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Municipality of Omoa

Omoa is a municipality in the Cortés department in Honduras.

Background places it in the native town of Comoa. It was one of the towns that Pedro de Alvarado distributed to his troops in 1536. In the 18th century, King Ferdinand VI of Spain ordered the construction of a fortress to protect the northern coast of the province of Comayagua; the construction lasted from 1759 to 1775 according to Vallejo’s statistical yearbook of 1889. In 1795, the town was given the name it currently holds.

Origin of its name: in the Mesoamerican language, Comoa or Comolhuacan means «place where there are utensils for cooking stews.»

General Information about Omoa

  • Date of creation: May 1752
  • Territorial area: 382.80 km2
  • Elevation: 10 meters above sea level
  • Patron saint fair: May 30, Saint Fernando’s Day
  • Administrative Code (Geocode): 0503
  • Villages: 26
  • Hamlets: 76


It is one of the oldest municipalities in Honduras, already existing in 1752, and was granted municipality status in 1852. It is located on the seashore, east of the mouth of the Motagua River, and was established in an excellent bay and anchorage, three leagues west of the former Puerto Caballos, now the village of Cieneguita.
The President and Captain General of Guatemala, Don José Vásquez Prego, is the founder of this port and the one who began the construction of the Fortress of San Fernando de Omoa in 1752, which was completed in 1775. Its first settlers came from Spain.

It was not until the year 1795 that the town was given its name, which it still holds today. Omoa was a port enabled for foreign trade; the ruins of the great pier where ships from different European and American nationalities docked still exist. It was the main port of Central America for a long time, but it gradually deteriorated due to frequent fires.


The head of the municipality is located on the coast of the bay of Omoa and is situated on the seashore, east of the mouth of the Motagua River, in a bay and anchorage three leagues west of the former Puerto Caballos, now the village of Cieneguita. It is crossed by the river of the same name.
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Omoa has a coastal plain along its jurisdiction and covers a large part of the territory. The flat area extends in the Cuyamel Valley, while the rest of the area is mountainous.




  • Motagua
  • Chiquito
  • Cuyamel
  • Masca
  • Coco
  • Chachaguala
  • Coto
  • Omoa
  • Tulian
  • Chivana
  • San Ildefonso
  • San Carlos
  • Tegucigalpita
  • Cortesitos

Water is one of the main natural resources in the municipality of Omoa. The water recharge zone is located in the Omoa mountain range, an area with abundant precipitation. There are 15 rivers and over 50 streams, all of them originating in the high mountain areas and flowing into the Caribbean Sea.

These water sources play a crucial role in supplying water for consumption and other activities related to human activities such as agriculture, livestock, and maintaining the stability of important ecosystems downstream, which are highly fragile, such as wetlands, swamps, lagoons, and coral reefs.


Muchilena and Piedra de Mucle, Benítez, which supplies water to Chachahuala and Estero Chachahuala, Los Achiotes, which supplies water to Los Achiotes, Santa Isabel stream, Quiebra Botijas.


  • Jaloa Lagoon


In the territory of Omoa, there are rapid altitude differences ranging from sea level to 2,242 meters in the mountains, specifically in the Sierra de Omoa. This causes variations in climate regarding precipitation, temperature, and relative humidity.
In Omoa, two climatic subzones are distinguished: Very rainy with a rainy winter (Sz) corresponding to the mountainous area, and Very rainy with regular rainfall distribution (LZ), corresponding to the flat or coastal area.

In the «Very rainy with a rainy winter» subzone (Sz): The rainiest months are November and December, and the driest months are April and May. The average annual precipitation ranges from 2,500 to 2,900 mm.


It is part of the Sierra de Omoa and the complex of mountains locally known as the Merendón mountain range.

Flora and Fauna

In the coastal plain, the primary vegetation cover is broadleaf forest, but it has been cleared 70 to 80% for livestock farming. Most of the coastal territory is characterized by sparse forest formation due to human intervention and development activities.
The upper or mountainous part is characterized by evergreen vegetation, with 75% of the plants retaining their leaves, and in some areas, there are pine forests. In the mountain area, there are dense forests that have been minimally affected by human activity. The fauna in the municipality is abundant due to the dense vegetation, and it includes mammals, reptiles, among others.


According to the soil geology map, there are three types of soil formations or origins in the municipality of Omoa:

  1. Alluvial soils, which are soils formed by material transported by water currents, deep, recently formed, and suitable for cultivation. They correspond to the flat or coastal part of the territory.
  2. Cacaguapa Schists, composed of a sequence of metamorphic rocks such as phyllites, gneisses, and micaceous schists with subordinate quartzite and marble in the upper part. These soils are located in the mountains and range from moderately to shallow depth.
  3. Tertiary intrusive rocks, granite rocks in the higher part of the Sierra de Omoa. This type of soil is not significant in the eastern area of the territory.

Another classification of soils in Omoa

In the territory of Omoa, four types of soils are found, according to the FAO Atlas of 1997, based on Simmons and Castellanos 1959-1968.

  1. Tomalá
  2. Alluvial soils
  3. Swamps and marshes
  4. Beach sands

Tomalá, these soils are composed of gneiss schists and are shallow and steep, with little or no stoniness. They can range from loamy sand to loam clay, and their recommended use is productive forest with selective logging, so they are not suitable for extensive exploitation. These soils are located in the Sierra de Omoa.
Alluvial soils are recently formed soils that are flat or have very slight slopes, are very deep, and highly productive. River valleys have fine-textured alluvial soils, especially near the river mouths (Simmons and Castellano, 1969). According to the map, they extend approximately from Veracruz to the border with Guatemala on both sides of the CA-13 highway, being wider on the seaside.


It has a total population of 45,179 inhabitants, of which 22,329 are men and 22,849 are women. 20,188 live in the urban area and 24,990 live in the rural area.
It ranks #8 in the department, representing 2.9% of the population. And it ranks #31 in the country, representing 0.5% of the total population. 1.3% of the population belongs to an ethnic group.

In the past 10 years, 995 people have emigrated and now live in another country. In this municipality, there are 25,051 people aged 18 and older, of which 92% have their identification card. The municipality has a literacy rate of 14% and a primary education coverage of 93%, with an average of 5.6 years of schooling. Female heads of households represent 31% of households. The sex ratio is 98 men per hundred women, and the elderly population (age 64+) represents 5.7% of the population.


  • 42% Agriculture, livestock, forestry, and fishing
  • 12% Wholesale and retail trade, vehicle repair
  • 11% Construction
  • 8.9% Manufacturing industries
  • 5.2% Activities of households as employers and activities not
  • 21% Other activities

The economy of Omoa is primarily sustained by fishing activities carried out by its residents. The municipality is home to approximately 600 native fishermen who operate around 400 fishing vessels. They catch around 220,000 pounds of fish.
Previously, cacao was cultivated, and citrus crops, particularly oranges, were sold in national and international markets. Many residents of Omoa are engaged in agriculture, with a focus on staple crops such as corn, beans, and rice.

Additionally, some inhabitants are involved in livestock farming. Currently, the municipality is experiencing prosperity due to the opening of the Corinto border crossing, which facilitates trade with Guatemala and benefits the local population. However, the communities of Potrerillos and Cuyamelito were left out of the corridor of the C5 highway, which has been in planning for the past three decades and finally connects Puerto Cortes with Puerto Barrios in Guatemala.


Many residents of Omoa are engaged in agriculture, with a focus on staple crops such as corn, beans, and rice. Other crops include cacao, coffee, citrus fruits, plantains, sugar cane, basic grains, bananas, mangoes, avocados, tobacco, yuca, and malanga.
In agriculture, employment opportunities exist in the production of Tabasco chili, rice, and malanga (in recent years), particularly in the Cuyamel Valley. In the mountainous areas, some jobs can be found in cacao and coffee cultivation, especially during the harvest season.

In agriculture, the planting and harvesting seasons are estimated based on atmospheric phenomena (humidity, heat, and cloudiness), and cultural practices for crops and animal husbandry (such as grafting, pruning, incubation, fishing season for each species, vaccination, and treatment) are calculated based on lunar cycle phases. These practices, despite their traditional origins, have valid scientific explanations.

Agriculture is practiced in both the high mountain area and the valley, with the difference lying in the crops and production systems. In the mountains, they focus on cultivating corn, beans, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruits, and small-scale vegetables, as well as other fruit trees for self-consumption. In the valley, in addition to corn, they also cultivate rice, watermelon, coconuts, bananas, citrus fruits, and, more recently, malanga for export to the United States.


Another sector that generates employment is livestock farming, which involves various stages of production such as pasture maintenance, milking, milk and dairy product collection and processing.
In the livestock sector, the Cortés and Omoa Livestock Associations have merged into a single organization in the sector. However, there is another organization that brings together livestock farmers from the Río Chiquito sector.

Livestock farming is one of the main sectors that drive the municipality’s economy, primarily consisting of cattle farming located in communities such as Cuyamel, Tegucigalpita, Potrerillos, and Cuyamelito. These communities are predominantly focused on milk production.

There are collection centers for milk production (CREL) which is then sold to large milk processing companies such as Lácteos de Sula (LACTOSA) and Leches y Derivados (LEYDE). Locally, milk derivatives such as cheese, butter, and curd are also handmade to supply the local market, with any surplus being sold in neighboring municipalities. The same applies to the demand for meat, which is also supplied locally. Additionally, live cattle is traded with the Republic of Guatemala.


In the services sector, there are 12 hardware stores and 15 agro-veterinary stores, as well as various service shops, beauty salons, nightclubs, barbershops, grocery stores, pool halls, a mini supermarket, and three gas stations. All of these establishments are sources of employment in the municipality (Cabrera, Socio-economic Diagnosis 2010).
In the municipality of Omoa, maize, rice, red beans, cocoa, coffee, coconuts, bananas, fish, milk and dairy products, meat, and live cattle are produced. All these products meet the local demand, and the surplus is sold in the municipalities of Puerto Cortés, San Pedro Sula, La Lima, and El Progreso. Live cattle is also traded with the Republic of Guatemala, and in recent years, malanga has been produced for the United States market.

Furthermore, there are individual organizations and manufacturers dedicated to embroidering garments on cloth, which are sold locally as well as in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and Tegucigalpa.

There is an internal trade that stimulates the economy. Within this sector, around 14 industrial establishments have been identified, engaging in activities such as cattle slaughter, ice factories, wood processing, artisanal clothing manufacturing (embroidery), and cement block production (Cabrera, Socio-economic Diagnosis 2010).

The paving of the road section between Omoa and the border point of Corinto in 2005, known as CA-13, contributed to the economic stimulation of the municipality by improving communication between most of the main communities and facilitating their access to the major cities of the Sula Valley and Puerto Barrios in Guatemala.

In this sense, the CA-13 highway has facilitated the commercial and tourist exchange of the municipality of Omoa with different urban centers located in the Sula Valley and human settlements on the border with neighboring Guatemala, particularly Puerto Barrios, as the main markets of destination.


The main tourist attractions in Omoa are its natural beauty, historical elements, and gastronomy. Currently, the tourism offerings in the municipality of Omoa consist of 28 hotels, 64 restaurants operating in the urban area, and others scattered throughout the municipality in its various villages and hamlets. Additionally, there are 2 water parks, 7 recreational areas, 25 picnic spots, and 38 dining establishments throughout the municipality.
Omoa is known for its seafood and meat sales in restaurants located along the beaches. Enjoying these services is one of the main attractions for some domestic tourists, especially those from San Pedro Sula and other places in the Sula Valley.

Cusuco National Park

Learn more about Cusuco National Park
The northern border of Cusuco National Park lies in this area. With peaks reaching up to 2000 meters above sea level, the biodiversity of this zone is incredibly rich, encompassing diverse habitats such as beaches, mangroves, rainforests, and even cloud forests in the higher regions.

San Fernando Fortress of Omoa

Learn more about the San Fernando Fortress of Omoa
San Fernando Fortress is included on the indicative list to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to Executive Agreement No. 170 of March 20, 1987, the San Fernando Fortress is declared a National Monument due to its historical and anthropological value.


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