Yuscarán’s central square is a great place for people-watching, flanked on one side by the simple Iglesia de San José on the park, finished in 1768 and usually referred to as the parroquía. The main sight of note in town is Casa Fortín (8 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), a family house built in 1810 and abandoned in 1910 when family members contracted tuberculosis and left for Tegucigalpa. The two-story house, declared a national monument, serves as the town museum but due to limited funding is pretty rundown. If it’s closed, ask at nearby houses for the owners, who will let you in.
You’ll find many mineral samples, as well as mining and farming tools from the past century. The person in charge of the casa, Carlos Rodriguez, is very knowledgeable about Yuscarán’s history and surroundings. He works with a local group that built a few trails in Monserrat and cleared out a couple of old mines for tourists to visit, and is one of a couple of guides in town who can show the way.
After visiting Casa Fortín and the church, it’s easy to spend an hour or two walking around the town admiring the rustic colonial architecture and cobbled streets. Don’t be surprised if an older gentleman named Oscar Lezama approaches you in the park—he’s another Yuscarano eager to share his wealth of knowledge with visitors, and he can also help arrange for guides.
The best-known aguardiente liquor in Honduras, more commonly known as guaro, is produced here at the El Buen Gusto and Monserrat factories. Curiously, Yuscarán guaro is technically illegal to sell in town (other forms of alcohol are perfectly legal), but it can still be found if you know which pulpería to ask in. Better yet, get a free tour of one of the distilleries, at the end of which you’re usually handed a bottle. For a tour of El Buen Gusto (7 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–11 a.m. Sat.), just make your way to the distillery, a couple of blocks from the park—visitors are welcome any time. Tours are in Spanish, but even if you don’t understand the language it’s worth taking a peek to see a few of the 22,000 daily liters in production.
For more information on hiking in the mountains above town, stop by Fundación Yuscarán (tel. 504/793-7158, fundacionyuscaran2005 [at] yahoo [dot] com, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), a local tourism and natural resources NGO located next to the town hall building on the park.
The small white sanctuary of Santa Anita, perched atop 78 wide stone steps a 15-minute walk from the park down the road to Oropolí, is a fine hilltop viewpoint under an enormous ceiba tree, also the village’s favored make-out spot. It’s a great place to walk to anytime, but sunsets are particularly fine. An all-night vigil with music and singing is held at the sanctuary the night of December 9 to celebrate the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition