There are some towns that have a unique sense of place. Yuscaran, one of my favorite towns in Honduras has a lot of sense of place! Yuscaran is a colonial town that dates to the XVIII century (Circa 1730). The name is an ancient Indian name that means big mountain. Sitting at an altitude of just over 1000 meters above sea level, Yuscaran is surrounded by mountains with peaks that reach to 1900 meters. This provides the town with a pleasant, cool climate.
This town is the capital of the department of El Paraiso, which is Eastern Honduras. It came to be thanks to the rich deposits of silver and gold that where discovered in the nearby mountains. Like all other colonial towns that came to be for mining reasons, it is built in an unlikely location. Usually, the conquistadors would seek a flat area with plenty of nearby water to build a city. In the case of Yuscaran, this was not the case. As such, the city is built on mountain slopes as close to the mines as possible. This gives Yuscaran a unique aspect, with narrow and steep streets and an irregular central park.
Today, the mines are no longer in operation, and the main economic activity is agricultural. However, there are two different liquor factories in town that produce aguardiente. Translated, this would be something like boiling water! In reality it is a moonshine spirit made from sugar cane. A type of cheap rum that is preferred by locals because of its affordable price. I suggest you try it, the most famous brand is “Yuscaran”. As a matter of fact, you can visit the distillery and even get a tour of the facilities!
Getting to Yuscaran
Yuscaran retains its original colonial charm. The fact that it is away from any main highway means that it has not seen much modernization going on. To get to this charming town, you need to take the road from Tegucigalpa to Danli. This is the same highway that takes you to the Escuela Nacional Panamericana, AKA El Zamorano. It is also the same road that leads to the Las Manos Border crossing between Honduras and Nicaragua. This is the CA6 highway. You will need to drive approximately 50 km before you get to the detour towards Yuscaran. From the detour, you are only 16 km from Yuscaran.
If you do not take the detour, you will eventually arrive at Danli, which although not the capital city of El Paraiso, it is the largest and most important city in the department. Danli is quite close to the Las Manos border with Nicaragua. This is the closest border crossing into Nicaragua from Tegucigalpa. Danli is famous for its World Class cigars. Many Cuban tobacco producers escaped the island during the Cuban Revolution. They brought some Cuban tobacco seeds with them and set up shop in Danli. Today, Honduras is famous for its high-quality tobacco cigars from in Danli.
Yuscaran celebrates its Patron Saint every year in December. The celebration is in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and takes place the first week in December. This is a good time of the year to visit, as the town dresses up for this celebration. Another interesting celebration is the Mango Festival that takes place the last week in May. This is a great time to discover a huge variety of Mango`s that grow in Honduras. You can also purchase mango jellies, candy`s and other products.
Hotels in Yuscaran
You can be easily visit to Yuscaran for day from Tegucigalpa. Plan on getting there early, so that you can enjoy walking through the narrow streets and getting a feel for this lovely town. If you would like to spend the night in town, there are a couple of options. The has a nice setting and is probably the best option in town. The is another alternative, although the rooms are small and without much charm.
Another alternative to visit Yuscaran is to spend the night in Danli. There are several nice hotels in Danli where you can overnight. Best of all, hotels in Danli are much more affordable that those in Tegucigalpa. Most travelers who take the route between Tegucigalpa and Nicaragua do so via the Las Manos border. Few take the time to visit Yuscaran when traveling along the CA6 highway. You will be happy you did! There are basically three restaurants in town. Don Moncho is the most charming and has the best atmosphere. Menu offers typical Honduran food. The other options include a fried chicken restaurant called Pollos Lando and the last one is a Chinese Restaurant. As you can see, I favor the first option.