Comayagua was once the capital of Honduras. This historical importance lends to the city’s allure as a tourist destination. Quite simply, no other city in the country has a stronger colonial history. This isn’t the only reason to visit this fairly large city that lies along the main highway between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, however. During Semana Santa (Holy Week), Comayagua is where you will encounter the country’s most passionate religious celebrations. There’s also the agreeable Comayagua climate. Because of its location in the mountains, the city is generally cooler than most other Honduran cities. Perhaps this is why so many American retirees and expats have chosen to make Comayagua their home.
Comayagua was founded in 1537 by the Spanish explorer, Alonso de Caceres, who was under orders from the Governor of Yucatan, Francisco de Montejo. From 1540 to 1880, the city served as the capital of Honduras. Tegucigalpa was the city that eventually superceded Comayagua as the Honduras capital, and it retains that role to this day. Due to its more than 300-year reign as the capital of Honduras, Comayagua has a rich history that is best evidenced by its colonial architecture. Also worth mentioning in relation to the history of Comayagua is the nearby Soto Cano Air Base. Located five miles south of the city, this air base opened in 1981 and houses between 500-600 U.S. troops. It is also used by the Honduran Air Force academy. In addition to using the Soto Cano Air Base as a launching point for its war on drugs in Central America, the U.S. military uses the facility as a base for humanitarian aid missions that target Honduras and the rest of the Central American region.
Colonial Architecture & Museums
Comayagua’s prominent past is very much on display. Found around the city center are an assortment of historic churches, palaces, and squares. Among the city’s most renowned colonial-era monuments are the Cathedral of Comayagua and the Iglesia La Merced. The Cathedral is highlighted in the following paragraph. As for the Iglesia La Merced, it was built in 1550 and is the oldest church in town. It is also one of the oldest churches in all of Central America. Among the other historic sights to see while in Comayagua are the Iglesia Nuestra Senora de la Caridad and the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco. Both churches hail from the city’s colonial era. Also of considerable interest are the Comayagua museums. Standouts in this area include the Museo Colonial de Arte Religioso (Colonial Museum of Religious Art) and the Museo Regional de Arqueologia (Museum of Regional Archaeology).
Cathedral of Comayagua
Cathedral of Comayagua
Found at the north end of the Parque Central, the Cathedral of Comayagua, or La Iglesia de la Immaculada Concepcion, as it is also known, is widely considered to be the most beautiful cathedral in Honduras. Construction on this towering structure began in the late 17th century and finished in 1711. Among its main features are four original hand-carved wood and gold-plated altars. Also of particular interest is the clock that can be found in the church tower. It’s the oldest clock in the Americas. Originally built for the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, it dates back to the 12th century and was given to Comayagua as a gift by King Phillip III.
In recent years, Comayagua has become a very popular Honduras vacation destination. Many of the city’s visitors are inhabitants of Tegucigalpa, who come mostly on day trips to enjoy the atmosphere and hospitality of the Comayagua people. The city is also receiving an increasing amount of foreign visitors. The overall rise in tourism has encouraged both local and foreign entrepreneurs to invest in tourism-related businesses. Among these businesses are restaurants. Many of the top restaurants in Comayagua are understandably located around the city’s attractive Central Plaza. Some specialize in typical Honduran cuisine, as well as Mexican food and Latin American cuisine in general. Also, it is becoming more common to find Comayagua restaurants that offer other international cuisines. If you only have time for one meal during your visit to Comayagua, you might head directly to a Central Plaza restaurant that has outdoor seating so that you can savor the city’s colonial atmosphere while you dine.
Comayagua Hotels & Lodging
Comayagua Hotels & Lodging
Comayagua is home to several good hotels. Examples include the Hotel La Posada De Mi Viejo, the Hotel Santa Lucia, the Hotel Antigua Comayagua, the Hotel Casa Grande (pictured), and the Hotel Santa Maria de Comayagua. These hotels might not be five star establishments, but they offer enough in the way of comfort and quality and can appease most travelers. Plus, it’s hard to find fault with the reasonable rates. Honduras hotels on the whole are well-priced, and these are no different. Breakfast is often included in the rates, so that is one more thing to find favor with. If you are looking for something a little different, just five minutes outside of the city is the Comayagua Golf Club. In addition to a par-68 golf course and other facilities, this resort offers accommodations, some of which come in the form of cottages. There are also residential opportunities at the Comayagua Golf Club.