The small town of Santa Rosa de Copán surprised us with colonial charm, our first Central American cigar factory tour, and a cool retro soda that Coca Cola really hates.
Exploring Santa Rosa de Copan
The highlight of our two days in this town, which had more intact colonial charm than we’d anticipated, was our first trip inside a Central American cigar factory.
Unfortunately, the Flor de Copán cigar factory in town is now owned by the multi-national Altadis company and that means regulations, including a rule against taking any photos inside the facility. So, you’ll have to trust us when we tell you that the factory was gorgeous, the tobacco leaves looked rich enough to eat, and the workers (mostly women) were focused and precise. The amonia-heavy smell of drying and curing tobacco and the sound of the worker’s rudimentary, almost antique tools enhanced the atmospheric 40 minute tour. Well worth 40L (US$2).
We heard rumors of a smaller, locally owned cigar factory in town that allows photos but we could never get anyone to tell us exactly where it was. We did find a lesser-known factory in Santa Rosa de Copán which manufactures Copán Dry. The neon-colored stuff comes in flavors like banana, cream soda, grape, pineapple, and “punch” which they make by mixing all the flavors together.
Copán Dry staff were delighted (and a bit surprised) to see us and they even gave us each a cold one. They also told us that the local Coca Cola distributor has been known to buy huge volumes of Copán Dry then smash the bottles. The tactic is costing Copán Dry so much that they may be forced to move to plastic bottles. We loved the peppy, retro look of the Copán Dry soda bottles and we wish the Coke distributor would stop smashing them so the company doesn’t have to switch to plastic bottles.
Hotels in Santa Rosa de Copán
In Santa Rosa de Copán we were hosted at two very different hotels. Hotel Elvir is the established brand in town with a pool, big restaurant, and rooms that are well-appointed and comfortable, if a bit too much like a Best Western. The building and courtyard at the Elvir have a wonderful old-world look and feel which eases you into and out of your explorations of the town.
We spent our second night in Santa Rosa de Copán at Hotel Antiguo Roble. There’s no pool or fancy restaurant or tour agency at the front desk but this place, in a converted colonial home, is full of character and simply achieved style including locally carved wood furniture.
While in Santa Rosa de Copán, don’t miss Kaldi’s Koffee, a chic cafe down the street along the side of the cathedral, or the small shops around downtown selling handmade saddles for next to nothing.
Here’s more about travel in Honduras