Best time to visit:
All year round
In a word:
Buenos dias (good morning)
Wander through the ancient Mayan temples of Copan; Experience the tropical paradise of Roatan in a local posada; Having fun in the night life of Tegucigalpa
In this wonderful adventure we focused on some Central American states; slowly, on the road, using hundreds of colorful local buses and vans, we traveled the long stretch of land that connects the two Americas.
We started from Guatemala after falling in love with its ancient Mayan culture, its traditional clothes, its markets and its religious people, we crossed the small El Salvador hitchhiking stopping in the most suggestive towns; we then continued south through the infamous Honduras with its Mayan sites and tropical islands; we fell in love with Nicaragua with its colonial cities, its volcanoes, its people of the "revolucion" up to the very modern Costa Rica, with its beaches, its national parks and its lush nature! We only skipped Belize and Panama, having endorsed them on previous trips!
Here is the part dedicated to Honduras!
Our suggested itinerary (12 days)
transfer to Nicaragua or flight to many destinations on the American continent
We are in Honduras! After much wandering from El Salvador we manage to reach this new frontier and as always happens when we cross a new one, I really feel the need to repeat it, to hear me say that we are in a new nation, almost like a superstitious ritual!
We are in Honduras! My voice resounds in the air and echoes in my thoughts: it is the beginning of a new life experience.
A sleepy white and blue striped flag with five stars in the center doesn't even have the strength to wave. We pay the 120 Lempiras entrance fees, change 20 dollars from a nice old man and by taxi we arrive in the border town of Nueva Ocotepeque, from there we will continue, by bus, hopefully, to La Entrada ... we are still quite far away but we are calm, the sun shines high in the sky, it is only 10.16 in the morning! The ten minutes of waiting for the departure promised by the driver become 50, but it doesn't matter, we are in no hurry.
It starts, every village we go through becomes a reason for "battle" for the poor "helper" of the driver who, as soon as he sees a potential passenger, literally flies from the bus and returns with suitcases, bags, envelopes and new customers ... in the meantime, those who sell sell fresh water in transparent sachets or “pan de huevo” while the bus continues to the land of the Maya.
It is late afternoon when we leave La Entrada for the last stop. We climb up the mountain and, while I try to keep our backpacks lying on the roof of the minivan under control, the surrounding landscape changes completely.
Finally: "Bienvenidos a Copan Ruinas".
The ruins of Copan represent economic and political life in the Mayan days.
One is immediately struck by the architectural grandeur in the place where the kings resided or where the sacred rites took place. We turn and sneak everywhere until we reach the "field for the ball game" where we relax relaxing on the lawn not far from the majestic "Hieroglyphic staircase". Close your eyes and imagine the "jaguars or shell" Kings attending the Mayan rites, faces painted and adorned with feathers, men with costumes with large wings dancing on the steps of the pyramids while others, invested by divine powers, raise a still beating heart to the sky while an eclipse darkened the sky.
We start at dawn, today we cross almost all of Honduras from south to north.
We stop in San Pedro Sula, one of the cities with the highest number of murders per day, just to change buses and we leave immediately for La Ceiba.
The landscape is to be enchanted, many hours of various buses immersed in dense vegetation that seems to fall on you. Bright green, everything sparkles with the sun's rays.
At the port of La Ceiba, in addition to the ferry ticket, they give us a pill against seasickness ... the situation becomes worrying ... and they were right, the hour and a half that separates us from the small Caribbean island puts a strain on our stomach and so half the Passenger passes the trip with his head in a plastic bag.
Incredible waves, it feels like being on a roller coaster. We land around 6 pm, take a taxi, leave the backpacks in our damp room and go and whisk three empanadas stuffed with cherry tomatoes, chicken, onions, beans and cheese: delicious! Welcome to the Caribbean!
The beach with a transparent sea is four steps away from our guest house. We stay a couple of hours in the sun when we hear a gospel song coming from an all-white church right on the beach.
Intrigued, we approach and despite our beach clothing, they immediately invite us to enter. All the party-dressed ladies turn to us and smile at us. A big black woman approaches Mark's ear and whispers: "We are happy to have you here." What a joy, what a party, what music. In this part of Honduras we do not speak Spanish but English, the skin is coffee-colored, reggae music echoes everywhere.
On the boat that from West End led us to West Bay, with a wonderful day and a sea so transparent as to seem fake, we looked like two little pirates ready to board.
Once we got off the beach we are so enraptured by what we see that we hardly take any pictures ... the landscape is an advertising magazine ... coconut palms, fine white sand, water so bright that the boats seemed to hover in the air ...
In a few seconds we leave all our belongings and dive into the water.
We spend the whole day between baths, sun and relaxation ... in the end, burned despite the "50" kg of sunscreen cream and pierced by mosquitoes and various sand insects, just before sunset we decide to return to the West End by land.
Even this time, despite the tropical paradise, we opted for a choice from travelers rather than holiday tourists and, far from the extra luxury resorts, we found a very modest guest house managed by locals and which proved to be the most suitable choice to us. This is to say that even terrestrial paradises like this can be enjoyed by penniless backpackers without spending a fortune!
At 07.00 in the morning our ferry leaves for La Ceiba while two cruise ships land on the island of Roatan.
We quickly retrieve our backpacks and by taxi we run to the bus terminal for the capital.
We manage to catch one on the fly and in seven hours we reach the infamous Tegucigalpa, for friends: "Tegus".
Tegucigalpa is a frightening city. You can turn it far and wide but you are always in its suburbs. During the day you seem to swim in an ocean of houses that branch out in all directions as far as the eye can see ... at night you only see many yellowish lights, the lampposts, which climb up the hills, dive into the valleys and expand into the plains.
We meet Pepe and a crazy Korean boy who has been traveling for a year: Wong. Pepe, like all the people of this wonderful worldwide couchsurfing community, is very helpful and nice and shows us his city a little before going to dinner in a delicious local restaurant with pupusas and a fondue of corn and beans.
We end the evening drinking a beer in a clandestine bar in the suburb of Tegucigalpa, joking, laughing and dancing until 2 in the morning. In four hours we are leaving for Nicaragua!