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Choluteca

Getting around

Virtually all the listed hotels, restaurants and services are within a few blocks of the central park, and are easily managed by foot. The exceptions – the Hotel Riviera and the bus terminals – are best reached by taxi, which are plentiful in the center of town.

El Corpus

Just 17km from Choluteca, El Corpus’ cool climate and quaint cobblestone streets seem a world apart from the hot, bustling department capital. Perched on a hillside, the small stone plaza has beds of flowers and benches overlooking the sloping valley below. The fortunes of El Corpus have long depended on those of its on-again, off-again mining industry (mostly gold). It was once one of the richest mining towns in the country but is now much reduced.

There are at least two good hikes around town. The toughest – and most rewarding – is to the top of Cerro Guanacaure, with an amazing 360-degree view from the summit. On a clear day, you can see into Nicaragua, the Gulf of Fonseca and all the way to eastern El Salvador. It’s a steep 4km trail to the top, starting from the community of Aqua Fría, about 8km from El Corpus proper.

The other hike is up Cerro Calaire, with views of the Valle de Choluteca and sometimes the Golfo de Fonseca. It’s a moderately tough 90-minute hike to the summit, starting from El Corpus. The tourist office (787 3523, Municipal Bldg; 8am-4pm Mon-Fri, 8-11am Sat) can help arrange a guide. March and April are burning season, pretty much spoiling the view.

You can also hire someone to show you some of the many abandoned mines that pock the area in and around El Corpus (there’s even one right in town). Needless to say this can be an extremely dangerous activity – the tourist office can help arrange a guide with the proper experience and know-how.

Buses to Concepción de María (US$0.70, 1 hour), the next town up, leave Choluteca’s bus terminal hourly from 4:30am to 3:30pm, with a stop in El Corpus along the way. There are Corpus-only buses (US$0.70, 1 hour) at 7am, 11:45am and 3pm.