#ASAPP Travels | La Esperanza, Intibuca
Hello Sappers! hope you are you all are doing ok, and thank you for stopping by. As per usual it's been a while, I am aware of that, but I have plenty to juggle with as of now. Apologies for the long periods of time I'm away, I thank those of you who stop by occasionally to check up the blog. I was looking through my posts the other day and realised I never published anything about my trip to "La Esperanza", I only posted on Instagram, as some of you who follow me there might have seen. So now I finally bring you the story about my journey around this magical and beautiful place
"La Gruta" a Church Built on a small cave in stone by Local Prisoners
First a bit of background info shall we. La Esperanza is a colonial city located in the occidental part of the Honduran territory at 1700mtrs over sea level. This city is actually right beside the city of "Intibuca" which many people don't know, even locals (I was one of them I must admit) truth is, this two cities are known as the twin cities, as they are right next to each other, separated only by a road, but you wont even be able to tell the difference as they are indistinguishably jointed together.
The city is famous for it's cold weather, one of the coldest in the country, there's even a hill nearby, locals call "Cerro Pela Naris" which means "The Nose Peeler Hill" they call it so because do the very cold climate, burns and peels your nose. unfortunately I couldn't go to said hill. Town is also quite famous for a fungi species knows as "Choros" this are quite rare and unique to this area, they are highly solicited and sold as a culinary delicacy. They are collected and sold in local markets and there's even a fair/parade dedicated to this mushroom alone, so you get an idea of how special they are. They are prepared and sold in any different presentations.
8oz Beef Stake in "Choro" sauce with steamed veggies and potato salad, Fresh Corn Tortillas and Jalapeno
Another local landmark locals showcase with much pride is a church located on top of a hill, up some stone moulded steps built by local prisoners that were put to work to build the steps and the church itself by a famous prior governor. The Church is know as "La Gruta", people from all over the country and foreigners come to climb the steps and take a look at this arduous work and magnificent landmark. The "Church"is actually just a facade, there are no true sessions held there, it is used as an attraction mostly, although religious people do pay their respects to the altar of the Virgin up there.
"La Gruta" seen from the bottom of the steps at night
Things don't come to an end at the top of the steps. Once you reach the cuspid, there are a few more treacherous, smaller steps to go atop the church's roof. There you'll be rewarded with a splendid view of the two cities. You can also do a small hike up that mountain and come to the church at the end which was what I actually did. I hiked a hill with a group of friends that comes all around from another famous site called "Los Banos" which translates to "The Bathrooms". This site is a public site for local and visitor alike, it consist of a series a natural springs to have been moulded and adapted as, well, public restrooms, but only showers, not toilets, so it's not smelly as you might have thought, its actually a really nice unique place, never have I seen anything like it before. The surrounding area is filled by nature: mountains and exuberant greens so it's quite a refreshment on the eye and the body if you do decide to take a dip into the cold waters (I didn't, it was already cold enough ;p Photos will be bellow, later on the post)
View from the steps on top of the church
City view from the top of the hill and above "La Gruta"
Me in front of "La Gruta"
Standing on top of the hill, both cities of "La Esperanza" & "Intibuca" behind me
Along the city you'll encounter many scenes like the following photos. Old doors, ruins of buildings, colonial buildings, Baroque infrastructure. tile roofing, adobe walls, balconies, artsy tile decoration, etc. This city is also well know for it's dedication to the preservation of its colonial/antique feel, that is way you'll see only warm colors, and antique looking like infrastructure, this allows the town to keep is unique atmosphere and essence. They also use tile decoration for all the traffic signals and for the majority of the signs in general, which gives it a unique and certainly more original aesthetic.
Another famous site in "La Esperanza" is the "Laguna de Chiligatoro" which translates to "The Chiligatoro Lagoon". People told me who beautiful this place was, and how I should look at it during the summer, but I could not have been more stunned and glad I went when I did. The Road to get there was super foggy and of course the lagoon was covered in fog itself, so you could only see a few meters off shore but it was one of the most amazing and exiting sites I've been to, ever. The atmosphere is so unique and let's your imagination really fly. Photos don't do justice to the magic and magnificence of this place.
Me and my friends eventually got down off the car and walked up to a beautiful rustic little house where a nice lady prepared some delicious coffee for us and gave us some really nice bread. It was quite cheap we thought so we left a nice tip, the lady was super nice and kind and she tended to us even thought it was quite late by then. afterwards we continued to walk along the lagoon and embraced and indulged the magic and essence of the place. It was truly quite the experience
There is another famous site in town. I mentioned before that I hiked a small hill to get to La Gruta, well that hill can be seen in photo above this text. but before we got to that point, we were coming from a place called "Banos Bublicos" which translate to "Public Restrooms" I mentioned this before so I wont into to much detail, photos mentioned will be after this text, but I assure you there no toiletries involved.
The fog and the cold never when away and we loved it, it was magical rather then not and we enjoyed every single second of the cold weather, some more then others, still quite pleased in general. The food was amazing, everywhere, of the few places we did try everything was delicious and the portions were more the decent, quite satisfying indeed. There were so many places to go, small cafe's, restaurants, and many other sites and attractions sadly not enough time. The markets are quite the scene, an spectacle of their own. Quite unique places, and I loved them, you can see the real people there and the true essence of their culture. You could find all kinds of the most delicious fruits and preserves and of course small stands offer food of their own. There are many hand craft stands ass well, fabrics and textiles are quite big in this area, produces by local indigenous folks called "Lencas". This textiles are bright and colourful, and cozy for sure. There are also graind and all kinds of produce being sold all around, you can find what folks call "wines" of pretty much every fruit imaginable.
Burger at "Casa Vieja" Restaurant
Produce at Central Market
Typical scene on the Market Streets
And so, Sadly, our time in this magical place hidden between the cold upper mountains came to an end, a mystical and enchanting place with a unique essence and spirit that the locals mange to keep alive with their own vivid spirits and energetic souls. One of the best sites and trips I've ever had. If you are in Honduras then definitely pay a visit in case you haven't, you won't regret it, most likely enjoy it, hopefully as much as I did, and for you dear reader in other country, come and pay us a visit, this and many other wonderful places await for you.
'Till next time peeps! Thank you for coming along on this trip.