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.
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)!
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.
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.
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.