Following is a short list of my favorite things to do in Santa Rosa de Copan. You will find that many are within the city itself, however there are a few that will require some transportation outside of town. There is no doubt that one of the most interesting things to do in Santa Rosa de Copan is to visit a coffee plantation and processing plant. I hope you find my list useful!
Cigar Factory Tour
Santa Rosa de Copan has a long history of producing quality tobacco. The Spanish Crown issued the proper permits back in 1765. A decree created the Royal Tobacco Factory. The “La Real Factoria del Tabaco” began producing tobacco for export soon after. Over a century and half later, tobacco lost its economic importance due to the prosperous coffee industry. Coffee has become the most important agricultural activity around Santa Rosa de Copan. Yet to this day, you can still visit an important cigar producing factory in Santa Rosa de Copan. “La Flor de Copan” factory produces a variety of brands. Some are for export only and produced for prestigious international cigar brands.
You can visit the cigar factory, which offers daily tours (From Monday to Friday). The tour starts at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. There is a minimum of three persons for the tour. The cost of the tour is only $2 US dollars per person! This means that you can pay for the price of three persons and still get a bargain of a tour. The service is bilingual. The tour will show you the process of producing a cigar. This is a handmade product, and each individual cigar is hand wrapped. Once wrapped, they put it into a mold to give it a perfect form.
One of the most delicate aspects is wrapping the cigar. For this, a large leaf, known as a wrapper, is stuffed with tobacco and then hand rolled. The process is slow, and thus the reason why a good cigar is so expensive. It is best to call in advance to arrange for the tour. To do so, call 2662 1317, ext 221 and reserve with Karla Lemus. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please note that the factory does not sell any cigars. If you want to buy some cigars to take with you, you need to visit the factory outlet store. The store is at Calle Real Centenario, half a block towards central Park from the Hotel Elvir. This Store is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m till noon, and Monday through Friday from 1:30 to 5:00. They offer the Flor de Copan, Don Melo and Casa Copan brand cigars. Choose between a variety of sizes and forms, as well as packaging formats.
Coffee Processing Plants
The economy of Western Honduras depends on coffee. Santa Rosa de Copan is the most important coffee hub in Central America. Thus, there are many different coffee processing plants in the area. Beneficio Santa Rosa is one of the most tourist friendly coffee processing plants. They also have their own coffee shop, where you can sample some of the coffee that they produce here: Coffee Planet. You can arrange for a tour at Beneficio Santa Rosa through the front desk of your hotel. Mr. Max Elvir of Lenca Land Trails also offers this tour as part of his services.
Walking City Tour
Santa Rosa de Copan offers an ideal climate. This together with the fact Santa Rosa is a safe city make it ideal to walk around in the city. There is no doubt that the best way to get to know a city is to walk around it. You will find that the population is friendly and always willing to help. Taxis are safe and affordable in Santa Rosa de Copan. If you venture out a bit too far and feel you don’t want to walk back, just get a cab and have him return you to your hotel.
If you prefer to have a guide with you, I recommend Mr. Max Elvir. He is passionate about local history and community tourism. He is also a proud member of the Santa Rosa de Copan community. Mr. Elvir owns a tour company called Lenca Land Trails. You can contact him at 9997 5340. You can also email him at email@example.com.
If you prefer to walk, perhaps the best spot to start your tour will be at the local market. The main entrance is just a couple of blocks east of the park on Avenida Real Centenario. The market has several different areas. One is for the fresh produce, others are for local souvenirs and daily house hold items. After strolling through the park, you should head west towards Central Park.
The park has several points of interest. A nice gazebo or kiosk stands in the middle of the park. You can go upstairs, relax at a table and sip a cup of coffee while you see the people going about their business in town. The Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in town. It is dedicated to Saint Rose of Lima. It was put into service in 1803. This means that it dates back to colonial times, as Honduras did not gain its independence until 1821. Along one of the small pedestrian streets that are next to the cathedral you will find a charming little coffee shop. Kaldi’s offers a great cup of coffee and some outstanding pastries to go with your beverage.
On the opposite side of the park you will find the city hall, as well as the local Hondutel offices. The building that houses the latter is actually a partial remain of the old Real Factoria de Tabaco. This was the original tobacco factory that was the authorized by the Spanish Crown back in 1765!
Unique Items to Buy in Santa Rosa de Copan
As we continue our tour, we will head down Calle Real Centenario towards the west. Our next stop, is the La Flor de Copan cigar shop. This is roughly two blocks from Central Park. The store is open Monday through Saturday and is the only local cigar outlet in town for this company. Learn about the local cigars and buy a couple of these fine tobacco cigars to take back home. If you want to learn more, book a tour at the cigar factory for later in your trip!
Our tour will continue along the Real Centenario Street towards the west. Continue to the corner of 4th avenue, where we will take a right. From here, you will see the Café de las Velas. This is one of the top coffee shops in Santa Rosa de Copan. Relax, order a cup of coffee and admire the setting, the variety of candles and local souvenirs. If you are not in a mood for a cup of coffee, then perhaps consider stopping here on the return trip.
Half a block past Café de las Velas, on the corner, on the opposite side of the street, you will see a sign that says Timoshenko. You will note a white and red sign, like that of the swiss flag. This is the factory outlet for a famous local liquor. Feel free to walk in and check it out. Try a sample of the original fruit beverage or of the newer coffee liquor. Both are outstanding and typical of Santa Rosa de Copan. This is the most authentic alcoholic beverage bottled in Honduras.
El Cerrito, the Local Recreational Park in Santa Rosa de Copan
We will now backtrack to Calle Real Centenario, and then continue our route towards the west. We will soon come up to the local regional public hospital, and a park with some sport facilities. At the far end of the park you will see a massive stairway heading up towards the clouds. This is the “Parque El Cerrito” It is a park that is on a hill. If you are in good health and up to it, climb up to the top. Remember, the goal is not to get there first, but simply to get there! , so take it easy, along the way you can always sit down and enjoy the view of the city. A large replica of one of the Maya Stelaes from the Copan Archaeological site waits for you at the top.
At the far end of the park is a nice forest that is a protected area. This forest is home to the watershed that feeds water to the city of Santa Rosa. There is a network of trails that leads from here. Different hikes can take you different destinations. The trails are well kept, but not well marked. It is a good idea to get a local guide if you want to head out for a hike. Of course, after your city tour, you have an interest to get back into town. There are many places to enjoy your well earned ice cold beer or an outstanding cup of coffee to help you get your energy back!
Coffee Plantation Tour
At the Beneficio Santa Rosa you can see the industrial process to prepare coffee for export. But there is a totally different experience when you visit a coffee plantation. The most interesting time of the year to visit a plantation is between the months of October and January. This is the time of the year when the coffee beans are ready for harvest.
Coffee harvesting is a labor intense activity. The coffee picker must choose only the ripe coffee cherries. This is a time of the year when many people are employed. If the coffee bean is not harvested on time it will mature and fall to the ground. You will find that many people working the coffee plantations during the harvesting season. This includes men, women and even children. The Honduran school year ends in November, and kids have a break until February. This means children can make a few lemps by working in the fields!
There are many different coffee plantations around Santa Rosa de Copan. Some of them are not only open to visits by tourists, but actually have a coffee tour. The best way to find one for you is to ask at your hotel front desk. Mr. Max Elvir, from Lenca Land Tours offers tours to different plantations. A great alternative is a visit to the Capucas village. There you will get to know a well organized coffee cooperative operate. They are happy to share their success story with visitors.
Closer to Santa Rosa, the Hacienda Montecristo Estate coffee plantation offers a unique experience. They have one of the most professional settings in Central America. In addition to coffee, they have an extensive agro industrial production that includes cattle and cacao.
A unique, century old hacienda that is located 10 miles east of Santa Rosa de Copan, on the CA4 highway in direction to San Pedro Sula. Hacienda Montecristo is a family operation that is proud to exhibit several coffee productions different certifications. These include Rainforest Alliance, 4C y Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices.
The operation center is a lovely, century old hacienda building, with spacious outdoor porches. Decorated with fine taste, the building is inviting and friendly. Services provided include a lunch with fresh products from the farm.
The coffee operation boasts a variety of different Arabica coffee, such as Caturra, Catuai, Pacamara, IHCAFE 90 y PARAINEMA. These are all grown in separate parcels, and you will have a chance to learn about these different varieties of coffee. In addition to walking through the plantations, you will get a chance to see the daily operation. The best time to visit is during harvesting season, as you will see the labor intense work going on. Harvesting coffee is strictly a personal work, and there are many different people working during the harvest.
Also worthy of noting is the fact that during the harvest season you can see the coffee processing. This is an industrial process that begins by taking the pulp out of the coffee cherry. After the pulp has been extracted, the bean is washed, and then sundried to perfection. Once dry, the thin skin that wraps the coffee seed is separated. The process of roasting the coffee is a separate operation.
Hacienda Montecristo is a Luxury Coffee Estate in Honduras
Most of the coffee produced at Hacienda Montecristo is for export. One of their main clients is Starbucks, so who knows, perhaps next time you buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks you may be drinking a brew that originated in Hacienda Montecristo in Copan, Honduras!
The tour includes a visit to the cattle farm, where you may get a chance to bottle feed a young calf, ride a horse and see some magnificent exhibit horses. On going work is in process to prepare quarters for those interested in spending the night. This will no doubt be a memorable experience you will cherish!
It is important to note that this is socially responsible operation, and that the company invests heavily on its staff. The local school is sponsored 100% by Café Montecristo. Here the sons and daughters of workers get elementary school education without having to leave their village to the nearest school.
For information and reservations, contact Hacienda Montecristo at E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also find up to date information at their webpage and facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/HaciendaMC/?fref=ts