Lots of travel warnings for Honduras these days, and there were some in 2012 when we went. If I recall correctly, it was regarding drug trafficking.
Most reviews by other travelers were positive and that was enough for us!
Okay, that year we were on a budget, but still wanted to explore jungle areas. We found Honduras to be very affordable (I think it still is!) and came upon an incredible Eco lodge just above the city of La Ceiba.
AND IF YOU ARE A DIVER-GREAT NEWS !
The island of Utilia, Honduras was just voted Number #1 for BEST DIVE area 2017! I added a link for you HERE, if you're interested. You can see island of Utilia below. The other islands that divers rave about is Roatan and Guanaja.
We flew into the international airport of San Pedro Sula from Miami. Omega Eco Jungle Lodge, about 7 miles from La Ceiba, Honduras.
There is also an international airport in La Ceiba, Honduras if you want to hop over to it from the Bay Islands or San Pedro Sula.
We are SO happy we decided Omega Eco Jungle Lodge.
Omega Lodge had arranged a driver to meet us at the airport and it was nice to see a gentleman waving a GRAHAM "flag" as we approached the pick up area.
We said our Hola's (Hello's) and away we went. He did not speak English, which was perfectly fine.
We always have plans to learn more of the language before our trips, but it just never pans out and we know enough Spanish to be cordial, to find the bathrooms, ask for help, and eat. What else do you need?
The lodge informed us that it would be about a 3 hour drive to their location, a little long, but we thought it would give us a chance to the see the area instead of skipping over to another airport.
All I can say, is hold on to your.............. well whatever you can! If you choose this option.
Above is a picture of the chaotic traffic leaving the airport. I know it appears that everyone has swerved or stopped for the pedestrian, in the middle- Hahahahahaha! Nope!
SURELY the pedestrian has looked at what's oncoming- He didn't! Just the way it is.
Everyone just goes, honks and moves forward the best they can. It's not rage, its just merge, honk, swerve, honk and move on. Sorry for the blurry picture, but there was no stopping.
Even though we could not chat with the driver, I wouldn't say it was a quiet ride. I mean, the landscape on the open highway was nice, but the weaving and honking kept us wide-eyed and awake and........then there were those three traffic stops with armed guards on the way to the lodge.
The driver showed his credentials and they checked us out briefly in the backseat. We smiled, but it was all business, no wave; no smile, no "Buenos Dias" from these gentleman.
After a few minutes of rummaging through our Spanish translate books, we did manage to ask our driver, ¿Están buscando drogas? (Are they looking for drugs?)
Our driver's reply was "Drogas Y Pistolas" (Drugs and Guns).
He gave us a reassuring smile after each stop, and then away we went Honking on down the road.
When we reached the town of La Ceiba, we took a gravel road up to the lodge. It was getting dark and the taxi driver slowed-slightly.
We Had Arrived.
It was hard to see the grounds, but we were greeted by one of the staff, and he lead to the outside patio area where dinner was being served. We immediately felt welcome and my knees weakened a bit from the savory smells coming out of the kitchen, they were amazing.
One of the guys helped us with our luggage and showed us our cabin. We hit the bathrooms and then made a bee line back to dining area for food and BEER.
It's hard to read a menu in the Jungle, should've brought the flashlight. I just wanted whatever that smell was, plus a cold beer.
UPDATE: This is the headlight we now use for ALL evening hikes and jungle excursions, if your interested, click-- HERE.
Just then, a couple moved toward our table and it turned out to be the owners Udo and Silvia. They were from Germany-- aaaaahhhh that explains the smell, it was brat's or something similar.
Udo was an avid river rafter and chef, also an incredible craftsman. Silvia loved horses, so we immediately hit it off!
Back to the food.
I'm pescatarian, so sausage was out for me. Jonathan loved it!
They suggested I have a tuna and olive salad and it was fabulous! Fresh and tasty!
We were toasted, so off to bed, looking forward to checking out everything in the morning.
It was great waking up to the sweet sounds of jungle birds and a spectacular view of the misty Pico Bonito Forest.
We were now able to see more of the surroundings and our Cabin (Beauty View). The craftmanship of the interiors and design layout were one with nature. You will fell tucked in, protected and cozy. As you can see in the picture below, there are large screened windows that are designed for privacy AND nature viewing. The breeze was perfect at night and we drifted to sleep each night with the hum of jungle frogs and insects.
My personal picture did not turn out great for this room, so with permission, Slyvia gave the picture of the Beauty View Cabin.
Below, are the dining areas in and around the pool, hammocks, bar and BBQ area.
We had a great time just hang-in by the pool "zoning out" and "taking in" the sounds of the jungle.
Pool/Dining --Pool was drained and being cleaned the first day.
One hammock area
Glorious exotic fruit, a generous bowl of Yogurt, Granola and -00000hhh, the coffee! Yeah!
This was just our selection. They had a wide variety of choices at every meal including German and vegetarian options- great fish too!
Our first tour of the area was on horseback with Silvia. It was just us, as the other guests were rafting.
Before I go further, here is the link for this Amazing lodge and there are videos on the site of the rafting- You gotta see! Link: JUNGLE LIFE
We started our horse trek through the small villages just outside the lodge. The Honduran families are very friendly, lots of smiles and greetings. Most homes are deteriorating, many occupied without doors or windows.
It was also sad to see the dogs, it hurts my heart to say, but to date, this is the worse area I have seen for starving and sickly dogs.
Silvia and Udo are animal lovers and have helped the locals in so many ways, but as I was told, the veterinarians are few in this area and charge unreasonable fees for spay/neuter and other vaccinations.
There is no assistance or animal awareness education in La Ceiba, at least when we visited. There ARE rescue organizations working very hard to help animals in other areas, larger cities, and I will have those links at the end of the story.
Back to the horseback ride, sorry, mistreated animals will always cause me to pause....................
The trail opened up and we cantered through the forest in and around beautiful fruit trees-Banana, Cashew, Mango, to name a few. Sylvia lead us to this enchanting swimming pond where we also had lunch. Here's a short video of the spot:
The water was a bit cold for me, but Jonathan jumped right in.
It was time to head back and we had wonderful conversations with Sylvia about the history of the land and their love for area.
The afternoon had heated up pretty good- temp wise, and after looking at all the fresh fruit, fruit smoothies were our next course of action.
We headed to the bar and before we even mentioned our drink of choice, Sylvia surprised us with two glasses of fresh cashew
juice! Whaaat? Yeah, it was delicious, I was hooked! We later found out that Cashew wine was also quite popular, but didn't get a chance to try it.
Here is a picture of a cashew fruit.
Below is the the bar, a center attraction for drinks, eating and great conversations. Udo is the gentleman leaning up against the stone pillar and- me at the bar after horseback riding.
It is always so interesting to hear other travelers stories, and most evenings we did just that. Right there.
The next day, we put off doing a different tour, as I was beguiled by the horseback ride and had to go again!! This time it would be a bit longer, with a few other guests AND through the
river. Below is a picture of Jonathan and I in the back of the group heading out of the Rio Cangrejal.
The Next Tour................
Wednesday would be the day for Monkeys, Mangroves and Chocolate or what I like to refer to as our M&M chocolate tour.
It would just be the two of us, and Del, our guide.
The guys loaded up the kyak's, water and lunch on the truck, and we headed to "Chocolateville" Anything that involves chocolate, I'm there!
The lagoon was about 45 minutes from the lodge, through a small fishing village and old cocoa plantation.
We launched our boats in a dense canopied area of Mangroves and slowly weaved through the waterway to what is called Monkey Channel.
It was very quiet; serene, even the monkey's were quiet. We came upon at least a dozen Howler Monkeys lounging and hanging from the trees. They must have a had a hell of a night, (or morning) carousing the jungle and running with the "tribe" because those monkeys weren't moving from their spot, no matter who was coming. Here is some quick pictures, sorry this is a bit blurry, this is before our GoPro.
Del lead us out to the shore area and laid out a delightful lunch with lots of fresh fruit; fresh bread; Plantain chips, tuna, lunch meat, cheese, salad, juice and desert!
A sublime setting for lunch.
On the way back through the Cocoa Village Del spotted a Cocoa fruit tree in front of someones house. A man was out in front and Del kindly asked him if we could have one Cocoa fruit, he obliged. Below is a picture of the Cocoa fruit after it was opened~sorry about the arm pit shot.
If you are interested, here is a link about the fruit, history, production and process Link: CHOCOLATE
At the time of this writing, Cocoa is no longer a main export for Honduras, coffee still stands as the number one export, we can see why, it was full-bodied, yet mild, not bitter. We loved it!!
The next day we decided on the Waterfall Hike.........................and found out,
SUPERMAN IS ALIVE
We didn't discuss the hike much the night before, but the next day we were greeted by a small 70 year man who didn't speak a word of English, his name was Alejandro.
It was just the three of us, so off we went to Pico Bonito National Park.
The first twenty minutes of the hike is easy going, then it becomes pretty steep, fast.
Alejandro led the way and here's the Superman part.
This guy was in incredible physical condition for his age- probably still is. He has a pack on his back with lunch, water and first aid supplies for ALL three of us.
Not only did he motor-on at an incredible pace with the weight on his back, he could "LEAP LARGE BOULDERS WITH A SINGLE
I would look up at these massive boulders, look down for just a moment and he was up over the boulders in just a few seconds. DANG!
Although there are many signs (all in Spanish) about the unique trees and their "uses", there were no directional signs on the path, Except for the one shown below. This translates to "Path To Waterfall".
We knew we had to Go Up but Alejandro knew right where the angles were for reaching the next level safely.
The path was on the side of the waterfall, so yeah wet, muddy and slippery. -OH YEAH!
We Loved it!
Here is a picture of a smaller part of the waterfall and below that, is a over-sized picture of Jonathan and I--you might want to move back a bit.
Selfie At The Waterfall
We did make it to the top and the picture below shows a very cool and unexpected jungle walkway that led to the other side of the forest.
A great day of hiking in the jungle and we were soaked!!
No matter what type of clothes you wear, you will get wet, some just dry better than others. Here is a link to my article "Getting the "moist" out of your jungle trip" and what to pack, if you're interested.----HERE
What was great about the rodeo?
Not Much, but I have to tell you what WAS GREAT, -Our Hosts!
All the guests had left for the week except us.
Sylvia, Udo and a few Honduran friends were heading to the Rodeo and asked if we would like to come along, we responded with a resounding "YES"!
I mean, come on, they didn't have to ask. Sometimes you just gotta get away from your business and guests! So I guess we were the "Cool Ones", I am just going to believe that..........
Since this was a local event, they would only be taking Lempira, the Honduras currency.
BTW, You can get by with U.S. cash at the Honduras resorts, along with your credit cards, but not for this.
Udo and Sylvia said they would pay the entry fee and anything else we wanted and we could pay them back. NICE!
So, we all magically crammed into two trucks, like old friends and went-a-honking-down-the-road to the Rodeo.
The day had come and It was time to leave and................back to the airport.
DING*DING*DING* HONDURAS WINS for the number of security checks before getting to our seat in the gate area.
This was 2012, so hopefully it won't be the same now. One delay was my fault, and Jon was awarded an extra "pat down", so we added it up- Seven!! Yes, seven security checks.
They had 4 on the main floor and 3 on the upper level ( including Jon's pat-down). The stop's included a security desk at the base of the elevators AND one at the top of the elevators. There must have been some scary; tricky maneuvers on the elevators at one time.
I was delayed at the base of the elevator because my passport name showed Debbie and my license displayed Debra, that was the longest hold-up.
After coughing up more Debbie/Debra ID's and photos I was free to move forward, kind of felt like I was in a monopoly game "Do Not Pass Go"
Or "Don't Do Anything On Your Way Up The Elevator."
Have you been to Honduras? We would love to hear about it! Please comment below or Your favorite trip!
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