Atlantida’s Banana Republic Heritage

Just over a century ago, what we know today as Atlantida was a dense tropical forest so thick that that Spanish Conquistadors where never able to control. It all changed when the government of Honduras issued extensive land concessions along the Caribbean Coast of Honduras, initiating what was to transform Honduras into an agricultural powerhouse that at one point was the largest banana exporter in the World!

Atlantida’s Banana Republic Heritage is evident throughout the destination. In line with these land concessions, the National Congress of Honduras created the department of Atlantida in 1902, paving the road for development and facilitating the growth of the Banana Companies.

Within Atlantida, these land concessions were made to the Tela Railroad Company and to the Vacaro Brothers Company. The first was allotted land in the Sula Valley as far east as Tela, the second was allotted land from Tela all the way to the Aguan Valley. These land concessions were tied into the construction of railroad lines, and both companies built a railroad network. This facilitated development and provided a framework that would create Atlantida’s Banana Republic heritage. This railroad provided the backbone that facilitated the transformation and development of Atlantida.

Unfortunately, the railroads eventually fell into the hands of the government of Honduras. This resulted in the lack of maintenance of the infrastructure. To top it off, a couple of massive hurricanes, destroyed the infrastructure that was once the pride of Atlantida and for that matter, of all Honduras. Today the only signs of those once glorious days of trains in Atlantida are to be seen in the Swinford Park one block west of Central Park in La Ceiba.

Fortunately the architectural heritage from those bygone days is still very much present. Massive old buildings, dating from the early twentieth century still stand to this day. Within them, both private and public administrative activities took place. A fine example Atlantida’s Banana Republic heritage can be seen in the architecture of the old customs building in La Ceiba, as well as at the first and original Banco Atlantida office located in La Ceiba. In Tela, you can find the old accounting building where the Tela Railroad Company operated from just across the beach in Tela Nueva. Much of old residential compound where the executives of the Tela Railroad Company lived can still be seen within the Telamar Resort compound.

Throughout both cities you can see old wooden homes built upon concrete posts. These homes all have spacious porches where you can still hang a hammock and enjoy the cool breeze blowing off the Caribbean Sea. Another important facet of Atlantida’s Banana Republic heritage, is the fact that within Atlantida you will find many different cultures. Different races and ethnic groups live in harmony between each other. In Atlantida you can find US citizens, Europeans, Bay Islanders, Garifuna, African American, Miskito natives, and many more living together in peace. This is a land where tourists and foreigners are welcome, and where it is truly easy to make new friends!