Santa Rosa de Copan Honduras General Information
Located high in the mountains of western Honduras, it is the largest commercial center of the area. As an agricultural center for coffee production, Copan is also known for their "rosquillas" (cookies), considered a delight for Hondurans (a bit dry and tasteless to most foreigners). Santa Rosa de Copan is one of the gateways to Gracias Lempira, an area populated by indigenous Indians.
Santa Rosa is the most important commercial and political city in western Honduras. It serves as the administrative center for the departments of Copan, Lempira and Ocotepeque. One of the best highways in Central America, leads from San Pedro Sula to the El Poy border with El Salvador and to the Agua Caliente border with Guatemala goes through Santa Rosa. It is a good point to stop over on your trip from Honduras to El Salvador, as well as if you are headed for the city of Esquipulas in Guatemala.
Santa Rosa goes back to colonial times, when the high quality of tobacco being cultivated in the region, sparked the Spanish to chose the community as the site for the Royal Tobacco Factory back in 1765. The Royal Tobacco Factory was the in charge of distributing seeds and tools required for the cultivation of tobacco, as well as setting its price and marketing the product. This became the prime activity of the community.
According to official records, Santa Rosa de Copan was a significant a village, then known as “Los Llanos” as far back as 1791, and in 1812 it was declared a municipality. When the department of Copan was split away from the department of Gracias (now Lempira), Santa Rosa de Copan was immediately declared the capital of the new department.
Santa Rosa has prospered and diversified its activities. Today its most important activity is commerce, and more and more entrepreneurs developing tourism for the city, due to its strategic location and colonial atmosphere.
The immediate area surrounding Santa Rosa offers a wide array of activities for the adventurers and nature lovers. Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and swimming are all available. If you like horseback riding, try the tours which include visits to coffee farms, small colonial towns and tobacco plantations. The La Montañita park is a nice setting that offers great spots to spend the day, including a natural swimming area. Don’t miss the Balneario Ecoturistico las tres Jotas, located 24 km. From Gracias on the highway towards Gracias. Here you can enjoy thermal pools, tours to tobacco, coffee and lufah plantations, campgrounds. Fried fish is a local specialty.
Santa Rosa de Copan is only 45km from the historical colonial city of Gracias, with good bus service that connects both cities within 75 minutes. You can easily visit this city and be back in your hotel room that same evening. Santa Rosa de Copan is the best gateway into the very little known “Honduran Highlands”, home to the indigenous Lenca Indians and to some of the most beautiful colonial towns in Central America.
The colonial indigenous city of Belen Gualcho can be reached from Santa Rosa. Belen Gualcho is a colonial city with a very interesting church and a great market on Sundays. For those more interested in wildlife, in addition to Celaque National Park, located adjacent to the city of Gracias, the Reserva del Huisayote, a cloud forest located within 60 km of Santa Rosa is easily accessible, and is a great place to see exotic birds and animals, such as the elusive quetzal.
Santa Rosa de Copan is a good place to spend your first or last night in Honduras before (or after) crossing the borders into El Salvador or Guatemala!
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For general information about travel in Honduras, and to see what others who have visited Santa Rosa de Copan have to say, and/or to tell us your own experiences, visit the Santa Rosa de Copan Blog
Going to Honduras? Your Spanish dictionary needs to include "Honduras Slang"!
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