A picturesque colonial village of red tile roofs and cobblestone streets perched on a hillside 13 kilometers above Tegucigalpa, Santa Lucía is a growing destination for Hondurans and a few expatriates looking for a quiet, cool escape near Tegucigalpa. Along with nearby Valle de Ángeles, it’s a popular weekend day-trip destination for city residents.
For much of the colonial period, Santa Lucía was home to some of the richest mines in Honduras. The town produced so much wealth for the crown that King Felipe II sent a wooden statue of Christ in appreciation, which can still be seen in the attractive whitewashed church, which is usually only open on Sundays (at other times you can try checking if anyone is in the office on the side of the building who could let you in).
Several other icons, including the town’s patron saint, are also kept inside the church. You may notice a number of young Americans in town—since the 1980s, Santa Lucía has served as the training center for the Peace Corps, where new volunteers spend their first few months in-country before moving out to their sites around the country.
Apart from having a meal, enjoying the views, and admiring the colonial church, there’s not much to do in Santa Lucía, but it’s a pleasant place to spend an afternoon wandering around.
The dirt road continuing past the church and turning uphill into the forest offers a route to hike along for great views over the town, Tegucigalpa below, and La Tigra forest. The road supposedly continues across the mountaintop to the Danlí highway, reached in 2–4 hours walking, where you could hail a passing bus down to Tegucigalpa. However, there are a lot of dirt roads up here, and not always people to ask for directions, so be sure you have your bearings if you head out this way. This pine-forested mountain offers great scenery and clean air, and it is quite safe. The road would also be a great mountain-bike ride.
A trail descends from Santa Lucía to Tegucigalpa, but it lets out into some tough shanty villages on the outskirts of the city, and robberies have been reported, so that walk is not recommended.
Getting to Santa Lucía
To get to Santa Lucía by car, drive from downtown out Avenida La Paz; at a junction known as San Felipe (just past a gasoline station and just before heading on to the periférico), turn left uphill, following signs to Valle de Ángeles. The well-marked Santa Lucía turnoff is 11 kilometers from Tegucigalpa, and the town itself is two kilometers in from the highway. Buses leave for Santa Lucía every 30–45 minutes from the Hospital San Felipe, at the eastern end of Avenida La Paz (US$0.50). The last bus back down to Tegucigalpa leaves around 5 p.m.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition