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AUGUST 14, 2002
The celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Trujillo bay was tremendously successful. At dawn 30,000 people gathered for a mass at the point of the bay where Columbus first disembarked on the mainland of the American continent on August 14, 1502 on his fourth voyage. Notables included the new cardinal from Honduras, the archbishop of Santo Domingo, a slew of bishops, a direct heir of Christopher Columbus, and others. Then the President of Honduras, Ricardo Maduro, gave a luncheon and party at the old Fortaleza de Santa Barbara in Trujillo. Later, many of the attendees still in town went to a fabulous lobster dinner and marimba party at Villa Vista Dorada.
The Santa Barbara Fort in Trujillo is now under reconstruction and renovation by the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. The plans are to reconstruct the Commandante’s House, including restoration of the existing walls and the addition of a roof, and to re-roof and renovate the existing museum on the site. Already, the removal of the unsightly basketball court in front of the fort is an improvement.
Finally, Trujillo may be able to make progress in its tourism industry. The central government, in conjunction with aid from Spain, has named Maru Midence as Trujillo’s first Tourism Director. Congratulations to Maru and to the central government in Tegucigalpa for making such a good appointment. She is extremely capable, hard-working and self-motivated. Let’s hope she can make a difference in getting Trujillo moving. Everyone wishes her well. Let’s all give her a hand. She can be contacted at email@example.com. If you have been thinking of opening a bed and breakfast somewhere in the Caribbean, contact Maru and let her help you find a place in Trujillo.
The World Bank financed improvements to Trujillo’s historic area have begun. In addition to the renovations at the fort, the road from the fort down to the beach is already cobble stoned, and the road behind the beach champas is being graded in anticipation of paving from the public dock down to the bridge in the middle of Cristales. This is about the best thing that the World Bank could have financed. Let’s hope the good work continues.
Trujillo has a new property owner and part-time resident, Giancarlo Pirrone. Mr. Pirrone has purchased the home in Barrio Buenas Aires that belonged to Bob Chapin. He is planning to renovate and extend the six year old home, which overlooks the bay and the Rio Cristales. Giancarlo is originally from Palermo, Sicily, Italy but came to the United States in 1973, graduated from Harvard and Columbia Universities with a degree in architecture, and taught design at Georgia Tech. He is an avid art and photography collector, founded the Italian/American Cultural Society in Atlanta, and looks forward to working on cultural and other projects in Trujillo. Meanwhile, happily, Bob Chapin is still in Trujillo, and when we spoke last week he was working on helping spearhead a sport fishing program for Trujillo. I hope he helps us get a marina and sport fishing rental boats for Trujillo’s beautiful bay.
PROGRESS--- PROGRESS---PROGRESS---Trujillo is now part of the North Coast sustainable development project that is being developed with assistance of the Cooperación Español with funding from the World Bank. The Cooperación Español director for Trujillo, David Araque, is hard at work on plans to improve the infrastructure of Trujillo and to make some physical improvements that will benefit the city and its tourism development. He can be reached at 434-3120 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The last time we spoke, plans included paving three blocks of downtown with cobblestones, maybe a new or improved municipal dock to accommodate pleasure boaters, and facade improvements in the historic district.
COMPUTERS arrived in Trujillo this month! U.S. Micro Corporation of Atlanta, Georgia, generously donated 35 computers to Trujillo and the surrounding area this month. Ten computers have been installed in the NEW LIBRARY downtown, the mayor’s office received two, the tourism director two, the Christian School in Barrio Buenas Aires received several, FUCAGUA received several, and the Honduras Outreach school at Rancho Paraiso in the Agalta Valley received ten. The difficult task of delivery from Atlanta to Trujillo was accomplished due to the generous help of Honduras Outreach. Delivery can sometimes be a deal killer, when you have to arrange land transportation from Atlanta to the Gulf coast, then boat transportation to Puerto Cortez, then clear the shipped material through customs, then truck transportation to the Honduras Outreach ranch, and then pickup truck delivery to Trujillo. Thanks Honduras Outreach. In Trujillo, Maru Midence was indispensable, and worked very hard to make sure this contribution happened and the library was ready for the new computers.
The dedication ceremony was held this month for the repaving of three blocks of the central business district with concrete and stone. It has a vaguely cobblestone effect, that enhances the historic district. The widened sidewalk on the west side of the blocks has planting areas. Let's hope that someone donates some large palm trees to fill the planters. This area in front of Hondutel and the Cooperación Español headquarters was in really bad shape before, and the repaving helps. Now we need to repave much of the rest of the historic area, at least as far up the hill as necessary so as to keep dirt and sand from washing into the central business area every time it rains. Since the slope of the hill has a dip only three or four blocks up the hill, this is not an impossible project, and the repaving at least to the dip in the hill would insure that the historic area stays clean after each rain.
Aesthetics and traffic were improved when the road from the historic Santa Barbara Fort down to the beach were paved with cobblestones and concrete. Also, the steep road from the other side of the square down to the beach was paved similarly.
The road through Cristales to the west and Santa Fe, Guadalupe, and San Antonio---which has always been a mudhole in the rainy season--- was paved this month with shiny new concrete. Let’s hope the mayor of Cristales has a plan to maintain the road free of sand and mud that will cross the road during heavy rain.
An attractive new tourist dock, complete with a thatch-roofed
champa, has been installed on the municipal beach. Cleverly,
drainage pipes have been hidden beneath the dock. What a great
place to catch the breezes and a stunning view of the sunset.
Already, throngs of people are using it. The dock is designed
with a step-down area to accommodate boats to pick up tourists
for rides around the bay, and maybe those who want to fish
the local waters. Now we need some dependable boat operators
to provide a good service for the tourists.
January /September 2004
Two new restaurants improve the dining scene in Trujillo.
Mambo in the center of town, just behind and a little east
of the Hotel Colonial/ Buccaneer is a very good alternative.
Finally, a slightly more upscale restaurant with Cuban cuisine
as well as local favorites. There is a dance floor and often
live music on the weekends. Lots of fun. Villa Coronado (temporarily closed as of April 2008), just
out of town on the road to Santa Fe has been opened by an
American from San Francisco. They feature daily specials,
seafood, etc. Also, they have a pool and campsites. A great
place to hang out. Both are recommended.
The North Coast Sustainable Tourism Project of the World
Bank and the Honduras Ministry of Tourism is making remarkable strides in Trujillo.
This month the historic two-story, balconied, Casa Melhado,
in front of the Hondutel office, has been dedicated by IMFOP
as a school for training of students in the hospitality industry.
The thoughtful renovation has been exciting to watch, and
the facilities the newly renovated facility provide will hopefully
train hotel and restaurant industry workers who are prepared
for international visitors. The replacement of the long-missing
balcony on the façade of the building enhances the
historic center of Trujillo.
The old Comandancia of the Port of Trujillo and the adjacent
Juzgados (Courthouse), both sitting on an important site next
to the old Fortaleza and fronting the old militia parade ground
and town square, have also been renovated. Together, they
will serve as headquarters for the IHAH (Honduras Institute
of Archaeology and History) and for tourist information in
Trujillo. Since the basketball court that once marred the
parade ground has been mostly removed, and with the dedication
of these two newly renovated historic buildings, the aspect
of the town square and the old fort have been greatly improved.
Now let’s keep up the progress and work to improve the
historic square and perhaps relocate the unsightly kiosk in
the center and replace it with a beautiful Spanish colonial
fountain and more attractive paving.
A small non-profit group with help from local Americans and Canadians in Trujillo has assumed maintenance of the historic Old Cemetary. After two years of being closed and extremely overgrown, it is now possible to tour the Old Cemetary. The gate has been repaired and painted. Water has been brought onto the grounds for irrigation, a general clean-up has been completed, and numerous plantings have been made. The non-profit is paying the salary of the full-time gardener and others are contributing time and expertise. Julie and Ken, and Jim and Carolyn are contributing time, plants and flowers from their gardens. Tourists have a pleasant and attractive place to visit and relax. Now city hall needs to paint and repair the wall and remove the left-over beer stands from the fair that are blocking the view, and buses need to be directed to park somewhere other than right in front of the entrance to the cemetery. Anthropology and History needs to repair the many important and historic tombs that are damaged. It would be helpful if Dole contributes to restore the tomb of the Dole family that is currently falling down. The Dole family was so important to Trujillo and the North Coast of Honduras for their contributions to the banana and pineapple industry, that their tomb should be restore. If anyone knows anyone at Dole please have them contact www.caehro.org.
New opportunities for ownership have arrived in Trujillo. The Canadian investor and builder Randy Jorgensen has started a Land development company called Desarrollos Vision de Vida. The company's first major project is in Trujillo and is called Campa Vista derived from the fact that it overlooks Campamento (a resort to the west of Trujillo on the beach).
According to Randy, the company is unique in it looks to create partnerships and joint ventures with local people and businesses to create sustainable income and preserve as much of the local culture and flavour as possible. Campa Vista is an example of this in that all the property owners pay an annual fee and enjoy full access to the services offered by Campamento. The development consists of 190 estate lots and 148 condominiums over 130 acres on the face of the mountain in a tiered Mediterranean style gated community. Go to their website at www.looeytremblay.com.