There doesn't seem to be a special forum for Gracias in Lempira department which is not the same as its namesake, Gracias a diós department. I was there in late October last year, on a work assignment, and just had time to put the photos together here:
Gracias, Lempira is in the mountainous southwest of Honduras midway between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa via Santa Rosa de Copan. The department shares borders with Copan department and if am not mistaken with El Salvador. The region is mountainous, and the capital, Gracias, is literally at the foot of Mt. Celaque, the tallest mountain in Honduras.
To get there from San Pedro Sula, I took Hedman Alas (ejecutivo plus) to Santa Rosa de Copan where someone picked me up for the 45-1hr ride to Gracias. (On the way to Santa Rosa, we passed La Entrada de Copan, the road that goes to Ruines de Copan. La Entrada de Copan is 1 hour away from Santa Rosa de Copan.)
Gracias, Lempira is not in the main circuit for tourists - it is far from the beach, at least 3 hours from Copan Ruins, San Pedro Sula and practically to anywhere. It is a bit isolated, nestled at the foot of Mt. Celaque, and somehow forgotten over the centuries. But that is the wonder of Gracias, Lempira.
The best way I can describe Gracias, Lempira is that it looks like a colorized version of a black and white film. The whole town sports a very antique look, more so than Copan. It has a lot of local color, character, even local dirt. The parque (or plaza) is the focal point. It has been repainted a bit in traditional colours (except the blue on the Policia, but who would tell that to the police?), the streets are cobble stones. Everything comes in small doses here: one small fort on top of the hill, a pleasant little museum, Casa Galeano with its own botanical garden. However, the town itself is a walking museum. Most of the foreigners who come to Gracias are usually foreign aid workers (from US, Europe, Japan etc), medical missions (brigadas), or group of students from somewhere else.
Around the area, there is La Campa, roughly 45 minutes away on gravel road. La Campa is the center for Lenca pottery. The Lencas are to Lempira as the Mayans to Copan. Parque Nacional de Celaque, the most visited national park in Honduras, with its lush, cloud covered slopes is about 45 minutes to the entrance of the park. There are also two thermals (hot springs), the public el Presidente, and the privately owned Termas del Rio.
It is fairly quiet, laid back, and after 6, shops start closing up. There's one night life so to speak and that is Kandil Kafe. Surprisingly enough, there is a range of small hotels in town: the more upscale Posadas de Don Juan, Real Camino Lenca in town, the budget, Tres Piedras, or the very quaint Guancascos on the slope going to the fort. In terms of where to eat, the bigger restaurants have a restaurant with varying menus, and for local cuisine, someone had recommended, Jarron (although I didn't have an opportunity to try it.)
I found the town to be safe, but again after 6 pm it is a bit dark. For banks, there's only 1 that I saw in front of Posadas de Don Juan, but I'm not sure if they have an ATM. (There is usually a line up to get in.) For transport, they use motor taxis (a.k.a. tuk tuk in Copan or elsewhere). There is van or small bus service to Santa Rosa, and La Campa, but the trips may be far in between. Going the other way is the road to Tegucigalpa.Edited: 9:11 pm, February 15, 2013