Tomala is probably one of those places you would love to visit before life gets gray haired. Located in the southwest of Lempira, Honduras, Tomala is a town characterized by its welcoming people, unique traditions, astonishing sunsets and “magical places”. Though it is said that rural areas are dull and quite boring, this town might change your perspective on that.

Photo taken from El Cerrito

Tomala is one of the many rural areas in Honduras where the plantation and harvest of coffee plays an important role in the economy, taking advantage of the elevation from sea level. Agriculture is also an important economic booster in this area, but in addition farmers raise cattle and cultivate crops like beans and corn. Compared to other towns from the area, there is a stronger commercial structure in Tomala, placing it as the center of economic region’s dynamic. These are merely economic activities that help describing most of the roles played by its people, but most importantly, these labor activities are nothing more than a simple exemplification of the important role in farming that people have as they spend a good amount of their life time farming and feeding their families from it. However , the fact that they have to work consistently does not keep them from having a social life. Most of the farmers will start working at 6 am and finish at 3 pm. This allows them to spend a good amount of time with their families and friends. In addition, these same people are the ones who will offer you a cup of coffee, some bread or the most special food they have along with a welcoming smile that will turn on a spark for the rest of your day. Love can be seen through their actions and friendship can be seen through their love.

Amelia helping her parents during coffee harvest time while she is in a school break.

Numerous festivals help define Tomala’s cultural identity during the year, bringing vivid colors of joy and fun to a town that pictures life as a real gift to take advantage of . One of the most anticipated times of the year is December. This month means fun (more than usual), hope, and unity for all locals in Tomala, specially when the annual fair attracts people from all over Honduras to spend three days of fun activities like rodeos, tasting typical dishes from the area, parachuting, horse racing, custom competitions, folkloric dances etc.

When it comes to celebrate Christmas and new year, you will experience an exciting, unusual and even dramatic environment of unity and exuberance with traditions like using gunpowder to burn theAño Viejo”, representing a farewell to last year.

During the month of March, the longest influx of tourists occurs during “Semana Santa”. This tradition means several days of devotion and celebration including extravagant parades with costumed participants marching through the streets carrying great floats with Jesus on the cross as a reminder of His love for all. On good Friday, people will cook soup made from dried salted fish, sometimes along with sopa de capirotadas with cheese dumplings.

We cannot disregard the Morazanic week which reminds us of the dream that Francisco Morazán had about uniting the Central American countries to create a stronger nation in terms of economic and social power. This event is quite different in Tomala compared to neighbor towns since people give it a unique artistic touch by offering drawing and painting competitions representing our independence from Spain and the dream of Morazán.

Are you brave enough?

If you love being in places where you feel connected to nature, you will love Tomala. Picture a town surrounded by mountains that give sunsets a unique and astonishing view you will never forget. Picture rivers flowing with abundant, clean, and transparent water under the shade of green trees that tell the story of a peaceful morning. Imagine a tropical weather, mostly warm but not enough as to create discomfort. Picture a forest and grassland vegetation healthy and fertile on land. The natural setting gives birth to incredible places to explore while you look for adventures . From the waterfalls of Gualchuruca, the Well of the Virgin, the endless tree trails to more urban places like one of the oldest Catholics churches from Honduras, its central park, the rock with “footprints” of the “healer virgin”, you will definitely have a good time in Tomala.

Sun….I miss you a little extra today.

Tomala is a small town where you will meet good quality people and create great quality memories. Tomala is a place where stories are written with a different ink. It is a place I use to call HOME.