Tela is a municipality which contains the town (or "aldea" in Spanish) of Tela on the northern Caribbean coast of the Atlántida department of Honduras. The name Tela may be the short name from Triunfo de la Cruz.
HistoryTela became an important port in the early 1900s as headquarters of the Tela Railroad Company, later the United Fruit Company whose Honduran headquarters was there until 1970. The town's long dock burned in 1994; hasty replacement, opened in January 1995, collapsed due to high winds. The remnant is now used for fishing.
The town had an extensive railyard, and trains used to run all the way out to the dock. Passenger trains still run twice a week from Tela to San Pedro Sula and Puerto Cortés, the only routes in the country still served by trains.
GeographyTela's patron saint is San Antonio. Every June, the town holds its festival in honor of San Antonio, with parades and parties throughout the week.
Tela is one of the most popular beach destinations for Honduran beachgoers. It draws especially well in Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, when many tens of thousands of Hondurans crowd into town to party, drink, lie on the beach and swim in the Caribbean.
Most Teleños are Catholic; the town's main Catholic church is Iglesia San Antonio, just across the river from downtown Tela. There are other smaller Catholic churches throughout town. There are many other denominations represented in town, however, including the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, a Mormon Church and a large Evangelical church just off the beach downtown, colloquially known in Tela as the "Jumping Church".
InfrastructureTela has paved roads throughout its downtown. Many of the outlying barrios have paved main thoroughfares; smaller side streets are generally dirt roads.
Virtually all buildings in and around the aldea of Tela have running water, flush toilets and electricity. Many farther aldeas and caserios have no running water or electricity; some are made up entirely of bamboo or thatch huts.
Downtown Tela's main street is a busy business district. There is a well stocked grocery store, several small department stores, a number of hardware stores, many restaurants, internet cafes, bars, banks, pool halls and hotels, a laundry, a bakery, and a coffin maker's workshop. The town is well served by doctors, dentists, lawyers and veterinarians. The town also has its own small lumberyard. Two blocks off the town park, there is a block-square market--half open and half enclosed--selling fresh vegetables, fruit and meat, brought in daily from farms in the surrounding countryside; fisherman bring in fresh fish daily to the market as well to many restaurants.
In addition to the downtown grocery store and the town market, in the barrios, nearly every street corner has its own "pulpería"--a small shop in the front of a family house, which sells milk, eggs, juice, beans and other everyday needs to the neighborhood.
There is a public school in Tela, and at least six smaller private schools, three of which are bilingual, teaching English along with Spanish.
Visiting TelaWhen visiting Tela, one can stay in boarding houses for only a few dollars a night. The Hotel Tela is the oldest hotel in town, and was favored by American expatriate writer Guillermo Yuscarán (born William Lewis) while he studied the Garifuna culture.
Along the beaches are the more upscale hotels.
In the western side of town, known as "Tela Nuevo", is the Telamar Hotel, a walled-in compound that formerly served as the housing for the American administrators of the United Fruit Company.
tela in Spanish: Tela (Honduras)
tela in French: Tela (Honduras)
tela in Dutch: Tela
tela in Polish: Tela
tela in Portuguese: Tela (Atlántida)