Those Native Americans were mostly of the Lenca people; unfortunately, their language is dead and not a lot is known about their culture. More information on the Lenca can be found in The Cost of Conquest by Linda Newson.
The early Spanish miners in Tegucigalpa found silver, mostly, which supports the theory that the city’s name meant “silver hill” in an indigenous language. Alas, those modern historians have again spoiled a good story by punching holes in this explanation; for one thing, the local Native Americans did not mine silver and so it is unlikely they would have named a hill for it. The meaning of the city’s name remains unknown; possibilities include “place where men meet” and “colored stones.”
The descendants of the Native Americans and Europeans in Tegucigalpa were joined, early in the 1900s, by two other ethnic groups–Arabs and Chinese. The Arabs continued to immigrate for about fifty years, and Chinese continue to come to this day. Both communities are visible in the capital; the two largest hardware store chains carry Arab names, and Chinese restaurants abound.
About one-third of Tegucigalpa–the area lying to the
south and west of the Choluteca River–is known as Comayagüela.
This was a separate city until 1938; Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela
both are further subdivided into barrios.
The pedestrian street, or peatonal, offers coffee, pirated
CDs, donuts, and people-watching.
Francisco Morazán was a Honduran, born in Tegucigalpa,
who served as president of Central America (1830-1840) during
its short tenure as a united nation. His birthplace, one block
north of the peatonal, is marked by a plaque off Calle Mendiete
(on a the north wall of a building on the west side of the
street.) He advocated free elections and popular education,
and so was executed by conservatives in 1842.
Two of the best professional soccer teams this side of Brazil play in Tegucigalpa–Olimpia and Motagua. These teams have supplied several great players to Major League Soccer in the United States, including Alex Pineda Chacon (Olimpia), the league Most Valuable Player in 2001; Milton Reyes (Motagua) of the Dallas Burn; and Amado Guevara (Motagua) of the NewYork/New Jersey MetroStars. Olimpia is now coached by Jose de la Paz Herrera, aka “Chelato” Ucles, the dean of Honduran soccer, who coached the last national team to make it to the World Cup finals (1982).
You may be able to see the Honduran national soccer team
play in the capital; this squad was declared “Team of
the Year” by FIFA, soccer’s international governing
body, in 2001 in recognition of victories against giant nations
such as Mexico, the United States, and Brazil. The team is
currently trying to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The Hondurans are competing against Guatemala, Costa Rica,
and Canada for two slots in a six-team tournament to be played
in 2005. Of those six teams, three will win berths to Germany
and the fourth-place finisher will head to a playoff against
the third-place team in the Asia region for another berth
(got that?). So the smart money is on Honduras to get tickets
to Germany after defeating Japan late in 2005. The U. S. team,
which is somehow currently ranked seventh in the world by
FIFA (I am not making this up), will squeak into the finals
by finishing third, after Mexico and Costa Rica, with the
usual nail-biter one-goal win over Trinidad and Tobago.
The MacArthur, a few blocks north of the post office, 504 237 9839, 504 237 5906, email@example.com. The motto of the MacArthur is not, but could be, “You shall return.”
Budget - The Hotel Granada has three locations, all near Parque Finlay. Granada No. 1 (504 222 2654) has singles and doubles with or without private baths ranging from L215 to L365. No. 2 (504 237 7079, 504 238 4438) and No. 3 (504 237 0812) have singles and doubles from L185 to L348.
The Cosmopolitan is a simple but clean and inexpensive hospedaje
in the Guanacaste barrio. Rooms with private or shared baths.
Its address for a taxi driver would be just cerca de la cancha,
Guanacaste; it is across from the Superc-Jet laundry.
La Cumbre is up above the city in the area of El Hatillo and has a wonderful view. Honduran and German food; the owner is European. 504 211 9000, 504 211 9001.
Tre Fratelli, located in barrio Palmira, is an outpost of a small chain from California. They have a website, www.trefratelli.com
Midrange - Downtown, the Pepe Chalet, one block east and one block north of the cathedral, offers good food and service in a historic building. Good lunch buffet.
Chomy’s - This chain has at least three locations–one downtown, half a block west of the southwest corner of the central park in the Pedro Asfura building; one behind the Los CastaZos shopping center, and one behind (south of) the U.S. Embassy.
Pizza House - One of the last Honduran pizza places holding the line against the influx of U.S. chains is Pizza House on Bulevar Morazán. Great wood-fire pizzas, delivery, high chairs; founded by a Honduran woman in 1986. Telephone 236 5184.
Budget - The Comedor Vegetariano is one block south and one block west of the post office. Offers vegetarian plates, soups, and fruit drinks.
WHEN TO GO AND WHY
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