Honduras is the Next Jewel in Tourism Crown
By Sandra Scott
Honduras, the original "Banana Republic," has many beautiful areas, including 200 miles of undeveloped beach. Hopefuls in the tourist industry say, "Costa Rica is where it was; Belize is where it is; and Honduras is where it will be." Honduras may be the next "in" travel destination, where tourists visit the Mayan ruins in Copan or head out to one of the Bay Islands to dive on the world's second-largest barrier reef.
Refraining from passing judgment on the trash and poverty, I marveled at the pristine wash hanging on the barbed wire fence in front of a home with no running water. The abundance of flowers makes the humblest mud home look pleasant. Even though most of the road is excellent, driving in Central America is a real-life video game as we avoid the occasional axle breaking potholes, cattle, people and bikes, some carrying a family of four. Occasionally, two drivers decide to pass at the same tome, tuning the two-lane road momentarily into four lanes.
The interpretive trail starts with a walk through a tunnel of bamboo and continues past exotic trees such as the strychnine tree, where occasionally a toucan will die as a result of eating the red berries.
The first night, we stayed in La Ceiba, "where Hondurans go to have fun" and where you can go white-water rafting, visit cloud forests and a manatee reserve or dine3 in a Garifuna village.
There is much "green fun" in Honduras, exploring mangrove, langroves, and jungle rivers. Several years ago, we spent two days boating up the Rio Platano River in La Moskitiato, a remote village.
The following day, the Pesch Indians poled upriver through the rapids in long narrow mahogany boats to a spot where a forgotten people created petroglyphs (drawings or carvings on rock, especially from prehistoric times).
of the World
Only a 25-minute flight from La Ceiba, Guanaja is the most undeveloped Bay Island, where all transportation is by water taxi. We spent several idyllic hays swimming, snorkeling and walking the beach at End of the World, a small hotel just a beach away from where Columbus landed on his fourth voyage.
My husband, John, and I walked for an hour up a creek to waterfalls that were mentioned in the book, while the other guests went saltwater kayaking and scuba diving.
As the sun set, we lured reef sharks to the dock by dangling fish heads in the water. One evening feeling like castaways on a deserted beach, we relaxed around a campfire
Copan is compared to Athens because it is where the Mayan culture reached its artistic zenith nearly 1,300 years ago. Several years ago, we entered the tunnel of the Acropolis to see the Rosalila Temple, which was still being uncovered. Now visitors can see the rose-colored temple through protective glass or view a full-size replica at the Copan Museum.
For more information, check www.guanaja.com, www.picobonito.com, www.destinationhonduras.com, or call (800) 410-9608. Online at www.hondurastips.honduras.com is the best source for finding accommodations, which range from a few dollars to a hundred dollars.
Prices at End of the World start at $85 per person with meals, to $799
for a one-week dice package or $1,100 for a kayak package.
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