Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3
If you’ve had the pleasure of reading the first three parts of my Honduras adventure(links post above), you’d know the trip was filled with all kinds of culture shocks and surprises. The world is so much bigger than the small crevices we call home and nothing helped me learn that better than experiencing another country for an extended period of time. From digging a truck out with an entire town of people to picking exotic fruit off parking lot trees, I learned that nothing could have prepared me for this adventure. The recent Honduran refugee crisis doesn’t surprise me one bit considering the living conditions for most of the poor down there. Children walking around shoeless on dirt roads, homes that have been stripped of all their metal, broken down public squares and cops with heavy artillery are part of everyday life for these people.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have money, you could live really good in Honduras, but most don’t have good opportunities and starting a business down there is impossible because of the gangs that will extort and kill you if you don’t pay them a tax. These people are looking for a safe haven, but it’s a shame that they can’t get it in their own country which is so aesthetically pleasing and ripe with amazing culture.
So all of this brings me to the conclusion of my trip. We set out for our final day on the mainland to the lush Lancetilla Botanical Garden, located in the northern part of the country, where we sampled a large number of fruits that I had never even heard of. Some of which tasted like crosses between more well-known fruits like coconut and mango. We also learned about the rampant femicide in Honduras which spawned a local jam and wine company that focuses on empowering women by employing them. Aside from the bit of justice being served, the botanical garden also featured a monstrous bamboo section which makes you feel like you’re in Wonderland when you walk through it. Dozens of motorcyclers rode past us as we walked through the area which made it even more surreal. When we were finished touring the grounds, we picked up some jams and headed for the nearby beach town of Tela.
Tela looked like most other towns in Honduras aside from its beachfront homes formerly owned by employees of the town’s namesake, the Tela Railroad company which used to conduct a lot of business down there and provided jobs for 1000s of people. Once the company pulled out in the 1990s, tons of good jobs with great benefits were ripped from the natives.
The Tela beach was quite average and the water was the same color that it is at a Jersey Shore beach. The local Garifuna people were performing their native dances along the beach and were selling cocoa products like coco bread. All the tourists gathered in circles as Garifuna children wowed them with their moves and chants. We didn’t spend too much time at the beach and immediately headed to a seafood restaurant near the water where we ate delicious shrimp and garlic coco bread. This meal was absolutely to die for. My shrimp came in a jalapeño cream sauce, something I never had before, and my now fiancé (yes things have progressed since part 3) enjoyed the fried shrimp.
After a great meal and overall exciting day, we made our way home which was like a 2-hour drive and picked up some fresh fruit on the road including a pineapple that was damn near prehistoric. It’s white flesh and juice content dwarfed anything you’d get here in the U.S. and I treated it like a meal since we weren’t big on eating dinner every night.
When we got back to La Lima we were super excited because our next few days were going to be spent in an all-inclusive resort in the beautiful Roatan Island in Honduras. We packed our bags, went to sleep and woke up the next day to catch our flight to paradise. After over a week of roughing it the mainland, we were finally going to get a vacation, vacation. Once we arrived at the airport we checked in and headed up to the terminal to await our flight. My fiance, her parents, and her 5-year-old nephew were all heading there for the first time. It was also going to be the boy’s first time on a plane.
But our excitement was halted when we learned that our flight was going to be canceled until the following day. We went from happy to furious and we knew we’d lose our money for the first day. But I was determined not to give up. I scraped my phone browser for other flights leaving that same day and found one on an airline named Aerolineas Sosa. The airline seemed legit and I told my fiancé to have her father get a refund for our tickets and purchase new ones from Sosa. We were able to do that pretty seamlessly. However, we received laminated cardboard boarding passes for our new flight which we obviously thought was a bit sketchy. I knew right then and there that this wasn’t quite American Airlines. We would now get to the island around 5 p.m. so we lost half the day. But we were happy because we’d make it there and not lose out on our money. We also were tired of the mainland and needed a change.
After waiting around a few hours and enjoying some Pizza Hut we started to be called for our flight, but they weren’t calling us in sections. They basically called the whole plane up to the gate and walked us to the plane which looked like something out of a drug dealer flick. The plane ride was more like a bus ride as it only fit about 20 people. There was no AC on when we got on and the pilot was chilling outside the aircraft. We were so anxious to get to Roatan that we didn’t even care about how safe we were, even though things were probably going to be fine. The pilot got on board, started the engines, and we were so close that we could see out the front windshield. It was like we were flying the plane ourselves. People were snapping pics of the experience which was certainly an uncommon one for those of us used to large commercial flights.
We landed on Roatan in the late afternoon and started the relaxing part of our vacation. We hit the pool up immediately and then headed to the cafeteria for our all-inclusive dinner where they had really great Italian and Honduran food.
The Henry Morgan resort grounds were loaded with rare animals including tons of land crabs that lived in the dirt so it was awesome to see these creatures that I’ve only heard of through TV. The place also included a cute little espresso shop and a reserved beachfront area where guests could get an amazing tropical experience. The water was so clear that you could see tiny fish swimming by you.
The rest of the trip was pretty basic and relaxing. Roatan is a beautiful island that is on par with other tropical getaways like Jamaica and Grand Caymans. We rented a jet ski and were able to see coral reef under our feet. It was really something else.
We spent a few days hanging down there and headed back to the mainland on Thursday. The following day, we packed our bags and headed back to New York City.