The fortress is surprisingly pretty, with coral and limestone walls of pink, gray, and deep russett surrounded on all sides by mangroves. The fort was built between 1759 and 1775 to protect the Spain-bound gold and other valuables from plundering English, Dutch, and French merchants. It didn't take long, however, for a humiliating defeat for the Spanish. In 1779, the English conquered the fort after a two-day siege, escaping with all the booty before the Spaniards could call for reinforcements. The fort was turned into a defensive post for military troops after independence, and it later served as a prison until 1959. The ticket office is adjacent to the fort in the Museo de Omoa, which has restrooms and a pleasant shaded courtyard. Exhibition halls detail the history of Columbus's 16th century colonization expeditions to Honduras and subsequent transatlantic trade routes. An artillery hall features swords and canons used at the fort. Tickets include access to the fortress and museum.