Trujillo is the capital of the Colon Department in Caribbean Honduras with approximately 65,000 inhabitants.
Poor Trujillo, with its idyllic impression of verdant mountains dropping into the sea, seems to be forgotten a lot of the time. But it does have several claims to fame. First, Christopher Columbus set foot here on his 4th journey to the Western Hemisphere, and it is said that this is the first place where mass was held in the Americas, in the year 1502. Also it is said that the largest gathering of pirates in history took place around here in 1683. Another notable caveat about Trujillo is that it is the resting place of William Walker, that American colonialist juggernaut who took over Nicaragua for a while but who finally met his end execution-style in Trujillo after all that mess was over. And lastly, Trujillo is close to the municipality called Bonito Oriental where the author Paul Theroux set the stage for his novel The Mosquito Coast.
While there is a runway in Trujillo, it doesn't appear there is any commercial air service at this time, so the only ways to get to Trujillo seem to be to drive or take a taxi. One reason for Trujillo's isolation is that the terrain has been too rugged to establish a thruway along the coast, thus necessitating a lot of extra inland driving if coming from points west like Tela or La Ceiba. Occasionally cruise ships do hail here though.
Drive or use a taxi or walk.
- 1 Fortaleza De Santa Bárbara (center of town, on the beach), ☏ +50422344535. 9AM-5PM Daily. From the time Cortés dispatched one of his subordinates named Olid to establish an outpost at this location in 1524 through the duration of New Spain, Trujillo was marauded by pirates and Spain's competitors (e.g. the Dutch, English, and French). Thus, this fort was established to repel the adversaries, but eventually Spain deemed the city to be indefensible, after so many travails.
- 2 Grave Of William Walker (Cementerio Viejo). This may be like going to visit the grave of someone who was on the wrong side of history, but anyway this is the resting place of William Walker (filibuster), an American who managed to invade Nicaragua and become president thereof from 1856 to 1857, with intentions of setting up a slave-holding empire in Central America. But Central American troops surrounded him in Granada, whence he set the city ablaze and escaped. But in 1860, when he returned to the region to help British colonists living in Roatan stave off British powers seeking to annex the island, he was captured in Trujillo and summarily executed there.
- 3 Catedral San Juan Bautista. The obligatory church and central square sits astride the Fortaleza. Souvenir shops, restaurants, and people-watching opportunities exist here.
- 4 Museo y Balneario Rufino Galan (Rufino Galan Museum & Pool), Barrio Miramar (two blocks southwest of the other cemetery), ☏ +50497790098. This is a man's rather eclectic collection of pre-Columbian and modern items, some authentic, some not. They include such things as pieces of downed US military planes from the Contra era, rusty guns, paper money, indigenous figurines and rubber trees. Might help to know a little Spanish. In the back, there are a couple of swimming pools fed by the adjacent river in a shady, relaxing setting for enjoyment.
- 5 Punta Castilla or Caxinas (Cabo de Honduras) (at the end of CA13, 21 km from Trujillo). Open 24 hours. Apparently this is where Columbus first set foot on the American mainland, in August of 1502, with the help of an Indian named Yumbe he had commissioned as admiral, and then decided to call it Punta Caxinas because of all of this type of fruit around. Today, it is also known as Cape of Honduras. It will probably require using a car or bike. Beach along the way.
- 1 Playa Dorada Honduras (right in front of (or below) the Fortaleza), ☏ +50424343121. A quintessential tropical beach.
There are some national parks (i.e. Parque Nacional Botaderos, Parque Nacional Sierra Rio Tinto, Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve), but they are really off the beaten track and (it seems) underdeveloped.
Lots of choices, including:
- 1 Restaurante El Delfin (right below the fort), ☏ +50499501717. Seafood dining and sunset right on the beach.
Lots of choices here as well with a wide price range.
- 1 Tranquility Bay Beach Retreat (a few km off main road west of town), ☏ +50499282095. This hotel may be a little high end (Suites ~$65), but it has a superb beach and natural setting, tasteful Honduran decor (think striped-colored blankets), restaurant/bar, a/c, hot-water, pet policy, and a range of activities from paddleboard, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, scuba and fishing tours.