The City of Juticalpa
The capital of Olancho is a relatively old city. Historical records date back to 1774, during the Spanish colonial days in Honduras. Its central park reflects a strong Spanish influence. Around the park you will find a lovely colonial church. Opposite of the church is the nice old municipal building that houses the city hall. On the corner of the street you will find another old building where la Casa de La Cultura is operating. All three of these buildings are in good state and are part of the architectural heritage of Juticalpa.
At the Casa de La Cultura you will find a public library with good information regarding Olancho and Juticalpa. On the second story you will find a museum relative to the history of Juticalpa and Olancho.
Juticalpa is the commercial center of Olancho. You wiill find many banks here and this is the place to exchange your USA dollars. There are several ATM machines in the banks around the Central Park. These include Banco Atlantida and BAC Honduras. A new mall has a financial center within it where you can find many different banks and ATM machines. They each have and ATM machine, so it is a great alternative to get cash.
If you are going out to the villages, make sure you carry small bills. It is often hard to get change for a 500 lemp bill. Internet services are available in Juticalpa, with several businesses offering this service. Many of the local hotels offer free wifi to their guests. You can also check the internet at the Central Park. If it is working, it offers a good option if you have a smart phone or a tablet with you!
National Parks in Olancho
If you plan on a trip to one of the many national parks in Olancho, Juticalpa is your best option to buy your supplies. Both variety and prices will be better here than anywhere else in this department. There are at least 2 different supermarkets on 3rd avenue. Of course, you can always visit the mall to do your shopping.
From Juticalpa, you can visit several different National Parks in Honduras. The easiest to visit is La Muralla National Park which is close to the town of La Union. La Muralla offers great trails and has a visitors center with an area for camping. I have seen the elusive quetzal birds here! Sierra de Agalta is another park you can visit. One of the highlights in this park is the waterfall at Santa Maria del Carbon. This town is on the road between Juticalpa and San Esteban. This is on the northern route towards the Caribbean Coast.
Two other parks worth mentioning are the Patuca National Park, and the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. Both have limited facilities for visitors. Access to both is easier from the nearby city of Catacamas. For a true “Indiana Jones” adventure in the jungle, contact La Moskitia Eco Aventuras. They are tour operator based in La Ceiba that offers multiday expeditions down the Rio Platano. You will camp on the banks of this pristine river as you navigate towards the Caribbean Sea.
Finally, the biggest tourist attraction in Olancho are the Talgua Caves. These are only 10 km. (6 miles) from Catacamas. The road is in good shape and any vehicle can make it there with no problems. Plan on spending at least half a day at the Talgua Caves. This Eco Archaeological site offers great bird watching , nice trails and a stunning cave. The cave is the site of a burial ground of an ancient civilization.