09.07.2016 - 16.07.2016
Leaving Nicaragua (by comparison to entry) was a breeze. Our van came at 2am, we were only 3 for the whole van, so we could stretch out and sleep a bit. Customs took a whole 5 minutes, and we were away.
We passed through the Honduran countryside - initially a noticeable difference due to the prevalence of logging, and hammock vendors on the side of the highway. We stopped a few times for food / toilet breaks, but made it to the ferry terminal over an hour before it was due to leave.
The shuttle was easily the most hassle free amazing transport we have had in 5 months of travelling. Had we done this trip without it, there was no way of doing it in a single 24 hour period (and this included flying), so it was well worth it.
The boat out was a bit of an experience - 1.5hours on slightly rough seas (think Cook Strait crossing on a slightly rough day). There were 4 people sea sick in our immediate surrounds. Luckily we were not victims too.
On arriving in Roatan, we headed out to West End, where Steve and his friend Jesse were. Lucky they had reserved us spots in the dorm - we arrived after the office had technically closed for the evening due to the slow ferry!
It was super nice to see Steve, and have Jesse around to hang with for the week - Steve was leaving for Canada the next morning and so we figured we would have been unlikely to see him at all.
But they showed us all the local hangouts - like the baleada shop, where the boys were pretty much on first name basis with the staff (it ended up being the only place we ate out the entire week).
Sunset from the baleada shop
Baleadas and monopoly
The next day Steve headed off, and we recovered from our long journey, treating ourselves to our third sleep in in 5 months.
After that we were all in snorkelling mode - we made sure we got out each day for a snorkel - we saw huge moray eels, heaps of snapper, barracuda, lots of other coral fish and it was pretty awesome. The highlight was when we thought we saw a sea snake. On further googling, we learnt that there are in fact no sea snakes in the Caribbean Sea, and what we had seen was a spotted snake eel. It was still pretty awesome!
We also headed out on one dive - where we did some cool swim throughs in the coral, including one through millions of tiny whitebait sized fish - where they were so dense it was hard to see the person in front of you.
On one of our snorkelling trips, we headed out from a slightly different spot, and it meant we would have to swim across the boat channel. Here, just before we hopped in the water, a local guy, Billy, came running up to us, asking if we were heading out. We said we were, so immediately, he ran off to get his gear and decided he wanted to come for a swim with us too. Billy was super nice, and taught us lots of facts about the reef - like the sand on the reef is from parrot fish, who eat the coral and then poop sand, up to 200 pounds per year! It was great to see a local so enthusiastic about his home island.
On one of the days, it was Jesse's birthday, and so we decided to try and make him cake (as we had seen those Betty Crocker cake mixes at the supermarket and knew we had an oven). But try as we might - and we visited 4 different dairys / supermarkets, asked at the hostel, asked at the restaurant in front of the hostel and anyone else who would listen, we could not get hold of a cake tin.
Luckily the supermarket sold Oreo flavoured pie crusts, and so we quickly resolved to fill one of these with icecream, cover in M&Ms and we were away. Shame it was a bit windy for the candles to light though.
In the harbour at West End, there is also this old sailing ship, which has been semi abandoned as a playground. There is an incredible rope swing, and the ability to get some seriously good swinging going if the people on board rock the boat. We made good use of this, though my arms and abs have not done so much hard work for a while!
Said ship was out near the point
The only downside about Roatan was the mossies. They were so bad around the hostel, that we were unable to sit outside without being monstered. I think we got more bites there in a single night, than we have in probably the rest of our trip combined!
After about a week out on Roatan we decided to call it quits and head towards Guatemala. Unfortunately the long distances meant that we had to make another stop in Honduras along the way - but luckily the choice of where to stop was pretty obvious.
The route from Roatan involves a 6am collectivo, 7am boat ride, 9am collectivo, 9:30am bus, 3pm bus (with an hour long wait in the murder capital of the world), and arriving in Copan Ruinas at 7:30pm - pretty much on the border.
The plus side is this town seems pretty safe, and there are some nice Mayan ruins, so we decided to stay for a day and check them out. Extra bonus - there is a macaw recovery project running here too, and so at the entrance to the ruins are a bunch of Macaws (who have recently begun to breed!) So we chased them around taking photos for a while. Hilariously, they make the same noise as when Richard impersonates dinosaurs - so they "chatted" for a while.
But there were also ruins there... though the birds were totally the highlight
Its quite nice here in Copan - not nearly so hot (although Roatan was also cooler than Nicaragua). We have also been making good use of the local fruits - today we ate an entire papaya (the size of a small watermelon) and a pineapple for lunch, and the two together cost $3NZD.
But we are semi looking forward to another 7hour bus ride to Guatemala tomorrow - mostly as we hear rumours that Guatemala's temperatures are even lower...
Ultimately, Honduras has been great - though it has a really bad reputation for security, we have found the locals to be incredibly friendly, more so than anywhere else we have been so far - even strangers in the bus station (who are catching their own buses), have stopped to make sure we got to where we were meant to be going. Its been great!