Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital of just over one million inhabitants, occupies a high mountain valley around 1,000 meters above sea level, with the Río Choluteca running right down the middle. The valley is ringed by mountains, with a narrow opening to the north allowing the Río Choluteca to continue on its convoluted course to the Pacific Ocean 130 kilometers away.
Opinions of Tegucigalpa—called “Tegus” (Tay-goose) by locals—vary wildly. Some visitors are uninspired and can’t wait to catch the next bus out of town, while others are charmed by the mix of colonial and modern buildings, the mountain setting, and many services.
Among Tegucigalpa’s tourist attractions are several colonial churches, three museums, a number of markets, and plenty of handicraft stores, most in the downtown area.
Because of its altitude, Tegucigalpa has a pleasant climate year-round, generally warm during the day and cool at night, and the mean annual temperature is 28°C (82°F). September through November can be a bit cooler with some rain, and the coldest month is January, when frentes fríos, cold north winds, pass through town. Pollution can get heavy in March and April, the time in which farmers in the hills follow centuries-old slash-and-burn agricultural techniques.
Getting to Tegucigalpa
While a great number of tourists fly in to San Pedro Sula because of its proximity to the north coast and the Bay Islands, Tegucigalpa remains one of Honduras’s two principal transportation hubs. Bus travelers trying to find their way out of town will find themselves tracking down dozens of privately owned terminals scattered all over the city, mostly in Comayagüela. Remember that schedules and prices are subject to change, and always double-check if possible before heading to the terminals.
Toncontín International Airport, six kilometers south of downtown on the highway leading out to Choluteca. Airport taxis cost US$10 to anywhere in the city, payable in dollars or lempiras. If you don’t have much luggage and you’re on a budget, it’s much cheaper to walk right out front to the main road and catch a bus there. All the buses passing in front of the airport to the north go to downtown.
If you’re leaving the country on an international flight, be prepared to pay a US$34.04 departure tax in dollars or lempiras. No matter which currency you pay in, any change will come back in lempiras. Domestic flights have a US$1.50 tax.
The following airlines sevice Tegucigalpa:
- Taca/Isleña (tel. 504/234-2422 for TACA, 504/236-8778 for Isleña, www.taca.com or www.flyislena.com)
- Sosa (tel. 504/233-7351 or 504/234-0137)
- Central American Airways (tel. 504/233-1614, www.central-american-airways.com)
- Continental (tel. 504/220-0999, www.continental.com)
- American Airlines (toll-free tel. in Honduras 800/220-1414, www.aa.com)
- Delta (toll-free tel. in Honduras 800/791-9000, www.delta.com)
Buses leaving Tegucigalpa can get you to any part of the country, as can collectivos. Check with individual carriers for current routes, rates, and schedules. Carriers include:
- Cotraipbal (tel. 504/237-1666)
- Cristina (tel. 504/220-0117)
- Discovery (tel. 504/222-4256)
- Discua/Contreras (tel. 504/230-0470)
- El Dandy (tel. 504/225-2596)
- El Rey Express (tel. 504/237-8561, www.reyexpress.net)
- Empresas Unidas (tel. 504/222-2071)
- Hedman Alas (tel. 504/237-7143, www.hedmanalas.com)
- Kamaldy (tel. 504/220-0117)
- Lila (tel. 504/237-6870)
- Mi Esperanza (tel. 504/225-1505)
- Saenz (tel. 504/233-4229)
- Sultana (tel. 504/237-8101)
- Transportes Junqueños (tel. 504/237-2921)
- Transportes Ulúa (tel. 504/238-1827)
- Toritos y Copánecos (tel. 504/237-8101)
- Viana (tel. 504/225-6583)
By International Bus
Tegucigalpa also has several international bus carriers, including: Hedman Alas (tel. 504/237-7143, www.hedmanalas.com), Tica Bus (tel. 504/220-0579, www.ticabus.com), and King Quality (tel. 504/225-5415 or 504/225-2600, www.kingqualityca.com).
Four principal highway exits lead into and out of Tegucigalpa. West to San Pedro Sula, the easiest route out of town is from the western end of Boulevard Fuerzas Armadas, while the exit to the east and Danlí departs Tegucigalpa from the eastern end of the same boulevard, where it crosses the anillo periférico, the city’s ring road. South to Choluteca, follow Boulevard Comunidad Europea (sometimes referred to as the Boulevard Miraflores) south from downtown, past the airport. You can also access this highway from the anillo periférico and avoid some of the city traffic.
To Olancho and the north, follow either 6 Avenida through Comayagüela and out Boulevard del Norte, or (much faster) get to Barrio Abajo, northwest of downtown near Parque Concordia, and look for the road exit crossing a bridge (Puente El Chile) and heading uphill to Cerro Grande, where it meets the Olancho highway. If you’re heading to the San Pedro Sula exit from downtown, it’s often easier to leave via this route and loop back to the San Pedro exit, thus bypassing Comayagüela.
If you’re coming back into the city from the south or west and want to get to downtown, it’s usually quicker to loop around farther east along Boulevard Fuerzas Armadas and the anillo periférico and come into the downtown area via Avenida La Paz, rather than coming through crowded Comayagüela.
One secondary road leaves Tegucigalpa to the northeast along Avenida La Paz to Santa Lucía and Valle de Ángeles, while another leaves Avenida Juan Gutemberg in Barrio Guanacaste up to El Hatillo and villages on the west side of La Tigra.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition