Oh Honduras !
Banana Republic, Mosquito Coast, drug highway and danger. That is what came to my mind when we crossed the border from Guatemala to Honduras. We had enjoyed Guatemala for the most part and spent a few nights at a Hacienda close to the border. Los Laureles was huge, they grew corn, mangos, thoroughbred race horses and whatever else I could not see because it was too big. (Parque Ecológico Los Laureles, Chiquimula, Guatemala )
They rent cabanas and have a nice pool and facilities, near the race track they have a nice restaurant and more lodgings. When we asked if we could camp they showed us an area in the mango orchard, close to the pool. It was a great spot. We lounged by the pool and had it mostly to ourselves, mangoes were ripe and we ate mango müsli every day. Camping was free, use of the pool was 50 quetzals. But it was hot and we like to DO things, it was impossible because you don’t want to move and just stay by the pool.
This was the case in Honduras too, we just couldn’t hike or bike anywhere because of the heat.
Crossing the border was funny because we got all our stamps and then they wanted 3 copies each of our stamped passports and car papers, well, they do not have a copier and we do not either. So we were told to go back across the border and use the copy guy on the Guatemala side. We did, ate some chicken-rice-bean dish with a few truckers in no-man’s-land and then we were off.
In Honduras we went straight to Copan, beautiful ruins and where it all started for the Mayas. It was nice in a way to close the loop of the Maya ruins here at one of the oldest sites.
We drove through the gentle rolling hill country on nice new roads, a treat after pothole country Guatemala. Most of Honduras is wooded and hilly, with a few mountains, lakes and waterfalls. The little town of Gracias was our next stop, we read about the hot springs south of town and we decided to hike the 4 km to Los Thermales el Presidente. Well, hiking on trails from farm to farm can get confusing, we asked passing farmers and children about the way to the “Thermales” and after a while we did find it. Not before Günter was attacked by a pack of dogs though. He could not find a rock to throw and ended up kicking the ones snapping at his legs. The whole time I stood there and the dogs ignored me, finally they gave up on Günter and left. Needless to say, since that day Günter hikes with a bamboo stick.
The hot springs were delightful and we spent the better part of the day there. For the return trip we took a moto taxi. On our hike there we passed men with revolvers in their belt and really did not want to meet them on the trail on our way back in the evening.
Next we drove to lake Yojoa, got a camping spot in the orange grove of Finca Las Glorias.
They own beautiful Andalusian horses and I really enjoyed being close to a horse pasture and – yes- smelling them too. We hiked through coffee fields and forests, sat in the shade and read, it was “muy tranquilo”. The D&D brewery not far from there had good home made beer and our next camp spot was finca “Paradise” close to the brewery . We were all alone in the jungle, with our own little pool and Lenca (indian) ruins.
Günter had been complaining about a bug bite on his wrist, it would not heal and looked infected. I put Neosporin on it and a band aid, but if kept festering. So one morning he removed the band aid and told me to pull on the white thing sticking out of the sore. Well, I grabbed it with my fingernails and pulled, and pulled and pulled out a 1/2 inch long plug that turned out to be a bot, a kind of a grub from a fly. Eeeegh. It was from a human bot fly and had been deposited by a mosquito, probably in Belize. Poor Günter, it used to wake him up at night, he would tell me that it hurts and that there is “something in there”. I never thought that there really was. Once the bot was removed his wound healed up immediately and he is fine now. So all you travelers, keep away the mosquitos!
Having read about Casa Alemania in Trujillo on another blog we decided to head to the Caribbean one more time. The drive was amazing, palm – (for palm oil) banana and pineapple plantations for hours. Dole reigns here.
We were told not to stop for anything on the roads of Honduras, so once a truck in front of us ran over a sow and her piglet, we drove around the dying animals and I got all chocked up. Then we saw a person laying in the grass and a few people standing around him – keep going – . There are ox carts, cow herds, horses and people on the road and driving is not easy, but Günter is a great driver.
On a stop at Pulhapanzak waterfall in San Buenaventura we parked beside a farm and when I went to look at the cattle I found them to be Swiss Browns, the cows we have in our part of the Alps. So far away from home they looked out of place, I went and spoke o them for a while in my dialect.
Finally in Trujillo we were happy to see Casa Alemania, the nice beach and welcoming wave from Gunter , the owner. Here we had a very relaxed time, Gunters wife and crew cooked great meals for us and we spent hours listening to Gunters stories. The other guests were all young people from the US and “on a mission” as they told as when we inquired. Trujillo was once an important port and the place where Columbus first set foot on the American continent. There is a fort in the center of time, a shady square, Pentecostal – Evangelican – Jehova Witnesses – Mormon and whatever else churches were lined up and all pretty busy on Sunday morning. We started walking around with our umbrellas, like the locals, better than a hat that just makes your head hotter. For refreshment we went to “Vino Tinto”, where John, an expat from Great Britain serves big beers and lots of stories.
Günter’s sister will join us in Costa Rica mid June, so we had to start planning our time a little, something we haven’t done much. We still had two countries ahead of us and decided to start heading in the Nicaragua direction. One more stop was required and we chose El Tigre National Park. From Trujillo we turned off the main road and drove over the mountains on an unpaved road. The N 41 from Mame to Limones. It was a very beautiful drive, I can only recommend it. People wave at you and you can see how the farmers live in the mountains. Some of the mud brick homes were white washed, some even with ornate designs along the bottom.
Here some pictures of that drive:
We drove down the southside of the mountains and headed for Valle de Angeles and El Tigre National Park.
The drive up to the entry of the park was tricky and cannot be done without 4×4 and high clearance. We parked alongside the park entrance building and former hospital of the El Rosario mine above San Juancito. For decades the Rosario Mine was one of the greatest sources of gold and silver in Central America. (1880 to 1954)
Although the mine has been shut down for more than half a century, its importance was such that an engraving of the mine buildings as they appeared in 1893 still appears on Honduran currency, on the back of the 500-lempira note. It was owned by an American company. After two nights beside the building and a great hike in the cloud forest we took off for the Nicaraguan border.
El Tigre NP pictures:
The drive back down:
My Amish Childhood by Jerr S. Eicher
Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario