Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beer and Birds : Mainland Honduras

Although we arrived a day late, we finally made it to D&D Brewery, a boutique cerveceria tucked away in the Honduran jungle near Lago Yojoa . We were excited to be catching up with Verity, an old friend from Australia. Sipping boutique ales, surrounded by lush jungle, was a nice change from the blistering heat and lagers of the coast. Mark and I were able to camp in the car park, so we didn’t have to go far after a few beers.

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My new favourite hobby is birdwatching. It was beautiful being out on the water in the early morning, listening the birds, as the mist rose up around us. We were all hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous toucan, away from the fruit loops box. If I thought that understanding road directions was hard, its nothing compared to listening to someone try and explain where a bird is in a tree. Our guide taught us to recognize the sound of a toucan, which is exactly like a frog. It’s pretty funny.

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Mark and I are heading to Roatan, to spend some more time with Verity on her island paradise home. We had some issues crossing the Honduran border because our vehicle registration only has two months left on it. We’ve had a new one sent to Roatan, so fingers crossed it makes it. En route to Roatan, we decided to take some time off. We are both feeling a bit travel weary. The problems with the van, our travel schedule and our desire to do/see it all, has started to take its toll.

I immediately started feeling better when we took the road from La Ceiba and followed the Rio Cangrejal along the edge of Pico Bonito National Park. Gravel road, jungle, river, birds, friendly people and free camping. It was amazing. We didn’t do much of anything and it was just what we needed. As we sat at the Jungle River Lodge eating lunch, a toucan flew straight past our table. Try having a bad day after that.

Dusk in the jungle

Dusk in the jungle

Bike rides

Bike rides

It's getting tropical up in here

It’s getting tropical up in here

George of the Jungle

George of the Jungle

So green

So green

So nice to be swimming in fresh water again

So nice to be swimming in fresh water again

CUTE

CUTE

Free camping

Free camping

Slam dunk

Slam dunk

 

Into Honduras

“The cows are nice here”

“Yeah, real healthy looking”

And so we enter Honduras. A country where the cows are beautiful, cowboys ride bicycles and weathered gas attendants sling pistols in their belts.

Early Start

Early Start

Moo

Moo

We decide to try and avoid the capital city Tegucigalpa, and soon end up on a gravel road headed north. We stop regularly for directions. The answer is always “directo”, even if we still have to make a few turns. We also stop regularly so the van can cool down. It means that travel is slow and frustrating, but our interactions with locals increase exponentially. One family welcomes us under the shade of their mango tree. They bring us a thick, sweet, hot white drink that we sip slowly. Mark lounges in the hammock. All the while we play I spy, looking for things we know the word for in Spanish and making conversation.

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It’s getting dark and the sweat is still pooling in my lower back and behind my knees. Anxiety bubbles in the pit of my stomach.  We are still on the gravel road. The bad things I’ve heard about Honduras start to run through my mind “It’s the most corrupt country in Central America”; “It’s dangerous, I just went right through it”. When we finally hit the tarmac, I’m so relieved, but it’s short lived. The paved road just stops and starts. People drive on either side of the road. We dodge bicycles shrouded in darkness.

Eventually we roll into a cheap motel in Comayagua. There is a room use rate and a nightly rate. There are mirrors everywhere. Classy. We sleep like babies.

El Salvador….more like El Surfador

We gave ourselves a week in El Salvador and confined ourselves to one little stretch of coast near La Libertad to concentrate on our surfing.  It felt good to stay a while and get to know the area, and when the time came, we really didn’t want to leave.

Sure, the amazing surf and warm blue waters of the Pacific ocean had an impact, and I would go back just to watch the sun rise and set over the same ocean with a blaze of red and orange. But mostly it was the people we met that made our time here so enjoyable.  Everywhere we went, we found local people who loved to chat, made us feel welcome and were always willing to help.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was the first surf spot we glimpsed from the coastal highway CA-2. We knew a good week was in store for us. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We were up early every morning to hit the water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Early mornings were especially necessary to beat the hotel crowds at Sunzal. 50 or more people out there by 6am. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Banana pancakes… is there a better post-surf brekkie?

We started out at Playa Sunzal where we had a sweet and cheap little camp spot at The Surfer’s Inn hostel.  The surf break here offered nice long easy rides but after a couple of days, the crowds of people in the water got too much for us and we decided to make a move.   Then we found this place.  We stopped at a roadside cafe for fish burgers and the owner told us a out a house that would rent us a room for ten bucks a night.  It was one of only about four houses on a small beach so we had it almost to ourselves.  The friendly (and enterprising) cafe owner also offered us a few spanish lessons which we were only too happy to take.

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The surf here wasn’t great so we decided to move on to our original destination… KM59.  This place is pretty close to my idea of paradise.  The road in is kind of gnarly so not too many people make the drive down.  There is a small community here that offers a cast of interesting and chatty local characters, pretty soon we knew everyone’s name and it started to feel like home.  We sat and chatted for hours each day as we watched the waves between our surf sessions.

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Bec had a posse of little friends who took her on all sorts of expeditions. With long walks to see the tide pools, games of soccer and reading practice she could barely keep up in the heat of the day.

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Luckily we met a guy who offered a camp spot at his property just off the beach.  A sanctuary where we could relax under the shade of the mango trees when we weren’t surfing.

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Although our time at KM59 was incredible, we decided to head back to Sunzal and brave the crowds for some friendlier long board waves.  Unfortunately I had a bit of a collision and some quick repairs were needed before the sunset session.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARepair time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADid I mention the amazing sunrises?

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAB-Rae riding one all the way in. 

El Salvador… I hope we see you again some day.