Difference between revisions of "El Progreso"
Revision as of 17:11, 2 October 2009
El Progreso is in northern Honduras located in the department of Yoro. It is the fourth largest city in Honduras after the capital Tegucigalpa. It rests at the base of a mountain range in the Valle de Sula in an important agricultural area of Honduras. It is a good base for entering the country and visiting other parts of the country. It is on an important crossroads of Honduran Highways that go towards Tela/La Ceiba, Comayagua/Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula/Copan. Because of the importance of El Progreso it is know as the of the Ulua. The river Ulua passes through El Progreso and is known as one of the countries largest and most important rivers.
El Progreso is located just 20 minutes south from the International Airport Ramón Villeda Morales, located outside of San Pedro Sula. International flights come in from Houston, Atlanta, Miami and San Salvador. Taxis can be taken from the airport to El Progreso. Bus services, of varying quality, are easily accessible throughout the region. The regions main bus station is on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula, which is only a 45 minute ride from El Progreso.
A very efficient local bus system operates in most major areas of El Progreso. Buses will commonly feature the destinations "Quebrada del Yoro" and "Pallermo," two far-ends of El Progreso whereby most buses will do a circuit, traveling back and forth from these two locations.
Taking a bus mid-day can be tricky, as many local buses travel primarily during the morning and evening hours, when everyone goes to and from work and school.
Taxis and city buses are plentiful, making it easy to use to travel around the city.
While El Progreso is mainly a commercial city, the central plazas, main cathedral and downtown area provide tourists with a window into the soul of Honduran life. Local produce, hand made goods and everyday essentials can be purchased from the dozens of small stands and shops in the center of town.
Historically, the town was a key logistical center for the United Fruit Company's Honduran banana trade. In the 1920's the are was a booming rail center, and the legacy of this time period can still be seen today. The train cars can be found at the train station (now the site of Sunday markets), just off of the boulevard towards Tegucigalpa.
To the west of the city lies the scenic drive to Tela and La Ceiba. Along the way travelers can see the protected mountain range called Pico Quemado
A new alternative trip service is the volun-tourism group called Students Helping Honduras . They provide hands on service projects in the area, which seek to help many of the areas poorer residents. Their program will help coordinate your trip from the United States and will provide a week of activities for visitors. Their trips currently run in the winter, spring, and summer. For more information, visit their website at http://www.studentshelpinghonduras.org/trips.
El Progreso is home to one of the largest tourist shops in the area called Turiplaza. It is located a mile from the city center on the way to Tela. There, and at stores throughout the central city markets, one can purchase hand made crafts typical of the area. Honduras is known for its wooden carved boxes and the ones found in El Progreso do not disappoint.
Mega Plaza The new mall in El Progreso is large, clean and comforting. Shopping in Honduras is a cultural experience, and a trip to El Progreso is not complete with out a trip through the new mall. It also houses a 3 screen movie theater where new movies can be seen for just $3 (or $1.50 on Tuesdays).
El Progreso offers a number of dining choices.
Throughout the center of town, visitors can find fast food chains such as Dunkin Doughnuts, Popeye's Chicken, Kentucky Friend Chicken, Wendy's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Pollo Campero and Pollo Hondureno. The mall also has an Applebee's and a food court with a wide variety of fast food and regional eating options.
La Parrilla, Las Tejas, and the Uruguayan Grill are some of the areas better steak/ grill options. Las Tejas and the Uruguayan Grill are located off of the main boulevard. While La Parrilla is located about a mile outside of town, towards Tegucigalpa.
For those on a tight budget or looking for the true Honduran cuisine experience, Pollo y Mas provides a large variety of tasty and affordable dishes typical to Honduras. Another option is the tasty chicken of Auto-pollo. The restaurant is an adventure in its dining experience, but the food (only rotisserie chicken) is outstanding.
Like any city, there are a number of bars or restaurant bars through out the village. Of specific note are the following:
H2O Located in the center across from Wendy's. A new lounge that has a refreshing, relaxing atmosphere (though there is no dance floor for those looking for a evening of dancing)
Something Different Located a block from the Pizza Hut, off of the main boulevard. A large lounge, great for watching a sports game, relaxing or waiting for the late crowd to mix it up on the lounge's dance floor.
Coco's A karaoke bar located a block from Wendy's in the center of town. The bar is often crowded and filled with smoke, but it has a decent dance floor and is free to enter.
Zona 504 A Disco located a block from Wendy's in the center of town, below Coco's. It usually costs about $7.50 to $10 to enter (unless you go before 9PM). Weeknights are usually slow, but on Friday and Saturday nights the place is usually filled with Progresenos, as it is known as the main place to go and be seen on the weekends. It has a large dance floor and a VIP section up stairs for parties or special occasions.
There are a number of small hotels through out El Progreso, however their are two main ones that are recommended for international tourists.
Hotel Cascada is a new hotel located about 2 miles out of town, on the way to Tela. The hotel is made up cabins that can be rented for the night. It is peaceful and clean. Their is a pool, internet access and the option to have meals cooked for you at the hotel. The hotel has high walls surrounding the property and a 24 guard on duty, for those concerned about security. The owner and his wife speak English, making it a great place for those traveling Honduras with limited Spanish. Honduras Phone number: (504)648-2515 
Hotel Casa Blanca is a hotel located a half mile from the center of town, across from Turiplaza. It is a clean and upscale hotel, with a pool, internet access and a restaurant. The hotel also rents cars for those wishing to drive while they are in the area. The hotel has high walls around the property and has several night guards on duty. Honduras Phone number: (504)647-1520 
The recent political situation has severely hurt the tourism sector of the area, but with little reasoning. The area has remained free of the major political demonstrations, which have been mostly in Tegucigalpa.
El Progreso is a poor region of the country, but it has remained relatively free of the violence that some larger cities have faced throughout Central America. Hotel La Cascada and Hotel Casa Blanca provide very safe lodging (with full time security) for travelers concerned about safety. In addition the local mayor and police are very supportive of the tourism industry and go out of their way to ensure the safety, as best they can, of those traveling through the area.