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Published: February 23rd 2010
Our landlady and the developer of Honduras Shores Plantation in front of her favorite painting of Lancetilla.
We are now on Honduras’s Caribbean coast. Many of the people in this area are Garifuna, descendents of shipwrecked slaves who intermarried with Carib Indians.
After we checked out of the fancy French Canadian owned Hotel Telamar, in the city of Tela, we found the Tela Beach Club visited by the Halkyard’s, writers of 99 Days to Panama, the Bible of Central American RVers, published in 2005. We never would have found the place without the coordinates they provided and the help of our GPS.
It had been raining all the previous day and the dirt road to the Beach Club was so muddy Ray had to put the truck into four wheel low to get thru. Sadly, Ray had just washed the truck and camper a couple of days before we left El Salvador. It had gotten dirty coming over the mountains but nothing like this. The rain continued for two more days.
The owners of the Tela Beach Club welcomed us and allowed us to run a power cord from their administration building and offered us the use of their restrooms. The showers are the now familiar agua frio (cold water). They told us that they
Our home for three days during the rain
Everyone was very nice to us. We returned on our way back to the Pacific coast.
had been visited by a few other RVers but RVing is not common. Like us, John and Harriet Halkyard clearly enjoy their alcoholic beverages. They reported that the pina coladas served here were the best they found on their entire trip thru Central America. Because of the calorie content, we are not pina colada connoisseurs but these are very tasty. We had the best internet connections without leaving our rig that we’ve had since leaving the U.S.
This is primarily an upscale residential development in a gated community called Honduras Shores Plantation. Their website is: http://www.hondshores.com. The development is owned by a Canadian family. Linda, the primary owner, told us that she had been born here but educated in Canada. On the advice of her father she had bought the property many years ago. She began to develop it about ten years ago. The residents are mostly Europeans and Canadians plus a few Americans and local Hondurans. In addition, they have several cabanas sleeping from 4 to 10 people that are available for rent on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We met two Canadian couples that had been wintering here for years. There are plans to build a
Linda’s sisters Diana and Myrna.
Diana is in charge of housekeeping. There were seven children in the family. All were born here and educated in Canada. All but one is back here in Honduras. Diana and Myrna showed us around the property.
hotel. Linda seemed interested in the prospect of developing part of her property to serve RVers traveling thru the area. This is definitely an area that we will want to revisit. The beach is lovely. The area is beautiful and there is quite a lot to do. The idea of traveling down the Yucatan, spending time in Belize and winding up here is appealing. Even more appealing is that, unlike every other beach in Mexico and Central America, this place isn’t crawling with souvenir sales people. That may change as Ritz Carlton and Hilton have plans to build in the area.
We visited the Lancetilla Botanico Jardin which is the second largest tropical garden in the world. It was founded by the United Fruit Company in 1926 to experiment with the cultivation of various tropical plants from all over the world to see if they could grow here in Central America. We were a little disappointed as only about one fourth of the property has been opened for tourism. Although, there were many beautiful trees, pruning and raking have been neglected and while it is of no fault of the garden, the orchid exhibit which I hoped to see
was closed as this is apparently not orchid blooming season. The park is home to hundreds of species of birds. The Audubon Society conducts a 24 hour bird count here each year in December. With my vertigo, I get dizzy looking up but I’ve never heard so much bird talking in my life unless you count the birds visiting with each other in downtown Tela’s central park. It was even noisier there. While waiting for our taxi to return Ray and I enjoyed a tasty bottle of wine made from fruit grown in the garden.
Before we said goodbye to our hosts at Tela Beach Club, we walked along the lovely beach and had just one more of their luscious pina coladas before heading to Trujillo.
The road from Tela to La Ceiba is one of the prettiest drives we’ve ever seen. Trees grow all the way up the mountains. Sometimes the drive was thru valleys. Other times the drive was between the mountains and the sea. The road was mostly good with few pot holes. Again, we were impressed by the beauty of the homes we passed.
We were stopped for an inspection for the first
time since leaving the U.S. The police admired Furgie and asked how much she cost before asking us for our documentation and to inspect the camper.
We had read in 99 Days to Panama that there was a Canadian owned RV Park in La Ceiba so we followed their coordinates. The place no longer exists. Like a guardian angel, an American sounding guy appeared out of nowhere and pulled up along side of us and asked Ray if he had driven all the way from California and said to get out of this place right now because we were in a very dangerous area.
We spent the night at the La Ceiba airport in their long term parking area. They charged parking by the hour. Our cost was about $15.00. Not much more than we’d been paying except there was no electricity or showers. Shortly after we settled in, a security guard came around, checked our IDs and said he’d look after us.
Between La Ceiba and Turjillo we passed many fincas (farms) growing mangos, bananas, oranges, a rice paddy, and acres of a type of palm tree which is grown for its oil. A google search
lists numerous uses for palm oil. Some of the banana and pineapple plantations were identified as belonging to Dole. We passed a yard containing a fleet of Dole trucks.
The Halkyards had written an amusing account of their visit to Trujillo and their stay on the grounds of the Christopher Columbus Hotel so we followed in their footsteps.
Upon arrival, we met Francisco whose wife’s family owns the hotel. Francisco and his wife manage the property and live on site with their daughter. We were welcomed to park along side the champa (bar) and plug in our power cord. Francisco’s wife graduated from a college in Florida and he graduated from a university in Louisiana. Francisco’s family is scattered around the U.S. In addition to his management of the hotel, Francisco has a chicken business. He sells twenty five thousand pounds of chicken a week. We woke to the sounds of his employees loading their delivery truck out of a reefer trailer parked next to us.
Much history has happened here - long past and recent. When Christopher Columbus came ashore here after damaging one of his ships on the coral reefs in 1502 it was the
first time he landed in the Americas. This is also the site of the first Catholic mass held in the Americas. Mass was conducted for Columbus and his crew.
In the mid 1800’s an arrogant American, William Walker was executed by firing squad here after twice trying to declare himself the president of Honduras. With support from even the Vanderbilt family, he had already appointed himself president of Nicaragua. He had aspirations of controling all of Central America and converting it to slavery like the American south.
More recently, Oliver North had a runway built in front of this hotel which was used to supply the Nicaraguan contras in their rebellion against the Sandinistas. We’re not sure if this property existed in those days but we’d read reports of Ollie’s troops partying at the Bahia Bar next door.
We visited the Bahia Bar and sampled one of their local specialties, guifity. Guifity is a brew created by the Garifuna people. It is made with rum and about twenty different roots and bark, including marijuana. Jose, our bartender, told us that the mixture is aged about three weeks before use and that it is usually served with salt
and lime like tequila but we thot is it was pretty tasty just plain.
We’ve been told that there is an expatriate community of North Americans living nearby.
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