I was there a few days ago, and I would like to share with you some interesting things when you do this trip. San Antonio de Oriente is located about 25 miles east of Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. You have to take the main Tegucigalpa exit to the East, going to the Valley of El Zamorano, which is a very famous location in Honduras, is known because of the Panamerican Agricultural School of El Zamorano, a very prestigious international institution for education of agronomist professionals who come to study from many countries in America.
Well, if you want to go to San Antonio de Oriente, you have to go to El Zamorano valley. When you get there, take a left turn going into a little town with the name of El Jicarito. About 3 miles and just before getting to El Jicarito, take a turn right, there is a road that will take you to San Antonio de Oriente, not very far from there, it´s only about 3-4 miles. Be advised that it is not a paved road, it is an unpaved road, not very wide, it goes up into the mountains nearby, a lot of curves going up all the way to our destination, San Antonio de Oriente. It´s a good idea to drive in a 4 x 4 car so you won´t have any problems getting there.
All the way until you get there is really beautiful, you drive inside the mountains and can take a look at some great landscapes looking down to the valley, and looking up to the mountains that surround the road, a lot of pine trees.
Finally, you will get to San Antonio de Oriente. If you've ever seen some of Velasquez paintings, you will be very surprised that you will see in this town the live inspiration of these paintings, you will be admiring a real live image of these famous landscapes. When you walk on those cobble streets going to the Church inside the town, you really feel like you are one of the characters in Velasquez paintings…..Wow, it´s incredible.
The town is located just inside the mountains, it is mixed into the trees and the base of the mountains. This is really one of the most beautiful landscapes you could ever see in Central America if you like colonial towns and beautiful natural landscapes. When you get there, it is a good idea to park your car and take a walk all over the town. If you can go up walking into the nearby hills, you will be able to see some of the most amazing views when you look down the town, the church, the streets…………really beautiful.
Not many people use to go there, I really don´t know why. Maybe because it requires some effort to make this trip. It is not in the way to any other place, if you want to go there, you have to decide go there and just go. It's like you have to say, let´s go to San Antonio de Oriente, and you just go. It is a very interesting experience.
Would you like to go to Santa Lucia in Honduras?
There are many places all over the world that are candidates for this prize. Right now there are over 100 places already nominated as I said before, beautiful places from all over the world. All nominated places are really beautiful, we're talking about natural beauty, places that really take your breath away by just looking a picture of them. Some of these places are already famous, and some of them are barely known.
Central America had to be on this list, and it is. Yes, there are 10 Central American places already nominated. We would like to give you a quick information on these 10 nominated places from Central America. We're going to mention the nominated places by country and a very brief description of each, just to give you an idea of them. Here we go…
1. Belize Barrier Reef: coral reefs in Belize are really famous, they are definitely some of the best coral reefs in the world, a complete paradise for diving fans. Belize is known worldwide for having some of the best diving locations.
2. Great Blue Hole: it is a famous seascape in Belize, it has the shape of an almost perfect circle, it goes very deep about 400 feet, the diameter of this circular shape is about 1000 feet. This is one of the most known touristic places in Belize, a must see if you ever visit this country.
3. Pacaya Volcano: an active volcano, it has some eruptions from time to time. Located about 20 miles south of Guatemala City. When it has some eruption activity, the ashes go all the way to Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City as well. There are many volcanoes in Guatemala and Central America, but this Pacaya Volcano is one of the most famous.
4. Semuc Champey: it is a valley in the jungle, located in the province of Alta Verapaz, nearby a town called Lanquin. It is really a very beautiful place, there is a river that somehow goes down underground, looks like the jungle swallows the river completely, it is like the river dissapearing down and under the jungle. Not many people know this place. Incredible…
5. Lake Atitlan: one of the most beautiful lakes not only in Central America but in the world, no kidding. It is also the deepest lake in Central America, goes deep down to 340 meters. There is a volcano nearby, and several mayan towns. Incredible natural beauty, a must visit if you ever go to Guatemala someday.
6. Platano Forest: in the caribbean north of Honduras. A rain forest, it is an incredible jungle. The Platano River is one of the largest rivers in Central America, wild and beautiful. All area around this river is called the Platano Forest. Vegetation, trees, animals, a perfect place to visit if you are into adventure type of tourism. It is still unexplored, virgin land.
7. Coatepeque Lake, Crater Lake: the lake is inside what it used to be a volcano crater. Really beautiful and unique. There is an island inside the lake with some Mayan ruins. This is the only place nominated so far for El Salvador, but an incredible one it is..... don´t you agree?
8. Ometepe Island: located inside Nicaragua Lake. Ometepe is the largest island in the world inside a freshwater lake. The island was formed by the union of two volcanoes, both are part of the island, and they are attached together by a portion of land. Very easy to visit not very far from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua.
9. Cocos Island, located offshore Costa Rica, it is a National Park. This is one of the few islands in the world that is a complete rain forest. There are mountains and water falls. There are no hotels or resorts in the island in order to protect nature, visitors must get early in the morning and leave in the afternoon..... Wow!
10. Arenal Volcano, an active volcano as many others in Central America. Sometimes you can actually see the eruptions. It is part of Arenal Volcano National Park, a complete rain forest and beautiful jungle. It used to be not active for over 400 years, until it erupted again in 1968, it's been active since…
As you can see, there are a lot of places in Central America nominated for this world contest, all of them are really beautiful natural locations. Which one did you like the most?. Feel free to post a comment and let us know. I bet some of them were unknown to you, weren´t they?. I really hope some of these places will make it to the final top 7 at the end of the contest. You can also vote for your favorite places if you want, just log on to the following link:
Vote for the New 7 Wonders
Only follow the instructions. Hopefully you will vote for some Central America nominees…..
From my personal point of view, the best beach destinations in Central America are definitely located in the north, into the Caribbean. Many of them are paradisiac places. This time I will tell you about this beautiful place, the name is Tela as I said before. There is a very good advantage about this place, it is very easy to get there. If you take a look at the Honduras map, you will see that Tela is located very near to San Pedro Sula. Do you know how many hours would you have to drive from San Pedro Sula?. It´s only one hour, or if you´re driving not very fast, it would be 1 hour and 20 minutes at the most. The road is in pretty good condition, it is paved road, most of the trip is through plain terrain, only a few mountains in the way.
You can go very easily to Tela from San Pedro Sula as you can see, you can even go for a one day trip, you go in the morning and come back in the afternoon with no problems at all. Now, I suggest you could go for more than one day, so you can take advantage of the trip and you could have more time to explore different beaches. Tela is a beautiful town, and has a lot of beaches. It is located into a Bay, the name is Bay of Tela, which is several miles long. The best beaches are not in front of the town, for getting to the best beaches you have to drive either to the east, or to the west of the town, not very far away. If you drive about 20 minutes in either way, you will find some of the best beaches in the Caribbean part of Honduras.
I especially like some very beautiful beaches going East. One of those beaches is La Ensenada, it is a very well known beach in the area. Another famous beach nearby is Triunfo de la Cruz. Both of them are really beautiful beaches, a lot of white sand, a lot of coconut palm trees. In this area there are Garifuna communities. Garifuna people are descendants from the African people that came to live here many centuries ago, they have been living here for many years. They have very interesting traditions, their music and dancing is incredible. Their food is really good. You can have a taste of their food right there in the beach, they have places like little tents made with palm trees where you can sit and enjoy their food.
Now, about the beach itself, Tela is known as one of the best destinations in Honduras if you want to enjoy taking a swim into the Sea. The place is great for getting in there and enjoy the water, enjoy the waves that come from the Ocean. Some other beaches in the Caribbean are really calm, it´s like going into a pool, no waves, but in Tela you will find ocean waves, it´s not like you´re going to surf or anything like that, they are smooth waves, really nice and cool.
A really good thing to do if you go to Tela is taking a quick trip with some Garifuna people in a boat, they can take you in a boat with an engine and drive you into the ocean all along the Bay of Tela if you want. That´s a real adventure.
If you go to Tela and intend to stay a few days, there are several Hotels and resorts, very good by the way. There is project coming in the next few years that will become very famous, the project is known as Bay of Tela. A lot of Hotels and resorts are going to be built, golf courses and all ammenities for a first class beach destination.
Every time I have the chance I go to Tela, I take the opportunity and go. When I think about taking a swim into the Sea, I inmediately think of Tela.
A trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula in Honduras
I don´t know how many times I have gone there, I´ve lost the account. Now, the interesting thing with this particular visit is that I did the trip in a week day, I believe it was a Wednesday morning. Most of the times I have gone there, it´s been on a weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. Most people who visit Valle de Angeles do it on weekends, the amount of people that goes there in a weekend day is a lot. Since the moment you begin your trip going out of Tegucigalpa and taking the road to Valle de Angeles, you notice a lot of cars and people going with you in a weekend. And when you get there, to Valle de Angeles, there is a lot of people walking in the streets, most of them are tourists. But you know, it is really a lot of people in a normal weekend day, which is fine, no problem.
Now, going back to my initial topic, this time I did the trip on a week day. It´s not the first time I go there in a week day, but it has been only a few times that I've done that. And you know what, I think you enjoy the trip a lot more on a normal week day compared with a weekend day. And you know why?. It´s simple, because you can enjoy more with much less people around the town at the same time. You will always find a lot of tourists and people visiting Valle de Angeles any day, in fact this time there were a lot of people also, but nothing compared with the crowd that goes there on weekends.
You can feel much more relaxed with less people around you, you can take a walk in the town, very cool, very easy. You can have much more places available to park your car almost anywhere.
I also took this opportunity to visit a very interesting place there. As you probably know, Valle de Angeles is the main base of the artisans who work and make incredible handicrafts. The artisans have some type of exposition for their work. In Valle de Angeles there are several pavillions for showing the handicrafts. These pavillions are some type of large showrooms where you can go in there and take a walk to admire all kinds of handicrafts. I had been there many times before also, but this time for some reason I had more chance to take a better look at these pieces of art work because there weren´t many people visiting in a week day. It´s incredible how beautiful these handicrafts can be.
Many of them are carved wood, some other are pottery, hammocks, paintings, you name it!. These artisans really know their work. I believe these handicrafts are really unique, they are pieces of real art. The variety is very wide, going from the range of little things that you could place in a desk in your office or home, but also you can find very large items. For example, I saw a carved wood door, 2 meters high, 1 meter wide. It´s a door you could install in your home. I will get a door like this someday very soon to put it in my home. It´s incredibly beautiful. There are also carved wood boxes, they have rural landscapes carved in the surface. From little boxes to large boxes. They would make an excellent ornament in any home or any office. Real impresive work.
The artisans have an association, it´s called Asociacion Nacional de Artesanos de Honduras (ANAH), which is National Association of Honduran Artisans. These people are really incredible with their work.
After visiting the artisans pavillions, I took a long walk downtown Valle de Angeles, looking at the beauty of the town. This place is really great, you feel very relaxed, it´s like traveling back in time, you forget about the city at least for a couple of hours. Someday I would like to live in a town like this….
Would you like to go to Santa Lucia in Honduras?
I was taking vacations for one week early this year, and I was thinking about what places I could visit. Most times when you are planning vacations, you are thinking about visiting new places……. Where I have not been before?. Where could I go this time?. That's fine, I guess most people think this way. However, this time I was thinking to myself, it's been at least 3 years that I have not visited Copan Ruins, it's always a very interesting place to visit, and decided to go there, at least for a day in order to take a look and refresh my memories of that place.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was based in El Cajon with the idea to visit several places that week, and one of those places was Copan Ruins. So I made up my mind and went there for a one day visit, leaving El Cajon early in the morning, visit the ruins the rest of the day and return to El Cajon late in the afternoon.
In order to take advantage of a one day visit, I had to leave early in the morning. Driving from El Cajon to Copan is about 3.5 hours. You have to go from El Cajon to San Pedro Sula, and take the main road from San Pedro Sula to Copan. So I left El Cajon at 6:00 am and I got to Copan Ruins at 9:30. That was a good time to get there, I could stay in the Ruins at least the rest of the day. The weather was not very hot, it was cool, excelent for this visit.
Once you are in Copan Ruins, it's an adventure, it is like traveling through time many centuries ago. In this post I'm not going to talk in detail about the Copan Ruins history, but every time I visit this place I get an incredible feeling………Wow!. The monuments, the ruins, the carved stone, it's amazing. I don´t know how much you are familiar about mayan ruins, but you know, Copan is the most artistic Mayan place ever known. Any person who knows about Mayans can tell you this. The buildings, the hieroglyphic writings carved in the stones. Copan Ruins was the most artistic mayan place that ever existed, and you can see that in the ancient ruins, it's still there.
There are many other mayan cities all over Central America and even in Mexico, some of those cities are larger than Copan, or have much larger buildings, higher or whatever other feature. But looking at ruins from an artistic point of view, Copan is the one site to visit if you had to choose one Mayan place to go someday. Well, that´s may point of view anyway……..
That day I visited every corner into the Copan Ruins, climbed every stairway, every monument, I even visited a couple of caves that go into the buildings, very interesting. Later that day I felt pretty tired, you know, it's a lot of walking, but it is worth it.
In the afternoon I went to the town nearby to have lunch and a cup of coffee, ………..do you know what is the name of the town nearby? ………..wanna guess?. It's easy. The name of the town is………Copan Ruins, it´s only about 4 miles east of the Mayan Ruins. Very beautiful town, colonial buildings, good places to have a good food, it´s very nice to walk in the streets. A lot of tourists there, people from all over the world. If you visit the Mayan Ruins in Copan, you have to visit the town as well.
Later that afternoon I left Copan with the feeling that it was a worth visit. I felt pretty tired but with a great feeling.
A visit to El Cajon in Honduras
Tikal, incredible Mayan Ruins in Guatemala
My idea was to go somewhere that could be a good location in order to take advantage of the few days available, so I could go to different places in the same week, but I needed like a base for establish myself, and go to the different places in different days, and go back to my base the same day, so I could do something similar the next day and so on for the rest of the week.
Someone I know suggested to go this place, El Cajon, that would be a good place to establish myself as I was planning, the location is good, it is pretty near to some very interesting other places where I could go and return the same day. Now, everything I knew about El Cajon so far was that I have heard about it, this place is known because there is a water dam in the area. In fact, the name of this water dam is El Cajon. But I said, what about a water dam?. It may be an interesting place to visit, but for one day and that´s all. I thought I could go there, visit the water dam, but I had no idea what else I could do there.
To give you an idea where it is located, as I said before, this place is in the Lake Yojoa area. You have to drive about 20 minutes north of Lake Yojoa in the main road to San Pedro Sula, and you will get to a detour right to a well known town with the name of Santa Cruz de Yojoa. You drive about 25-30 minutes in a paved road, into the mountains, and you will get to El Cajon.
Well, it turns out that El Cajon is a water dam, but you know what, it is one of the highest water dams in the World. Yes, it is listed in the top 20 highest water dams of the whole world. The concrete water dam structure in El Cajon is about 230 meters high, it looks huge!. Another interesting thing about this water dam is that because of its magnitude, it is a huge electricity generator. In order to keep this water dam and all its associated facilities running, a lot of people has to work there.
The electricty company has two base camps where the employees that work in El Cajon need to live. The camps are pretty nice, they have in there all they need to live, they are like little towns.
Going back to my initial plan, the idea was to be based in one of these camps, I had a complete house available with living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, a complete house. Now, the catch here is the following …… how can anybody go to one of these camps and get a house available?. Unfortunately I have to tell you that these camps are not open to the public, they are only available for people who work there, or their families.
Well, I think I was pretty lucky on this one…….it turns out that my sister in law works in the electricity company, and she could get me a house because we are relatives, we are family. With this place available for me, I could go on with my initial plan. I figured it would be a good idea to go there, establish myself in one of those camps, and go to different places the rest of the week, go and return the same day so I could spend the night in the camp.
And I did just that, I went there and had a very interesting week. The same week I went to San Pedro Sula, next day I went to Tela, next day I went to the mayan ruins in Copan, next day I went to Lake Yojoa and Pulapanzak. I also spent a couple of days inside the camps in El Cajon, it is very cool, they have pools, parks, places to visit inside the camps, you can admire nature, mountains, fresh air. I also went to visit the water dam of course, it is incredible.
Ordinary people can also visit El Cajon, the water dam. It is a one day visit, you can go there anytime and take a look at this interesting place. Unfortunately you can not stay in the camps unless you work in the electricty company, or some member of your family works there. Lucky me on this one!
In other posts I will tell you about the other places I visited that week (Tela, San Pedro Sula, Copan Ruins)……….
Lake Yojoa in Honduras, a beautiful spot in the road
Would you like to know what is Pulapanzak?
After taking a rest and food, I moved on with my trip. Siguatepeque is like in the mountains, similar to Tegucigalpa. Going from Siguatepeque to San Pedro Sula is about 2 hours drive, most of it is downhill, from the mountains down to the Valley of Sula. Now, there is a very interesting place in the road, I already have written previous posts about it. About 30-40 minutes from Siguatepeque, in the road to San Pedro Sula, you will spot to your left, right next to the road, Lake Yojoa, a very beautiful lake. It is surrounded by mountains, the water is very blue. It is a very beautiful landscape. Unfortunately this time I didn´t stop in Lake Yojoa, I was kind of a hurry in getting to San Pedro Sula. But many times I have stopped in Lake Yojoa to enjoy the natural beauty, and to enjoy some of the best fried fish food I've ever eaten, fish food is delicious. Not this time, but next time I will stop by and eat fish.
Going from Lake Yojoa to San Pedro Sula is like getting into more plain terrain, not a lot of mountains. By the way, the road in this area has been recently enhanced, there is a project for enhancing the road from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa until become a real Highway, right now it is under construction. There are many interesting places in this area, near Lake Yojoa. A nearby place is Pulapanzak, a famous waterfall. If you want to go there you have to take a turn left and drive through a different road and drive about 30 minutes. Another interesting place nearby is Santa Cruz de Yojoa, a nice town. In that area you will find El Cajon, which is a very large water dam, it was built about 20 years ago. I've been there by the way, very interesting. In order to go there you should take a turn right going to Santa Cruz de Yojoa, and drive about 30 minutes into the mountains. But again, this is a different road, not in the way to San Pedro Sula.
Next key place in the trip in the way to San Pedro Sula is La Barca, which is an intersection where you decide to go north to San Pedro Sula, or turn right and you're in the way to the city of El Progreso, Tela, La Ceiba (beaches in the Caribbean). This time I took the way to San Pedro Sula.
Not very far from La Barca, you will get to the following towns: Potrerillos, Pimienta, Villanueva. When you get to the town of Villanueva, you almost made it to San Pedro Sula. Villanueva is only 20-25 minutes from San Pedro Sula, it is an industrial town, a lot of Maquila facilities. Villanueva has become like a south neighborhood of San Pedro Sula. A lot of people live in San Pedro Sula and work in Villanueva, they travel every day to their work. From Villanueva to San Pedro Sula there is a highway, very modern road. In no time you will get to San Pedro Sula.
Well, this is it. Very interesting 4 hours drive, the only stop was in Siguatepeque. I will tell you about San Pedro Sula in other posts.
A trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula in Honduras
Lake Yojoa in Honduras, a beautiful spot in the road
Would you like to know what is Pulapanzak?
Well, let´s start saying that Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are the two main cities in Honduras. Tegucigalpa is the Capital city, San Pedro Sula is an industrial city. Both are large cities. The population of Tegucigalpa is about 1.5 million people, and San Pedro Sula is about 1 million. Now, it's interesting to know that San Pedro Sula is larger than Tegucigalpa, is like more spreaded in a valley, and it is surrounded by nearby cities which have become part of the main city. Most factories and industries are established in San Pedro Sula. Tegucigalpa is the base of the Honduran Government. Tegucigalpa is located in the central - south zone of the country, and San Pedro Sula is located in the north zone, very near to the Caribbean sea north of Honduras. Anyway, these are the two main cities in Honduras. The third largest city in Honduras is La Ceiba, a port in the Caribbean. I will tell you more about these cities in other posts, I was only trying to do like an introduction and give you a quick overview of these cities.
Many local people have a popular saying…. they say while Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro Sula works, and La Ceiba enjoys. There is a carnival in La Ceiba every year, a lot of fun. I will tell you about the carnival in other posts.
Going back to our main subject, the trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula is very interesting. It is a 4 hours drive. The road is in pretty good condition. When you begin your trip in Tegucigalpa, you just take the main exit north of the city and you're in your way to San Pedro Sula. There are a lot of mountains in the Tegucigalpa area, the road goes up and down into the mountains, a lot of curves in the road. You have to watch out and drive carefully because the road has a lot of heavy traffic, a lot of buses and trucks use that road. Aproximately 20 minutes you will get to the valley of Amarateca. Then you go again into the mountains and will go through beautiful pine trees mountains. A lot of pine trees, all around. The pine tree is the national tree in Honduras, is like a national symbol.
About 1 hour after beginning the trip in Tegucigalpa, you will be in Comayagua, it is large valley. The city of Comayagua is almost at the end of the valley coming from South to North. Comayagua is a colonial city, very beautiful by the way. It used to be the capital city in Honduras in the 19th century, before the capital was moved to Tegucigalpa. This time I didn´t stop in Comayagua, I just went ride by the side of it.
After the Comayagua valley, you will go again up into the mountains, again the pine trees all over the place. It´s amazing how many pine trees you can see. About 30 minutes after leaving Comayagua, you will get to the middle of the trip, you are in the city of Siguatepeque.
Right now we are in the very middle of our trip, I will continue telling you about it in my next post…..
Would you like to go to Santa Lucia in Honduras?