Road Travel Between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa in the 1940’s
Although not native to the country, I have had the chance of listening to tales of travel through Honduras. Having just traveled by road between La Ceiba and Tegucigalpa last week, I cannot but chuckle when I remember the tales I have heard. Today, travel between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula can be done in approximately 3 hours. The total distance between these two cities is 254 km. roughly 160 miles. The CA5 highway is a modern well marked modern highway…
The only way to get from San Pedro Sula to Portrerillos was via the Railroad!
…back in the 1940’s travel was quite a bit more complicated. For one, a dirt road connected the two cities. This meant a much slower pace. Furthermore there was not even an existing road on some stretches! For example, the 42 kilometers between San Pedro Sula and the town of Portrerillos did not exist! The only way to travel that route was on the Tela Railroad Company train!
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Navigating Lake Yojoa!
Another route that was unique in those days was traveling around Lake Yojoa. The road was nonexistent! The only way to cross the lake was using a ferry to take your car across the lake. There were several different ports along the lake: Pito Solo, El Jaral, and La Guama are the three that were the most important. There were several different ferry boats that offered the service.
I heard an older friend tell the story of how they would leave Tegucigalpa early in the morning and travel all day through dusty or muddy (depending on the season) roads. The travel time between Tegucigalpa and Siguatepeque, which is the halfway point, was anywhere between 10 and 12 hours! After a long grueling trip, a good night sleep was in order. A good bath was part of the ritual. Ridding you body of several layers of dust or mud becomes a bare necessity!
The next day, you needed to leave at the crack of dawn. The ferry transfer across the lake was time consuming. Furthermore, the last train left Potrerillos by 2 p.m. If you missed it, you had to overnight in town in the only hotel available. It was something you would avoid at all cost!
Don Alex Hedman, founder of Hedman Alas bus company, used to tell the story of loading his “baronesa” or bus onto the train. They would travel between San Pedro Sula and Portrerillos and then continuing on the grueling trip by bus to Tegucigalpa. By 1947, the road to bypass Lake Yojoa was open. Travel time was now took 12 hours between both cities!
There is no doubt that traveling through Honduras was much more of an adventure back then. Never the less, I am grateful that the CA5 highway is as good as it is today. This road is the best highway in Central America, and still getting better. Enjoy your travels in Honduras! Remember, that no matter how bad the road you are traveling on is, it is glorious compared to the original Honduras dirt roads! I have other tales of travels through Honduras that I will share soon. Hope you enjoyed this one!