Trujillo, where Columbus landed
In Trujillo, you’ll find a little bit of everything. But perhaps the biggest thing you’ll find is a rich and tumultuous history that dates back thousands of years. Civilization in the area dates back to somewhere between 1200 and 600 B.C., as gleaned from artifacts found in the Cuyamel caves of Mt. Calentura. In more “modern” ancient history, it is also the selfsame place where Christopher Columbus landed on his fourth and final journey to the New World. Indeed, it is here in Trujillo that the first Mass was ever performed in all of the American continent, and it was performed by Christopher Columbus himself. Later, in the 15th century, this shipping port for silver and gold was plagued by pirates from all across the globe – Holland, France and England. In fact, in 1683, on the nearby island of Roatan, there was the largest gathering of buccaneers ever in the history of the world. And while today things may have settled down quite a bit, the ancient aura of danger and mystery still prevail.
You’ll find the city of Trujillo on the northern coast of Honduras, at the base of two mighty mountains, Capira and Calentura. The city is situated on a small bluff that overlooks the beautiful bay of Trujillo, offering a panoramic view of the ocean and the towering mountains that stand guard. It’s a rather small city, with a population of perhaps 30,000 people, which offers a distinct charm to those who visit it. Within the city of Trujillo, you’ll find a unique historic downtown area that stretches over roughly a dozen blocks, complete with a cathedral, central plaza, a historic Spanish fort and un-renovated buildings infused with a mixture of early Spanish and 19th Century French Colonial architecture. This eclectic blend of Spanish and French, old and new, offers a magical magnetism that is sure to draw you in.
The Sandy Shores of Trujillo Bay
Above the sandy beaches of Trujillo Bay, an ancient fort still guards the shore, a remnant of the region’s ancient past. Long ago, Trujillo was a major city in Honduras, and served as a shipping port for the gold and silver that was mined throughout the country. In fact, it was such an important port that it soon drew the attention of Spain’s enemies – the Dutch, the French and the English. Pirates and buccaneers ravaged the coastline, attacking the people, burning the village and ransacking any ships in sight. A fort was constructed to stem this tide of destruction, but even with its walls and powerful cannons, it wasn’t enough to stave off the attacks. Piracy continued, stronger than ever and eventually the town was virtually destroyed. Trujillo was essentially abandoned, a ghost town, until the 1820’s when the ravages of piracy was over and order began to once again be established. Now the fort simply stands watch over a peaceful shoreline, speckled over with Garifuna fisherman and several thatch roofed “champas” offering food, drinks, music and shade to the many people who flock to Trujillo. The peace and tranquility of Trujillo today somehow seem to make its ancient, bloody past deliciously mysterious.
Home of the Garifuna
The Garifuna, also known as the Black Caribs, live throughout the country of Honduras, and extend into some of the surrounding countries, too. In Trujillo, there are three Garifuna villages, all of them to the west of the city. The villages are: Santa Fe, San Antonia and Guadeloupe. When you wake up early in the morning, and set out to explore the shorelines and beaches, you’re sure to encounter some of the fishermen working their trade. You wont see them working in motorized boats (you probably won’t see any motorized boats, save the banana boats), but instead sailing or paddling along in their dugout canoes. Some you’ll see fishing with hand lines; others will be diving for conch or lobster. If you set out to explore their villages, you’ll be greeted by a way of life that has remained greatly unchanged for years and years – full of vibrant music, dancing, colors and foods. It’s like a taste of Jamaica, but oh so different.
The Treasures of Trujillo
If you’re visiting Trujillo, you won’t find the hustle and bustle that greets you in some of the larger cities of Honduras. Life is simple, laid back, independent of the world of the rat race. The entertainment is pleasant, but subdued. If you’re looking for peace, you’ll find it. You can spend your days lying in the sun on the locally crafted mats, buying souvenirs like starfish chandeliers or carved stonework from the local children who peddle their wares up and down the coastline. You can hike along the beach, explore the nearby national parks or find a guide or tour to introduce you to the wonders the region contains. If you know where to look, you can find a wide range of wildlife, especially birds. In the region around Trujillo there are four different kinds of parrots, blue-grey tanagers, hummingbirds and toucans. About 7 km from town, there are hot springs, where you can sooth your weary soul for a small entrance fee. Or, you can set out to walk along the graves of ancient men and women in the historic cemetery. It’s the eternal resting place for one of Central America’s most infamous mercenaries, William Walker, who escaped so many other governments only to be shot and killed in Trujillo. And when the day comes to a close, you’ll have no trouble finding hotels, hostels or inns to rest your weary head.
Trujillo: Land of Treasure and Tragedy
Whether you plan to stay in Trujillo for days, weeks, months or years, you’ll quickly find yourself drawn into the simple charming way of life that prevails, despite centuries of unrest. There have been no pirates, no mercenaries and no disasters that could defeat the spirit of this ancient, mysterious city. It’s no wonder, then, that Trujillo can also defeat the pressing cares and concerns of your own world and allow you to rejuvenate your spirit. Come and explore the wonder of Trujillo!