As I traveled in Central America in 2012, I had only good experiences and never met anyone who had actually witnessed violence. However, Honduras is known to have problems with gangs, so if you’re considering traveling in Central America, you may like this news. On May 24, 2013, the Honduras Weekly reported, “Gangs in Honduras Will Sign Truce Next Week.” The article reports that this is the work of Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pedro Sula, Monsignor Romulo Emiliani. The truce will be “agreement modeled after the gang truce in El Salvador of March 2012 that has produced a 52 percent drop in homicides in that country during the past year.” My own travels in both Honduras and El Salvador never brought me near gang members or issues as far as I knew. While in La Ceiba, Honduras I was told repeatedly that after dark it was absolutely necessary to […]
In 2011, 30-something-year-old Murray Johnson and some friends reached out to CouchSurfers to join them driving two donated ambulances down to Honduras to give them to Honduran hospitals. Johnson recently posted: “The experience was so amazing and the donation so needed that we have made the Charity Rally official and opened it up for others to join! You can mix travel, adventure and charity all in one for a good cause. How it works: You form your own team or join a “potluck” team. Your team can be comprised of any number of people. (I am guessing it is best if all of our team members fit in your vehicle though, of course.) Each team secures its own car/ambulance/fire truck/buse/whatever and drive down. The rally organizers work with you to get the vehicle, secure the donation and do the paperwork to have the vehicle imported into Honduras — or wherever […]
A native resident of Honduras, a businessman, and I were discussing postal systems the other day. He told me the mail from Honduras does, indeed, arrive well to the United States. He said, however, that he finds it necessary to to use registered mail for accountability. This is about 50 cents extra. Of course for us travelers, it is only 50 cents. For a Honduran, that’s a fairly steep extra fee. I am unsure of whether there are various levels of accountability choices as we have in the US. But I do know the loss of sending a beloved item home and having them never arrive. Anyway, now you know you can sent stuff from Honduras.
If you are looking for a very nice looking, comfortable hotel in Copan Ruinas, have a look at Hotel Camino Maya right on the town square. I discovered this hotel as I walked past it and just had to stop and admire the stained glass window that graces its lobby and, happily, passers-by on the street.
I didn’t get to stay at Don Moises Guest House in Copan Ruines because I didn’t know about it, and I did like my hotel, but from what I saw and heard I recommend it. I actually discovered it because I bought my ticket for my micro-bus to Antigua from the very nice owner and his son. The next day I met some guests. I was impressed enough to take a few photos, which I will post when I have bandwidth. (If you are traveling in the area, you definitely want to see these ruins — with the best guide, 75 year old Antonio.)
I had planned to spend at least my first night in Copan Ruinas at a hostel as I was traveling into the town alone. However, I met a British doctor who was sight-seeing before a volunteer stint so we decided to share a room. Even though I had this roommate, I asked our tuk-tuk driver to first let us see the hostel that had been recommended. It was nice, but the people there didn’t excite me, nor did the prospect of another top bunk, so we moved on to see the hotel our driver was recommending. I stayed at the Hotel MarJenny, a family-owned and run hotel with much promise on a nice street just two nice blocks from the town center. My hotel (on the left) when walking from the town square:
I had planned to take the Hedman-Atlas bus from Copan Ruinas, Honduras to Antigua, Guatemala ($43). Their busses are so comfortable and fabulously safe. In Copan though, I kept seeing signs for the $20 van (micro-bus) and was told they were safe and didn’t stop to pick up other passengers so baggage was safe lashed to the top of the bus or inside. So, I decided to book a seat on the van. When I went to book my seat at the place Lonely Planet recommends, where many of the travelers hang out, Via Via or something like that, the girl told me it wouldn’t go without two people. That remained their story for the days I was in Copan. After a couple of days I inquired across the street at another place that did van bookings, Don Moises Guest House, a father-son business. There, the father called the van […]
My new adjustable length turquoise teardrop and seed necklace and the man who made it. (150L, US$7.50. I did not haggle.) Friends and I stopped to look at some of the work if the fine local artisans that have tables in one street by the central park of Copan Ruinas. I loved much of what I saw. I don’t mean string brackets. Real jewelry My necklace is on string but is not one you tie forever, then cut off. As I am allergic to metal clasps, I love this.
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.