the city has some good international hotels, such as the Real InterContinental San Pedro Sula (although not as posh as the one in Teguce), and some good restaurants—Don Udo’s, with a cool colonial elegance and fine food, for one. For sights to see, two are rewarding—the excellent Museum of Anthropology and History, with pre-Columbian antiquities from Olmec and Mayan pre-Columbian eras. And then there’s people-watching and shopping among the stalls of the outdoor Mercado Guamilito, which is fun and at its best on weekends.

From San Pedro Sula, all international visitor roads lead to Copan, among the most spectacular Mayan city-states in the Americas and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The main ceremonial center covers about 75 acres with pyramids, temples, ball courts and dozens of intricately carved stone stelae portraying those who ruled this great city between the fifth and ninth centuries. The history of the Kings of Copan is recorded on the Hieroglyphic Staircase and among the other treasures found at the site are the brilliantly designed Museum of Sculpture. Don’t even consider a day trip, as you need at least three days here. From San Pedro Sula, another road (as well as local air service) leads to La Ceiba on the north coast, a haven for nature lovers and birdwatchers, white-water rafters and those who come to enjoy its fast-paced, Caribbean-rhythms nightlife. And about midway off the highway connecting San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, you’ll find the country’s largest natural lake, Lago de Yojoa. The lake is a favorite fishing ground among black bass anglers, and with two adjacent parks meeting here, birdwatchers come to spot some of the 370 bird species at home in the cloud forest.

Facts

  • Best time to go:
    November to May
  • Fun fact:
    The largest track of virgin rainforest in Central America is La Mosquitia, the locale for the Paul Theroux best seller book, “Mosquito Coast,” made into a movie with Harrison Ford
  • Getting there:
    Delta flies from Atlanta to San Pedro Sula
  • Entry documents:
    Valid passport
  • Currency:
    Lempira
  • Must-try local food:
    Anafre (hotpot of refried beans and cheese fondue)
  • Best buys:
    Hammocks, paintings, wood carvings, leather items, Lenca pottery
  • Information Please:
    Honduras Tourism Institute—letsgohonduras.com