Before arriving at San Pedro Sula I did my research to know what I could do and visit while there. The best I can say is that it didn’t turn out to be too promising. Apparently, this city is just a transit hub and travelers flee from it as soon as they can. This was my condition. San Pedro Sula was my entry point, but I didn’t want to escape it on the first bus I could catch. Well, sort of.

After my misadventure in Tela, I decided to taste and explore San Pedro Sula to see what this city offers, instead of fleeing to avoid it in its entirety.

I gave it a chance, without much success.

As expected, I didn’t find anything particular to do while in the city -sights, attractions, etc… you know, the things you usually find at other destinations- other than a typical and simplistic cathedral.  Not bad, it is a good example of Central American Colonial architecture, but is there something else San Pedro Sula has to offer?

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

I honestly felt a little bit disappointed and even thought of fleeing in an instant.

I sat in the park in front of the cathedral and that’s where I decided to stop looking for things to do and just sit there and enjoy the day, as locals do.

And that’s what I did, and I think it was the time I enjoyed the most while in San Pedro Sula.

It was a Sunday; the plaza was full of people -playing, reading, relaxing, and catching the most welcoming breeze under the high 90-degree weather.  The plaza is nothing out of the ordinary; just a typical Latin main square with the church on one side, the city hall on the opposite side, and institutional buildings in between.

I must have spent over an hour sitting there. With the exception of an American couple, I saw no other tourists walking around the area. Then, one of the coolest things I saw was the “International Theater Day Parade” (I had no idea this existed).

It caught my attention as I heard the marching band playing System of a Down‘s “Disorder”. Now, that is the coolest thing!

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

I made my way to see the small parade up close and to snap a few shots.  It might not have been the biggest or most elaborate parade I’ve ever seen, but it totally gave me a better feel of my time in San Pedro.

After that, I decided to walk along the street markets. They are dirty, smelly, and somewhat chaotic. Even though I didn’t buy anything, I found the small shops along the railway to be the most interesting ones.  They are stick built with spare and reused materials that give them that fragile look, as it will fall all over you with just touching them.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Right next to the shady markets is where all the “mini chicken buses” stop. Instead of taking a taxi to get back to la Posada (the hostel), I decided to hop on one of those 6 lempiras ($0.33) minibusses. I had time to kill, so why not spend it roaming around.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

I was a cool and adrenaline-filled ride, but totally unsafe. The driver took sharp turns at ridiculous speeds and had no mercy against anything, or anyone on the road. This is Honduras!  Still, I enjoyed it and got safe to my hostel.

While I had a nice time in San Pedro Sula, I think this is one of those places where I could say, “it’s nice I went there, but I don’t see myself going back”.

Have you visited a city like this?

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39 Comments

  1. We felt the same way about SPS. We ended up passing through there three (gasp) times. Until SE Asia it was our cheapest room of the trip though- $7 for a double with a bathroom!

    I also remember a chinese food place near that matchstick railway market… if I remember correctly the beer was really cheap and really cold.

    1. Yikes! 3 times! lol Honduras in general is pretty cheap, but $7 for a double room with bathroom, that’s super cheap!!
      I tried street food around the matchstick railway market. It was beef with tortillas. Yumm!!

  2. I loved Honduras but didn’t go to San Pedro Sula. Kudos that you tried to find something interesting there and love that you just happened across a parade. I sometimes think the more I travel the harder I am to impress which isn’t a good thing.

    1. You know… I though about that too… Am I jaded about certain things due to the fact I’ve traveled to many different cities? For a moment I though I could be, but then seeing random things like the parade gave me some context to think that maybe I’m not jaded, yet, and that I’m able to look at things openly and try to make the best of them.

  3. I like that you decided to just sit in the park and enjoy the day. You really do have to take charge of your experience.

    I think travel bloggers can tend toward hyperbole and “everything is amazing.” While we try to find the value in every experience, we are not of the mindset that every place is amazing. some places simply don’t resonate.

    side note, I am now singing La Isla Bonita. “Last night I dreamt of San Pedro…” I am pretty sure Momo was not singing about Nicaragua, but what the hell.

    1. HA!! I believe Madge wasn’t thinking about this San Pedro.

      I agree, some travel bloggers might express their opinion about a place as “amazing”, even when there’s a chance it really wasn’t that way. I believe that not every city will be my cup of tea, so I express thing like I experienced them, but that doesn’t mean other people might experience them differently and better than me.

  4. Sometimes we find places we just don’t fancy. It’s good that you gave it time and there were interesting things to enjoy like the band and the markets. For me, people watching can be fascinating as well so if you get bored, watch others or try and talk to some locals. It may not change your opinion of the place but you will have better memories and experiences!

    1. People watching in the plaza was pretty nice. Like you said, it didn’t change my opinion about the city, but it gave me a better experience of my time there. Same thing with the parade. I believe it is one of the things I enjoyed the most in the city.

  5. I’ve felt the same way about many places before. You just cut your losses and do exactly what you did–make the best of it no matter what. And what is it about Latin America and festivals? It seems that no matter where you are, a festival or parade of sorts always pops up. It’s one of my favorite parts of Latin American culture.

  6. Great experience but if I were in your shoes, I think I would have a field day there photographing the everyday life minus the tourist. It’s places like this that gives me reason to explore.

    1. I took so many pictures of random things around the city, plaza, streets, etc… including the parade. I had my little photographic escape too. 🙂

    1. Oh definitely, I’ve had fun in non-touristy places… and this one had it moments – short moments, but had them… 🙂
      San Pedro Sula is the second largest city in Honduras. It is north of the country, about 4-5 hours north of Tegucigalpa (the capital).

  7. Sure not every place is like Paris!! I instruct my travellers when on tour to sit and look when in a new town – to find out more about the locals, how they socialise, how they greet each other, how many kisses, when they eat etc. Then to find a parade passing by, or sometimes in France, the running of bulls in a village, is strangely enough quite a common occurrence!

    1. True, not every place is like Paris. I agree with what you tell your travellers. Absorb the everyday life… that’s one of the ways to experience the culture and to understand and enjoy the place as it is.

  8. I was one of those transit bus people too…hop off one, hop on another. No San Pedro Sula memories other than meeting the most awesome Dutch couple on the bus outta town…

    1. Ha! You didn’t miss much… Those long Central America bus rides a great to meet people. That’s how I met the other backpackers that were my companions for the rest of the trip.

  9. What a bummer!! I am thinking about going to Honduras later in the year and San Pedro Sula looks like the getaway for some of the things I want to do. However, I am thinking of staying there the least amount of time possible. I have friends in Tegucigalpa. Probably, going to ask them to refer me to somebody in San Pedro. I have been to some places with not so many sights (let’s put it like that) but I have been with locals friends and don’t even feel like “there is not much to do”. Actually, I have felt like I want to stay there for a longer time just to hang out with the locals friends. Probably, that is the way to make San Pedro more enjoyable.

    1. That’s a good approach to visit a city with not so many sights if you have friends there, of if you’re willing to meet people. They will keep you entertained, so you will feel like you’re doing something all the time. The thing about SPS is that it is really accessible by land and air. That’s why many people stop there, but that’s also the reason why so many people leave in an instant.

  10. Im in Honduras now and sadly the only place I am visiting is Copan Ruinas! I read the entire chapter on Honduras in the LP and nothing interest me at all but the ruins. At least you checked SPS out.

    1. Jaime, from the places I visited in Honduras, Copan Ruinas (the town and ruins) were the ones I liked the most; even considering I had my accident there. I will not tell you not to visit anywhere in Honduras since you might have a different perspective and experience, but it is a wise choice to go to Copan Ruinas. I think you’re going to love it.

  11. Having the time to just sit ,chill, people watch is often when you discover something really unexpected and interesting. Street performers I love, I’d just sit and watch them all day.

    1. I loved that too. Actually in addition to the parade, there were a street performers in the plaza; playing music, doing tricks, and painting. Those were pretty cool to watch too.

  12. lol this sounds like the town I live in in Costa Rica. Everyone that lives here is glad the town is so dull so that they can relax. Me, not so crazy about it – I at least want a few good restaurants or bars to hang out in!

    1. lol… I guess locals in SPS must feel that way too… glad they are not flooded with tourists. But yeah, a few good restaurants and places to hang out are not a bad thing. 🙂

  13. It is sometimes the best way to experience a place that seems to have nothing to offer. You created your own experience and It seems as though you enjoyed your time there just people watching and walking around. Travel doesn’t need to be big attractions all the time and you have proved that by simplfying what travel really is all about. Great images as well!

    1. You’re right. Traveling doesn’t always mean doing big attractions. Slowing down and stopping to do some people watching and admiring how other cultures act and interact is part of the whole travel experience too. 🙂

  14. I’m going to Honduras, San Pedro Sula for 10 days for a friend’s wedding. She is white and he is local. She knows her way around the place having lived there for about 3 years, but me and my sister are two white chicks with no clue what to do. I hope it goes well and I make it out still in tact.

  15. If anyone want to give a try to SPS, should go for a walk at the Coca Cola (mountain) the view of the city is breathtaking, and there are people selling oranges and coconuts very necessary for hidratation . Take an artisanal beer at Cerveceria El Bosque, next to this brewery is Angeli Garden a very nice restaurant.
    The downtown isn’t all this city can offer, actually is pretty dangerous to go there. The safe area is always up in the direction of the Merendon Mountain.

    1. have done this and agree was one of the better experiences in the city topped only by venturing out one night to some sketchy outdoor market for beers and, tortillas and barbacoa. Just outside of the city however – magic! stayed in one sea side village where the cafe owner trapped lobsters just for us while we waited on her patio drinking ice cold beers then knocked some coconuts down and filled with rum while watching the waves crash. Lake Yojoa was outstanding..views were great and the fresh lake fish was great. All in all, SPS scared me a bit but i enjoyed my time. Outside of the city however i cam across all sorts of wonderful places to visit

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