Around Tegucigalpa

Heading north out of Tegucigalpa on the Olancho road, you come to
Talanga
, with a post office and Hondutel near the market on the main road. From Talanga it is a short trip to the historic and beautiful settlements of Cedros and Minas de Oro. From the Parque Central an unpaved road leads south to the Tegucigalpa-Danlí road making a triangular route possible back to the capital.

Cedros
is one of Honduras' earliest settlements, dating from Pedro de Alvarado's mining operations of 1536. It is an outstanding colonial mining town with cobbled
streets, perched high on an eminence amid forests. The festival of El Señor del Buen Fin takes place in the first two weeks of January. Buses to Talanga, Cedros and nearby San Ignacio leave from Reynita de San Ignacio in Mercado Zonal Belén, Comayagüela.

Santa Lucía

Northeast of Tegucigalpa, on the way to Valle de Angeles, a right turn goes to the quaint old mining village of Santa Lucía which is perched precariously on a steep mountainside overlooking the valley with Tegucigalpa below. The town has a colonial church with a Christ statue given by King Felipe II of Spain in 1592. There is a charming legend of the Black Christ, which the authorities ordered to be taken down to Tegucigalpa when Santa Lucía lost its former importance as a mining centre. Every step it was carried away from Santa Lucía it became heavier. When it was impossible to carry it any further they turned round, and by the time they were back in Santa Lucía, it was as light as a feather.

The town is lively with parties on Saturday night, and there is a festival in the second and third weeks of January. There are souvenir shops in the town, including
Cerámicas Ucles
just past the lagoon, second street on left, and another ceramics shop at the entrance on your right. There are good walks up the mountain on various trails, with fine views of Tegucigalpa.

A good circuit is to descend east from the mountain towards San Juan del Rancho through lovely landscapes on a good dirt road, then connect with the paved road to El Zamorano. From there continue either to El Zamorano, or return to Tegucigalpa.

Valle de Angeles

About 30 minutes' drive from Tegucigalpa, Valle de Angeles is on a plain below
Monte San Juan
, with
Cerro El Picacho
(2270m) and
Cerro La Tigra
nearby. It is a popular spot for trips from the city, with a cool climate year round and is surrounded by pine forests. There are tracks going through the forests, old mines to explore, a picnic area and a swimming pool; consequently it is crowded on Sundays.
At the top of Cerro El Picacho there is a stunning view of the city, and if so inclined you can visit the
zoo
, of mostly indigenous animals including jaguar, spider monkeys and other animals and birds.

Parque Nacional La Tigra

Continue to San Juan de Flores (also called Cantarranas) and San Juancito, an old mining town. From here you can climb in the La Tigra cloud forest and even walk along the top before descending to El Hatillo and then to Tegucigalpa.

There are good climbs to the heights of Picacho and excellent hikes in the Parque Nacional La Tigra cloud forest. Only 11 km from Tegucigalpa, this cloud forest covers 238 sq km and is considered one of the richest habitats in the world with a great diversity of flora and fauna - bromeliads, orchids, arborescent ferns and over 200 species of bird. Single hikers must have a guide. There are two approach routes: go to
El Piligüin
for the Jutiapa entrance, from where you can start hiking, or to Gloriales Inn in El Hatillo. You can also walk 24 km from Tegucigalpa to the Jutiapa entrance. Then hike to the visitor centre of La Tigra at El Rosario. Alternatively, go to
San Juancito
, above which is the national park.

A recommended hike is the
Sendero La Esperanza
, which leads to the road; turn right then take the
Sendero Bosque Nublado
on your left. The whole circuit takes about one hour 20 minutes. A few quetzal birds survive here, but you will need a good eye. In the rainy season (June, July, October and November) there is a spectacular 100-m waterfall (Cascada de la Gloria), which falls on a vast igneous rock. Do not leave paths when walking as there are steep drops. Also get advice about personal safety, as robberies have occurred.

From Parque Herrera in Tegucigalpa, buses throughout the day go to the village of
El Piligüin
, north of Santa Lucía. A delightful 40-minute walk down the pine-clad mountainside leads to
El Chimbo
(meals at
pulpería
or shop, ask anyone the way), then take bus either to Valle de Angeles or Tegucigalpa.

At Km 24 on the road to Danlí, there are climbs to the highest peak through the Uyuca rainforest. Information is available from the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana in the breathtaking
Valle del Zamorano
, or from the
Amitigra
office in Tegucigalpa . The school has rooms for visitors. Visits to the school are organized by some tour operators. On the northwest flank of Uyuca is the picturesque village of
Tatumbla
.

Suyapa

Southeast of Tegucigalpa, the village of Suyapa attracts pilgrims to its big church, home to a tiny wooden image of the Virgin, about 8 cm high, set into the altar. A fiesta is held 1-4 February . Take a bus to the University or to Suyapa from 'La Isla', one block northwest of the city stadium.

Sabanagrande

Further south (40 km) is Sabanagrande, just off the main highway. This typical colonial town, complete with cobbled streets, is a good day trip from Tegucigalpa. There is an interesting colonial church (1809), Nuestra Señora del Rosario 'Apa Kun Ka' (the place of water for washing), with the
fiesta
of La Virgen de Candelaria from 1-11 February. At 1000 m, it has a mild climate, beautiful scenery with pleasant walks, including views to the Pacific and the Gulf of Fonseca. The town is famous for its
rosquillas
(a type of biscuit).

Ojojona

Ojojona is another quaint, completely unspoiled, old village about 30 minutes (24 km) south of Tegucigalpa; turn right off the Southern Highway. The village pottery is interesting but make your selection carefully as some of it is reported to be of poor quality. La Casona del Pueblo offers the best handicrafts in town, including fine rustic ceramics. Fiesta 18-20 January. There are two well-preserved colonial churches in Ojojona, with fine paintings, plus two more in nearby Santa Ana, which is passed on the way from Tegucigalpa.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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