An unattractive, hot agricultural city of 115,000 on the east bank of the Río Ulúa, El Progreso offers little to interest tourists. Most foreigners who find themselves in El Progreso are changing buses on their way between San Pedro Sula and Tela.
The only reason to delay your departure might be to check out two souvenir shops in town. The large Turiplaza-Imapro shop (tel. 504/647-2200, www.imapro-honduras.com, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.), at the exit to Tela, has a large selection of Honduran handicrafts and tourist collectibles, particularly large hand-carved wood items (check them out on the website before you go out of your way to the store, as the style is pretty distinctive, and may or may not be to your liking).
Mahchi (tel. 504/647-0221), a block from the main highway junction, has some good-quality Honduran paintings, folk art, and clothing.
Getting to El Progreso
Trasul (tel. 504/647-3366) runs buses every 40 minutes between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. (US$1.30, 30 minutes), departing from behind the Panadería Hawit. Buses to San Pedro Sula and Yoro also depart from the main bus terminal, just off the square. San Pedro buses leave frequently all day long until 6:10 p.m. (US$1, 30 minutes). Buses to Yoro leave every hour or so between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. (US$2.50, 3.5 hours), and to Morazán (for Pico Pijol) they leave every hour 6 a.m.–6 p.m. (US$2, two hours).
Transportes Ulúa (tel. 504/647-3270) runs five direct buses a day to Tegucigalpa (US$8, four hours).
Buses to Tela leave from a different stop, four blocks west of the main terminal. Direct buses leave at 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. Saturday–Sunday (US$2, 45 minutes). Try to plan on the direct bus, as local buses take about two hours and seem to stop every kilometer.
El Progreso is connected to San Pedro by a 28-kilometer, four-lane highway passing La Lima and the airport. Continuing north to Tela, the highway narrows to two lanes but is still in fairly good condition. East and south, a road cuts from El Progreso back to the San Pedro Sula–Tegucigalpa highway at La Barca.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition