Named for the silver and gold mines for which it was founded, Tegucigalpa (Teh-goo-see-GAHL-pah) means silver city in Nahuatl, the original indigenous language, and is a mouthful even in Spanish. Locals call it Tegus for short (Teh-GOOSE). Resting on the lower slopes of El Picacho and surrounded by peaks on three sides, this capital city is divided by the RĂo Choluteca.
Most travelers will want to stick to the eastern side, which holds Tegucigalpaâ€™s Historic Center, most of the attractions and plazas and a wide selection of restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels. The other side of the river is Comayaguela, which is officially part of the capital, and is the home to a sprawling market, cheap eateries and hotels, and most of the long-distance bus terminals. This part of the city tends to be dirtier and more dangerous, especially at night, although it is significantly cheaper for those desperate for a deal.
Tegucigalpa is at an altitude of about 1,000 m (3,280 ft) and has a fairly predictable climate. From May to November, rainy season brings temperate weather. March and April are warm during the days and cool at night. From December to February the days are cool and dry with cooler nights.
The streets of Tegucigalpa are maze-like, so be patient and donâ€™t be surprised if you are confused the first day or two. The Historic Center is charming and bursting with colonial history. The Plaza MorazĂˇn, or Plaza Central, is the heart of the city and can easily be a starting point for walking tours in all four directions. Here and along the Boulevard MorazĂˇn are a wide selection of restaurants and cafes.
Highlights in Tegucigalpa:
-Start at the Plaza MorazĂˇn, or Plaza Central, home to a lovely 18th Century baroque cathedral and the City Hall, AlcaldĂa. The plaza is a great place to relax and fills with birds, vendors and locals.
-The Parque La Merced, just a couple of blocks south of the Plaza MorazĂˇn, is home to the Honduran Congress in the modern Palacio Legislativo, set on stilt-like columns. Next door, the National Gallery of Art, the GalerĂa Nacional de Arte is worth a visit for its modern and colonial Honduran artwork, along with some interesting pre-historic artifacts.
-Three blocks east of the Plaza MorazĂˇn is the Parque Valle, with Tegucigalpaâ€™s first church and a military museum, the Museo Militar.