One of the natural and cultural treasures of Honduras , the mountain country between Gracias , La Esperanza , and the Salvadoran border  is a beautiful region of pine forest and infrequently visited colonial villages. Foreign tourists who make it to the town of Gracias and to the nearby Sierra de Celaque , a national park boasting the country’s highest peak, are rewarded with thoughtful opportunities for community tourism, constantly improving amenities for accommodations and food, and spectacular scenery.
The dirt roads and trails connecting the highland villages of Belén Gualcho , La Campa , San Manuel Colohete , Erandique , and beyond are lovely places to lose yourself for days at a time, admiring the colonial villages seemingly long-forgotten in their secluded corners of the rugged countryside.
The Lenca campesinos populating the region are extremely friendly, and although some might wonder what you’re doing out there, the worst that will happen is you’ll be invited in for so many cups of coffee you’ll never get anywhere and end up all jittery on caffeine.
Those who spend time in this region should try to keep a certain sensitivity to the realities and customs of the campesinos who inhabit the countryside. One is expected to stop and greet others met on the trail, at least with a gentle handshake (none of those U.S. finger-breaking grips, please) and a friendly hello. You are not, of course, required to stop, have coffee, and talk at every home you pass, but always offer a polite decline.
It’s worth accepting the invitation once in a while. You never know—a conversation with a campesino family out in the mountains of Honduras , asking about their lives and telling them about yours, may end up being one of your most memorable travel experiences. Try to take it with aplomb when you are surrounded and pursued relentlessly by a dozen local kids.