San Pedro Sula

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San Pedro Sula

"Usula (Valley of Birds)"
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La Capital Industrial,Sap
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San Pedro Sula
Coordinates: 15°30′0″N88°2′0″W / 15.50000°N 88.03333°W / 15.50000; -88.03333 Coordinates: 15°30′0″N88°2′0″W / 15.50000°N 88.03333°W / 15.50000; -88.03333
CountryFlag of Honduras.svg  Honduras
Department Cortés
Municipio (County)San Pedro Sula
Foundation27 June 1536;482 years ago (1536-06-27)
  Mayor Armando Calidonio Alvarado (PNH)
  City898 km2 (347 sq mi)
83 m (272 ft)
(2013 census)[ citation needed ]
  Density800/km2 (2,100/sq mi)
1,445,598 [2]
Time zone UTC−6 (Central America)

San Pedro Sula (Spanish pronunciation:  [sam ˈpeðɾo ˈsula] ) is the capital of Cortés Department, Honduras. It is located in the northwest corner of the country in the Sula Valley, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of Puerto Cortés on the Caribbean Sea. With a census population of 719,063 in 2013,[ citation needed ] and 1,445,598 people living in its metropolitan area in 2010, it is the nation's primary industrial center and second largest city after the capital Tegucigalpa.

Cortés Department Department in Honduras

Cortés is one of the 18 departments into which Honduras is divided. The department covers a total surface area of 3,954 km² and, in 2015, had an estimated population of 1,612,762 people, making it the most populous department in Honduras. The Merendón Mountains rise in western Cortés, but the department is mostly a tropical lowland, the Sula Valley, crossed by the Ulúa and Chamelecon rivers.

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. In the past, it was sometimes referred to as "Spanish Honduras" to differentiate it from British Honduras, which later became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Sula Valley valley in Yoro Department, Honduras

The Valley of Sula is the largest alluvial valley of Honduras. It is located in the northwest of the country, and within it lie several of Honduras's most important cities, such as San Pedro Sula, El Progreso, Choloma, Puerto Cortés, Villanueva, and Tela.



The city grew slowly from about 800 residents in 1590, to almost 10,000 by the 1890s, but most of this population growth took place in the 19th century. It benefited initially from the growth of bananas for export in the 1870s and 1880s and formed a close relationship with US-based shipper and railroad entrepreneur Samuel Zemurray's Cuyamel Fruit Company, and the construction of the Interoceanic Railroad between 1869 and 1874 which connected the city to the coast at Puerto Cortés. Zemurray worked closely with local elites who invested in subsidiary enterprises and thus shaped the way politically for Cuyamel to establish himself and, along the way to pay very few taxes. [3]

Cuyamel Fruit Company, formerly the Hubbard-Zemurray Steam Ship Company, was an American agricultural corporation operating in Honduras from 1911 until 1929, before being purchased by the United Fruit Company. Samuel Zemurray, a Jewish Russian immigrant to the United States, founded Cuyamel to export bananas and sugar from the northwestern Cortés region of Honduras to international markets. Zemurray would later become the head of the United Fruit Company. Both Cuyamel and United Fruit are corporate ancestors of the modern-day firm Chiquita Brands International.

Puerto Cortés town in Cortés, Honduras

Puerto Cortés, originally known as Puerto de Caballos, is a city on the north Caribbean coast of Honduras, right on the Laguna de Alvarado, north of San Pedro Sula and east of Omoa, with a natural bay. The present city was founded in the early colonial period. It grew rapidly in the twentieth century, thanks to the then railroad, and banana production. In terms of volume of traffic the seaport is the largest in Central America and the 36th largest in the world. As of 2014, Puerto Cortés has a population of some 200,000.


In 2013, fifteen years after the effects of Hurricane Mitch, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America; around San Pedro Sula, banana production has not fully recovered, and "manufacturing has all but dried up." [4] The problems are exacerbated by organised crime, whose rules prevent residents from safely leaving gang-controlled neighbourhoods such as Chamelecón for jobs in other parts of town. [4]

Effects of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras

The effects of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras included the worst flooding in Honduras in the 20th century. Hurricane Mitch, the strongest storm of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, formed on October 22, and after becoming a Category 5 hurricane, it weakened and struck Honduras on October 29. While near peak intensity, Mitch struck the offshore Guanaja island, where it nearly destroyed the mangrove forest. On the mainland, the hurricane dropped torrential rainfall, and many gauges were washed away in mountainous areas where unofficial rainfall totals were as high as 1900 mm (75 in). The highest official total was 928 mm (36.5 in) at Choluteca in southern Honduras, which was more than half of the annual precipitation average there. The rains caused widespread flooding and landslides, although impact from winds was not as severe.

Banana production in Honduras

Banana production in Honduras plays an important role in the economy of Honduras. In 1992, the revenue generated from banana sales amounted to US$287 million and along with the coffee industry accounted for some 50% of exports. Honduras produced 861,000 tons of bananas in 1999. The two corporations, Chiquita Brands International and the Dole Food Company are responsible for most Honduran banana production and exports.

Chamelecón Place in Cortés, Honduras

Chamelecón is a suburb of San Pedro Sula in Honduras.

In 2000, then-Mayor Roberto Larios Silva said "San Pedro Sula is where the economic development of the country is concentrated via the city's industrial, commercial and financial development." The then-manager of Hotel Copantl attributed its growth in business-related tourism ...[to] the maquila (apparel manufacturing) industry. [5]

As of 2011, San Pedro Sula generated two-thirds of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). [6]


San Pedro Sula was the "murder capital of the world" [4] [7] [8] [9] [10] until early 2016 when Caracas, Venezuela, surpassed its homicide rate. [11] Since the 2009 Honduran military coup "unemployment and underemployment rates have doubled while the number of people living in extreme poverty has skyrocketed." [4] In 2013, the city had 187 homicides per 100,000 residents. [12] This surpassed Ciudad Juarez, Mexico's rate of 148 killings per 100,000, or an average of about three homicides per day; [9] Ciudad Juarez had previously topped the list for three consecutive years. [13] [14] Both cities are major operational and strategic distribution points in the illegal drug trade, particularly to the United States, and have significant gang activity. [7] [13] [15] [16] In response, authorities launched Operation Lightning, saturating violence hotspots with police and soldiers. [9] Meanwhile, arms trafficking has flooded the country, with just under 70% of all firearms being illegal. 83% of homicides in the city involve firearms. [8]

According to the Los Angeles Times , "the homicide rate is stoked by the rivalry of the brutal street gangs, mostly descendants of gangs formed in Los Angeles and deported to Central America in the 1990s, including Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and the 18th Street gang. Their ranks are fed by the disastrous economy of Honduras, and emboldened more recently by alliances with Mexican drug traffickers moving cocaine through the country." [4]

Crime and economic stress have led to the migration of large numbers of unaccompanied minors to the US border. The latest data from the CBP shows San Pedro Sula as the major source for Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) migrating from Honduras.



San Pedro Sula features a tropical savanna climate (Koppen Aw), with year-round relatively high temperatures and plentiful rainfall year-round. San Pedro Sula has experienced hurricanes and tropical storms and is prone to them during the hurricane season usually when the storms form in the southern part of the Caribbean or Western Africa.

Climate data for San Pedro Sula, Honduras (La Mesa International Airport) 1961–1990, extremes 1944–present
Record high °C (°F)37.2
Average high °C (°F)29.2
Daily mean °C (°F)23.5
Average low °C (°F)19.8
Record low °C (°F)12.8
Average precipitation mm (inches)72.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)6534410101010109889
Average relative humidity (%)84817775747679797981838580
Mean monthly sunshine hours 186.0178.0238.7222.0220.1201.0210.8198.4183.0198.4156.0155.02,347.4
Mean daily sunshine hours
Source #1: NOAA [17]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun and humidity), [18] Meteo Climat (record highs and lows) [19]

Administrative divisions

San Pedro Sula's Old Train Station. Station SanPedroSula.JPG
San Pedro Sula's Old Train Station.

San Pedro Sula, as most cities built under the Spanish colonial period,[ citation needed ] is divided in quadrants. Avenues in the city run from north to south and streets run from east to west. First Street and First Avenue mark the "center of the city" and effectively divide it into four major quadrants NW, NE, SW and SE. [20]


Barrio El Benque, the business district, is just to the west and south of the centre, and other neighbourhoods in the suroeste include Barrio Paz Barahona, Barrio La Guardia, Colonia Altamira, Colonia Mesetas, Barrio Rio de Piedras, Barrio Suyapa (from 12 Avenida S out to Avenida Circunvalacion, from 7 Calle S to 10 Calles S), Colonia Hernadez, Barrio Prado Alto, and Colonia El Chamelecón. The latter includes area from 23 Avenida S west to 27 Avenida S, from 1 Calle (named Bulevar Los Proceres there) south to 5 Calle S0. To the south of Colonia El Chamelecón are Colonia Dubon, Colonia Figueroa, Colonia Trejo (from 10 Calle S to 12 Calle S, from about Avenida Circunvalacion to 25 Avenida S, including the Consulate of Nicaragua), Colonia Altamira, and Colonia Altiplano. Colonia Las Mesetas runs from 12 Calle S to 14 Calle S, from 21 Avenida A (S) to past 24 Avenida S. [21]


Barrio Guamalito is just to the west and north of the centre. Noroeste neighbourhoods include Colonia Moderna (from 1 Calle to 5 Calle NO, from Avendia Circunvalacion to the rio beyond 24 Avenida), Colonia La Mora (from 5 Calle NO to 7 Calle No, from Avendia Circunvalacion to the rio beyond 24 Avenida), Colonia Zeron, the Colonia Columbia by the Universidad de San Pedro Sula, Barrio La Cerveceria and Barrio Guadalupe. Across the Rio along which 24 Avenida runs is Colonia Juan Lindo and Colonia Jardines Del Valle. [21]

From the river past 24 Avenida, north to 25 Calle and west to 12 Avenida, is Colonia Universidad. Universidad de San Pedro Sula is to its south, across the river. West of Colonia Universidad is Colonia Country, a small neighbourhood including the Academia Americana, and Colonia Villas del Sol, which runs from Boulevard Mackey west to include Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras en el Valle de Sula, and goes north to Rio Bermejo but does not cross it. [21]

Just past the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras en el Valle de Sula, and spanning the Rio Bermejo, is Colonia El Pedregal, which has residential high-rises. [21]

Further out, north across the Rio Bermejo, running to the edge of the city, and with Calles (streets) renumbering from 1 up, are Colonia Los Alpes and Rancho El Coco and Residencial Los Cedros and Colonia La Tara. [21]

Far to the north is Colonia Fesitranh. [21]


Barrio Las Acacias is just to the north of centre. Nor-Este neighbourhoods include Barrio San Cristobal, Villa Florencia, Colonia Ideal, Barrio Morazon, Colonia Modelo, and further out Colonia Bogran, Colonia El Carmen, and Colonia Los Laureles. [21]


Includes the road to the airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Ramon Villeda Morales and to the city of La Lima. Southeast neighbourhoods include Barrio Medina (11 Calle SE to Avenida Juan Pablo II, 4 Avenida SO to 10 Avenida SE), Colonia La Aurora (defined by 7 Calle SE to 10 Calle SE, and 14 Avenida SE to Segundo Anilo (approximately where 18 Avenida would be), Barrio Cabañas, Barrio La Navidad, San Pedro, Barrio Las Palmas, Barrio La Navidad, Barrio San Luis, Colonia La Union, Barrio La Paz. Farther out: Colonia Rivera Hernandez, San Cristobal. [21]


With dateline giving San Pedro Sula as the location, the New York Times in 2014 described the Chamelecón district as a "warren of modest cement-block houses painted in now chipped and fading pastels", subject to pressure of street gangs. [22] This is not the Colonia El Chamelecón neighbourhood within San Pedro Sula, but rather it is the Chamelecón that lies outside to the south of San Pedro Sula, on the Chamelecón River.


  • Colonia Tara
  • Colonia Bellavista
  • Colonia Primavera
  • Colonia El Roble
  • Colonia Las Torres
  • Colonia Lopez Arellano
  • Colonia Victoria
  • Colonia Montefresco
  • Barrio Santa Anita
  • Barrio El Centro
  • Colonia Las Mercedes
  • Colonia Los Alamos
  • Colonia La Veranda
  • Colonia Los Cedros
  • Colonia Los Cedritos
  • Colonia Rodas Alvarado
  • Barrio Barandillas
  • Barrio Santa Ana
  • Barrio Los Andes
  • Barrio Concepcion
  • Barrio Suncery
  • Residencial Los Alamos
  • Residencial Juan Ramon Molina
  • Colonia Villas del Carmen
  • Residencial Villas Paraiso
  • Villas Mackay
  • Villas Matilda
  • La Foresta
  • Los Castaños
  • Villas del Campo
  • Merendon Hills
  • Colonia San Jose de Sula
  • Colonia San Carlos de Sula
  • Colonia Satelite
  • Colonia Felipe Zelaya
  • Colonia FESITRANH
  • Colonia El Periodista
  • Colonia Del Valle
  • Colonia La Veranda


The Villa Olímpica is a multi-sporting complex that has facilities for most Olympic style games including football, boxing, swimming, baseball, cycling and multipurpose gymnasiums. [ citation needed ]

San Pedro Sula is the only city in the country to be home to two football stadiums. The Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano is located in the Villa Olímpica and is the largest in the country with a capacity of 42,000. The Estadio Francisco Morazán is located in the centre of the city and holds 23,000 people. The stadiums are home to San Pedro Sula's most popular professional football teams Marathón and Real CD España. [ citation needed ]

As of 2009, San Pedro Sula has been the home venue for Honduras national football team matches. [23]


San Pedro Sula's municipal palace. SanPedroSulaMunicpPalace.jpg
San Pedro Sula's municipal palace.

It has a Catholic cathedral that was built in 1949. [24] as well as a Greek Orthodox cathedral, Iglesia Ortodoxa de Antioquía San Juan Bautista, built in 1963.

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