don’t eat the fish

Copan
Nicaragua frontier

We had really wanted to go to the northern coast of Honduras where the beaches are said to be some of the most beautiful in the world.  But all through Antigua, Tikal and again in Copan, other travelers who had come from the islands of Utila and Roatan and at the beaches north of San Pedro Sula had spoken of bad storms and rain.  It seemed like we had arrived during the rainy season for the Caribbean and we decided to push south instead.  Perhaps the beaches of Nicaragua would be more inviting.

It was a shame to cut our tour in Honduras short but we really wanted some beach time and San Juan del Sur, waaaay down on the southern Pacific side of Nicaragua sounded like a good place to stay.  We talked to many travelers coming from there who were headed north and they all proclaimed it to be paradise on earth.

Driving on the Honduran highways was even more treacherous than in Mexico or Guatemala.  Pretty funny when you consider that the road taxes are more than 400% more for Honduras than most of their neighboring countries.  You have to wonder where all that money goes as you avoid 3/4 meter (two food) holes in the freeway that would certainly rip your wheel off of its axle.  Driving at night was not an option.

Jeff and I drove south hitting occasional rain storms with overall gloomy and cloudy weather.  We drove in an “round about” direction towards the capital of Tegucigalpa.  I’d never even heard the name of Hondura’s capital before and even years later I have a hard time pronouncing it!  Rather than heading due south we first headed northeast towards San Pedro Sula and then turned south skirting the eastern edge of Lake Yojoa.

Taking the “long route” proved to be a good idea as we traveled quickly on the highway avoiding the mountains to the west.  By mid-day we had been driving for 6 or 7 hours and decided to find a place to eat.  We saw a few signs that advertised fish tacos and pulled into a promising looking restaurant.  We ordered some fish and we were delighted with the large portions and tasty flavor.  The service was prompt and the restaurant owners were polite and courteous.  It almost seemed too good to be true.

We ate to our hearts content and then relaxed to watch the lake, some kids fishing with their dad and to enjoy a cold Pepsi.  We quickly found that Pepsi seems to have a monopoly in Honduras and it was difficult to find a coke anywhere.  Jeff broke out the Lonely Planet Guidebook and began reading to see what lay ahead of us.  He asked where we were again and when I told him Lake Yojoa he looked it up in the book.  One of the first things he noticed was a warning to NOT eat the fish as the lake has been overly contaminated with mercury.  “Oh great, I guess kids are out of the question now,” he chirped in his “typical Jeff” sarcastic humor.  We laughed.  And then sweated a bit…

North of the capital it was starting to get dark and we decided to find a place to sleep.  We pulled into a road motel and quickly found that it was one of those “drive by” sex hotels that we first experienced in Mexico.  Regardless of the usual reason for these hotels, we needed a place to stay and this hotel was warm, comfortable and safe with secure parking.  We pulled into the courtyard and tried to rent a room (or rooms) and the manager looked at us in horror.  From what I could understand from her Spanish, she was saying that this was a “decent” establishment and they don’t rent to homosexuals.  Jeff and I both laughed.  We explained that we weren’t gay, we just wanted a hotel for the night – we would even take two rooms.  This lady didn’t believe us and ordered her out of her hotel.  No matter how many times we tried to explain that we were quite heterosexual and liked women, she would have no part of it.  Reluctantly, we drove on.

It was dark after a while and we had to slow down so that we wouldn’t fall into one of Hondura’s freeway sink holes.  We looked in vain for lodging and eventually drove into the capital city Tegucigalpa.  As the night wore on we eventually came to the international airport and found some airport hotels that were a bit pricey, a bit dirty but at least had secure parking.  We paid for our lodging and quickly crashed out.

It was a shame to drive past so much Honduran countryside without a chance to visit the many places we passed.  But, we did get to see quite a bit of the countryside and talk and mix with the locals at our many gas and food stops.  I plan to return to Honduras again in the future, hopefully for some diving on the north coast and also to trek a bit in the interior of the country.


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Copan
Nicaragua frontier

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