Hammocks aren’t just places for tourists to relax, they are a way of life for the people in Honduras. A lack of modern conveniences like air-conditioning in a place where the tropical heat can be oppressive means that families tend to do their socializing and relaxing outdoors. So everywhere you look, hung between trees or strung up on porches, you’ll see a hammock. Bring a little bit of Honduran life back with you by purchasing one for a souvenir. If it matters to you, just ask to make sure that yours was made in Honduras. Especially in Copan, many of the hammocks sold are actually made in Guatemala. The quality is just as good as those made in Honduras and the cost is the same – about $35.
With all the coffee produced in Honduras, it’s no surprise that coffee liquor is a popular souvenir. Drunk straight or added to milk, the liquor is rich with a smooth coffee taste. Large bottles sell for $6-8.
Honduran Mahogany has long been prized for its durability, beauty and resistance to cracking when carved. If you can’t quite afford to buy a set of intricately designed Mahogany doors, take home a carved Mahogany box instead. Small boxes range from $30-$50 while large trunks can cost upwards of $150. On a smaller scale, a necklace made of Mahogany beads will cost under $10.
Copan, in the northwest of the country, is the heart of coffee production in Honduras. You you can find coffee, and coffee from Copan, anywhere in the country, but you’ll find a greater selection nearer to the source. Available in beans or ground up, a small bag will cost you about $3 .
A corn husk doll
The Maya Chorti, descendants of the ancient Maya culture, still make traditional corn husk dolls. Spend an afternoon walking the hilly cobbled streets of Copan Ruins and you’ll probably see some children selling the dolls, which cost just $1 each.
For centuries, the women of Honduras have been making Lencan pottery by hand. The pottery is traditionally decorated in patterns using brown, black, white, cream, red and grey. Every pattern is different as it’s all done by hand. Prices can vary widely depending on what part of the country you purchase it, but most small pieces should be under $10.
The Mayans sculpted Jade into figures representing gods; now shops all over Copan Ruins sell replicas alongside beautiful Jade rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Prices can fluctuate wildly and, unless you are knowledgeable about gemstones, it can be hard to tell if what you are looking at is real Jade. One test is to feel the stone – if it is cold to the touch, it’s real. Depending on the quality and size, Jade pieces can cost up to a few hundred dollars.
Coconut shell jewelry
For a cheaper jewelry souvenir, pick up some earrings made of coconut shell. You can find them at the crowded Guamilito Market in San Pedro Sula or for sale from the many vendors who sell local crafts in the Bay Islands. A pair of earrings or a necklace will be $2-3.
Sure, it’s a bit like buying a souvenir tequila bottle in the town of Tequila, but if you have an interest in Mayan culture, don’t forget to pick up a small stelae. Modeled after the stelae of the ruins at Copan, you can find figures of Mayan ruler 18 Rabbit for $7-15.
When many of the cigar producing families of Cuba left the country to escape Castro, they settled in Honduras and resumed the cultivation and processing of tobacco for cigars. Now some of the world’s best cigars come from Honduras. The San Pedro Sula airport even has a cigar bar, complete with walk-in humidor. If you aren’t an aficionado, just a casual smoker, you can pick up a box of good quality Honduras cigars for about $7.
Most vendors in Honduras accept both lempiras and dollars, though you may get a better exchange rate by paying in lempiras. And feel free to negotiate on price. Many vendors are willing to haggle, especially in the current economy. Don’t take advantage of the situation, but do offer the price you are willing to pay.
This trip was paid for by the Honduras Institute of Tourism, but the views expressed are entirely my own.
You can read other posts from my series on Honduras here.