Santa Rosa de
Things to Do in the Heart of the Honduras
Santa Rosa de Copán, up in the mountains of
western Honduras, is a wonderful small city with gorgeous vistas.
We arrived on a Sunday morning and left early the next day with Max Elvir,
Lenca Land Trails, so our
impressions were brief and fleeting.
As such, I can't do the city justice. Warren Post, owner of
Pizza in Santa Rosa de Copan, graciously offered his ideas on things to do
in his adopted home. Thanks Warren, for this page, for providing a critique of my Honduras
vacation plans and for helping me understand better the country we loved
The Best of Santa Rosa de Copan-Warren
The geographic and psychological heart of Santa Rosa is its
historic downtown, a lovely place to stroll and admire the restored buildings
and cobbled streets. Declared a national monument, the downtown area is restored
and protected by the
Rosa Historical Preservation Commission. Although
web site is in Spanish, it is worth seeing if only to admire the many
photographs of Santa Rosa's unique architecture.
Santa Rosa is noted for the excellent hand rolled cigars produced by Flor de
Copán, makers of the famous Zino line. The factory, located four blocks east of
the bus station, offers guided tours (in Spanish) 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 -
4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. There is a charge of US$2 per visitor. Be sure to
take the factory tour while in Santa Rosa, even if you don't smoke.
Cigars are available for sale at the factory outlet, which is two blocks west of
the central plaza. My friend the cigar taster at the factory (yes, there really
are a few people in this world who are paid to have jobs like that) recommends
the Santa Rosa: mild but not light, well made, and won't harsh you out midway
Just as Santa Rosa is famous abroad for its cigars, it is known among Hondurans
as a center of cultural activity. The city cultural center (Casa de la Cultura,
1/2 block south of the central plaza) offers a library, frequent exhibitions,
performances, readings, and concerts. Be sure to ask about upcoming events.
Coffee lovers will want to visit
Beneficio Maya, where fine coffee is graded and
roasted for export. Aside from being able to view the process, visitors can buy
fresh export grade coffee. Take a taxi to the beneficio, as it's a little hard
to find. There is usually something to see year round, although most activity
takes place during coffee harvest season (October - February).
Ten minutes outside of town on the road to
Gracias is the village of La Montañita. There you will find Doricentro, a privately operated park with water
toboggan, swimming and wading pools, light snacks and beverages, picnic areas,
and music. An entrance fee of US$1.50 includes use of the toboggan and pools.
Doricentro is open weekends and holidays.
Further along the road to Gracias is Las Tres Jotas (US$0.75), another private
park that is also a working tobacco farm and fishery. Have the bus driver point
it out, as the sign on the highway is easy to miss. Aside from picnic areas and
wading pools, Las Tres Jotas has the freshest fish you'll eat. Las Tres Jotas is
open daily and welcomes overnight campers.
A very special time to visit Santa Rosa is during Easter Week. During the week
before Easter, Santa Rosa presents some of the best processions in the nation.
Six in all, the processions are full dress street theater reenactments of the
different parts of the Easter story daily beginning Holy Thursday. There's the
Incarceration Procession, the Holy Cross Procession, the Funeral and Mourning
Processions, the Resurrection Procession, and more.
The most spectacular is undoubtedly the Holy Cross Procession, or Via Crucis, on
Friday morning. Bearing cross and under guard, Jesus makes his way through the
heart of Santa Rosa's historical district along a two kilometer route
beautifully decorated with carpets of flowers and colored sawdust in the
streets. Because the carpets are ruined by the passage of the procession, you
will want to arrive well before the nine a.m. starting time to admire the
handiwork of the many Copanecos who have labored since dawn on the decorations.
My personal favorite, however, is the candlelight Women's Procession Friday
night. Mary and her friends march silently through the dark streets in mourning
for her son's death, the only sound their footfalls on the cold cobblestones.
Another good time to visit Santa Rosa is during the annual fair in the last two
of August. Dedicated to the local patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima, there are
religious observances, a beauty pageant and
coronation, street carnivals, a rodeo, cultural performances, and more.
Honduras's Independence Day, September 15, is marked by three days of
celebrations and parades with surprisingly intricate uniforms and costumes. Each
year schools compete to see which can display the most striking or unique
presentation. Kindergartens march on September 13, elementary schools on
September 14, and high schools on September 15.
There are also volunteering opportunities in Santa Rosa de Copán. The cultural
center downtown can always use volunteers. You could pretty much write your own
position description there, but some ideas are: dance instruction (ballet or
modern), music (band/orchestra), drama, photography, painting... well, you get
the idea. Interested? Email the cultural center (casadelacultura @ hotmail.com)
for more information.
The La Roca community center is always seeking volunteers who are willing to
commit at least two months. Currently the center is looking for volunteers to
teach classes like crafts and English and to coordinate sports programs in
basketball and volleyball for girls and soccer for boys. Spanish definitely
helps, but is not absolutely necessary in these particular activities. Email the
center (Phil @ timko.ca) for more information.
Warren Post first arrived in Honduras in 1986 as a diplomat assigned to the U.S.
embassy in Tegucigalpa, and returned to stay in 1990. Since then Warren has
occupied himself as a beach bum in Trujillo, a marketing director for a ecotour
operator, an English teacher on a cattle ranch, a cybercafe owner, a jungle
guide in the Mosquitia, and a web designer and IT consultant. In 1994 he and his
Honduran wife Orlanda opened Pizza Pizza, a family restaurant in Santa Rosa de
Copan, which they continue to operate with their three teenage sons.
Warren's website is packed full of information. Make sure you visit his
day trips around
Santa Rosa de Copan.
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