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Trip Report Trip Report - Roatan, Tegucigalpa, Santa Barbara

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We spent 2 and 1/2 weeks in Honduras this March. I've tried to include the details that people seem to ask about but I'm happy to answer any questions too.

We arrived in San Pedro Sula at about 11:30 a.m. and took about 90 minutes to clear the airport.

Our driver was waiting patiently for us. We'd arranged the driver through Miguel Martel (504-962-00372 or andresik04@hotmail.com) and were very pleased. The 2009 van was very comfortable, the driver was very skilled, and Miguel gave very good customer service (he phoned while we were enroute to make sure it was going well and followed up with an email the next day)

It took about 2 1/2 hours to get to the Ferry terminal in La Ceiba from SAP - plenty of time to catch the 4:30 ferry. The ferry ride was quite rough - lots of people getting sick. We elected to fly back.

We stayed at Posada Los Orquideas in West End. Although we've stayed there before and liked it, I have a hard time recommending it this time for two reasons. One is that we really enjoyed swimming off the dock on our first trip. This time, the ladder up from the dock was broken making it difficult to get out of the water. When I mentioned it to the owner she replied that the water was polluted and wasn't safe to swim in anyway. On a more disturbing note, one of our group had booked her hotel stay through a Spanish school which offers a hotel/class price. For whatever reason, there was an issue about the price she was paying which wasn't discovered until we'd been there a week. The owner/manager was very rude about it and told her that if she didn't pay that the staff was going to have to pay for the mistake. I can easily see how the problem arose but I found the rudeness and the threats to make the staff pay to be very disturbing. We'll be staying somewhere else next time.

My friend and I took Spanish classes arranged through Central American Spanish School My teacher was Mariela and I was really pleased with her. The other two teachers (Glenda and Diana) were also very good.

We spent the rest of the time snorkeling, mostly at West Bay and Half Moon Bay. One of the highlights of our trip was a snorkel trip with Upachaya Tours http://www.upachaya.com/ It was easy to book online, their driver picked us up on time, and the snorkeling was very good. It was an all around good experience.

We ate breakfasts at Casa Calico and Rudie's. We ate at several restaurants - Half Moon Bay, Arco Iris, 2 Thai restaurants, the Noodle Cup (cheap and very good). Cannibal Cafe was one of our favourites. All of them were pretty good.

We also took a tour around the island with Marco ($125) (I don't have his number handy but we met him through Upachaya Tours so I'm sure he could be contacted that way. We visited many of the small communities along the island, including Oak Ridge and Punta Gorda and got Marco's perspective on island life which was really interesting. We did visit the Iguana farm. Although it was fun to see the iguanas up close, I found it sad to see monkeys and anteaters in small cages.

We flew from Roatan to Tegucecalpa to visit some Rotary projects we're supporting. Because it has a reputation for being very dangerous, we were very cautious. We not only escaped unscathed, we actually enjoyed our few days there. We stayed at the Hotel MacArthur near the Iglesia de Dolores which I'd highly recommend. It was comfortable, amazingly clean and had a pool. The hotel driver took us on a day trip to Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucia, two of the nearby colonial villages. It was a welcome change from the chaos of the big city - really enjoyable. We went to the Art Gallery and new Museum which were both well worth visiting (although there was no info available in English at the Museum). We also dropped into the Garifuna Cultural Centre which is just off the Central Park, only to discover that the dance troupe was participating in a conference at a nearby hotel. We rushed over and were welcomed in to watch the opening performances which were spectacular - more good luck than good management though.

After Teguc, we took the bus to Santa Barbara to visit more projects. We stayed at the Hotel Colonial which was OK but not near as pleasant as the Boarding House Moderno where we've stayed at in past years. We ate several meals at the Casa Blanca which were all excellent. Santa Barbara is a quiet town - a good place to just hang out. Highlights include drinking coffee in the market and chatting with the locals, visiting the hot springs, and sitting in the Town Square. Apparently there are two new hotels in town but we chose the lower cost alternative.

On our way home, we spent the night at the Hotel Maya Copan in San Pedro Sula. The rooms were huge and much to my chagrin, I discovered that a Triple contains 3 double beds - not beds for 3 people. We could easily have fit our group of 5 into one room and saved a few dollars. Oh well. The restaurant was good but slow

Can't wait to go back.

Heather

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