Western Honduras

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Western Honduras - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Beneficio Maya

    Col. San Martín | Factory

    Coffee lovers should head to Beneficio Maya where they can watch the roasting and grading process. Fresh export-grade coffee is for sale on the premises. The factory is open weekdays 7 to noon and 2 to 5. Take a taxi, as it's difficult to find.

    Between Avs. 11 and 12 NO, >, Santa Rosa de Copán, Copán, Honduras
  • 2. Casa de Cultura

    Barrio El Centro | Arts/Performance Venue

    Set in a lovingly restored 1874 building, the Casa de Cultura buzzes with music lessons, theater, ballet, and modern dance, and may well have one of the best children's libraries in Central America. The patio is a pleasant place to relax.

    Av. Alvaro Contreras, >, Santa Rosa de Copán, Copán, Honduras
  • 3. Casa K'inich


    If your kids have ever wanted to dress as a Copán noble or learn to count to 10 in Chortí, this interactive children's museum is the place. It's a steep walk uphill to get here. Take a tuk-tuk taxi.

    Av. Centroamerica, 6 blocks north of Parque Central, Copán Ruinas, Copán, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L6; children under 12, free
  • 4. Cascadas de Pulhapanzak

    The roaring Pulhapanzak Falls are the highest in the country. The thunderous noise draws you down the 128 steps to where you have a good view of the 328-foot waterfall.

    San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras
  • 5. Catedral de San Pedro Sula

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    On the eastern edge of Parque Central, this massive neoclassical structure was begun in 1949 but not completed for many years. The most important church in town, it is always buzzing with activity. Locals seem to treat it as a community center, and worshippers are surprisingly friendly and talkative. Take a peek inside, but the cathedral lacks the style of Honduras's numerous older churches.

    Av. 3 SO at C. 1, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras
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  • 6. Catedral de Santa María

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The largest house of worship constructed during the colonial period, Catedral de Santa María dates from 1711. The interior is incredibly ornate, with four hand-carved wooden altars covered in gold. Note the intriguing statue of Santa Ana, the mother of the Virgin Mary, carrying a diminutive Santa María, who in turn is holding a tiny infant Jesús. Phillip II of Spain donated a Moorish clock from the Alhambra in Granada for the tower, and Hondureños claim it is the oldest in the Americas. As the so-called reloj arabe (Arab clock) dates from around 1100, it could well be true.

    Parque Central, Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras
  • 7. Copán

    Just across the border in Honduras lie the famed ruins of Copán, the center of a kingdom that rose to prominence in the Classic period (5th to 9th centuries AD). The artistic structures here have led historians to dub the city "the Paris of the Maya world." As you stroll past towering cieba trees on your way in from the gate, you'll find the Great Plaza to your left. The ornate stelae standing around the plaza were monuments erected to glorify rulers. Some stelae on the periphery are dedicated to King Smoke Jaguar, but the most impressive (located in the middle of the plaza) depict King 18 Rabbit. Besides stroking the egos of the kings, these monuments had apparent religious significance, since vaults for ritual offerings have been found beneath them. The city's most important ball court lies south of the Great Plaza. Players had to keep a hard rubber ball from touching the ground, perhaps symbolizing the sun's battle to stay aloft. The game was more spiritual than sportslike in nature: the losers—or the winners in some cases—were killed as a sacrifice to Maya gods. Near the ball court lies the Hieroglyphic Stairway, containing the largest single collection of hieroglyphs in the world. The 63 steps immortalize the battles won by Copán's kings, especially those of the much revered King Smoke Jaguar. Below the Acropolis here wind tunnels leading to some of the most fascinating discoveries at Copán. Underneath Structure 16 are the near-perfect remains of an older structure, called the Rosalila Temple, dating from AD 571. Uncovered in 1989, the Rosalila was notable in part because of the paint remains on its surface—rose and lilac—for which it was named. Another tunnel called Los Jaguares takes you past tombs, a system of aqueducts, and even an ancient bathroom. East of the main entrance to Copán, the marvelous Museo de Escultura Maya provides a closer look at the best of Maya artistry. All the sculptures and replicas are accompanied by informative signs in English as well as Spanish. Here you'll find a full-scale replica of the Rosalila Temple. The complex employs à la carte pricing, but all should be included if you're on an organized shore excursion. It's a good idea to hire a guide if you're on your own, as they are very knowledgeable about the site, and signposting is sparse among the ruins themselves. English-speaking guides charge about $30 for a two-hour tour, while Spanish-speaking guides charge about half that. A small cafeteria and gift shop are near the entrance.

    Copán Ruinas, Copán, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Ruins $15 or L360, museum $7 or L170, tunnels $15 or L360
  • 8. Flor de Copán


    Santa Rosa is one of Honduras's two tobacco-growing regions—Danlí, east of Tegucigalpa is the other. Cigar making still plays a big role in the local economy, and nearly everyone seems to be hard at work rolling them. Some prefer the strong Don Melo or the smoother Santa Rosa, but the pride of the area is the Zino, made by Flor de Copán. A seductively sweet odor engulfs you as you enter the factory. You can watch workers piling tobacco leaves into pilones (bales). The factory offers informal tours in Spanish, weekdays at 10 and 2. A shop just west of Parque Central at Calle Real Centenario 168 sells Flor de Copán's products.

    4 blocks east of bus terminal, Santa Rosa de Copán, Copán, Honduras
  • 9. Iglesia de la Caridad

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    At the north end of town is the 1629 Iglesia de la Caridad. In the back is the country's only remaining open-air chapel, originally used for the conversion of indigenous peoples, in what was then socially segregated Comayagua. The church's interior is famous for its statue of El Señor de la Burrita (Lord of the Burro), which is paraded through town on Palm Sunday.

    C. 7 NO at Av. 3 NO, Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras
  • 10. Iglesia La Merced

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Dating from 1550, Iglesia La Merced was the first church to be built in Honduras. One of the oldest in the Americas, it houses a magnificent altarpiece. It was badly damaged in a 1774 earthquake but was lovingly restored in subsequent decades.

    C. 1 at Av. 2 NE, Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras
  • 11. Iglesia San Francisco

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Three blocks southeast of Iglesia de la Caridad is Iglesia San Francisco, founded in 1560. The bell in the tower was brought from Spain and dates back to 1460, making it the oldest in the Americas. The church houses an elegantly carved baroque altarpiece from the 18th century.

    Av. 2 de Julio at C. 7 NE, Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras
  • 12. La Campa


    La Campa, only 16 km (10 mi) from Gracias on a well-maintained road, is the easiest of the surrounding communities to reach on your own. This lovely Lenca village set in the rugged mountains is well worth visiting just to see the local ceramics—the same red pottery you will see for much higher prices in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. Of particular note are the cántaros—perfectly cylindrical urns—and also bowls, plates, and wind chimes. Just outside town is the home of the Doña Desideria Pérez, a smiling lady who bakes red pottery in the open air. She will happily show you around. Many of the pottery makers around town are happy to let you get your hands dirty and fashion your own work. The complication is that it takes at least 24 hours for your work to dry; you'll have to come back the next day. On top of the hill at the entrance to town is the Centro de Interpretación de Alfarería Lenca, where you can see Lenca pottery on display and hear explanations of how it is fashioned.Also make sure to stop by the 1690 Iglesia de San Matías. The whitewashed church is usually closed except for Sunday masses, but if you ask around, you can find somebody to let you in. It's quite plain inside, though. The statue of San Matías was stolen a few years ago, but the uproar was so great that the thieves relented, wrapping it in rags and leaving it on a bus from Gracias to Santa Rosa de Copán, where it was discovered and returned.

    Gracias, Lempira, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L30
  • 13. Mercado Guamilito


    Mornings are the busiest and best time to visit this enclosed market in the northwest section of town. Besides wonderful ebony carvings, artisans also sell colorful baskets and hand-tooled leather goods.

    C. 6 NO between Avs. 8 and 9 NO, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras
  • 14. Museo Colonial de Arte Religioso


    Sadly, the one-time bishop's palace housing Comayagua's most fabulous museum, the Museo Colonial de Arte Religioso, was badly damaged in a 2009 fire and is still closed at this writing. Miraculously, 80 percent of the museum's treasure trove of religious art from the colonial era was saved. The varied collection of 15th- to 18th-century artwork from local churches includes paintings, sculptures, and jewels used to adorn the statues of saints. The building is undergoing reconstruction with plans to open to the public at a yet unspecified future date; do check when you're here just in case, though, as to miss it if it is reopened would be a shame.

    Av. 2 de Julio between Cs. 3 and 4 NO., Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras
  • 15. Museo de Antropología e Historia


    You will find no better introduction to the country's geography, history, and society than this museum near Parque Central. Spread over two floors, the eye-catching exhibits examine clues about the ancient cultures that once inhabited the region, re-create daily life in the colonial era, and recount the country's more recent history. The sculptures, paintings, ceramics, and other items are labeled in Spanish (and occasionally in English). Budget a good two hours to take it all in. There are also a gift shop and a cafeteria serving a tasty set lunch. A performing-arts space adjoining the museum is the newest venue with offerings for San Pedro's cultural agenda.

    Av. 3 NO and C. 4 NO, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L25
  • 16. Museo de Arqueología


    The elegant old building that holds the Museo de Arqueología served as the country's first presidential palace. The museum today provides arguably the country's best collection of Lenca artifacts. It contains well-preserved items from around Comayagua, from cave art to colorful pottery to metates (the stones the Lenca used for grinding grain). It also houses interesting fossils and an important collection of jade. A workshop at the back has been transformed into a school where men and women train as carpenters, stonemasons, blacksmiths, and in the other old trades needed to rebuild the city according to the old traditions. Exhibits are labeled in English and Spanish. A small cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch.

    C. 6 NE at Av. 2 de Julio, Comayagua, Comayagua, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L80
  • 17. Museo Regional de Arqueología Maya


    Although most visitors come here to see the astounding Mayan ruins east of town, you can also learn a bit about that culture at the Museo Regional de Arqueología Maya. Though most of this charming little museum's descriptions are in Spanish, the ancient tools and artworks speak for themselves. The exhibit on el brujo (the witch) is especially striking, displaying the skeleton and religious artifacts of a Mayan shaman.

    West side of Parque Central, Copán Ruinas, Copán, Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L60
  • 18. Parque Central

    City Park

    Santa Rosa's pleasant one-block-square central park is slightly elevated above the surrounding streets. The kiosk in the center of the park dates from 1900 and today serves as a community-operated tourist office, open weekdays 9 to 5:30 and Saturday 9 to 1. Stop by and the friendly folks here can tell you all you want to know about the town and the surrounding area. The 1803 Cathedral of Santa Rosa faces the east side of the park.

    Block bordered by Calle Real Centenario, 1 Av. NE, 1 Calle NE, and 2 Av. SO, Santa Rosa de Copán, Copán, Honduras
  • 19. Parque Central


    Money changers, shoe shiners, watch vendors, and truant schoolchildren mill around San Pedro Sula's central square. Locals lounge beneath the scrawny trees watching the crowds file past. A handful of U.S. restaurant chains have opened in the surrounding blocks, if you need to satisfy your craving for Wendy's, Pizza Hut, Burger King, or McDonald's. There are several small taco shops, cafés, and juice vendors in the area as well.

    Avs. 3 and 5 SO and Cs. 1 and 2 SO, San Pedro Sula, Cortés, Honduras
  • 20. Parque Nacional Celaque

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    The area around Gracias is considered one of Honduras's best-kept secrets, as it's home to the pristine Parque Nacional Celaque, one of the largest tracts of cloud forest left in Central America. At 2,849 meters (9,345 feet), the Cerro de las Minas within its confines is the highest peak in Honduras. The name of the park means "box of water" in the Lenca language, after the 11 rivers flowing from this mountain. The park is home to spider monkeys, as well as birds such as toucans and quetzals. If the Lenca gods are smiling upon you, you might catch a glimpse of jaguars, ocelots, and pumas, but all are painfully shy, so don't count on it.A 9-km (5½-mi) dirt road leads from Gracias to the park's entrance, more or less a two-hour journey. The visitor center is another half hour beyond that. There is no public transport to the park, but you can hire a car in Gracias. You can stay overnight at the modern visitor center, where you'll find two small cabins with beds, showers, and cooking facilities. The hike to the summit, which takes seven to eight hours, is easier during the dry season, from about February to September. If you want just a taste of the park, you don't need to hike very far from the visitor center to get a sampling, and trails are well maintained here. No matter what the time of year, it gets chilly and wet in the park. Warm, waterproof clothing is a must.

    9 km (5½ mi) west of Gracias, , Honduras

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: L50

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