Located in a deep natural bay along Honduras’ Caribbean Coast, Trujillo is a unique destination still waiting to blossom. Trujillo has several claims to fame. Christopher Columbus actually landed in Punta Castilla back in August, 1502. Punta Castilla is one of the points that forms the Bay of Trujillo. This was during his fourth and last voyage to the New World. This was also the site where the first Eucharistic Celebration on mainland America took place! You see, during his previous voyages, Columbus had discovered a variety of Caribbean islands. These include the greater Antilles, the Bahamas and many other of the Lesser Antilles. But it was not until his fourth voyage when he stumbled upon the continent that would never bear his name!
Columbus left a group of settlers behind in Trujillo. Then he continued his exploration towards the east and then south. Navigating along the coast of Central and South America. The original colonial settlement of Trujillo, the oldest in Central America did not survive long. The swampy, mosquito infected lands claimed the lives of the first settlers. Years later, Hernan Cortes, the conqueror of Mexico visited the bay and reestablished the settlement.
Another claim to fame that Trujillo has is that is the final resting place for William Walker. The American Filibuster, William Walker was put before a firing squad in Trujillo. His tomb rests in the old cemetery. Walker had been president of Nicaragua for several years. He was ousted by the different Central American armies to get rid of the US presence in the region. Cornelius Vanderbilt and not the American Government, was behind William Walker.
Today Trujillo is the capital of the department of Colon, on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Despite being one of the oldest towns established in Central America, it does not have much to prove it. Most of the original wood buildings were burnt to the ground by the British corsairs that attacked Trujillo. The city was actually abandoned for several decades!
The Cultural Assets of Trujillo
The most outstanding old building is the Fortress of Santa Barbara. It is on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean, it was the perfect spot to defend the bay from pirate attacks. Most of the other buildings date from republican days. Many have the typical banana republic era architecture, they are not particularly interesting. There are many different natural and cultural attractions in or around Trujillo. Most of the are well worth visiting.
The Garifuna neighborhood of Cristales in Trujillo, and Santa Fe and Guadalupe are worth visiting. These are all beach front communities with a lot of charm. Some of them offer good food and even some lodging. The Garifuna are friendly, seafaring people that accept visitors to their communities. A private museum, that offers a hodgepodge of artifacts related to Trujillo is an interesting visit. The old Fortress of Santa Barbara houses a small museum exhibit about the history of Trujillo.
Trujillo and its National Parks
If you have an interest in nature, Trujillo offers some spectacular mountains just behind the city. These are actually part of the Capiro y Calentura National Park. Nearby the Guaymoreto Lagoon Wildlife Refuge offers a pristine mangrove forests. These estuaries are home to alligators. They also have abundant marine birds, with many different native and migrant species. On the backside of Capiro and Calentura National Park you can find some natural hot springs. These are in the community of Silin. These are ideal to soothe your body and relax your mind.
Trujillo: Some of the Best Beaches in Central America!
But perhaps the biggest asset that Trujillo has is its beaches. Miles of natural white sand beaches extend themselves through the bay. Small hotels, scattered throughout the bay offer the perfect hideaway for beach lovers and sun worshipers. Garifuna communities open their doors to travelers looking for a different cultural experience. Trujillo now has a small cruise ship terminal. Cruise ships anchor in the bay and tender the passengers to the passenger terminal. The Bay offers ideal anchorage and the port rarely needs to close. Currently, only small cruise ships are visiting the port. This means you will not find the town swamped with cruise ship passengers!
Trujillo is the perfect quiet beach destination in Central America. Great beaches, friendly communities, affordable hotels and restaurants and many different things to do. Many travelers overlook Trujillo because it is at the end of the road, and they do not want to go out and explore the area. Not going is a mistake!
Trujillo, the Gateway to Guanaja
Last, but not least, Trujillo is the port that allows you to travel by ferry to the lovely Bay Island of Guanaja. There is ferry service twice a week. If you are looking for the “Real Honduras” consider visiting these two destinations. Both are far from the tourist trail, are authentic and have few visitors. Plan on visiting Trujillo, and then jump on the ferry to Guanaja. You will be glad you did!