The charming colonial town of Yuscarán sits a little too far out from Tegucigalpa to be an easy lunch trip (at least not in the way closer Santa Lucía and Valle de Ángeles are), but it gets high marks for having better-preserved colonial atmosphere. As happened in the capital, silver was struck here in the late 17th century, and Yuscarán boomed through the end of the 1800s. The entire town was declared a national monument in 1979, and some 200 buildings from the pre-independence era remain intact here with strict standards on their maintenance. The town of about 2,000 Yuscaranos sits in the semitropical Pacific Slope, a transitional area between the highland capital and the coastal lowlands. Though it isn't as high as Tegucigalpa, at 850 meters (2,800 ft) of elevation the town still enjoys a pleasant year-round springlike climate that is a welcome refuge from southern Honduras’s stifling heat.

Sparkling whitewashed buildings line the winding streets that radiate from a tree-shaded central square. Prisoners constructed and, for years, maintained the town’s cobblestone streets (Honduras’s national penitentiary being located just outside of town). Hurricane Mitch in 1998 badly damaged the facility and the inmates were transferred elsewhere; the city now has a regular maintenance crew and does itself just as proud.

This is mango country par excellence, with Yuscarán celebrating its most important crop in a Festival de Mangos the first weekend in June. Sample the town’s signature fruit—you never knew there were so many ways it could be prepared—and watch the spectacle of residents playing donkey polo, exactly what the name implies.

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