Omoa and the San Fernando Fortress
In this post we´re going to talk about Omoa, another beautiful beach destination in the Caribbean Sea of Honduras. Omoa is a city located about 15 Km west of Puerto Cortes, which is the main port in Honduras. In order to get to Omoa you have to take the road that goes from Puerto Cortes to the Guatemalan border heading to the west along the Caribbean coast. The road is in pretty good condition, it is a paved road and it has been improved very much over the last few years, so you can easily make it to Omoa from Puerto Cortes in 15 minutes or less, depending on the traffic.
The region where the city of Omoa is located has a very rich biodiversity with tropical forests and mountains right in front of the Caribbean Sea, the city is located at the foot of a mountain range with the same name of the city, that is the Sierra of Omoa. The city of Omoa was a very important port several centuries ago back when the Spanish were in control of Honduras. In fact, it even became the most important port in Central America at some point of time.
Thanks to its strategical location, a big fortress was built in Omoa, it is the most famous Spanish fortress in Honduras: the San Fernando Fortress. The Spanish built this fortress with the idea to defend themselves from the pirates who used to attack all the region because they knew that many treasures were stored and shipped from Central America to Spain right here in Omoa.
Omoa was a town of native indigenous people in the year 1536, and it stayed in that condition for several years up until the end of the XVI century when it became completely uninhabited. Many years later in 1752 the city was founded for the second time under the name of Omoa with the idea of building a fortress and establish a port that could be free from pirates who used to sail the Caribbean Sea in this region, as we already mentioned before.
It took 16 years to build the San Fernando Fortress, from 1759 to 1775. Unfortunately when the Fortress was finally finished, the attacks from pirates in the region of Omoa were no longer a major problem, it seems that the pirates went somewhere else to do their stuff, or it could be that they knew that the San Fernando Fortress was going to become a hard problem for them. Perhaps the pirates figured that the Spanish defending themselves with the help of this Fortress were going to be a very difficult target to attack, so they sailed away to different destinations.
So this brand new Fortress, the most important in Honduras and perhaps the most important in all Central America, was never tested for real against the pirates, so over the following years the Fortress became like a sleeping giant, the Spanish didn´t really take advantage from it, and it was abandoned several years later until it became a prison, and it stayed as a prison for many years until the year 1870.
San Fernando Fortress in Omoa is the biggest Spanish Fortress in all Central America. In fact, it is the second biggest Spanish fortress in all America, only after the San Cristobal Fortress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I bet you didn´t know that, did you?.
The area of the San Fernando Fortress is about 4,400 square meters. At the entrance of the Fortress there is a very well preserved Royal Coat of Arms from the Spanish Crown, it looks beautiful and it is amazing.
After the year 1870 when the Fortress was no longer a prison as we said before, it became abandoned for many years, and it was not until 1959 when the Honduras Government declared the Fortress as an Historical National Center. Over the years there have been restoration works in the Fortress, and it is now the most attractive touristic destination in Omoa, along with a museum that is located right next to the Fortress.
All this information about the San Fernando Fortress is really interesting. However, let´s not forget that Omoa is also a beach destination. Even when a visit to the San Fernando Fortress is a must when you go to Omoa, you can also enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean Sea of Honduras.
Omoa is one of the most favorite travel destinations for national visitors during weekends and holidays. Many visitors go to Omoa to spend a day with the intention to taste some fresh sea food, but especially to enjoy a day in the beaches of nearby communities, like Masca and Muchilena. Hundreds and even thousands of visitors go very often to Omoa from Puerto Cortes and San Pedro Sula. You can easily make a trip to Omoa from San Pedro Sula, it´s only about 1 hour driving to the north of San Pedro Sula, you can go in the morning, spend all day in Omoa and return to San Pedro Sula in the afternoon.
Well, we´ll be talking more things about Omoa in future posts. For the moment, hopefully you already know a few things about Omoa after reading this post.