Bay island budget blow out!
Hello Honduras! We arrived in the town of Copan Ruinas after quite an excruciating bus journey and we were quite delighted by the quaint little town. It had cobble stones, lovely Spanish architecture and cheap beer. We were only going to stay for two nights because, although lovely, the town really had nothing to offer except the ruins of Copan. At this point, we were well and truly ruined out, but were very pleasantly surprised by these ruins. When you walk in the gate, you walk into a scarlet macaw sanctuary. There were maybe 30-40 of these massive parrots flying around. It was really quite incredible to watch. The ruins were not as large in scale as some of the others that we had seen, but we enjoyed them the most. This was probably largely to do with the fact that we opted out of getting a guide. Every other time that we went to see some ruins, we enlisted the aid of a guide so we could actually learn something about the places we were visiting. In theory, this sounds like a good thing, but the guides were always awful. They usually spoke very incomplete English and whenever they weren’t sure what to say, they just ended up spitting out a random assortment of numbers. The next day, we awoke at 4 am to begin our long trek to the bay island of Roatan. In Guatemala, it had actually been a bit cool and we were really looking forward to a little fun in the Caribbean sun. Our journey was supposed to take 13 hours and let me just say that it was awful. Instead of taking the uber luxurious bus and spending the night in La Ceiba, we opted for the cheaper bus because it offered a ‘connecting ferry service’. We later found out the bus company has no affiliation with the ferry company. Needless to say our transport was more like a luxury chicken bus. It did have reclining seats and a toilet but stopped every so often on the side of the road to collect more passengers…even when the bus was full. It really put Joel and I on edge and when we arrived at the ferry terminal we were ready to snap. The ferry out to Roatan is nicknamed the “vomit comet”. It has apparently been designed to roll with the waves instead of smashing right into them. This makes for a very spew inducing trip. Before the boat leaves, they have people pass out little spew baggies just in case you feel a bit queasy. Joel and I, being the classy travellers, chose to sit in the business class cabin. The seats were nicer but the area was situated in an enclosed room at the front of the boat on the top level. Prime position for maximum sea sickness. Like good salty seadogs, Joel and I were fine. The gentleman across the aisle from us was not so. He filled three little baggies. Roatan itself is a strange blend of Caribbean and Honduran culture. It was originally settled by freed slaves and they continue to speak English as their native language. After a few weeks of nothing but Spanish, we were a little excited about this. Our first impression of the island was not very nice at all. Firstly, everything on the island is very expensive. From accommodation to meals, you pay about double what you pay on the mainland. Needless to say, we blew our daily budget every day by double. After we got over the budget issues, when you actually look around, it is not that nice. There isn’t any beach, the streets are thick mud tracks that make walking anywhere a dirty business and other then diving, there is really nothing to do. Our first day there, we took a water taxi overt to the only beach on the island, which was actually quite beautiful. The beach has nice white sand and the water had the beautiful turquoise colour to it that we had missed so much. We looked into moving hotels so we could stay on the beach, but the cheapest room we found over there was $300 a night. Our bank accounts had already taken a beating enough so we decided we would just enjoy it for the day and then go back to our little dump. In efforts to save a little cash, we decided to walk back to our hotel instead of paying for a water taxi. Our trusty guide book had a map that indicated that it was only about 800 metres. That would have been the case if we had actually stayed on the road that the guide book indicated. We somehow managed to find our way onto the main road and walked for an hour. Joel’s navigational skills and alleged pigeon sense of direction have been a little lacking of late. Arriving back at our cabin a little sweaty we enjoyed a well earned rum and coke. Just like Caribbean pirates…..arrrr. Dinner was fun as we met some of the islands expats. We learnt more about the island and discovered not only that the beach we visited was the best on the island, but the eastern side is part of the drug smuggling route to Mexico. On our final full day in Roatan it rained. Not impressed with the two days of bus travel required to get to Managua in Nicaragua, Joel and I have convinced ourselves flying in the best option. Bad backpackers! So if all goes to plan we’ll be in Tegucigalpa tomorrow morning and then on a bus to Managua later that day.