The country’s second city and driving economic force, SAN PEDRO SULA sprawls across the fertile Valle de Sula (“Valley of the Birds” in Usula dialect) at the foot of the Merendón mountain chain, just an hour from the coast. Flat and uninspiring to look at, and for most of the year uncomfortably hot and humid, this is a city for getting business done, rather than sightseeing. It has also been dubbed the most violent city in the world, thanks to the burgeoning activities of drug gangs and traffickers. Take special precautions here (see Crime and safety).
San Pedro Sula is the transport hub for northern and western Honduras, however, which means a visit here is usually unavoidable, even if only to pass through. Luckily facilities – an international airport, foreign consulates and a wide range of hotels, restaurants and shops – rate alongside those in Tegucigalpa.
San Pedro’s dangerous reputation generally precedes it, causing most tourists to get in and out as quickly as possible. There are a few sights, however, though it is important to exercise caution and common sense when taking them in.
San Pedro’s centre is in the southwest sector of the city. Running west from the Parque Barahona, Calle 1 is also known as Boulevard Morazán for the twelve blocks before it meets the Avenida Circunvalación ring road, which separates the city centre from San Pedro’s wealthier residential districts. Most of what you’ll want to see in the city is within walking distance of the centre, and the city’s main general market is towards the southeastern edge of this area. The streets south of the market and over the old railway track are rough and are not places to be wandering around.