Situated 1000m above sea level, deep in a mountain valley, the Honduran capital of TEGUCIGALPA is not, at least on first impression, the most welcoming city. The winding, narrow streets are thick with motorized traffic, and the sidewalks full to the gills with shoppers and loafers. This said, unlike other capital cities in the region, Tegucigalpa isn't totally without charms, and its colonial feel and cool climate actually make it an ideal starting point to allow you to get to grips with the Honduran pace of life.
Tegucigalpa's first mention in records is in the 1560s, when silver deposits ("tegucigalpa" means "silver mountain" in the Nahuatl language) were found in the hills to the east. It was given town status in 1768, and named a city in 1807. With wealth from the country's mines pouring in, the city's location at the centre of key trade routes became highly advantageous, and Tegucigalpa soon rivalled the then capital, Comayagua. In 1880, the Liberal President Soto officially shifted power to Tegucigalpa, and in 1932 Comayagüela became a part of the capital. Since then, the nation's economic focus has shifted to San Pedro Sula, but Tegucigalpa continues to function as the nation's political and governmental centre.
Surrounded by reminders of its past – crumbling colonial buildings and decaying nineteenth-century mansions – the city today is a vibrant, noisy place. A handful of churches and a fantastic new museum, as well as some smaller quirkier ones, will easily keep you entertained for a day or two. Given a little time, you'll see Tegucigalpa has a lot to offer.