San Pedro Sula and around

San Pedro Sula is the second largest and most industrialized city in the country and a centre for the banana, coffee, sugar and timber trades. It is a distribution hub for northern and western Honduras with good road links. Its business community is mainly of Arab origin, and it is considered the fastest-growing city between Mexico and Panama. By Central American standards, San Pedro Sula is a well-planned, modern city, but it's not a city you'll be inclined to stay in for long.

Best time to visit

Although pleasant in the cooler season from November to February, temperatures are very high for the rest of the year. It is, nevertheless, a green city, clean and the traffic is not too bad. The higher and cooler suburb of Bella Vista, with its fine views over the city, affords relief from the intense heat of the town centre.

Background

The city was founded in 1536 by Pedro de Alvarado in the lush and fertile valley of the Ulúa (Sula) River, beneath the forested slopes of the Merendón mountains. There are many banana plantations.

Sights

The large neocolonial-style
cathedral
was completed in the 1950s.
Museo de Antropología e Historia
, has displays of the cultures that once inhabited the Ulúa Valley up to Spanish colonization and, on the first floor, local history since colonization. There is a museum café in the adjacent garden with fine stelae and a good set lunch.
Museo Jorge Milla Oviedo
, is run by the foundation that cares for the Cuero y Salado wildlife reserve.

Parque Nacional Cusuco

Parque Nacional Cusuco, 20 km west of San Pedro Sula, offers some excellent hikes, trails and birdwatching in cloud forest. Now managed by the Fundación Ecológica Héctor Rodrigo Pastor Fasquelle (HRPF), the park was exploited for lumber until the 1950s. It was declared a protected area in 1959 when the Venezuelan ecologist, Geraldo Budowski, reported the pine trees there were the highest in Central America. Cutting was stopped and the lumber company abandoned the site. It is a splendid location and well worth the effort. The area includes tropical rainforest and cloud forest with all the associated flora and fauna. It includes both
Cerro Jilinco
, 2242 m, and
Cerro San Ildefonso
, 2228 m. There are four trails, ranging from 30 minutes to two days. They use old logging roads traversing forested ridges with good views. HRPF produces a bird checklist that includes the quetzal.

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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