The Banana Republic

Honduras smells like sweet, sugary smoke.  Miles upon miles of banana plantations and sugar cane fields stretch across the eastern Caribbean coast rimmed by mountains densely carpeted with jungle.  Honduras is green.  A haze blankets the fields and mountains: a haze of humidity and smoke.  The straight road in front of us coupled with the startling green tempered at the edges mesmerizes me, until  ‘BANG’ the front end of the truck slams into a car-sized pothole.  Honduras is potholes.

Pulhapanzak Falls

Pulhapanzak Falls

Before we left while we were ‘planning’ of our route, Honduras was the one country that we had planned on avoiding.  With two cities ranking in the top ten most dangerous in the world as well as instability related to a military coup in 2009, we figured in the name of safety and preserving the sanity of our mothers’ we would take the normal overland route and drive the narrowest part of Honduras on the Pacific coast in one day.   But, our plans are never set in stone and we rarely know where we are going more then a few days in advance, and we were lured into Honduras with reports of two stellar breweries and cheap diving in the Bay Islands.

First up was the small town of Copan Ruinas just over the border.  Most tourists visit Copan Ruinas in order to explore the Mayan ruins of Copan, we went for the authentic German beer and food served at Sol de Copan.  Thomas, the owner and brewmaster, has operated and owned this restaurant for over 8 years.  He brews with fresh spring water using ingredients he imports from Germany, where has justly won awards for his beer.  It was incredible to sit down to some very delicious beers and  German food, it had been too long since I had spatzle (sorry no pictures, we were too busy stuffing our faces)! IMG_1668

We continued our hotsprings tour and drove the 20 km dirt road to the Luna Jaguar Hot Springs.  Set in amongst the jungle as a series of 10 pools of varying temperatures.  Our favorite was the spiritual bath that cascaded from hot to cool with a stately ‘Mayan’ sculpture overseeing our soaking.

Luna Jaguar Hotsprings

Luna Jaguar Hotsprings

Up next was D&D Brewery near Lago Yojoa.  We had been hearing about this place since we started researching the trip.  It seems as if it as the new ‘place to be’ on the overlanding circuit of Honduras.  We were not disappointed and enjoyed a few days of paddleboarding on the lake, pitchers of beer and good company. IMG_1693

Lago Yojoa

Lago Yojoa

After a month and half in Guatemala, we were yearning for some beach time so we pointed Suzie towards the Caribbean and the town of Trujillo.  Trujillo is near the place where Christopher Columbus first set foot on the the American mainland in 1502 and one of the earliest Spanish settlements in Central America.  It was also the first place where we got a taste of the poverty makes Honduras one of the poorer Latin American countries.  Barefoot children in filthy, dirty clothes ran down the side of the road trying to see us bags of coconut water.  Homes built of concrete, mud, and tin almost crumbling where they stood lined the road.  No shiny chicken busses in Honduras.  Only decrepit hand-me-down yellow school busses packed with people.  In many places, more bikes then cars rode down the road.  Ken is slalom driving, dodging kids, busses, bikes, and potholes.  Honduran highways have more potholes then any other road we have driven thus far.  And I’m not talking your normal run of the mill American pothole, I’m talking truck swallowing, axle breaking, tire popping monstrosities.  Intact we rolled into Trujillo into our own slice of Caribbean deserted beach paradise and settled in to do some serious relaxing.

Trujillo

Trujillo

Our new mascot, Cheetah.

Our new mascot, Cheetah.

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7 thoughts on “The Banana Republic

  1. You guys are an inspiration! Those hot springs look like a dream. Is that where the fairies live. Looks like it!

  2. We are thinking of going to Honduras to visit family. How did you feel about being there? did you have any run-ins with safety issues? I am American and my husband is Honduran and I also have 2 little children. I am terrified to go there with the children because of the statics I’ve have read about.

    • Thus far we have not run into any problems in Honduras. We are avoiding San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa and any backroads that we might normally consider driving. As in all countries we’ve been in including Mexico we just use common sense and avoid sketchy areas, try not to be out late at night, etc. Honduras is a beautiful country!

  3. I’m loving Cheetah, where did you guys run into him?? Deve would have to beat me with a stick to keep me from trying to take him home :p. Honduras looks beautiful… i had been thinking along the same lines as you, and other bloggers, who just zipped through Honduras as quickly as possible, but now i’m rethinking that – those hot springs, that lake, that BEACH… maybe we’ll check it out!

    So, I have a question – how do you think a 3/4 ton truck with a 8 foot camper would do on the road? Something like an F 250 or Silverado or Ram? I’m kinda stuck on the idea of having a camper – with a toilet and wet bath – in my scenario. But Deve is concerned about trying to navigate such a large rig through small city streets ( he can’t seem to get the image of Suzie’s battle scars from San Pedro out of his mind :p ) and narrow mountain dirt roads. We had been thinking about a Tundra, but finding a camper small and light enough for a Tundra (especially a used one within our budget) is nearly impossible.

    Thoughts?

    Thank you and blog on!! 🙂

    -Shannon

  4. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not
    mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear
    your mind before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Many thanks!

  5. Awesome! We’re doing Honduras in March for 6 days and trying to figure out what we can realistically see and do in that time. We’ll be based on the coast in Tela – do you think a day on Lake Yojoa is realistic? What about a day visit to Copan?

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