Mini-guide to San Pedro Sula
Located in the north of Honduras on the edges of the fertile Sula
Valley, San Pedro Sula is Honduras' second largest city with
approximately 800,000 citizens. It is the business and commerce capital
of the country and home to a modern airport, which is serviced by
International Airlines. These include TACA, American Airlines, Continental,
Iberia, Copa, Sol Air, Atlantic Airlines and others. The city is also
situated close to the Merendon Mountain Range, which creates an impressive
backdrop when you are downtown looking north or when you are flying
into the city's airport.
Nomadic people are believed to have traveled in the Sula Valley
from before 1500 BC. Around 700 BC groups began to settle in the
valley and agriculture began. Squash, corn, beans, wild chilies, herbs,
bell peppers and cacao are believed to have been the first plants
cultivated while turkeys, ducks and dogs were domesticated.
Objects of clay, stone, bone and shell from this period have survived
until today. During 200 AD until 900 AD numerous villages existed
in the Sula Valley. During this period, the area's art reached its
highest point technically and aesthetically. Pottery and ceramic vessels
were taken to Copan and further afield into Central America. Also,
during this time, the major architectural structures were built in
During 900 AD and 1500 AD the local population began to decline.
No one is certain why, but recent discoveries have pointed towards
the possibility of a plague, severe erosion, soil degradation and/or
a long drought as possible reasons.
Pedro de Alvarado founded the city of San Pedro Sula in 1536. The
city was to serve as a warehouse for goods flowing to and from the
Honduran North Coast Ports to Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
It was also a collection point for cocoa, indigo, leather, sarsaparilla
and canfistula (a plant used medicinally).
Due to continual attacks of the city by pirates, the local residents
decided to move away from the city into the countryside where they
lived a self sufficient life. The city was nearly deserted until the
later colonial era when it became a base for cattle ranchers.
In the mid 19th century, San Pedro Sula's fortunes changed when commerce
picked up at the port of Omoa and San Pedro Sula again became an important
commerce spot in Honduras. But it was the growth of the Banana Industry
and the reopening of Puerto Cortes that really set the city in motion
to become Honduras commerce center.
Today San Pedro Sula is one of Central America's fastest growing
cities. Business and commerce continue to grow to today as does the
city's modern facilities and services.
Central Park and main Cathedral
The Museum of Anthropology and History is located a few blocks
from Central Park on 3a Avenida between 3 and 4 Calles NO. The museum
is a must see for anyone visiting San Pedro Sula. Its displays will
take you through the Pre-Columbian to modern day history of the Sula
Valley. The museum has a wide range of Mayan artifacts that have been
found throughout the area and is open from Monday to Saturday from
9am to 4pm, is closed all day Tuesday, and Sunday it opens from 9am
to 3pm. The entrance fee is $2 for foreign visitors and 20 lps (lempiras)
for national visitors.
Guamilito Market is one the Honduras' best handicraft markets.
The market is between 8 and 9 Avenida and 6 and 7 Calles NO. The market
is open daily, usually until around 5pm. The market is a great place
to pick up souvenirs and gifts. Items of note are Honduran cigars,
mahogany carvings, Mayan replica pottery, woven baskets, hammocks
and a range of colored T-Shirts. Spend some time browsing and do not
be afraid to bargain on the prices.
The Central Park of San Pedro Sula and the main Cathedral
are definitely worth a look. The Cathedral, which was built in 1949,
has just been remodeled and restored. The new Central Park (Parque
Central) is open, fresh looking and at well lit at night. The park
is always busy, with people coming and going and moneychangers and
street vendors plying their trade. It's a great place to sit back
and people watch or to strike up a conversation with some locals.
If it is a little hot outside, a popular place to hang out is the
Espresso Americana Café, which fronts onto the park. It's air
conditioned and serves up great coffee and pastries.
The Coca Cola sign can be seen most days from the downtown
area in its position on the Merendon Mountain Range, which is a only
a 10 minute taxi ride from downtown. At night, if running, the sign
flashes Coke colors and fades in and out. Whether you are a coke fan
or not, a hike up to the sign is a good way to escape downtown and
to see some great views of the Sula Valley. The walk takes about 1
to 2 hours and goes through some nice rainforest where Toucans and
Motmots are regularly seen. Motmots are a brilliantly colored bird
and Honduras has more species than any other country.
Being a big city, San Pedro Sula has modern comforts and a range of
activities such as sporting events, shopping centers, restaurants
and nightlife. See the below sections for more information.
San Pedro Sula is a good place to stay to enjoy the facilities of
a large city and to see another side of the Honduran experience, big
city life. The city has good banking, business, communication and
hotel facilities. There is a wide range of restaurants and nightlife,
places to shop. Sampedranos, what the San Pedro Sulans are called,
are a friendly and helpful people.
The city is home to a few football teams from the national league
and a game is quite an experience to see, not just for the high quality
of football but also for the atmosphere of the crowd and for the local
passion that is a part of true Latin American Football. North Americans
will know this brand of football as soccer. Games are regularly held
in the Olympic Stadium or the Francisco Morazon Stadium, which is
located on 1 Calle between 13 and 14 avenida. Tickets start at US$3
depending on the seating and the game.
San Pedro Sula is a good place to base yourself during a visit to
Honduras, especially if you like the comforts of a big city. Day trips
can be organized to Tela, Lake Yojoa, Omoa and the Mayan Ruins of
Copan, with local travel agents or tour operators. Many rental car
companies have offices in San Pedro Sula, which is another option
for traveling around to explore the many nearby attractions.
Handicraft shop in San Pedro Sula
The Hotel Copantl is located 10 minutes from the San Pedro
Sula airport and is close to the Circunvalcion, Multi Plaza Mall and
Zona Viva. The hotel has 190 rooms, business center, conference rooms,
2 restaurants, cafeteria, swimming pool, tennis court, gym, Jacuzzi,
a lobby and piano bar and to finish it off a casino. The friendly
staff will make sure your stay is an enjoyable one.
Boulevard del Sur
Telephone: 556 7108
Room Prices: US$50 and up
The Microtel Inn and Suites have a central location and are
yet removed from the city center. The hotel has 60 comfortable rooms,
and offers cable TV, free breakfast, business center, swimming pool
and children's area. Larson's Restaurant is located nearby and the
hotels staff is first class. The hotel also organizes day trips to
the surrounding attractions of Tela, Lake Yojoa and Copan while using
the hotel as a central and comfortable base for overnight stays.
Microtel Inn and Suites
Km 4 Boulevard al Aeropuerto
Telephone: 559 0300
Room Prices: US$45 and up
Close to Central Park you will find the Hotel Terraza, which
is popular with national visitors and travelers. The hotel offers
a range of room types with varies prices. The hotel also has a restaurant,
which serves up good value meals. The hotels central location makes
it a good choice when visiting San Pedro Sula.
6 Avenida between 4 and 5 Calle SO
Room Prices: $US15 and up
Another popular hotel in the downtown area is the San Jose
a budget option, which offers clean rooms and 24-hour security.
Hotel San Jose
6 Avenida between 5 and 6 Calle SO
Room Prices: $US8 and up
Pamplona Restaurant in Central Park
Don Udos is located on Boulevard Morazon a few blocks up from
the Circunvalacion. A favorite amongst foreigners it has a good variety
of international dishes and a good variety of wine.
Meal prices: US$8 to US$15
Freds Kitchen is located in a new location on 7 Calle, 19
Ave SO in Barrio Rio de Pierdas. The Restaurant has an international
menu, friendly staff and good service and is one of the best value
for money restaurants in San Pedro Sula.
Meal Prices: US$6 to US$12
Chef Marianos is located in Zona Viva and offers a range of
Honduran and Garifuna dishes, seafood dishes being a specialty.
Meal Prices: US$6 to US$12
Las Carnitas is located in Zona Viva and is a local favorite,
for its open-air atmosphere, occasional live music and Honduran style
beef and chicken dishes.
Meal Prices: US$5 to US$10
Pamplona is located in Central Park and is a local icon. The
place gets very busy during lunch times and breakfasts. It offers
a range of national and international dishes at very good prices,
such as chicken soup for only $1.50. The restaurant is AC and offers
a nice place to escape with a cool drink and coffee from the downtown
Meal Prices: US$1.50 to US$6
Antojitos Mexicanos has 2 popular locations, one downtown
in Central Park the other on the Circunvalacion near Zona Viva. Antojitos
is one of the cheapest places to eat in the city, with Mexican style
tacos, enchiladas, tortas and so on. The Circunvalacion branch has
its own groups of Mariachis who strum and blow their stuff in the
evenings for the patrons, nice place to eat cheap, drink a beer or
two and to soak up some local atmosphere.
Meal Prices: US$2 to US$5
San Pedro Sula is home to a lot of additional eating options, which
have a wide range of prices from budget to upper class. There is far
to many to list here the above places are just some recommended places
to start. Other notable Restaurants are Ruby Tuesdays, TGI Fridays
and Applebee's. Also if you missing Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Burger
King, Subway, Church's Chicken, Popeye's, and so forth, San Pedro
Sula has no shortages of fast food places. Or better still try some
of the local fast food places such as Pollo Campero, Bicos, Power
Chicken (great name) or 2 x 1 Pizza.
Over the past year or two there has been an Internet café explosion
in the downtown area of San Pedro Sula. Instead of listing places
here I suggest you just walk a block or two from Central Park in any
direction and you should find an Internet Cafe. Currently prices are
around $.50 to $1 per hour and a few places have Internet phones for
Live Music in San Pedro Sula
San Pedro Sula has some of the country's best nightlife and is a great
place to go out and to drink and dance the night away or to catch
up on all the latest movies.
The Mall Multi Plaza, Mega Plaza and Metro Plaza all
have cinema complexes. Closer to downtown you will find 2 or 3 cinemas,
Multicines Plaza being the best. Movie releases are a few months behind
the USA or Western Countries. Most movies are shown in English with
Spanish subtitles. Ticket prices range from $1.20 to $2.50 depending
on the cinema and to extent the quality of their facilities. So if
you enjoy the movies and like nice chairs and good sound try one of
the more up market places. Movies are usually shown at 3, 5, 7 and
9 PM. Tuesday is a popular day, with 2 tickets for the price of one,
but be prepared to go early to get a seat, as sometimes tickets do
sell out. All local papers have a daily cinema schedule.
San Pedro Sula is home to a lot of bars. A fun night can be had in
Zona Viva going from bar to bar. A local favorite and fun place
to hang out is La Cava in Barrio Los Andes 2 and 3 Calle, 16
Ave NO. Great Karaoke nights and occasional live music on the weekends
packs the people in. Jerry the owner mixes a range or cocktails. Watch
out for the Barcardi 121 or ask if he has some Guaro for a fire packed
drink. There is a good selection of music and the patrons are always
happy to have a chat.
Karaoke Club in Zona Viva is a popular place with the locals
and even if you are not a Karaoke fan it can be a good place to catch
some quality music. The quality of the singers is at times surprising
and at other times not so surprising. Big Daddies, Caribbean and
Gators Sports Bar are also all popular spots in Zona Viva. Bars
do come and go regularly in San Pedro Sula, so just look for a place
with some people and some music.
TGI Fridays, Applebee's, Ruby Tuesdays and Fogancito's are
all popular places to eat and drink on the weekends. All places are
well located near the Circunvalcion.
For a bit more local color and atmosphere, consider visiting a local
disco. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular.
But most discos are open every night except Monday. Check the local
papers for promotion nights such as ladies night, live music, beer
promotions or open bar (cover charge, then all you care to drink).
The pick of the discos is Kawamas Bay, which is located on
the Circunvalcion. The disco plays a lot of Latin music and has a
friendly staff. It can get very busy on the weekends usually around
11.00 PM. The disco stays open to 5 AM or 6 PM and it is a place to
dance. You will find more people on the dance floor than at the bar
or tables and chairs for most of the night. So put on your dancing
shoes and be ready for some Salsa, Merengue and Punta. No need to
worry, since you will still get a bit of house, rock and techno music.
Cover charges vary from $2.50 to $6, depending on the night.
Confetti's Disco is also popular and is only located a block
on from Kawamas Bay. Confetti's also fills up on the weekends and
stays open to around 5am or 6am. The disco plays a variety of music
on the weekends and a bit more house and techno music than Kawamas
Bay. Cover charges vary from $2.50 to $6.
Millenium Disco is located in the Social Club Arabe
at the end of Barrio Rio Pierdas the disco is the classiest place
in town. Friday and Saturday nights are busy and cover charges vary
from $3.50 to $6.
The Sampedrano Cultural Center holds regularly events such
as concerts, performances and art shows. Call (504) 553-3911 or 553-3768
for event schedules.
For safety reasons, be sure to take a taxi when traveling even just
a few blocks after dark. Walking around Zona Viva is OK but only within
a block or two radius of the area. Otherwise just get a taxi, most
fares cost $2 to $3, but prices do go up the later the night gets.
San Pedro Sula Folkloric Festival
WHEN TO GO AND WHY
San Pedro Sula can be visited at all times of year. Two special times
to visit are during the Fair of June or Feria de Juliana.
The month long celebrations range from Cultural Events, Live Music,
Street Carnivals, AGAS Agricultural Fair to the Expo Centro Fair,
which includes live music and food.
The Fair, though not as well known as Carnival in La Ceiba, offers
a good chance to join the Sanpedranos in celebrating their city. Again
at nights be sure to take a taxi other than that it is a great time
to visit San Pedro Sula.
The other special time to visit is during the Folkloric Festival,
which runs over 2 Saturday nights in September. The festival is a
cultural event, which includes country food stands, music and national
presentations of music and dance from different international cultural
groups that have made their home in San Pedro Sula. To top this off
a famous Latin American Group also plays. If you are visiting Honduras
for a long period of time be sure to pencil this event in, as it is
one of the country's best.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Ramon Villeda Morales - San Pedro Sula Airport is located
13 kms from downtown. TACA, Continental, American, Iberia, Sol Air,
Copa Air (from Panama) and Atlantic Airlines (from Belize City and
Managua) all fly into San Pedro Sula. While Islena, Sosa and Atlantic
Airlines connect the city to major destinations such as Tegucigalpa,
La Ceiba, Roatan, Guanaja and Utila.
Buses to and from San Pedro Sula leave to and from most major locations
in Honduras, including Copan Ruinas, Tegucigalpa, Tela and La Ceiba,
with some traveling direct and non-stop and others stopping in route.
Each of the capitals of the countries surrounding Honduras are also
served by buses: Managua, San Salvador, Guatemala City. Each bus company
has its own station but most are found a few blocks west of Central
MAJOR BUS COMPANIES
7 and 8 Avenida, 3 Calle NO
Telephone: 553 1361
First Class buses to and from Guatemala City, Copan, Tegucigalpa,
Tela, La Ceiba and the San Pedro Sula airport.
El Rey Express
Barrio Paz Barahona
9 Avenida 9 and 10 Calle
Telephone: 550 8355
Direct Buses to and from Tegucigalpa, hourly
2 Avenida 5 and 6 Calle SO
Telephone: 552 1042
Direct Buses to and from Tela and La Ceiba, hourly
Circunvalcion and the Merendon Mountain Range.
Toritos and Copanecos
6 Avenida 8 and 9 Calle SO
Telephone: 553 4930
Direct Buses to and from Nueva Ocotepeque via Santa Rosa de Copan,
7 to 8 buses daily
6 Avenida 7 and 8 Calle SO
Telephone: 553 0070
Buses to and from Puerto Cortes, hourly
Texaco, Monumento a la Madre
Direct buses to and from Managua and El Salvador
San Pedro Sula, like so many large and growing cities, does have its
fair share of crime. Travel common sense should be used at all times,
such as taking taxis at night or when you are not sure of where you
are going. Fares should range between US$2 in the downtown area and
should cost US$10 from the airport to the downtown area. Visiting
poor areas (slumming, as some call it) is never a good idea. Also,
do not wear fancy jewelry, watches or expensive sunglasses and don't
carry large amounts of money or valuables with you. American Express
Traveller's Checks should be carried instead of cash.
A lot of people, as they say, get stuck in San Pedro Sula awaiting
connecting flights. Hopefully this guide may give you with some ideas
on how to fill your time. To squeeze as much in as possible in an
overnight, I would visit the Museum of Anthropology and History, shop
in Guamalito Handicrafts Market, visit Central Park, admire the Coca
Cola sign from a distance while pondering the influence of multinational
companies worldwide. There is a good view of the sign from the Cathedral's
front steps. And then treat yourself to a nice meal and a few drinks
or go catch a movie.
TOUR AND TRAVEL COMPANIES:
Telephone: 557 8447
Microtel Inn and Suites
Km 4 Boulevard al Aero Puerto
Telephone: 559 0300
NOTE: Things can change quickly in San Pedro Sula, so the
information provided, including recommendations and prices are subject
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