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San Pedro Sula
"Usula (Valley of Birds)"

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Nickname(s):
La Capital Industrial
San Pedro Sula is located in Honduras
San Pedro Sula
Coordinates: 15°30′0″N 88°2′0″W / 15.5°N 88.033333°W / 15.5; -88.033333Coordinates: 15°30′0″N 88°2′0″W / 15.5°N 88.033333°W / 15.5; -88.033333
Country  Honduras
Department Cortés
Municipio (County) San Pedro Sula
Foundation June 1536
Government
 - Mayor Juan Carlos Zuniga (PLH)
Area
 - Urban 136 km2 (52.5 sq mi)
Elevation 83 m (272 ft)
Population (2010)[1]
 - City 638,259
 Density 2,427.7/km2 (6,287.7/sq mi)
 Metro 802,598

San Pedro Sula is a city in Honduras. It is located in the northwest corner of the country, in the Valle de Sula (Sula Valley), about 60 km south of Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean Sea. With an estimated population of 802,598 people (2010 estimate) in its metro area, it is the second largest city in the country behind the capital Tegucigalpa, and is considered the industrial center[2] of Honduras. It is the capital of the Cortés department. The city serves as a major transportation hub for the rest of the country, while economically maintaining its base in light industry and the commercial production of coffee, bananas, beef, sugar cane, tobacco, and forestry.

San Pedro Sula has a museum of archeology and history, which includes both Pre-Columbian artifacts and expositions detailing the evolution of the city. The cigar making business is important, as are garment assembly plants, known as maquiladoras. Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport (SAP) is one of the most important airports in Honduras due to its local and international connections. Real C.D. España is their best known football team while Club Deportivo Marathón is the most popular team in this city[citation needed]. San Pedro Sula is the only city in the country to have two official stadiums Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano, Estadio Francisco Morazan and a small unofficial stadium (A. S. Dinnen). The first private university in Honduras was founded in San Pedro Sula in 1978, Universidad de San Pedro Sula (The accredited private university).

Contents

History

Cathedral
Panoramic view of San Pedro Sula's centro.

San Pedro Sula was founded on June 27, 1536, by Pedro de Alvarado under the name Villa de San Pedro de Puerto Caballos, close to the town of Choloma. There were around 18 towns populated by indigenous people in the Sula valley at the time. Early descriptions of the landscape indicate abundant swampland and dense tropical forests, with little land good for agriculture or cattle raising. The city's name became San Pedro Sula in the 18th century, after several changes. The "Sula" part of its name comes from the Minas de Sula, gold mines located to the west of the village of Naco.

For the first few years of its history, San Pedro was the colonial mint, where gold, found to the west in the Naco, Sula, and Quimistan valleys, had to be brought to smelt, and where the Spanish Crown collected a fifth of the value of the gold. The mint was moved to Gracias a Dios, and ultimately Comayagua in the 1550s.

French, English, and Dutch pirates raided and sacked the city, prompting the Spaniards to move the city to its current location along the Chamelecon River. San Pedro languished to a neglected backwater, with few Spanish settlers. New settlers were not attracted to the city, preferring the higher, drier valleys inland with more farmland and gold mines. At the same time, lax Spanish control spurred illicit trade in alcohol from the Caribbean islands, such as Cuba.

Municipal Palace

The city grew slowly from about 800 residents in 1590, to almost 10,000 by the 1890s, but most of this population growth took place in the 19th century. In the mid 1920s, it grew from 10,000 to 100,000 people, following a boom in banana plantations in the region. Today, the city's metropolitan area has almost 1 million habitants and continues to expand. The building of a rail line between San Pedro and the coast, connecting the banana plantations to the ports of Tela and Puerto Cortes, as well as heavy investment from the local Palestinian businessmen, spurred development of San Pedro as an industrial city.

San Pedro Sula was officially recognized as a city by the Congress of Honduras on October 8, 1902.

San Pedro Sula's Old Train Station.

City Divisions and Layout

San Pedro Sula, as most cities built under the Spanish colonial period, is divided in quadrants. Avenues in the city run from North to South and Streets run from East to West. First Street and First Avenue mark the "center of the city" and effectively dividing it into four major quadrants NW, NE, SW and SE. The technical center of the city is located where both First Street and Avenue meet, but the Central Park on First Street and Third Avenue is considered the true center. Like most other Latin American cities, the Cathedral and City Hall are located in front of the Central Park.

Even though most of the population is located in the Eastern part of the city, or "debajo de la linea" as it is commonly referred to, most of the business and commercial areas as well as the modern structures are located on the West side. A lot of the wealth is located in the West part of the city. Many areas on the East side have been growing very rapidly in the past decades. The road to La Lima has become a major commercial area.

San Pedro Sula is divided into neighborhoods which are named by residential developments or subdivisions. There is a recent trend in San Pedro Sula of enclosing neighborhoods into gated communities. For a complete list of neighborhoods click on List of Neighborhoods in San Pedro Sula.

Tourism and Places of Interest

San Pedro can serve as a base from which to visit many different destinations. While it is best to make arrangements for tours into the countryside before arriving in San Pedro Sula excellent local operators can be found through the major hotels. One favorite outing is to the Copán Ruins which are a three-hour drive away.

Other possibilities include Lake Yojoa and Pulhapanzak Waterfalls (a scenic one-day trip); Cusuco Cloud Forest (a four-wheel-drive outing to see birds orchids bromeliads and sometimes tapirs and armadillos); Tela (including visits to a banana plantation a mahogany-wood-carving factory the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens a swim at the beach at Villas Telemar and a tour of a Garifuna village); and Omoa Fortress (a tour of a 1700s outpost combined with a trip to a beach resort).

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City Attractions

Museums

  • Museo de Antropología y Historia
  • Museo de la Naturaleza
  • Planetario Infantil

The Museo de Antropología e Historia is licensed by the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History to house archaeological and historical collections, which by law belong to the people of Honduras. The ground floor of the museum is devoted to the history of Honduras, and San Pedro Sula in particular. The upper floor exhibits are about the prehistory of the valley where San Pedro is located. The Museum has a research library with information related to the history of Honduras. The museum director is Teresa de Pastor.

San Pedro Sula's municipal palace.

The second museum has to do with the flora and fauna surrounding the city. This museum houses several insects species, as well as books about the nature and the animals found in the Merendon mountains. This museum is directed by Gladys Fasquelle de Pastor.

The planetarium is an astronomy museum. It shows the night sky as seen from San Pedro Sula, while also providing information about the solar system, constellations, and a small space exhibit.

Malls

City Mall in San Pedro Sula is one of the biggest malls in Central America.

Central Park

In the downtown area; it contains a small Gazebo, marking the spot where the city was founded.

Zona de Armenta

The Zona de Armenta is a cold-water river that comes from mountain range Merendon. The park is located on the Northeastern part of the city and serves as a recreational area for many people in the city. The river has several areas that are open for swimming as well as place to purchase food.

Mercado Guamilito

Vendors sell crafts, pottery, souvenirs, flowers and local Honduran food.

Theaters

The Francisco Saybe Theatre, Centro Cultural Sampedrano, Torre Universitaria Jorge Emilio Jaar

Water parks

  • Wonderland
  • Zizima Eco Water Park

Avenida Circunvalacion

Avenida Circunvalacion is the most popular zone to visit at night. There are many restaurants and its home of many events like the Feria Juniana that is celebrated in the month of June. This part of the city contains many hotels, the City Mall, many banks and automobile dealerships like Ford (Yude Canahuati). This part of the city also has the second McDonalds, the San Vicente de Paul church and if you continue up the avenue, you find the Occidental Bank, the Intercontinental Hotel, Mall Multiplaza and Copantl Hotel.

Educational institutions

Colleges and universities

San Pedro Sula is home to many colleges and Universities. It is the home of the first private university in the Country, the Universidad de San Pedro Sula(USPS).

Due its influence in the industrial and commercial sectors of the Honduras, San Pedro Sula has been many higher education institutions that attract students from all over the country. Many people have migrated to the city to take advantage of the educational opportunities present in the city.

The following Universities are located in San Pedro Sula:

Primary and secondary schools

There are many public and private schools in the city. The number of schools offering bilingual education has been in constant increase for the past several decades.

For a full list of school go to List of Primary and Secondary schools in San Pedro Sula

Sports

San Pedro Sula is home to many sporting teams and events. In 1997, it became the first, and only to date, non capital city to host the Central American Games. The city will again play host to the games in 2009, making it the only city in Honduras to host the games twice. The games, even though full of scandals, left the city with a modern sporting infrastructure. The Villa Olimpica is a multi-sporting complex that has facilities for most Olympic style games including soccer, boxing, swimming, baseball, cycling and multipurpose gymnasiums.

San Pedro Sula is the only city in the country to be home to two soccer stadiums. The Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano is located in the Villa Olimpica and is the largest in the country with a capacity of 42,000. The Estadio Francisco Morazan is located in the center of the city and holds 23,000 people. The stadiums are home to San Pedro Sula’s most popular professional soccer teams Club Deportivo Marathón and Real España. Because of the stadiums, training facilities, and an almost religious supporting fan base, San Pedro Sula has become the home for the Honduras national football team.[3]

Other Sports

The city has hosted many international tennis tournaments and serves as the home of the Honduran tennis team. The Club Arabe Hondureño provides great facilities for the sport.

San Pedro Sula is also home to the Liga Georgina de Villegas basketball league. The League is divided in two divisions with a promotion and relegation system. The league has a female counterpart as well that carries the same name. Many teams from neighboring cities also take part in the league at it is the highest form of competitive basketball in the area.

There are is a city softball (Óscar Saybe Softball League) and a baseball league that play an annual season and serves as a qualifier for the national tournaments in their respective sports. These leagues are a far less popular and attract fewer fans than the city soccer teams. Even though less supported than their soccer counterparts, the city teams enjoy much success on the national level. Azulejos, the city’s baseball champion, has won the national tournament in the last two years.

The Delfines Sampedranos, a local swimming club, is the most successful club in the country and the Central American region. It has dominated Central American competitions for the past several years.

CD Marathon

Marathon, as it is officially known, is more commonly known as just Marathon. It was founded on November 25, 1925 in San Pedro Sula by Eloy Montes and a group of his friends. The team's colors are red, white and green. It is the oldest team in the city. Team was a founding member of the Liga Nacional (Honduras's top soccer league). It plays its home games in the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.

Real España

Real España was founded on 14 July 1929 at Escuela Ramón Rosa in San Pedro Sula. España's colours are black and yellow, a fact reflected in the club's nickname: "The Aurinegros" (a compound word meaning gold and black). It has won the national championship nine times. It was also a founding member of the Liga Nacional. It plays its home games in Francisco Morazan stadium.[4]

Transportation

Air Travel

The city is served by Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport. It is conveniently located about 15 minutes from the city's center and serves North-Western Honduras through several domestic and international air companies, such as: Continental, American, Delta, COPA, Spirit Airlines, Aeromexico, Maya Island Air and TACA which link the city with San Salvador, Mexico City, San José, Belize City, Managua, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Newark, New Orleans, Miami, and New York City.

Ramón Villeda Morales Airport is the major and busiest airport in Honduras, handling about 600,000 passengers in 2007. Travelers using this airport are charged a departure tax of $34.04 to help with expansion of the airport.

Bus Travel

San Pedro Sula has a central bus station that is used by most major Bus companies. The bus station, called the Gran Central Metropolitana de Autobuses de San Pedro Sula, is located a few kilometers from the downtown area and provides visitors to bus routes to almost every destination in the country as well as several international destinations. It is not only the largest bus station in Central America, it also serves as a shopping center, food court, and many other services.[5]

Bus travel is an easy way to move around the country and this bus station has become the main hub for tourist and Hondurans alike who desire to travel cheaply by bus around the country.

City Transportation

San Pedro Sula has a large amount of public transportation. The city has city buses that run routes throughout the city, smaller buses called "Rapiditos" that are minivans, that because of their size and ability to move in traffic, that provide faster service than regular buses, and taxis. All taxis in San Pedro Sula are white. Because of the existing fleet number, it is very easy to find a taxi in the city. Another common form of transportation is a "colectivo". A colectivo is a taxi that serves a specific route and takes different passengers, which may or may not be together, that share the cost of the trip.

Churches

Ministerio Internacional La Cosecha CENTRAL

Iglesia La Luz del Mundo

San Vicente de Paul

Catedral Metropolitana

Maria Reina del Mundo

El Buen Pastor

Iglesia Guadalupe

Iglesia San Felipe

Iglesia San Jose

Señora de Suyapa

Iglesia la Santa Cruz

Iglesia San Juan Bautista

La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias

Digital TV Stations

San Pedro Sula is the home of the first High Definition Digital TV Station in Honduras CampusTv, 59.1 and 59.2 located in the Universidad de San Pedro Sula Campus.

References

www.junglexpedition.org

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

San Pedro Sula cathedral
San Pedro Sula cathedral

San Pedro Sula is in northern Honduras. It is the second largest city in Honduras after the capital Tegucigalpa. The focus of industry in Honduras, it is mostly a modern city (unlike more picturesque Comayagua, Tegucigalpa, etc). It is a good base for entering the country and visiting other parts, and offers modern amenites.

Get in

San Pedro Sula has one of the main International Airports in Honduras.

International flights come in from Houston, Miami, San Salvador.

Bus service links it to other cities and towns in the country.

Get around

The center is fairly compact and can be gotten around by foot; cars, taxis, and buses run around the city and the surrounding area. The airport is about 5-10 miles from the city center, yet taxis are plentiful at the airport.

  • Museum of Anthropology & History - This museum has a selection of pre-Columbian pottery, grinders and other items up through colonial times. Some Spanish would be helpful since few items have English labels.
  • People-watch at Parque Central, the main square.

Do

Throughout San Pedro Sula and neighboring cities, you can find amazing markets. You can buy artisan things like leather work, textiles, silver, jewelry and much more. Bartering and shopping are a cultural experience all their own.
There are many day trip available at San Pedro Sula. You can hike through Cusuco National Park. Visit Taulabe caves and Pulapanzak Waterfalls. Have a boat ride and bird watching at Lake Yohoa. Swim at Punta Sal National Park exotic beaches. Walk through Copan's arqueological site and horse back ride in a coffee tour.

Buy

There is an artisan market very close to the park that contains a vast array of touristy Honduran products. For more quality pieces, try Casa del Sol across the street or their satellite shop in the Multiplaza mall.

Eat

A few restaurants have sprung up recently: for meat try La Estancia and El Portal de La Carne. You can eat Mexican food in Cebollines and Fogoncito and for authentic Italian food try Tre Fratelli, Bel Paese and Dai Santi. All popular American fast food chains are available in the city, however, try Pollo Campero, a Guatemalan fried chicken chain and Pollos el Hondureño, autentic Honduran fast food chain. The Skandia cafe at the Grand Hotel Sula is open 24 hours with a good selection. Most selections are good but the rotisary chicken is great. Skip the scrambled eggs or omlets. For a wide selection, go to City Mall food court with lots of choices, both US fast food and Honduran versions.

  • Blend- Located in Mall Galerias del Valle. Club with LEDs great DJ fit for cosmopolitan nightlife
  • B412- Outdoor bar with a great view and well music
  • Friday's
  • Applebees
  • Uno Chicago Grill
  • Popeye's
  • Burger King
  • Church's Chicken
  • Subway
  • Quizno's Subs
  • Club Hondureño Arabe

Sleep

there is an hostel which costs 6 USD per night (althought there are flyers saying $8 ). its in the 9a Calle A between 10a and 11a Avenida.

  • Hilton Princess San Pedro Sula, [1]. Ideally located near the new City Mall, this hotel features 120 roooms, great amenities and a superb swimming pool. This hotel is really comfortable and fairly safe area. If you are going to stay in a nice hotel this is where to go. It has an amazing view from their glass windowed hotel.
  • Real InterContinental San Pedro Sula, Colonia Hernández y Boulevard del Sur. San Pedro Sula, 3818. Honduras, +1 504 5452500 (fax: +1 504 5452527), [2]. The Real InterContinental San Pedro Sula has 149 rooms with internet access, 7 suites, executive floors, restaurant, gym, spa, pool, mail service, copier, among others Prices range between $100 - $450.  edit
  • Grupo Christal, [3]is a new concept in boutique hotels in Honduras; Villa Toscana is in San Pedro Sula in an exotic tropical garden, in a site that is walking distance from the main shopping centers of the City. [4]
  • “Casa del Triunfo” is a Mediterranean villa which is a beachfront property at the Caribbean, located in the town of Tela. You would enjoy comfort, peace, and all your senses will be overwhelmed. Feel at home with security. Get pleasure from luxury at economic rates. You are not a guest, but a friend.
  • Best Western Hotel Gran Sula. Located right on the Parque, accessable to all parts of the city, and good prices. Also, try the Oro Verde bar near the entrance.

Stay safe

The area around San Pedro Sula has had a reputation of being dangerous for both locals and tourist a like.

Just like everywhere in Honduras, common sense should be used

The Parque Central at night should be avoided.

There are certain areas of the city which should be avoided, but these areas are off the tourists trail. Including neighborhoods in the outer parts of the city.

Get out

San Pedro Sula is a good base for getting out to the beaches at Puerto Cortes and Omoa, the Bay Islands in the Caribbean Sea, the amazing Maya ruins of Copán, or south towards Lake Yojoa, Comayagua, and Tegucigalpa. The coastal town of Tela is only about an hour drive from San Pedro, which has nice Caribbean beaches. TelaMar is the place to stay. Leaving from San Pedro Sula you can visit Cusuco National Park. The diversity of activities at this park is huge. Hiking, Mountain biking, Rappelling, Camping, Bird watching, Waterfall swimming, Caving, Night tours.

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