Situated in the heart of the Honduran mainland, high up in the mountains, the department of Intibuca offers some of the best climate in Central America, intermingled with a pleasant, colonial city surrounded by mountains populated with small, indigenous towns full of color and folklore. Although Honduran indigenous people do not have the colorful costumes and traditions of neighboring Guatemala, this is by far the most colorful and traditional area of the Lenca community and one of the most intriguing areas of Honduras.
La Esperanza is located about 65km from the city of Siguatepeque, which is the halfway point on the San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa highway. With an altitude of one mile over sea level, (1,600 m.) climate here is famous for being the coldest in Honduras. The road from Siguatepeque to La Esperanza is completely paved and in good condition. La Esperanza can also be reached coming from Western Honduras via the colonial city of Gracias. I must stress though that this road is not fully paved and is sometimes in a very good state of repair yet other times is in terrible disrepair. Public transportation between Gracias and La Esperanza is extremely limited and unreliable, so unless you have your own car, you are usually better off reaching La Esperanza from Siguatepeque. Pine-clad mountains and pleasant colonial towns, where pre-Columbian traditions mingle with modern ones, surround the city of La Esperanza. Interesting examples of this are the Guancasco Festivals and the indigenous auxiliary city hall, where the local ethnic group actually elects its own mayor, who represents them and interacts with the official mayor.
La Esperanza is actually formed by two different cities, Intibuca, the older one was originally a Lenca community and La Esperanza became a “ladino” community with the passing of time. Unlike many other sister cities, which are separated by a river or creek, the line between these cities is a crisscrossing street, even locals have trouble trying to determine if the are in Intibuca or in La Esperanza! The central park is actually right between them! There are two interesting colonial churches, one in each of the cities. In addition, there is a small shrine located in a small cave just above the cities.
The central park is usually a meeting place where you will see Lenca women with their traditional colorful scarves over their heads. Many new hotels have opened up in the area, offering very acceptable accommodations. The most unique is the Hotel Entre Pinos, located about 3 miles from town, on the road to Siguatepeque. This new hotel is surrounded by pines and offers comfortable rooms decorated with an artistic flavor in a lovely landscaped setting.
In town, you will find other nice hotels, like the Hotel La Esperanza and the Hotel Minas. There are also a variety of nice restaurants in town. A good information center is located at the Casa de la Cultura; within the Gobernacion building which offers comprehensive information regarding the Lenca community and their handicrafts. Among the most unique facts you will find about the Lenca is that the women enjoy working the land. If you take a trip into the country, you will find many women out in the fields. The department of Intibuca is the most important vegetable and potatoes producing area in the country. The Lenca people have produced most of the vegetables you will find in the supermarkets in Honduras here.