Panorama of the Week: Weekly Market in La Esperanza, Honduras

When travelers think “Honduras” they probably don’t think “big, weekly indigenous markets.” So when we were in Honduras and caught wind of a weekly market in a little town called La Esperanza in country’s western hills along a path of historically indigenous villages called the Ruta Lenca, we hopped a series of chicken buses in the wee hours of the morning to see what it was all about.

One part windblown, another part oasis and a whole lotta’ cowtown, La Esperanza appears a concatenation of dusty street corners. If you open up the panorama and take a spin around, you can see for yourself what it’s like to stand amidst it all and watch market life go by.

Women walk with buckets of goods balanced on their heads (how do they do that??), local farmers sell onions and avocados from sacks and plastic crates, people shade themselves from the sun with towels and cowboy hats, and vendors spread plastics and kitchen goods on the ground.

Like any good market, it’s a poke and pick-through hagglefest.

360-Degree Panorama: Street Corner at the Weekly Market in Esperanza, Honduras

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The weekly market sprawls from the hills to the main square as makeshift stalls unfold onto the town’s unpaved streets. Market-goers stream in from neighboring villages not only to buy and sell goods, but to exchange the latest news and information. The Lenca, one of Honduras’ few remaining indigenous groups, actually call this area their home. They are a rather tiny ethnic minority, surviving in a majority (90%) mestizo (of mixed Amerindian and European blood) Honduras. But like any group of people with longstanding traditions, their lives and many of their livelihoods are attached to the market and the audible buzz of their activity fills every nook and cranny — inside, outside, covered and open.

During our visit to La Esperanza, we were the only gringos in town, and from the looks of things, we’d likely be some of the few if only travelers the town would see for weeks. If you happen to be crossing the land border from Honduras to El Salvador at Perquin, consider stopping off at La Esperanza for a day or two to take in the market to enjoy a low key Honduran hill town and some good, strong coffee in the covered market.

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  1. says

    Seems like a great place, it’s so much fun visiting small town markets – you always find the strangest things, and the friendly, laid back vibe is just amazing!

  2. Jennifer says

    Oh I LOVE it! The first of its kind I have experienced was in Antigua, Guatemala. There wasn’t a whole lot of fruit but more artsy things (and goat heads). Thanks for sharing and bringing back some of my own (limited compared to yours) travels! Happy Anniversary, again! (BTW, I loved reading the Italy posts)

  3. Phyllis says

    When I see this picture it reminds me a little of my home state, New Mexico – blue sky, dusty streets, lots of people at a small town event – especially the cowboy hats and pick up trucks!
    I used to work for a company where I traveled to factories in Honduras….really a wonderful people. Everyone we worked with were kind and pleasant to be around. Hope to get back someday.

  4. says

    These r the type of shot, you can’t see at a urban city here. I would love to visit and hopefully get shots like this. You always do amazing job on Panorama. The feeling and emotion of the place really stand out through ur shots

  5. says

    This is great! I actually spent two months in a small village outside of La Esperanza called Santa Catarina back in 2004, I had a partial memory block of my time in La Esperanza until now… thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    @Sofia: Visiting small, rural towns are such a nice contrast to the big cities. It’s the laid back feel and also the interactions with people that make these visits a lot of fun.

    @Jennifer: We really loved Antigua’s market as well – so colorful. Brings back good memories. If you return to Antigua again, you should go back to the market and keep walking back – there’s a whole food section after the artsy stuff. We actually have a couple of panoramas from that market as well…maybe I should pull them out.

    @Phyllis: Love the comparison between La Esperanza and parts of New Mexico – I can definitely see the similarities. We also found Hondurans to be quite friendly and welcoming to us. Hope you get a chance to visit again soon.

    @Sarah: So right – urban areas are so different than this. Glad the feel and spirit of the place came through with the panorama.

    @Sonya: Thanks! A large portion of our panoramas are from markets, so keep checking back for more!

    @Allie: Spending a couple of months outside of La Esperanza must have been quite an experience. Hope this panorama brought back good memories.

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