At a first glance, you might thing that there are few things to do in San Pedro Sula. The city is a modern bustling center that has a lot to offer. San Pedro Sula is NOT the murder capital of the World! The city offers an array of fantastic restaurants and hotels. There are also several museums, a great theater and a cultural center. Oh, and I must add that you should not let yourself be intimidated by the reputation the precedes San Pedro Sula. Sure, there are some dangerous neighborhoods as in every other city. But you will not even be near them, so relax and enjoy the city!
San Pedro makes a great place from where to launch your discovery of Honduras. It offers many nearby attractions. One of the most complete networks of highways in Central America leads from the city. Thus, it is a breeze to visit the different points of interest in the area. Following are a few of the more interesting options. I recommend that you consult with the local tour operators to get the most from your quest to discover Honduras.
San Pedro Sula boasts the most important of the four airports in Honduras. It is the easiest city to fly into Honduras.
Things to do in San Pedro Sula
A touring visit to San Pedro Sula without a stop at the Guamilito market is not complete. The Guamilito market is the most colorful market in town. This is where you will find all the Honduran souvenirs. It is also the local flower market, so you can find a variety of flowers grown in Honduras. The market occupies the city block between the 8a and 9a Avenidas and 5a y 6a Calles N.O.. The area next to the market offers a variety of souvenir stores. There is even a complete tobacco store where you can buy the best Honduran cigars. When shopping at the market, always remember to barter. Prices here are not fixed here and everyone barters the price down.
Museum of Anthropology and History
If you would like to learn about the history of San Pedro Sula, then a stop at The Museum of Anthropology and History of San Pedro Sula is a must. The museum is on the corner of 3a Avenida with 4a Calle N.O. Entrance fee is Lps. 25.00 per person for Honduran citizens. Foreigners pay $3.00 US dollars pero person. Open Monday through Satruday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Museum does not open on Tuesdays. On Sundays it is open from 9:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. A good tip, the first Sunday of every month entrance is free for all! The museum has exhibits that range from pre-colombian times to modern days. Highlights are the founding of the city and the influx of Palestinian immigrants. San Pedro Sula has a large Christian Palestinian population that has helped propel the city into a commercial hub.
Mi Pequeño Sula Children’s Museum
San Pedro Sula boasts a children’s museum ( Mi Pequeño Sula ). You will find it on the south side of the city, at the intersection between the Segundo Anillo Circunvalacion and the Boulevard del Sur. This facility features a great planetarium exhibit. Also, a Jurassic Adventure offers life size replicas of several dinosaurs. The cavern exhibit is a replica of the Taulabe Caves, located near the Yojoa Lake. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. Saturdays they are open from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. Entrance fee is Lps. 25 for children and Lps. 45 for adults. Please note that there is an surcharge for some of the attractions. For more information, you can call (504) 2556 5114.
Centro Cultural Sampedrano
The Centro Cultural Sampedrano is the cultural center of town. Here you will find the public library. The Center also hosts and organizes most of the cultural events going on in San Pedro Sula. It often schedules events and exhibits. For complete information, visit the center to get more information. It is on 4a Avenida with 3a Calle N.O. Telephone is 2553 3911.
Francisco Saybe Theater
The Francisco Saybe Theater, is on Avenida Circunvalacion,. You will find it next to the San Pedro Sula University. The theater is the pride of town, and is always showing plays that are well worth while. This is a world class theater and by far the best in the country. Find out what shows are playing in the local newspapers.
One of the most overlooked secrets in San Pedro Sula is Angeli Gardens. This is a tropical plant nursery turned into a full service nature retreat. It is within San Pedro Sula, and offers the only private trails into the Merendon Mountains. These mountains serve as a backdrop to the city. The trails are great for walking in nature and offer some great lookouts of the city. To add some adventure to your hike, walk over the suspension bridge and feel like Indiana Jones in your personal quest for adventure! The Angeli Gardens offer a full service restaurant facility. They also hold evening musical events with local musicians. The gardens are no further than 20 minutes from your hotel in San Pedro Sula, so make sure you do not miss them!
Things to do in San Pedro Sula Near the City
A great option to enjoy the lush tropical rain forest of the Merendon mountains just West of San Pedro Sula. This attraction, located only minutes from San Pedro Sula is set in an old coffee “finca” or farm. El Ocote farm sits just over 2,500 ft above the valley. Enjoy the spectacular panoramic views of the city. It provides a refreshing escape from the hot humid climate of San Pedro Sula. The facility includes 8 ziplines and 4 jungle bridges. They offer an exiting and challenging experience. A nice trail allows you to enjoy nature at your own pace. The trail follows a nice dry canyon, across a crystal clear creek and back up through the coffee farm.
The best time to see a variety of birds and squirrels that live in this part of the mountain is early in the morning. The Canopy tour itself will take you no more than 2 ½ hours if you are part of a large group, less if your group is smaller. A total capacity of up to 19 persons. The facility is at Km. 4 of the Colonia Primavera to Merendon dirt road, a short 15 minutes from town. To make reservations call 3338 3662 or contact your local tour operator.
El Cusuco National Cloud Forest Park.
This national park is just west of San Pedro Sula. It is in the impressive Merendon Mountain Range that dominates the city. You need a four wheel drive vehicle to get up to the mountain, and the roads are not well marked. If you you feel you must visit this National Park, you should arrange for a guided tour with a local tour operator. I do not recommend trying to go there on your own!
Lake Yojoa, Pullapanzak Waterfalls and Los Naranjos Eco-Archaeological Park.
The largest natural lake in Honduras, Lake Yojoa is a haven for black bass and big mouth bass fishers. It also offers some of the best bird watching opportunities in Honduras. Motmots, toucans, parrots and many other tropical birds live around the lake. Two national parks surround Lake Yojoa: Santa Barbara and Azul Meambar National parks. The latter is also known as PANACAM. The lake is 100 km south of San Pedro, on the road to Tegucigalpa. Travel time from your hotel will be under within 90 minutes of downtown San Pedro Sula. Lake Yojoa offers great opportunities for both day and overnight adventures.
There are several hotels within the Lake Yojoa area. The largest is Brisas del Lago, located on the northern coast of the lake. Just beyond Brisas del Lago is Finca Las Glorias, built within a working coffee farm. To get there, take the detour to the road leading to the town of Peña Blanca. The Hotel Brisas del Lago offers a large swimming pool a restaurant and of course rooms. Past the town of Pena Blanca, on the road towards el Mochito, you will find a couple of other properties. Bio Parque Paradise and the D&D Brewery and Lodge. Both are great alternatives for close contact with nature. D&D serves some of the best microbrewery ales in Central America.
On the opposite side of Lake Yojoa, along the CA5 highway you will find many other hotels. Some of the most outstanding are Casa Lenca and La Posada at Honduyate. Both offer great restaurant alternatives is you are looking for a good place for lunch with a lake view.
Pulhapanzak waterfall is in the vicinity. It is said that this waterfall inspired the falls featured in the book of the jungle film by Disney many years ago. Perhaps the best view of the falls is from the zip line cable at Pulhapanzak waterfall. The tour will take you across the canyon several times, offering spectacular views of falls from above! There are basic installations for visitors in the area surrounding the falls. Don’t forget your bathing suit on this trip to enjoy and fantastic natural pools in which to swim! There is an entrance fee to this private park.
Los Naranjos is Honduras’ most recent archaeological park. It is on the shores of Lake Yojoa. To get there, follow the detour is clearly marked from the main road between Pena Blanca and La Guama. This is just outside of Pena Blanca. From the detour, there is a dirt road that is approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) to the community of El Jaral. The road ends at the lake, and on the right side you will find the entrance to the park.
Although archaeologically speaking the park is modest. You will not see much other than a few large unexcavated mounds. The natural environment around the park is outstanding. There is also great bird watching here! There are over 4 miles (6 kilometers) of trails in the park. This includes an elevated boardwalk almost half a mile long. At the end of the trail you will find a nice suspension bridge over a man made canal.
The visitors center includes a small museum and coffee shop at the parks entrance. Good clean bathrooms are also available. Entrance to the park is worth $5.00 USA dollars per person. Unfortunately, there are no guides or booklets available to assist you during your visit.
If you want to spend the night in the vicinity of Los Naranjos, your best option is D&D Microbrewery and Bed and Breakfast. They are within walking distance to the park. Thus you can make sure you are at the park early to ensure the best conditions for bird watching. Bobby, the owner at D&D and his staff can provide a wealth of information about the area. Activities include row boats for rent for less that $3.00 USA per day.
Finally, you should take note that Panacam is the easiest National Park with cloud forests that you can visit from San Pedro Sula. Although El Cusuco Park is next to San Pedro Sula, access is dificult. It also requires a four wheel drive vehicle. A regular two wheel drive car will get you to the Panacam Visitor Center without any problem!
The Maya Ruins of Copan
Copan is the most enchanting of all Mayan archaeological sites. It is also the most artistic. This intriguing ancient Mayan site is easily reached from San Pedro Sula. The highway that connects these two cities is known as the Western highway or CA4. It connects San Pedro Sula with Esquipulas and Zacapa in Guatemala via the Aguacaliente border. Travel 104 km west of San Pedro Sula in direction of Santa Rosa de Copan and you will arrive at la Entrada. This is a junction town that has become an important commercial center western Honduras. From here you will take the road that leads towards Copan Ruinas. The road leads you through lovely mountain scenery for 64 km into the Copan Valley. The road is not in good shape and currently travel time between San Pedro Sula and Copan Ruinas is between 3 and 4 hours.
Many tourists that visit Copan only walk into the main archaeological park. They never realize that there is a charming colonial town adjoining the archaeological park. Whatever your time schedules, you should make it a point to at least go into town for lunch. (There is a restaurant at the visitor’s center, where many tourists end up having a bite before returning). Also, there are several good museums with many local artifacts located in the center of town. Las Sepulturas, Rastrojon and Rio Amarillo are other nearby sites worth visiting. There are several hotels and hostels in Copan Ruinas where you can spend the night if you choose to do so. ( I recommend you do so!)
San Fernando de Omoa Fortress
Take a step into the past, when buccaneers roamed the Caribbean Sea and attacked the Spanish centers in the new world! San Fernando de Omoa is the most impressive fortification built by the Spaniards. It was part of a newtwork of fortifications to protect themselves from the pirates. Today it stands as silent testimony to an important, if difficult period in Honduran history. After touring the site, you should visit the Caribbean beaches near Puerto Cortes. Getting to San Fernando de Omoa is easy. Take the CA5 north towards Puerto Cortes, and then follow the CA13 highway West along the coast. It will take you less than 75 minutes to be in Omoa.
Lancetilla Gardens and Tela Garifuna Communities
The Lancetilla Gardens are second largest tropical botanical garden in the world is in Tela. This is about 100km (60 miles) east of San Pedro Sula, on the main CA13 road to La Ceiba. The Gardens offer you a vast array of tropical plants, as well as the birds that these usually come with. The seaside community of Tela offers some of the best beaches in Honduras, with good hotels. Neighboring Tela, the Garifuna communities of Triunfo de la Cruz and Tornabe offer a window into the Garifuna culture. Visit and learn about traditions that are an important part of the Honduran heritage.
Trinidad, Santa Barbara
This picturesque rural town is in the nearby mountains of Santa Barbara. The area is home to a thriving coffee industry. Trinidad offers the opportunity for a quick get away from the San Pedro Sula heat. Here the mountains are home to charming coffee estates. The area is less than a one hour drive. To get there, take the CA4 highway and at km. 35 (approximately 20 miles outside of San Pedro Sula) take the detour leading south towards Santa Barbara. Trinidad is just a few minutes further on.
The most complete option to enjoy this area is Estancia el Pedregal. This is a coffee and cattle farm that has developed a nice restaurant, pleasant cabins and rooms. A network of trails for horseback riding in the area is available here. Hike up to the observation tower for a panoramic view of the mountains. Interact with the farm hands and coffee pickers. Enjoy a country style meal, fish in the local pond, or relax in a hammock. All of the above options are available to you! For reservations in Estancia El Pedregal, call 2552 6365 or 2552 6359.
A local tradition during the town fair are the famous furnaces of Trinidad. Large, artistic sculptures made of wood and other materials compete for originality. They are then lit up to warm the cool nights during the local fair.
White Water Rafting
Some of the best white water rafting in Central America is right here, in Honduras. The Cangrejal River, flows into the Caribbean Sea at La Ceiba. The river is the border between Pico Bonito National Park and Nombre de Dios National Park. The lush green forest is a treat in itself. Navigating the class III and IV rapids an exhilarating experience you will not forget. The Cangrejal River is 200 km east of San Pedro Sula.
You can arrange for a one day rafting tour from San Pedro Sula. But you may be better off spending the night at the Cangrejal River Valley in one of the Cangrejal River hotels. My favorite is La Villa de Soledad.
There are two 9-hole Golf courses in the neighborhood of San Pedro Sula. The Lomas Golf & Country Club, located in Choloma, on the road towards Puerto Cortes. La Lima Country Club, is in la Lima past the airport on the road towards El Progreso. Both are open to the public and equipment rentals are available. Although not in San Pedro Sula, there are two different Golf courses in Tela. They are within an hour drive from the city. The Tela Golf Club at the Telamar Resort is part of the Banana Republic heritage of Honduras. The Championship 18 hole Golf Course at Indura Resort is the best course on the Honduras mainland. If you are serious about golfing, you may want to visit these courses!
San Pedro Sula boasts a nice selection of water parks within the city limits. For those hot, hot summer days, when you just need a refreshing atmosphere but don’t want to be locked up in a room with air-conditioning. The two most complete complexes are Zizima Water Park and Wunderland. These parks are not open daily, so check their schedules before going. They are almost always open on weekends.
Curruste Archaeological Park.
All of the Mesoamerican region was home to many different cultures, and the Sula Valley was no exception. A nice small archaeological park is located right in the valley. About 4km off the road towards the San Pedro Sula international airport. The detour is clearly marked, so you can`t miss it.