San Pedro Sula



The country's manufacturing and commercial center, San Pedro Sula is the fastest-growing city in Honduras and one of the most prosperous. Many foreign companies have set up operations there, especially U.S. textile companies. Located 110 mi/175 km northwest of Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula will most likely figure into travelers' itineraries as a transportation hub: There's an international airport there, and it can serve as a base for excursions to other areas. There are only a few attractions in the city itself.

One is the very modern shopping mall next door to the Camino Real InterContinental Hotel. Travelers will probably be more interested in the Guamilito Handicraft Market, however. It's within walking distance of the city's Central Plaza and has an impressive array of Honduras' famous handicrafts. Be sure to haggle. Also near downtown is the Museum of History and Anthropology, with artifacts dating back to pre-Columbian times. It has an outdoor cafeteria and a gift shop.

While it is best to make arrangements for tours into the countryside before arriving in San Pedro Sula, excellent local operators can be found through the major hotels. The most common outing is to Copan, which is a three-hour drive away. It is preferable to hook onto a tour group, as local buses may take as long as five hours to make the trip.

Regular tours also run to other destinations, including Lake Yojoa and Pulhapanzak Waterfalls (a scenic one-day trip); Omoa Fortress (a tour of a 1700s outpost combined with a trip to a beach resort); and Tela (including visits to a banana plantation, a mahogany-wood-carving factory, the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, a swim at a beach and a tour of a Garifuna village).

A more specialized excursion, which must be arranged in advance, uses a four-wheel-drive vehicle to visit Cusuco Cloud Forest. It's home to birds, orchids, bromeliads and sometimes tapirs and armadillos.

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