One of the best kept secrets in Honduras is the colonial city of Gracias. Capital of the department of Lempira, in Western Honduras, Gracias is accessible from Copan via the Western Highway towards Santa Rosa de Copan. Just before getting to Santa Rosa there is a highway leading south, that will take you directly to Gracias in less than an hour, if you are traveling by car. This City was founded in 1536, by Capt. Juan de Chavez and the original name was Gracias a Dios. Apparently the Spanish conquistador had spent several days in this very mountainous area looking for a place to establish a city, and when he finally found an area flat enough to build such city, his first words where “gracias a Dios que hemos hallado tierra llana” (thank God that we have finally found flat land). Gracias still retains much of its original atmosphere. The Real Audiencia de Los Confines then the governing council for the protection of indigenous human rights of Central America and capital of Honduras, was established here the 16th of April, 1544. The city had some years of booming growth before being overshadowed by the cities of Antigua Guatemala and Comayagua.

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