Tegucigalpa

Tegucigalpa is the capital of and largest city in Honduras.

Understand

Tegucigalpa Skyline Urban Quarter

Tegucigalpa (Hondurans in general, and people familiar with the city, shorten it to "Tegus", while most locals actually use the full name...) is a great example Central America of urban sprawl gone amok, spread out across very hilly terrain.

Of course, the city, a 400 year-old mining center, has a depth that is there for those with time and nerve to find it. It has a plethora of interesting, if decaying, old colonial buildings, and many old stone streets winding intriguingly up steep hills to hidden parks, stone steps, and old houses.

The defining event in recent Honduran history, and that of Tegucigalpa also, is Hurricane Mitch, which devastated the country in 1998. Mitch reportedly set the country back 50 years. Tegus is still recovering from the massive flooding of the river, and equally massive landslides, both triggered by the rampant deforestation of the hills surrounding the city. Indeed, signs of whole colonias (neighbourhoods) having slid off steep hills are still evident. Workers continue to toil daily in the river, removing silt deposited by the flooding. Many or most people lost friends and relatives during the crisis.

Get in

By bus

There are a number of bus international bus lines running to Tegus from other Central American capitals. These offer first class, very comfortable service at a reasonable price. A trip from Managua, San Salvador, or Guatemala City would cost between 20-40 USD. Ticabus, is the most affordable and frequented by backpackers. Hedman Alas , Nicabus, and King Quality, are other first class, reliable bus companies. Of course, it is also possible to travel on less comfortable, less expensive lines, but this is difficult or impossible to plan from afar. Internal travel in Honduras is easy enough, and made more easy thanks to the excellent transportation guide published by the Honduran tourism magazine called Honduras Tips, and available online at their website. Travel from La Ceiba, on the north coast, Empresa de Bus Cristina provides good service, at around 10USD for the 7-8h trip.

95% of buses coming to Tegus arrive into Comayagüela, the sister city of Tegucigalpa. It is also reputedly one of the more dangerous parts of the city. If arriving to Comayagüela after dark, do not walk around looking for a place to stay. Even in the day, walking from bus stations in Comayagüela to a hotel or hostel any distance away would be a bit risky.

By plane

Airlines offering international service to Tegus include:

Tegucigalpa has a very nice, modern airport, though there are few budget flights to the city. Possibly less expensive is to fly to San Pedro Sula to the north and closer to the resorts on the Caribbean coast and take a bus from there to Tegucigalpa via Hedman Alas, Transportes Viana or any one of many other less expensive operators. Taxis from the airport to downtown may be negotiated to ~L100 as of June 2009.

Get around

The football (soccer) stadium is a great central point for learning your bearings map-wise of the city. Several of the larger roads meet in a round-about that uses the stadium as its hub.

By taxi

As of June 2009, taxis (directos) will cost ~L80 for a 20 minute cross-town trip. Negotiating for the price (before getting in) is expected. Taxi drivers are a bit wild, so buckle up (oops, they don't have seatbelts). Prices increase with number of passengers and late at night. Don't be afraid to walk away from an expensive offer - taxis are everywhere and you'll likely win the negotiation by walking away.

Colectivos, like the city buses, run set routes from one point to another. If you see a long line of people weaving down a side walk, this is most likely a collectivo line. As of June 2009, colectivos cost L11/person.

By bus

As of March 2007, Buses were 3 Lempira ($0.16) but run set routes that most visitors won't know.

There are common bus stops throughout the town, but are unlabeled. Find a large group of people standing on the sidewalks for the largest selection of bus routes. To know the main destinations of the buses, look on the front of the bus above the windshield. Most buses operate to distinct neighborhoods and link to El Centro or the market in Comayaguela. In the market in Comayaguela you can also find many inter-city buses with various prices and various levels of comfort, ranging from the most common chicken-bus to double decker luxury buses.

See

Do

Buy

Eat

Tegus has a unhealthy variety of American food restaurants: McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Subway, etc. All follow "home office" food preparation procedures and travelers can eat at them without fear of getting sick. The food court of Multiplaza will do for on-the-go meals.

Tipping in Honduras is 10%. Tipping is not generally expected at smaller restaurants but always appreciated.

Drink

Friday and Saturday nights after nine may get a tiny bit dangerous as the alcohol content in the patrons goes up. In Honduras, empty beer bottles are left on the tables until the bill is paid, so you can get a very quick visual indication of where cooler heads will prevail and where tempers may rise just by looking.

Beers range in price from L12 to L30 depending on where you buy them. The cheapest way to go is to buy bottles from a store, however to do this, or at least to get the cheapest price, you need to have a supply of empties to exchange for new ones. You will have to pay more the first time to buy the bottles, but then you've got the cycle going...

Decent rum is incredibly inexpensive in supermarkets (think $6/bottle for what would be $25 elsewhere).

Honduras has four national beers, Salva Vida, Imperial, Port Royal, and Barena. They are all quite similar, all lagers. Port Royal is a bit skunkier, and Imperial may be a bit more flavorful.

The local hootch, known as "guaro" presumably deriving from "aguardiente" (fire water), comes in two brands, Tatascan and Yuscaran. This is cheap, strong cane liquor, the choice selection of drunks in Honduras. At 40% alcohol, a litre of this stuff could run you as little as a dollar. Probably best to avoid... or a one time occasion.

Sleep

Several cheap hotels can be found 15 minutes east of the center on Avenida Gutenberg. There are also many economical hotelitos and hospedajes (as well as some upmarket ones) around Inglesia Los Dolores, 5 calle.

Stay Safe

The most important rule for street safety in Tegucigalpa is to never walk anywhere after dark. Are there areas of the city that are safe to walk in after dark? Yes. As an (assumedly) short-term traveler, do you know what they are? No.

In general, no one in Honduras will intervene during a crime. They do not want to get involved and reap the anger of the perpetrator. They will look the other way and walk right on by. Take special care at night. It is common for a foreigner to be robbed on the streets of Tegucigalpa at night. Thieves will stake out areas near tourist hotels, especially the Hotel Maya.

Cars are commonly broken into in broad daylight and the thieves don't even bother wearing masks. If you are driving, it is always worth it to pay to park in a guarded lot.

Follow these general guidelines:

Cope

Embassies

Go next

The Rooster's Guesthouse If you want to stay longer in Valle de Angeles and want to have a closer experience with Locals, try The Rooster's Guesthouse with private cabins, family rooms and dormitories.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 22, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.