Questions Often Asked by Travelers as they Traverse Honduras Highways

“Se Venden Manzanas”

Honduras highways
A Manzana is an old Spanish  land measurement that is equivalent to .7 hectares.

Some things don’t make sense. Yet if you see them again and again, maybe its you who can’t make sense of them. I get the same questions asked by travelers as they traverse the Honduras highways. Perhaps the most often asked question is why is everyone selling apples? And why do they put up a sign specifying the number of apples they sell? If you are selling 10 “manzanas”, its hardly worth the time and effort to put up a sign on the road. Unless,  of course, they are selling something other than apples![themify_hr border_width=”1″ width=”1″ color=”light-gray”]

It turns out that the old Spanish system had its own units. Instead of meters, they used “varas”, which by the way, is about equal to a yard. A manzana is equall to 100 varas time 100 varas, or 10,000 varas. It is approximately .7 of an hectare. So know you know… Next time you see an add on the highway that says “Se venden 10 manzanas”, they are not selling apples, they are selling land!


Honduras Highways
A typical Honduran Pulperia or neighborhood store

As you travel through small towns, you will find many different small establishments with a common name: “Pulperia”.  So you will wonder, do they sell “pulp” there? What kind of pulp do they sell? It turns out they sell a bit of everything, and no pulp of any kind. A Pulperia is a Central American word used to define the small corner store where you can buy whatever you need. Toothpaste, a softdrink, a pen or a notebook. Pulperias have just about anything in them. They are convenient, because they are next door. They do tend to me more expensive that a market or supermarket.[themify_hr border_width=”1″ width=”1″ color=”light-gray”]

You may ask, were does the name come from? Well, its common lore that because the Pulperia is such a small location, the owner used to simply stretch his arms out and grab everything you asked for. By doing so, he seemed like an octopus, quickly reaching out and grabbing items. In Spanish, the word octopus is “pulpo”. Hence the dispatcher is the “pulpero” or the “octopus” and the shop is a “pulperia”! Hope you enjoyed this little bit of Central American Folklore!


Another site that is common along Honduras highways are motels. In Honduras, a motel is different to a hotel in the sense that they sell the room by the hour, not the day.  Typically, the fee is for up to three hours. It is always interesting, even fun, to read the names of the motels. These try to use suggestive names to lure their clients. Motel El Paraiso, Motel Nube Viajera or Motel Mi Segunda Ilusion, are three fine examples of this. (I see these in my travels between La Ceiba and Tegucigalpa). These properties all have a carport where you drive your car in. Then you can close the gate and thus  privacy is a guarantee!


Translated directly, it would mean being pinched! But literally, it relates to your tire suffering a puncture. This can happen regularly, as well as bending a wheel in a big pothole. The result is a flat tire. Fortunately, there are many different businesses along the road that repair tires. If you are lucky, you may get them to fix your tire before it is completely flat. Worst case, scenario, you change the tire and then find a “pinchazo”  to fix your tire and replace it as your spare tire. You may be surprised at the services included in the “Pinchazo” businesses. I recently had a flat tire on the highway and found myself using their wifi as they fixed my tire!


As a general rule, motels do not register the names of their guests, as many are off to a clandestine affair that they wish to keep private!