Bay of Trujillo
By 2012, cruise ships departing U.S. ports may head for a new Caribbean cruise destination, "Banana Coast" at Trujillo, Honduras. Just 45 miles south of Roatan, the deep-water natural harbor of Trujillo is poised to become Honduras’ first mainland cruise port. Officials announced details of the port project at Cruise Shipping Miami this week.
Infused with a $20 million investment, the new Banana Coast Landing will include a dock capable of handling two post-Panamax size vessels (essentially vessels that are too large to transit the Panama Canal). The project will also include a 50,000-square-foot themed retail shopping destination, a marina and a transportation hub.
Historically, explorer Christopher Columbus came ashore at Trujillo in 1502. The city itself was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1525. This destination combines a unique mix of white sandy beaches, a colonial Spanish city, eco-sites, cultural diversions and new tourism draws to entice cruisers.
The Colonial City in Trujillo
The beach is near where cruisers will disembark the ship. Trujillo’s walkable downtown is just a short distance away. The city’s prime tourism draws include the Santa Barbara Fort and cannons overlooking the Bay of Trujillo; historic churches; and the former embassy consulates of France, the UK and the U.S.
Cruisers will have options for interacting with the native Garifuna, Pech and Miskito cultures of the area. Eco-tourism is expected to also be a big draw, as the area has many waterfalls, rivers, tropical rainforest, hot springs, caves, mountains and the Guaimoreto Lagoon Nature Reserve.
Another diversion for visitors? The developer will build a themed cultural park, much along the lines of Discover Mexico on Cozumel. The goal is to give cruisers “a taste” of what Honduras offers. Four separate areas include a nature park, river park, wildlife park and heritage park.
While developers acknowledge the city needs some restoration work, they also say the Honduran government is addressing this as a priority. “Development of a new cruise destination at Trujillo has been an ambition for many years,” said Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo, the president of Honduras. “The government of Honduras plans to support the project with investment to help get one of our fantastic colonial cities ready for cruise tourism.”
Developing the project is the Grande Trujillo Authoridad, which is a partnership between the municipality of Trujillo, an investment group and Life Vision Developments in conjunction with Global Destinations Development of Miami; the latter is a strategic consultant and cruise destination developer.
Project planning for Banana Landing is under way, including work on site architecture, tour planning and marketing programs. While the facilities will be completed for cruise line use as early as 2012, the developers hope that smaller and medium-sized ships might call sooner. No cruise lines have yet announced plans to call at the new port, but it’s early in the process.
For more information email Global Destinations at [email protected].