Presentation of the destination
El Progreso is a city in Honduras with a population of 147,197 people. El Progreso is strategically located at a crossroads between many different cities and tourists and visitors often stop there on their way to other destinations in the country. El Progreso is predominantly an agricultural city, primarily bananas, vegetables and palm oil. El Progreso used to be an important center for the United Fruit Company’s banana trade. Today El Progreso is primarily a commercial city but the downtown area, cathedral and markets still provide an opportunity to see the Honduran life. The city is growing in popularity with tourists and is often chosen as a place to stay over as they travel through the country. Temperatures in El Progreso remain fairly uniform throughout the year, peaking at highs of 34-35°C (94-95°F) and reaching lows of 20-20.5°C (68-69°F). The official language in Honduras is Spanish but English and other indigenous languages are also recognized. Majority of the population, 90%, is Mestizo, or mixed European and Native American descent. The currency used is the Lempira. Honduras is located in the time zone UTC-6.
Points of interests / things to see
San Pedro Sula is the second largest city in Honduras, behind Tegucigalpa, the capital city. San Pedro Sula is situated 31 km (19 mi) from El Progreso. San Pedro Sula is a major gateway into the country because it has the principal international airports in the country. The city of San Pedro Sula, or often referred to by the locals just as San Pedro, was established in 1536. It was founded in a swampland surrounded by forests and offered very little land for raising cattle or farming. The name of “Sula” was taken from the local gold mines, Minas de Sula, and San Pedro was initially the colonial mint when it was first founded. Gold was brought from local mines and smelted in San Pedro. However, due to its gold wealth, it was raided by many pirates and the Spanish eventually moved the mint to another city in the 1550s and also relocated the city of San Pedro. Once the mint was moved, San Pedro’s economy stalled and attracted few Spanish settlers. Later on, in the 19th century, the city started to grow again due to the banana trade. In the 1920s, the population leaped from 10,000 people to 100,000 people due to banana plantations and the banana trade in the region. San Pedro Sula has a number of markets where visitors can find silver, jewelry, leather items and other textiles. Another attraction in the city is Parque Central which is the principal square in San Pedro. The city also has the Museum of Anthropology and History which features artifacts from pre-Columbian times and objects from the Spanish colonial era. San Pedro also makes for a good place to stay and from there to make many day trips to outlying areas. However, visitors should be warned that San Pedro Sula has an extremely high rate of homicides due to the drug trade and that it has the highest rate of homicides in the world.
Cusuco National Park is located in the Cortes Department and is near to the city of San Pedro Sula. It is possible to do Cusuco National Park as a day trip from San Pedro Sula. The park was founded in 1959 and occupies an area of 234 km2 (90.5 mi2). It attracts a number of hikers and backpackers following the Cusuco Mountain Backpacking route. The area has stayed well preserved due to the difficult access roads that lead to the park. The majority of the people that live around the park grow coffee on the mountainside. Today many of the visitors to the park go there because they are looking for the incredible views, untouched landscape and an authentic Honduran experience. The park is made up of two zones, the nucleus and the buffer zone. Together these two zones cover a variety of habitats and range in altitudes from sea level to 2,425m (7,956ft) high peaks. Some of the different habitats in the park are moist pine forest, semi-arid pine forest, dwarf forest (which is very rare and heavily protected) and moist broadleaf forest. With the variety of different habitats also comes a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Some of the animals protected by the park include a number of amphibians, jewel scarab beetles, Baird’s tapir, and different species of birds. Those wishing to visit the park can join an organized group in San Pedro with the Cusuco Mountain Backpacking group. Entrance fees: $25 to enter the nucleus of the park.
Lake Yojoa is the biggest lake found in the country of Honduras. The lake occupies an area of 285 km2 (110mi2). The lake is situated in a depression in the ground that was formed by volcanoes in the area. The lake is found along the principal highway that connects San Pedro Sula and the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa. There are a number of restaurants located on the lake and due to its location between the two major cities of Honduras, many people stop there as they travel between the two cities. The restaurants along the banks of the lake serve fresh fried fish and offer lovely views overlooking the lake. Lake Yojoa also provides a spot for recreation fishing and is a very popular destination for people wishing to fish. The area surrounding Lake Yojoa is a volcanic field and it is bordered by mountains belong to two different national parks, the Santa Bárbara National Park and the Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park. The lake itself sits at an altitude of 700m (2,297 ft). The depression formed from the volcanoes where Lake Yojoa now sits was formed ages ago in the Pleistocene and Holocene periods and the last known eruption in the area is unknown.
The Copán Ruins are located 197km (122 mi) from El Progresso. The Copán ruins are ruins of a former center of Maya civilization that existed in the area over 1,000 years ago. The ruins at Copán are impressive and noteworthy for their pre-Columbian art, the like of which has not been found anywhere else. The city flourished during the 5th to 9th centuries AD and it was the capital of the Maya kingdom in the area at this time. The area at Copán had been occupied longer than this though and estimates suggest that the area was occupied for nearly 2,000 years. It was located in the extreme southeast portion of the land area inhabited by the Mesoamerican cultures that lived and ruled in the area. It is thought that at its peak, Copán had a population of more than 6,000-9,000 people just in the city, with more people living in the outlying rural areas. The total population is estimated to be between 18,000 and 25,000 people. Nearby to the actual ruins site, 1.6km (1 mi) away, is the town of Copán which offers hotels and other tourist facilities for those who wish to visit the ruins. Copán is at a higher elevation compared to other Mayan sites which makes the climate less hot for visitors. There are buses that run between Copán and San Pedro Sula as well as other destinations. Entrance fee: $15
Tela is town found along the Caribbean coast in Honduras. Its beach is a popular destination for Hondurans on vacation. Tela is situated 67km (41 mi) from El Progresso. The town of Tela was established in 1524 by a Spanish conquistador, Cristóbal de Olid, who chose the location because it was near an indigenous village that had clean water and a large supply of plants for both food and medicine. Due to its location along the Caribbean Sea, the town of Tela was a frequent target for English privateers as well as pirates. At the end of the 16th century, the town saw many buccaneers who were looking to attack Spanish ships that were hauling the wealth of the New World back to Spain. The Garifuna people, who are descendants of mixed African and Caribbean origins, live in the area of Tela. Many years ago they were expelled from their island of Saint Vincent by the English and they resettled in the area of Tela. Later Tela’s economy focused on the banana trade as well as railroad companies, who were subsidiaries of the United Fruit Company. Many laborers arrived from other Caribbean areas and they brought the English language and Protestant religions to the otherwise Spanish-speaking, Catholic population. Evidence of this legacy can still be seen in the city today. Tela is most famous for its beaches but there are other sights to visit in the city as well including different Garifuna villages and the churches in Tela. The only passenger trains that still run in the country operate between the cities of Tela and Puerto Cortés.
Mico Quemado is a mountain chain found to the east of the city of El Progreso. Roughly 280 km2 (174 mi2) of the Mico Quemado mountain chain are protected by the Honduran Government in an ecological reserve. It has been protected in order to preserve the large amount of ecological wealth in the area such as its native plants and animals that are not found anywhere else in the country of Honduras. In addition to the plants and wildlife, the mountain chain is very important as it is the source of water, from its springs and underground wells, for the city of El Progreso. The mountains attract many mountain climbers as well as hikers every year.
El Progreso has also earned the nickname “the Pearl of the Ulua” because of its important location along the bank of the Ulua River. The Ulua River is one of the largest and most important rivers in all of Honduras and it runs through many different departments in the country and stretches for a total length of 400 km (248.5 mi). Along its path, it is fed by a number of other rivers that increase its size. Unfortunately, the Ulua River can also be a fairly dangerous river that rises greatly during torrential rains and can flood surrounding areas and can cause damages to the cities located on its banks.
The Jardin Botanico Torogón or the Torogón Botanical Garden is found in El Progresso. The gardens provide a relaxing place to walk through an area with a number of plants and flowers, including orchids and other tropical plants, creating a beautiful environment that appears like a bit of nature in the middle of the city. There are various plant and flower species throughout the garden and there are also large, old trees óhat are about 300 years old. The garden was created with the intention of preserving and protecting different species that are native to the Mico Quemada Mountains. There are also different bird species that can be sighted in the garden, including toucans, parrots and the torogón bird. Website: http://jardintorogon.com/#!/ (In English and Spanish)
The Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park is found along Lake Yojoa. Cerro Azul reaches a peak height of 2,047m (6,560 ft). The park was established in 1987 and today it is managed by a NGO based out of the United States that has heavily invested in the area in order to protect the flora and fauna in the park as well as to help improve the quality of life of the people that live in the surrounding area. The park is also known by the title PANACAM and the park runs a lodge in the area for visitors to stay at or as a starting point for the hiking trails in the area. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vacation rentals in El progreso (Yoro Department)
How to get there ?
The two major international airports in Honduras are in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. The website for all of the airports in Honduras is: http://www.interairports.hn/en/. The San Pedro Sula airport is closer to El Progreso at a distance of 20 km (12 mi). There is also an international airport in Roatán which receives international flights from Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Milan Italy. San Pedro Sula is the busiest airport in Honduras and has connections with cities in North America and South America, the Caribbean and some destinations in Europe. It is possible to enter Honduras by land coming from another Central American country. There are routes between Honduras (either San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa) and San Salvador, Guatemala (Guatemala City and Antigua), Managua, San José, Panama City and Mexico (Tapachula). Within the country, domestic flights are generally a very affordable option. Domestic flights are run by the companies Aerolineas Sosa (www.laceibaonline.net/aerososa/sosaingl.htm), Atlantic Airlines ( www.aa.com), Isleña (or TACAwww.taca.com) and SAMI. Buses are generally the best way to get around Honduras. They are a cheap and relatively easy way to get to different destinations. Not many buses run at night though and service usually stops in the early evening. There are also smaller “buses” (more like minivans) called microbuses or rapiditos which run along some routes and tend to be faster than regular bus services. While bus is the best option for getting from town to town, travelers are recommended to not use city buses due to the frequency of petty theft and pick-pocketing as well as buses sometimes being targets for gang related violence. It is also possible to rent a car in the major cities of Honduras and to drive around the country. To get around from place to place in a city, taxis are the best option. They do not have a meter, but prices can be negotiated before starting out. Most fares are between US $0.50 and US $1.00 for a ride or possibly going up to US $4.00 for longer journeys. El Progreso is sometimes referred to by locals as “the bicycle city” because the bicycle dominates as the main form of transportation in the town.
Hotels in El progreso (Yoro Department)