Perched above the sparkling waters of the palm-fringed Bahía de Trujillo, backed by the beautiful green Cordillera Nombre de Dios, TRUJILLO immediately seduces the small number of tourists who make the 90km trip from La Ceiba. Beautifully relaxed, the city has a very different feel from its big north-coast neighbours, La Ceiba and Tela.
The area around present-day Trujillo was populated by a mixture of Pech and Tolupan groups when Columbus first disembarked here on August 14, 1502; the city itself was founded by Cortés’s lieutenant, Juan de Medina, in 1525, though it was frequently abandoned due to attacks by European pirates. Not until the late eighteenth century did repopulation begin in earnest, aided by the arrival, via Roatán, of several hundred Garífuna. In 1860, a new threat appeared in the shape of US filibusterer and adventurer William Walker, who briefly took control of the town. Executed by firing squad three months later by the Honduran authorities, he is buried in Trujillo’s cemetery.
Apart from its wonderful beaches, much of Trujillo’s charm lies in meandering through its rather crumbly streets. The town proper stretches back five or so blocks south of the Parque Central, which is just 50m from cliffs overlooking the sea. On the north side of the square is a bust of Juan de Medina, the town founder. Southwest from the centre, a couple of blocks past the market, is the Cementerio Viejo, where Walker’s grave lies overgrown with weeds – collect the key to the gate from the office in the fort.