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Tourist Sites & Things to Do

Tourism

Trujillo Bay is really spectacular. With the old Spanish fort and its canons on the bluff, the big curving bay, and the almost volcano-like mountain looming behind the city, the physical setting could hardly be better. A tropical paradise in the rough, and not a Holiday Inn or Motel Six in sight. The BEACH right at the base of the center of town has a nice sand surface with a lot of activity. You can pick a champa and alternate between the sun and shade. You can buy beer or drinks at the various champa bars, or buy lunch or dinner there for a very reasonable price. If you are lucky you can find a place in the shade, or even a hammock to spend the day. Often little boys will come by and try to sell you carved stonework that is from Santa Fe (but is not a Mayan artifact, as they may claim). But it is cheap enough and a good souvenir. Starfish chandeliers and other items may also be offered, and horseback rides on rather small and docile steeds may be available.

Trujillo View

The beach further down towards the airport has the popular, more upscale Bahia Bar. Since this area is closer to the Lagoon, if there is no breeze, there may be sand fleas. Be careful to use repellant the moment you lay on the beach or get out of the water. You won’t notice the bites until it is too late. The beach to the west of town does not have any sand fleas.

Watch the water at the foot of the several streams that enter the bay, as the effluent may not be very pretty. It can be dangerous at night to walk towards the west along the beach into Cristales. Not recommended. Don’t get drunk at a champa and take a midnight beach walk alone. If you use common sense, you should have no problem.

If you have transportation, consider driving towards Puerto Castillo and about one mile before the entrance to the port on the right look for a sand road that will take you the 200 yards to the beach on the outside of the bay. You will find bigger waves, absolutely tourist free, and only a very occasional native walking by. Watch the current.

Jon Tompson: Bilingual Tour Guide with twenty years experience.

Trujillo View

Jon Tompson is a wealth of knowledge of the Trujillo bay and Honduras in general. He is extremely friendly and a true history buff, offering a variety of historical and cultural tours around the bay. He can help you with any kinds of questions regarding Honduras and the bay of Trujillo. Feel free to call him at+504 9758-8996. His email is jontompson2002@yahoo.com

Hiking

Hiking along the beach to Campamento, the Garifuna fishing villages of Santa Fe, San Antonio, or Guadalupe is easy, but you will have to wade across numerous small waterways that enter the ocean. Inquire as to the distance at which you think you may be comfortable. It’s about 10 kilometers to Santa Fe, and several more kilometers to San Antonio and Guadalupe.

Hiking in the national park above the town is beautiful and cooling as you reach the top at about 4,000 feet in altitude. The summit is a cloud forest environment. You should hear or see macaws, monkeys, giant ferns, orchids, and abundant other flowers. There is a small entrance pavilion just above the town, but nowadays it is empty. The less adventurous can drive to the top on an atv or motorcycle.

They say there is an old Spanish Royal road that traverses the low mountains just to the west of town and Mount Calentura. In places there are cobblestones from Colonial days. It leads over the ridge to the plain of the Rio Aguan. Someday, perhaps this will be developed for hikers. It begins near Campamento.

You can visit the Garifuna villages of Santa Fe, San Antonio, Guadalupe, Santa Rosa de Aguan, and Limon by car or bus. More distant, dangerous, and intrepid adventures to the Mosquitia can be accessed from Trujillo by boat.

There is a speed boat that travels directly from Trujillo to Guanaja on varying days of the week. Inquire once in Trujillo if interested.

Danny and Larry Forseth offer flights to Roatan, La Ceiba, Guanaja, and San Pedro Sula. Their six-passenger plane is comfortable and professional, but its not worth it unless you fill the seats up. You can contact them at Tranquility Bay.

Go to FUCAGUA at their office on the left 5 or 6 blocks up the road from the center of town to the Villa Brinkley. They have maps to look at and maybe some tips for excursions. Sometimes there are Peace Corps workers there with whom you may converse; at other times, there is no one who speaks English. Also you may inquire at the new Tourist Info Office in front of the fort and next to the old Commandancia (yellow building with red roof).

Five Barracudas

Birding

Birding can be very rewarding in the Trujillo area. Villa Vista Dorada sits above the ravine of the Rio Cristales, and in the morning between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. flying below the terrace we have identified at least 4 different parrots (including the yellow-naped parrot that is supposed to only be on the Bay Islands)., blue-gray tanagers, numerous hummingbirds (maybe the Emerald---but not confirmed), keel-billed toucans, and countless others. In the winter all the transient migratory birds from up North are present in addition to the locals. Further west down the coast are any number of small rivers that empty into the Carribbean just a few hundred meters from the road. Numerous interesting waterfowl can be seen on trees and stumps in the streams. The Guaimoreta Lagoon has numerous waterfowl, and you might inquire if anyone can arrange a canoe trips for you. Buy a copy of Birding Honduras by Mark Bonta and David L. Anderson (to purchase contact vicentemurphy@yahoo.com.) and take it with you. It is not so much a bird identification volume as it is an enabler of adventure and guide for side trips in Honduras, including excellent birdwatching. Check their book and you find trips like one they recommend that is only an hour and fifteen minutes east of Trujillo by paved and dirt road, where you can head into the headwaters of the Mosquitia Coast for birding and hiking and a visit to a splendid waterfall.

Jon Tompson offers many different historical tours of Trujillo and environs, and can put together a birding adventure in Betulia or a crocodile tour to the mouth of the Aguan River. He offers an excellent historical tour of downtown Trujillo and is a true history buff. He is a wealth of knowledge and has more than twenty years experience in Trujillo. He can organize fishing tours, Contact him at 9758-8996. Jon Tompson habla español.

Kim Brinkley also offers good birding tours out to her property near Santa Fe. She may be reached at

Water Sports

Water Sports are only rudimentary so far in Trujillo. There aren’t any official fishing tours, but pretty much anything can be arranged if you’re up for an adventure. Maybe a local fisherman will take you fishing in the small motorized dinghy provided to some of them by the Japanese fishing cooperative. Or maybe you can get one of the Garifuna fishermen to take you in his “cayuco” (dugout canoe), but beware as they are low to the water and not very stable. If you’re lucky and have your sea legs in you, you’ll be able to glide back with a custom plastic tarp sail. The dock is pretty dilapidated but still functional. Bambu rents kayaks at a pretty steep price, and there are jet skis available by inquiry.

Trujillo View

Jon Tompson can arrange fishing, snorkeling, or diving tours. Call him at 9758-8996. Recently he has had access to the 40’ fishing cruiser of Jonny Hindes. This is a big, nice boat suitable for families or groups. Even if the fishing is no good, its nice to be out on the bay enjoying the sun and sea out by Puerta Castilla.

Cruise Ship Terminal

Randy Jorgensen and his company Banana Coast Tours have built a multi-colored cruise ship terminal in Río Negro to support the recent influx of cruise ships that are set to arrive weekly starting in October of this year. At the beginning of this year a small ship called the SS Yorktown came three times and small group of passengers reportedly had a great time on various different tours. Starting at the end of 2014, the ships are set to come with regularity, eventually becoming a go-to stop in the Caribbean cruise ship route. The captain of the SS Yorktown commented that “Trujillo is the most beautiful port we’ve visited,” probably because of its authenticity and beautiful mountain backdrop. The cruise ships will anchor outside the terminal and smaller boats will ferry the passengers to the terminal.

Trujillo is excited to welcome cruise ships such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Silver Seas, P & O and Oceania Cruises every Wednesday beginning this October.

Campo del Mar

Campo del Mar Nature Park is the first park open in a planned 4 park system. The Nature Park is a large park with beautiful botanical gardens, an orchard, vegetable garden and local artisan displays. The park has monkeys and tropical birds. Campo del Mar also offers a restaurant, 2 pools, water trampoline and bar on the beach which has been expanded to accommodate large groups. While the beach can become very windy in the late afternoons, it is a beautiful stretch of untouched sand with lots of chairs and small champas for shade. The park is open weekly to the public for Sunday lunches and is available for group events. Coming soon is the River Park which is currently under construction and future plans for a Heritage Park and Wildlife Park. For more information you can call 504 9849-0936

Banana Coast Tours

Banana Coast Tours offers a variety of packaged tours in a nice mini-bus to locations around the bay:

Santa Rosa de Aguan jungle river tour ATV Jungle Adventure

Beach ATV ride

Nature Park walking tour

Guaymoreto Kayak Tour

Historical Trujillo by tram

Historical Tram, Nature park, and beach-

Starfish Snorkel & Beach Break

Horseback Adventure and Nature park

Hot Springs

The Hot Spring is about seven kilometers from the center of town just beyond the Pesh village of Silin. You pay a small entrance fee (50 lempiras) to enter the wonderful hot springs, and an additional charge for a 30-40 minute massage. Great way to relax after some hard traveling or hiking, and the food is good when it is available. Take bug spray if sunset is approaching. There seems to be good birding at this location also.Thermal Hot springs in Silín near UNO gas station

Some nice natural tubs perched on a little hill on fifty acres of pleasant jungle surroundings. The Hotel Prada is currently closed. Call Charlie Biondillo 99124569 for information and booking. A great experience in a unique niche of Trujillo.

Fishing Villages

The Garifuna FISHING VILLAGES of Santa Fe, San Antonio, and Guadalupe are picturesque and reachable by the unpaved road that is just back from the beach and stretches to the west of town. Only in the last 10 or 15 years have most inhabitants of these towns “improved” their houses from mud and a thatch to concrete. For a small fee the children will cut a coconut and insert a straw so you can enjoy the milk. In Guadalupe, the last store on the road on the beach side sells hats made from the coconut palm, and native-made drums. These Garifuna towns have annual festivals called “Ferias” which are a sight to see. During the ferias, you’re guaranteed to see traditional old Garifuna women in traditional dresses punta dancing and drinking their spiritual sacrament...giffiti.

Great gifts—but you may have to sneak the drums, which are partly made of animal hide—past immigration. It’s a treat to have lunch at Comedor Caballero in Santa Fe. There are other Garifuna villages along the coast east of Trujillo that might be a good day trip by car or bus. Santa Rosa de Aguan and Limon are picturesque. There are no cars in Santa Rosa de Aguan which makes it a peaceful river town with rasta cowboys and a good restaurant right on what they call a football field, which is more like a pond.

Once again I refer to Jon Tompson, who can arrange a trip by boat to Santa Rosa then lunch at the local restaurant, then a boat trip up the river delta looking for water birds and caimans and alligators and monkeys in the trees. Call 9758-8996 and ask for Jon.

Historic Sites

The old CEMETERY in the center of town is evocative and hosts the grave of the legendary filibuster, William Walker. His grave has a cross with his name and the epitaph "fusilado"---meaning "shot by firing squad". Behind the hospital, and accessible from the fort is the spot where they shot Walker, and nowadays it sports a small monument. For those intrepid tourists continuing on to Nicaragua, be aware that in Granada, Nicaragua they make a very big deal of the famous Mr. Walker, possibly because he burned down the town when he was chased out. Of course he ended up in Trujillo, where he was captured and shot after naming himself president of Honduras.

No one has pointed out to me the location of the burial of the earliest colonists, but it has been pointed out to me that it is probably to the left as you enter the old cemetery. The historic cemetery was abandoned and closed in 2005 and 2006, but now a charitable group is helping with maintenance and it is open and attended.

Museum

The Museum RUFINO GALAN in Trujillo is funky and interesting, and most unusually, has its own stream-fed swimming hole. The private owner of this museum is a treat to talk to if you speak Spanish. If not, the displays are rarely marked. With so much history and pre-Columbian artifacts waiting to be found and catalogued, let’s hope that Trujillo, in the near future, gets its own serious museum.

Fort

The Fortaleza of Santa Barbara still commands the bay from atop its bluff, but is somewhat hidden from the street by the concrete basketball court. A small entrance fee will assure you an unparalleled site for photos and a view of the bay. If you have a penchant for collecting early Caribbean prints, there is a print of Trujillo done by an intrepid Dutch artist, Ogilby in 1671. It shows a much larger fortification than is present today, and walls that extend all the way down to the almost sea level at the town entrance to the east. The Ministry of Culture is restoring the Commandancia---the part of the fort that was the headquarters building (with the square brick columns). Unfortunately, the new roof is entirely inappropriate. In fact, maybe we can consider the new roof on the Commandancia a new tourist attraction for those interested in historic renovation as an example of how not to do it. There are other plans to improve the rest of the fort and its permanent exhibition area, and eventually begin restorations of buildings in the historic center of town. Spain sponsored a mission that came to Trujillo in 2002 to begin the process of improving the infrastructure of the town. The two story building with balcony across from Hondutel in the historic center has been well renovated. It now houses INFOP, a school for the hospitality industry.

Look carefully at many of the old buildings in the center of town as many are hidden jewels. The prison is the old capital building. Many store-fronts are old Spanish buildings with 19th century French Colonial style second floors of wood. A group of visiting architects in 1996 declared the barbershop to be an important 300-year-old Spanish Colonial edifice. No one has yet sought to identify and improve the scant remains of the old convent, hospital, or Casa Real, or other early edifices. Let’s hope that the government, a foundation or other benefactor steps forward to help preserve Trujillo’s historic structures and patrimony before it's too late.

Trips to La Mosquitia

Trips to La Mosquitia are only for intrepid travelers willing to be subject to delays and possible danger. While it is possible to find a boat headed that way, it’d be easier in La Ceiba. The only transportation that travels to Palacios, the hub for lanchas into Mosquitia, is a pick up truck that leaves periodically from Tocoa. You’ll have to ride in the bed of the truck stuffed with supplies and other passengers. Recruiting private transportation would be costly. Arriving in Palacios you have to be ready to wait for a boat to head out to La Mosquitia. You have to plan your budget in advance because there are no ATM’s until Puerta Lempira. Like I said, this kind of trip is for experienced travelers and is necessary to have a Spanish speaker along with you.