Santa Rosa de Copan, Western Honduras’ Coffee Capital
Santa Rosa de Copan is the most important commercial city in Western Honduras. It is also the capital of the department of Copan. The city is a major agricultural hub for coffee and tobacco. You can buy both, great Honduran coffee and export quality cigars here. Santa Rosa is easy to get to. The CA4 highway that connects San Pedro Sula with El Salvador passes through Santa Rosa de Copan. This highway leads west towards the city of Nueva Ocotepeque in Honduras and on the El Poy Border. Across the border you will find the town of San Ignacio in El Salvador. In Ocotepeque you will arrive at a junction with highway CA10. This highway leads North towards the city of Esquipulas in Guatemala. You will cross the border at Aguacaliente.
Coffee and Tobacco, Santa Rosa de Copan’s Claim to Fame
Santa Rosa is in the Western Highlands of Honduras. It sits at an altitude of just over 1000 meters above sea level. This provides for a cool, fresh mountain climate that can get chilly at night. The surrounding mountains are all clad with pines. This is coffee growing territory and offers ideal conditions for growing these aromatic beans. There are two registered coffee denominations of origin in Honduras. One of them has its headquarters in Santa Rosa de Copan: Western Honduras Coffee. (The other one is Café de Marcala)
The Spanish Crown authorized the planting of tobacco around Santa Rosa de Copan. During colonial times, this activity fueled the development and growth of the city. Even today, you will find that Santa Rosa de Copan produces export quality cigars. Don Melo, the brand that the local cigar factory produces, is one of the best cigars in Honduras. Best of all, you can visit the factory and buy some cigars direct from them!
Santa Rosa has maintained its colonial charm. You will find cobblestoned streets and old buildings with an early republican architecture. Best of all are friendly people are live here! The city is very safe and ideal to take a stroll in the evenings. Visit and explore the diversity of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. As a general rule, Santa Rosa de Copan offers reasonable prices. The same is true for hotels and hostels.
Around Santa Rosa de Copan
Although part of the department of Copan, the town of Copan Ruinas is rather far from Santa Rosa to plan a day tour from one to the other. There are however, many nice quaint towns around Santa Rosa that you can visit as part of a one day tour. You can say that Santa Rosa de Copan is the gateway to the Lenca Trail. Max Elvir, a local entrepreneur who coined the Lenca Trail route offers a variety of day tours around Santa Rosa de Copan. His company is Lenca Land Tours and you can find them in the lobby of the Hotel Elvir.
These tours include the city of Gracias, in nearby Lempira. Another interesting town is Belen Gualcho in also nearby Ocotepeque. Many other small towns are nearby. Most have an interesting story and offer outstanding rural, mountainous scenery.
Nearby is Celaque National Park, the highest peak in Honduras. Nearby is the famous Congolon, a rocky peak that was the refuge for local chieftain Lempira. Lempira is considered the first true Honduran hero. (The local currency bears his name!)
If you decide to follow the Lenca Trail, Santa Rosa de Copan is the ideal gateway. From here you can continue your journey to Gracias, the first capital of Central America. From there, a scenic highway leads to La Esperanza, the highest city in Honduras.
While in Santa Rosa, make sure you walk through the local market and the central park. Both are icons of the city. Central Park has a small kiosk or gazebo where you will find outstanding tourist information available. If you want to experience life in a small Central American City, Santa Rosa de Copan is one of the best alternatives in Honduras.