„Honduras has cheap diving“, was all I heard about this country, before I crossed the border in El Poy. Due to a late arrival I spent the night in Nuevo Ocotepeque in a very simple hotel (no backpacker destination - no hostel). After arrival, hungry Antonia looked for some food and FAILED. Nothing except fried chicken, this must be the place where they invented fried chicken – every restaurant sold ONLY FRIED CHICKEN… since I decided a few weeks earlier to exclude meat from my diet I went to bed hungry that night. What town serves JUST fried chicken???? That was an awesome start Honduras…
The next day I spent to 90% of my time on the bus because the bus drivers drove five times through and around the town to avoid missing a single passenger. Aix... would it get better soon?!
It did! Finally I arrived in Copán, a cute little town which looks like a mini version of Guatemala’s Antigua. We stayed at hostel Iguana Azul, which had the best breakfast place right next door. A spontaneous bar tour brought us in contact with the locals and their more or less tasty but very sweet tamarindo liquor.
The next morning I regretted them immediately because we were here to see some more old stones, the famous ruins of Copán. Kind of motivated we walked in slow motion through the ruins. None of the pyramids were huge or very impressive but soon we discovered why this archeological site is well known. Beautiful carvings and hieroglyphs are all over the place, huge stairs and massive carved blocks which form a garden of pillars and altars.
Next stop on the way to the Caribean Island of Utila was the beach town Tela. I arrived an hour before dark and met my guys there. For dinner we had our first Baleadas, a Honduran specialty – big, freshly made wheat tortillas with refried beans and cheese (and eggs, chicken or meat). As soon as the sun went down, we had the sketchy feeling that people were watching us and went immediately back to the hostel. I left early to get the 3.30 pm ferry to Utila and arrived there just in time. 50$ roundtrip was definitely not the best deal, but the only one.
Utila is famous for its incredibly cheap diving. I arrived at the island and set out
to find the best dive center. On the island it is common to include accommodation for the time of your diving. I started at Parrots, who offered an Advanced Open Water Diving course for 270$, not bad, but the accommodation was terrible; I would not have wished my worst enemy a nights stay there! Three hours and ten dive shops later I walked into Utila Watersports – here I found the best people and the best deal ever - again, 270$ (which is an average price on the island). 7 dives in a tiny group of 4 people, great equipment, FREE horse riding (decision was made!!), kayaks, paddle boards and then our own little pink suite with A/C and kitchen. Could it be better? No!
Quickly I found new friends, Mitch and Justin arrived, we went to the beach aaaaand Micky and I took advantage of their horse riding offer. Our guide rode with us to the other side of the island, explained every plant he saw on the way, picked coconuts from the tree and opened them on a root. He was even more excited than we were, showing us his little island, incredible! Then we took the
adventure route to find a little cave he discovered with some friends. We lit the cave with some candles and crawled in. It was a lot bigger than expected and the walls were shining and glittering in the light of the candles. No one would ever find us in that hidden spot! Then we raced to get back before dark (failed) and to escape from the ravenous mosquitos!
Next day, the diving started with our great instructor Melinda! We had deep diving, wreck diving, navigating in the water, buoyancy practice and a night dive on our list. Healthy corals and lots of small fish - wherever we went it was really beautiful! I loved the night dive – swimming through bioluminescence was like dancing through the universe. The two additional fun dives were combined with a stop at water caye, a little sandy island with a palm and pine trees and a delicious piña colada – the perfect day!
5 days, 7 dives, a million mosquito bites and certified as Advanced Open Water divers we finally left the island.
Mitch, Justin and I spent three days at Sambo Creek, hosted by Dante – a real pirate! He
looked like a pirate, smelled like a pirate and drank rum like a pirate. He was a great host, cooked the best meals and showed us the secret corners of the La Ceiba market. We joined a rafting tour at the Río Cangrejal, which was, due to low water levels, mostly rock jumping into crystal clear water and the neighbors showed us their recently purchased jungle property.
Last destination before heading to Nicaragua was Lago Yojoa and the D&D Brewery. While Mitch was occupied drinking beer and listening to the Masters, Justin and I used the free time to explore the lake and to hike through the national park Cerro Azul, with stunning views of the lake. There, I met overlander traveler Karlheinz (who lives at home “just around the corner”). He gave me a ride all the way to Nicaragua, – traveling by car is definitely more comfortable than chicken busses and you see sooo much more!
Honduras was interesting to see but not a place I would go back to. The people I met were very friendly, but I missed the welcoming attitude I experienced in other countries. After the weeks of hot and humid climate,
usually saturated with mosquitos, I was already dreaming myself into a cool mountain climate. Food wise… I really liked the Baleadas, but they could vary their filling a little.
Education, trash and even violence are the same stories as I’ve mentioned in other recent (El Salvador) blogs. We avoided going into the hot spots of violence (not trying to push it) and left again with all body parts and belongings. While talking to the people, we heard stories from both sides but in none of them were tourists the target.
(More photos below)
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