Valle de Angeles, known colloquially as “the valley,” is a municipality in the Honduran department (country division) of Francisco Morazán. At an elevation of 4200 feet and located between Honduras’s mountain ranges, it has the coolest climate in the whole country and is truly the one real retreat from the dangerous capital of Tegucigalpa, which is less than an hour’s drive south-southwest of the valley. There is literally only one road into the town from the south, and none of the streets have names or are even recognized on Google Maps, though someone has made a somewhat interactive map of the town. We pass by the field above every day on our 15-minute walking commute to the downtown where La Finca is.
Valle de Angeles has many tourist souvenir shops and restaurants, though you have to watch what you eat. Safe precautions for food preparation at home include cooking only with purified water, vegetables that have been soaked in chlorine water, and dishes that need to be rewashed with boiled chlorine water since taps don’t have hot water. The local water isn’t even safe enough to brush teeth with.
Most stores don’t open until 10a.m. and everyone takes siestas. A pretty park at the center of town highlights the laid back attitude of the locals who spend plenty of time relaxing. Youngsters hang out in the park, mothers watch their children play, and men chat after work. On Sundays, the park is flooded with tourists from Tegucigalpa. Once, I happily sighted a woman reading a book in the park. Aside from her, I have seen no one in the town reading anything. There are no newspapers or bookstores, only one low-key souvenir shop with a short stack of over-used over-priced Honduran short story books.
Considering there are no HSBC ATM’s in Boston, I was surprised to find one in the corner of Valle de Angeles’s park under a tree. However it does not accept MasterCard, and there is only one other ATM in the whole town.
A Central American take on Starbucks, Expresso Americano is a chain from Tegucigalpa and the only cafe in the traditional sense in Valle de Angeles. I became addicted to their Mochaccino Supreme, but the pastries always tasted a little stale.