Santa Rosa de Copan: Mountain Living
Tucked away in the mountains of western Honduras is a magnificent little gem with a cool mountain climate – Santa Rosa de Copan. It’s a perfect combination of Colonial architecture, cobbled streets and friendly people – and it hasn’t been overrun by tourists – yet, anyways! However, if you’re looking for Mayan ruins and archeological sites, you might be confusing this city with a far away neighbor, Copan Ruinas, which is about 110 kilometers northwest of the town. But don’t worry; it’s a mistake that many people make. While Santa Rosa de Copan is far from the Copan Ruinas, there are still plenty of nearby destinations and attractions to keep you busy during your stay, such as Gracias, La Campa and La Montanita.
Sights to See in Santa Rosa de Copan
There are plenty of things to do without having to leave town. The downtown area of Santa Rosa de Copan is a national monument, and its atmosphere comes across as quite charming, with the Old World architecture and design. The city of Santa Rosa de Copan is most famous for their excellent hand rolled cigars, which are produced by Flor de Copan. The local factory is open for tours, and at less the $5.00/person, it’s a steal. If cigars aren’t quite your thing, then there’s always coffee… Santa Rosa de Copan is also the home of the Beneficio Maya, a location where fine coffee from across the country is graded and roasted for export. Here you can walk through the plant, sample to beans, and even purchase a few pounds to take home with you. If you’re planning on venturing to Beneficio Maya, you may want to hail a taxi, since it can be a little hard to locate left to your own devices. Once you’ve explored all that the city itself has to offer, then you can venture out a bit further, and explore the surrounding region.
Just Outside of Town
About ten minutes outside of town, on the road to Gracias, you’ll find yourself inside the village of La Montanita. La Montanita is the home of Doricentra, a privately owned water park that’s great for families with or even without children. The park features a water toboggan, swimming and wading pools, food and sometimes even music. The park is open for visitors on weekends and holidays, and admission is incredibly reasonable at under $2.00/person! If you follow this same road for another thirty minutes or so (by bus), you’ll enter into the town of Gracias, one of Honduras’ oldest cities. It was first founded in 1539, and many of the original Colonial buildings are still standing even today! It’s a great historical destination for any of the region’s visitors. Once you’re finished exploring Gracias, if you travel another 16 kilometers, you’ll come to La Campa, an important city for the production of pottery. La Campa is the home of both the traditional and modern forms of Lenca pottery, and here you can find craftsmen and women, pottery creation in action, or simply a few stalls to make pottery purchases of your own. And the best part of all of this is that these great destinations are within an hour’s journey of Santa Rosa de Copan!
Holy Week in Santa Rosa de Copan
Roman Catholicism has always been a major part of Central America since the religion was first introduced to the area over five hundred years ago. The people are devout and the towns and cities all can boast beautiful churches and cathedrals. But, not all of them can boast a Holy Week Procession like the one you’ll find in Santa Rosa de Copan – it’s one of the best in all of Honduras! During the Holy Week, there are no less than six full-dress street theater reenactments of the various parts of the Easter story, and the festivities begin on Holy Thursday. There is the Incarceration Procession, the Holy Cross Procession, the Funeral Procession, the Mourning Procession and the Resurrection Procession. But, one of the favorite processions of the locals and tourists is the Friday night candlelight Women’s Procession, where the Virgin and her friends silently stream through the dark streets and alley ways of the city, silently mourning the loss of Jesus. All of the week’s parades and performances leave you with a strongly poignant view inside the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Annual Fair
If you miss out on the Holy Week celebration, you might not be too late for the annual fair, which comes to town for the last two weeks of August. The fair is dedicated to the local patron saint, Santa Rosa de Lima, and is made up of fourteen days of religious observances, a beauty pageant and coronation, street carnivals, rodeos and other cultural performances. If you make it to Santa Rosa de Copan in August, try to stick around to participate in the fun, you’ll have a chance to gain a better understanding of the local people, an insight into their culture and religion, as well as a great opportunity to pick up some fabulous gifts and souvenirs.
A Peaceful Break from “Real Life”
When most people go on vacation, they are looking for a step outside of their ordinary lives. It doesn’t hurt if the time can be spent outside of the hurried pace and frenzy of “modern” life. Santa Rosa de Copan offer just that and makes a great peaceful, quiet change of scenery for tired, stressed out men, women and children who are simply looking for a break. Come explore the streets, shops and surrounding towns to make your escape from reality complete!