Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paige & Hannah's Honduran Adventure

Paige came to visit last week. And we had so. much. fun.

She arrived on Saturday afternoon, and we spent the afternoon running a few errands and getting my house ready for my small birthday party. The party started around 8 or 9, and we socialized all night. The next morning we went on our first adventure, to the national basilica.

So we trekked to the basilica, walked through the cemetery, and then visited the inside of the basilica. But not before Paige got to try bagged water for the first time. !! She was just as excited as I was the first time I drank water from a bag, haha.

On Monday, we made a day trip to Comayagua because Jose had to go there for work. We visited the "oldest clock in the Americas," toured the museum, and then had a couple of beers while we waited for Jose to finish working.

Our original plan was to spend time going to the little towns around Tegus, like Valle de Angeles and Comayagua, until Thursday when we would Roatan for a few days. Well, we randomly changed our minds on Monday evening and I decided that she had to see Copan Ruinas while she was here.

So Tuesday morning, we caught the 5:45 am Hedman Alas bus to San Pedro Sula. We had a "layover" in the bus station for an hour, and then took the bus to Copan Ruinas. The whole trip, including the layover, was 8 hours. Cost: L. 475 ($25)

We stayed in one of the cutest hotels in Copan Ruinas. The original plan was to stay at Hacienda San Lucas, because my in-laws know the owner. But the hotel was closed and the owner recommended Yat B'alam. And boy am I glad she did! It was adorable. And better yet, had the BEST customer service I have ever experienced in Honduras. If you go to Copan Ruinas, you MUST stay at the Yat B'alam (around $75/night)! Tell Rina, the owner, that I sent you! :) She is one of the nicest people I've met here, and the customer service from her and all of her staff exceeded my expectations. She even made the reservation for us to go to the hot springs!!

We spent Tuesday afternoon exploring the little town. In the evening, we had a few too many rum teas, and then decided it was a good idea to buy some Salva Vidas (Honduran beer) to drink on the balcony of our hotel. After we drank those, we decided to go have some more at a little bar around the corner. Let's just say that the night ended with some strange pictures (like, of our feet and stuff), haha, and me threatening to stab someone with a broken beer bottle (I wasn't serious, though, haha) because he made fun of my accent. Ah, it was fun.

The next morning, we made it out of bed without a serious hangover, and headed to the ruins. We used a guide (worth every penny!) and finished in under 2 hours. THEN, we headed to the hot springs. This is the greatest part of Copan Ruinas (besides the Yat B'alam, of course).

You can pay a tour company to take you for around $30/pp. At first, I thought it was going to be a rip off. But in the end I learned why it costs so much...

The springs are about a 45 minute drive from Copan Ruinas, on a dirt road. Then to get into the "spa" portion of the springs, it costs $10. So you are basically paying $10 to get there, $10 to get in, and $10 to get back.

It's one of the coolest things in Honduras that I've seen so far. :) It's a natural hot spring, and someone, ingeniously, went in and built small pools and set up "spa" stations. There is a little area for a mineral mud bath, where you rub mud all over yourself and then soak in the warm water of the pool. Then you slowly move up the hill, as the pools get hotter and hotter (getting closer to the source of the hot water). There is a "hidro massage" area where the hot water pours from a small waterfall and you stand under it. And the whole thing is very secluded. It's like a spa treatment in the middle of the jungle. Ahhh, it was super relaxing.

After that was over, we went back to the Yat B'alan and relaxed for the evening.
The next day, we got up and took the 5:15 AM bus to La Ceiba. It was another 8 hour trip (with a 1-2 hour layover in San Pedro Sula). Total cost, L. 475. We arrived in La Ceiba and then took the 4:30 pm ferry to Roatan. By the time we arrived in Roatan, we were exhausted! (Ferry cost, L. 524.)
Nonetheless, we went out and had a drink with my friends that live on the island. Then we went back to their house and crashed. The next morning, we headed to the beaches early. My friends live in West End, so we took a water taxi to West Bay where the nicer beaches are.

It was paradise, as usual. We took the transparent canoes out to see the coral like Jose and I did last time, and we loved it. It was all fun and good, except for when we went home and realized we were extremely sunburnt. So we called it an early night again, and crashed.
The next day, we took the 7 am ferry back to La Ceiba (cost, L. 500), and then took the bus from Ceiba to San Pedro, and took another bus from San Pedro to Tegucigalpa (total cost, L. 475). It was a lot of exhausting travel, but so worth it for Paige to be able to see so much of Honduras!
The only bad part of the trip was when we were on our way back to Tegus. We got stuck in traffic, in the same spot, for 4 hours because of a wreck. We were both losing our minds what with the man next to us listening to the soccer game, without headphones, and the crying baby. Eventually some idiot gave the baby a whistle, so instead of crying we had to listen to it blow the effing whistle for hours on end. There were some threats by Paige to sacrifice the baby to the traffic gods. Thank goodness it didn't come to that. We made it back, safe and sane, in 8 hours on what should have been a 4 hour trip from SPS to Tegus.

Paige left the next day, :(, to go back to Kentucky. Even though her trip was short, it was so nice to have her here and go on an adventure with her. Come back again soon, Paige!!


Anonymous said...

Wow! That sounds like so much fun! And it seems like you got a good deal too *for US dollars*. If I were to move to Honduras this would be the type of trip I would want me and my friends to take!

Honduras Sprout said...

Can I live vicariously through you? Your adventure with your friend sounds like so much fun!! It sounds like something I would totally do pre-kids. What a fun time and it sounds like you had a great travel partner. That makes all the difference.

I love Copan and our original plan when moving to Honduras was to live there. We even own land there! Too bad about the bus hold up on the way back. That is maddening. And women are programmed to be more sensitive to babies crying too.

DON GODO said...

Glad you had a great trip...just think of the baby crying as a 'training camp'of sorts for the future.

Laurie said...

Thanks for an entertaining article. I hope to get to Roatan finally this summer.

Hannah said...

Enamorada, this type of trip can be done even cheaper. We did it like a real vacation and took the nice buses and stayed in a really nice hotel in Copan Ruinas. You could (if you're brave enough!) take chicken buses and stay in hostels and do the whole trip for around $100-$150!

HS, I am so jealous that you have land there. It seems like the perfect retreat! :) You should build an apart/hotel...for me to come live in, haha.

DG, I think I normally wouldn't have gotten so annoyed by the crying baby. We were just sooo ready to be back in Tegus after all that traveling! :)

Laurie, I'll be looking forward to your post about your Roatan trip this summer then!