Are you are traveling to one of the Bay Islands (Roatan or Utila) by ferry and need to spend a night in La Ceiba? Backpackers tend to stay a night at the Banana Republic Hostel. It is right by a good part of town and a great dentist! — and is safe, but it definitely third-world backpacking. Forget the kitchen. The pots lacked handles. There weren’t 4 forks or spoons or knives. Knives were broken, the kitchen was filthy. Don’t count on water for your complete shower or an odor-free bathroom. And the bus out of La Ceiba info that the staff gave each of us was very wrong and problematic. A private room for 2 or 3 runs 450 Limpira, US$25 at this time, which you can split 3 ways. The dorm there runs 150 Limpira as well. (The dorms have backpack-sized huge, amazing lockers though, with electricity for charging!) From […]
I was worried about being able to buy batteries in Central America, especially AAA batteries so here’s a report as of June 2012 in case you wonder the same. Batteries in Honduras In an upscale department store in Honduras, I easily found Maxell AAA that are dated January 2016 in a 2-pack for just 29, which is US$1.50. In a same-mall electronics store batteries were 39L or $2. I forgot to check the price of AA batteries. Batteries in Guatemala In Guatemala the AA were a bit over US$3 wherever I saw them. Batteries in El Salvador San Salvador, the capitol city, has plenty of upscale stores and I am sure you can trust the batteries you buy there. But when I needed batteries I was in a small, out of the way beach town. There, the batteries were a brand I hadn’t ever seen and the AA batteries didn’t […]
Tonight I was with a new travel friend, Hannah, in the supermarket at the upscale mall in Honduras’ third largest city, La Ceiba, when Benjamin Rockwell called me on Voxer to tell me the evening’s recording schedule. Hannah and I decided to stay at the mall and enjoy it a while longer, so I did my segment from an electronics store in the mall. Hannah has been on the road for a while, covering two hemispheres, so she did the 10 minute segment as my guest, sharing her travel technology experiences with our listeners. Hannah’s stories: 1) Her PC died in Tulume, Mexico. A local computer tech found the issue to be a damaged RAM. This is a common issue, he said, due to humidity. It took three days for her new RAM to arrive so three days later, For 400 pesos (US$33), she had new RAM and was happily […]
This morning my Copan Ruinas companion and I took a short walk down a few Cobblestone streets and had a walk through some Mayan history. Copan was the Mayan’s southern-most city. Our guide, Antonio, at 75 is the most knowledgable of all guides one can wish for. We had an amazing day. More later, photos below. The ball field: Down the road 2k you can visit the ruins of actual homes. There are three sections: the wealthy, the Scribes, and the rest of the people. Having heard how amazingly enlightened the Maya were for all these years, it was a reality check to learn that not everyone was educated and that there were definitely classes. This is me in section of the Mayan Ruins in Copan Ruinas, Honduras where the scribes lived. I am shaking hands with a fellow scribe. Well, the depiction of one. Other details of the day: […]
Just some photos. A peek into my backpack (which is simply a suitcase much of the time). Coming soon: Me with my backpack as I leave this hostel to head to the ferry. Note: I am actually posting this July 17 as I sort through and backup photos. Thus, no location.
May 28, 2012 It was difficult to choose to leave Roatan. I knew I would be packing up my snorkel for quite a while. I would be going far from a family, from people, I came to love. I was leaving a place of beauty that was comfortable and relaxing. But many more places remain for me to get to know so it was time to move on. I believe I will return to Roatan so that makes it easier. It was simple to walk from Mel’s place to the main road, stand a moment, and have a taxi turn around for me. The driver had a friend riding along who spoke English well, having been teaching himself since his arrival from the mainland just 3 months earlier. I forgot what they charged me, but it was exactly what Mel said it would be. the ride was easy. So was […]
Here is a great clinic I want to share with not just backpackers and travelers who may come to Roatan, but with all people who like to see or support good deeds. Clinica Esperanza – an excellent project doing much good in Sandy Bay on Roatan. You can read all about it on their site, ClinicaEsperanza.com but first I must add my own personal kudos to them. I have been there and seem the excellent way they treat their patients. There is even a great play set to entertain the children as they wait as you can see in this photo of the clinic. Play things like this are not at all common for the people of Roatan. Here is a photo taken on the main road so you know what to look for. The clinic is a short way up the hill so you need to watch for the […]
The Roatan Marine Park in the West End of Roatan takes care of West End of the island and maybe all the island. it provides moorings for boats (info at the website as this situation changed while I was in Roatan), it watches for poachers, protects the coral reef and more. (the website may be roatanmarinepark.com or roatanmarinepark.net. At the office’s Gift Shop in West End you can borrow a snorkel for 24 hours for just a $5 donation with a $20 deposit. A credit card is ok for the deposit. All items purchased at their office/ store are donations that help them to help preserve the island, which includes protecting endangered species from over-fishing and poachers. There are many things for sale there, but here are the things that impressed me. A great investment for any snorkeler is the FishFlips wearable and waterproof snorkeling guide. It is just $5 […]
If you are a solo or budget traveler wanting to stay in West End Roatan you don’t have to foot the bill for a $70/night hotel room or cabin by yourself. I missed finding this place online because I searched for “hostel,” but found it by walking around and asking others. I liked where I stayed in Sandy Bay, enjoying the owner and that it was right by an fantastic medical clinic. But you might want to stay closer to the more touristy area where the scuba classes happen and there are tourist-oriented restaurants and swimming. So this is the place: Georphi’s Tropical Hideaway Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras 504-2445-4104 or 504-2445-4205 $10/night for a bed in a 6 bed (3 bunks) room that has its own bathroom. She provides sheets and even has soap and shampoo packets. I didn’t get to stay there but she gave me keys […]
A true taste of local Roatan food in Roatan’s West End. The tiny beachfront street that runs through the West End is lined with dive shops and their guest houses, and bars or restaurants. A Thai restaurant offers Pad Thai for over 360L ($17). Pizza, burgers, other things westerners want so they feel at home. But that’s not true Roatan. Next to the Marine Park office/shop (or call it across from the church) a woman named Mazie sells her home made food. A meal is 120L ($6). If you don’t want to spend $6 she can sell you a half dish. If you want real good true local food find Mazy. I had her stew Conch (she buys it only from legitimate sources) which was fabulous. I forgot what is in it except for Thyme. I also liked her coconut cake. I saved a piece of that cake for an […]
I just wrote this to a friend: I am not doing all the writing I expected to. It is somewhat harder on iPad than it was on my oh-so-comfortable MacBook Air, but not too bad. It is just the need for time, mosquito-free air, electricity and optionally Internet all at the same time. :) That, plus I am busy experiencing. To write is a great reflection and observance but it also puts me out of the experience on the sideline. Each time I have been clear of my client’s work and started to write something great to do has come up. Talk with a local person, walk a new path, watch people…. As always in my life, I wish I could add more RAM to my own memory or a larger hard drive in my head so I wouldn’t forget every great sight and though and insight and word that […]
I walked to Anthony’s Cay to learn about the Dolphin show. Flagged down a bus from there to the end of the bus route in West End. It was hard to resist getting off to buy some of the fresh fruit being sold on the street but I wanted go beyond where I had been before. (I also noticed there were few people i the streets. Most guests there are there to dive and were out.) I am glad I stayed on the bus. I was let off near the water taxi and I walked further down on the fairly empty beach. This is where the sailboats anchor out. There were 4 or 5 boats but I couldn’t read their names. I kept walking and got to another dice resort. I had a few good conversations there, learning more about diving and diving in Roatan. I was thinking of continuing […]
If you have an unlocked iPhone or other smart phone, you can purchase and use data cards to get Internet as you travel. You can also use these sim cards in USB modems that connect to your computer. In Honduras I used data cards in an unlocked iPhone 3GS. Claro is the less expensive of the two Honduras cellular carriers. I was given the sim card free at the Claro store, a proper Claro shop, not local, small shop reseller. You can buy 1 day, 7 day, 15 day, or 30 day cards. I paid 290 Limpera for a 15 day period providing me with 5 Gb of data. For 490 you can have 1month and 7gb. An additional week will be 140 for another 7 days, 3gb. My first card was TIGO. I paid 45 Limpera for the sim card. I paid 150 Limpera for a 7 day card […]
I highly recommend packing dental floss for your extended travels or backpacking. Get the largest roll in the smallest package that you can find — and like. (If you don’t like the feel and use of your floss you won’t use it.) Flossing removes the plaque from your teeth, keeping you and your teeth and gums healthier, but there’s more. You can use it to scrape your tongue. I know, some toothbrushes have a tongue scraper on them, but you should be taking a travel toothbrush or taking the smallest, lightest toothbrush you can find. Plus, the supply and style of toothbrushes vary between countries and you may travel longer than is good for one toothbrush. I have heard of people using floss in lieu of string as well. NOTE: I wrote this May 2012, before I knew about Cocofloss. Now, although I wish the Cocofloss container was smaller, I no […]
In my travels I became friends with an RN (Registered Nurse) who shared some advice with me to help me stay well. I am sharing some of that advice — about what to do for diarrhea — here. However, you must know that I am not a medical professional, this advice does not replace a doctor’s advice, and if you take this advice you may not hold me responsible for the outcome. If, as you are traveling, you develop diarrhea, but do not have blood involved: For the first day just take Pepto Bismal. If it helps keep taking it. On the second day if it is slowing down, just keep taking the Pepto Bismal. On the third day if still getting better, keep taking the Pepto Bismal. If you are not getting better by now and are not allergic to antibiotics, take Ciprofloxin 500mg 2x a day for 3 […]
Each morning I awake to the sound of a bird that repeats the same call over and over, in exactly the same pattern. I recorded it and played it to Terry to learn what it is. He said it is a type of Thrush called the Bobo or something like that. The other sound you’ll hear is, I think, a Gecko.
I am told you can find some guest houses that have dorms around the West End where the dive shops are, but that they don’t have websites. I didn’t find anything about one online. I did see a sign for a hostel when I went to the West End while on the sailboat but I didn’t see any place that looked like it was the hostel. Looking online, I found a listing with reviews and a website for Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel and decided to go there. The reviews said Mel, the owner, was very nice and helpful. This is true. She gave me plenty of information about this area — how to walk down to the beach, where to eat — and also answered every question I had for my articles about Roatan. It is a small two story building on a dirt road. It is easy to walk from […]
One thing I wish I had packed was a plastic drain cover. I am talking about either the flat round plastic piece you use to cover and sized drain or the taller molded pieces that you push into the sink’s drain to keep water in the sink. Why I recommend packing some sink stoppers for your travel. Hand washing laundry! Washing your snorkel gear. I have noticed that most sinks I have come across in hostels and even the hotels where I stayed in Mexico, lacked the metal water stopper to keep water in the sink.
Consider packing some metal cup hooks, especially if you are backpacking. I am talking about the small, light, metal cup hooks that screw into wood. I prefer the ones that are thin and have a white or black paint or thin plastic coating as I think they will resist rust better than the 100% metal ones. They come in packs of five or so. Why I recommend packing some cup hooks for your travel. As a backpacker, I keep wishing I had a hook upon which to hang my towel or a garment. Hostels don’t have closets with hangers. REI, Sea To Summitt sell lightweight clothing lines that can be very helpful but you still need places from which to hang the line. My REI clothing line has clips, suction cups, and Velcro bands — but I am still typically unable to find away to hang it. Many hostels have […]
Just briefly for now… This morning, with a sad heart, I left my Oakridge neighborhood to see more of Roatan. More came to the local bus stop with me and then rode the first bus with me to make sure I would find the second bus as this bus driver speaks only Spanish. I was so sad leaving him. I cried as i got off the bus and as he continued down the road to return home Then, waiting for the next bus to depart the station, I cried again. And on the bus as I told a woman how much I would miss him and miss his cousin. I had a nice afternoon at CoCo View. I got to see it, snorkel there, and relax. Then I had a nice ride into Coxen Hole and got another bus to Sandy Bay. But sunset I was at my next home-for-a-few-days, […]
After I got off the sailboat I was on, I had the opportunity to see or speak with five sets of cruisers who had known me. Three of those couples said they were relieved that I was out of that situation and told me that they were concerned for me. Each stated why — and the reasons were consistent. So this is an appeal to cruisers. If you meet up with a person who is on board another person’s sailboat or motorboat and you have any question about that passenger/crew person’s safety, please, please, PLEASE, tell that person! I was not aware that there is a ship’s roster and the repercussions of not being on it. I was not aware that 3 lights, or any lights, are legally required on a boat at night to mark it safely. I was not aware that it is required to fly flags. I […]
On the Bay Island of Roatan, there is only one main road which runs across its length.
At one point it crosses from running on the north shore at the west side to the south shore on the east side. From that main road, you will see offshoots that lead to the various towns and resorts. These tend to be marked with large signs. You will not find signs marking street names; there are no street names or street addresses on Roatan. Instead, you need to know landmarks.
There are busses on Roatan, but they — and the bus stops — are not easy to spot. Tourists tend to take taxis. The busses are actually mini-vans. From what I have seen, they are white and rather unmarked. A bus will go all over, off the main road into the various neighborhoods, so it can take a couple of hours to get across the island.
I am so happy to be online right now. I have been unable to get the Claro card signal since arriving on my friend’s street on Friday. I was told I could walk up the road and get signal but didn’t welcome the idea of sitting outside on the road to work.
Sunday May 20, 2012, 6:09pm I am sitting on the front stoop of my friend’s home. Omar and 11 year old Richard went out fishing today, so 11 year old More is helping Omar clean the fish now: scaling, removing guts, cleaning. Actually, they were just doing the last two as I arrived. More’s grandmother makes sure that the plastic bag goes into the garbage and not in the sea. He sweeps the porch. Some of the fish will be dinner tonight. The rest will go into the freezer. And now it’s bath time for the fishing crew. The street lights went on as I was sitting and writing this. This house is the end of the line for the lights. I wish there were a few more as there are now homes up the road. Someday. However this particular road ends at the jungle a ways up so although […]
May 19 A slice of life among my Roatan friends. I am with my friend, a few sisters, brothers, husbands, and various children. We are at a home that is down the road a short walk from her mother’s over-the-ocean home, on the other side of the narrow road. As with the homes over the water, these homes are built on stilts. However, these homes are cut into the jungle. Several homes sit side by side. Yes, like in an American suburb. Each home has a good chunk of cleared land for the home, side and back yards. Yes, like in an American suburb. But behind the back yard clearing is jungle. Lots of jungle! No other backyards like in American suburbia. In fact, there is no other home, no other yard. Not a freeway either. If you were to manage to walk — to cut your way — through […]