Its been a while since I sent an update as I have not been near Internet or it was really expensive. Ill try to get caught up in the next few days!
Tuesday, July 30
Caught an early morning boat from Livingston (1 on map) to Puerto Barrios, then had a long, hot walk about 1 mile up hill to the bus station. Got to the border of Guatemala and Honduras and all of a sudden the pavement on the Guate side stopped and the road turned to a dirt road. Got the exit and entrance stamps at the border post that was in the middle of nowhere, and caught my next bus to Omoa. It was also a long, hot ride, and the road was quite muddy and washed out in places. When I was let off in Omoa, I was still 1 mile from the beach area and had to walk again!!
I checked into the very basic hostel that was recommended to me, and went to check out the town. Omoa is really undeveloped but will become a real resort area when the road is paved next year. I could see some beautiful condos being built, and there were plenty of beachside restaurants and bars. Beach wasn´t that great yet, but one of the bars offered hammocks right by the water and I took one for most of the afternoon.
Later realized that I would get bit terribly by mosquitoes in this hostel as there were no screens. Didn´t get much sleep.
Wednesday, July 31
Since I didn´t sleep much due to mosquitoes and heat, I decided to change hotels and went to a batter one across the street. The owners were wonderful, too and made a great breakfast.
The rest of the day I did absolutely nothing, but lie in a hammock, take a nap, and lie in a hammock more. Needed a break from all the hard travel and it was wonderful!
Thursday, August 1
Today I took a bus to Puerto Cortes to meet a bus south. I needed to change in San Pedro Sula (2 on map), a northern Honduran city. I had heard that this city is not all that great, but its the only way to get anywhere south, so I had to go. It was about 90 degrees at 8 AM, and very dirty. I got off one bus and had to go to another station to make my connection. I asked various people for directions and each time was sent a wrong way. One time someone offered to lead me there, so I followed about 6 feet behind. After a few blocks I realized that I was being lead the completely wrong way! I quickly made an excuse and went back to the original station. I did have a map, but it was not correct and streets are not labeled anywhere. Finally, at my original station, a schoolboy heard my frustration and came over to help. Turns out he was going the same way and he took me directly to my bus. All he wanted in return was to practice his English! Needless to say, I was very happy to get out of that city, and I will not regret it if I never step foot into San Pedro Sula again.
Had to change busses two more times to finally get to Copan Ruinas (3 on map), the town near the Mayan site of the same name. All these busses were American school busses and some still even had the original name of the school district on them!
I stayed at a very beautiful hostel, and the town itself is nice.
Friday, August 2 Copan Ruinas, Honduras (3 on map)
The Mayan site of Copan was about a mile out of town and a very pleasant walk. I went early in the day to spend as much time there as possible. I ended up hooking up with a group of travelers at the entrance who wanted to split the cost of a guided tour. This really brought the ruins to life!
Copan is known for its Mayan art, and every turn there were more carvings. Most depicted events in Mayan history, some were of characters, masks, and animals. This was one of those times on this trip where my only regret was that my family was not here to share this. It was so indescribably awesome. There is a museum on site that holds more items found in the excavations. The museum was wonderful, and will eventually be bigger. They are slowly moving many of the original pieces to the museum to preserve them form the elements. I spent about 5 hours between exploring everything!
Spent the remainder of the day relaxing and staying out of the sun.
Saturday, August 3 Copan Ruinas, Honduras (3 on map)
I stayed an extra day to spend some time exploring town, but ended up getting lost most of the time, and one museum that I did find was not really worth the money so I didnt go inside. I did see almost the entire town!!
I later ran into the other people from the group tour the day before, and they were headed to nearby hot springs, so I joined them. The pools were disappointing, but the area in the river where the spring flows into was wonderful! We spent a couple of hours there, and just as were about to leave (we had hired a pick-up for the journey) it started to sprinkle. By the time we got back to town, all our dry clothes, hair, shoes, everything was soaked! The truck broke down twice on the muddy road and both times we had to get out and push it out of the mud when it was fixed. I was a wet and muddy mess! The driver drove like he was going to a fire, which just added to the whole adventure! Ended up going to dinner later with everyone after we had all gone to our respective hotels for showers and dry clothing.
Sunday, August 4 Gracias, Honduras (4 on map)
The first bus I had to take took so longkept stopping and overheating. Didnt anyone ever tell these folks that school busses are not meant to go really fast in the hot sun on dirt roads and hold well over a hundred people?? The lady behind kept puking, too, and I noticed that all the busses come equipped with barf bags! The conductor hands them out on some really twisty rides. Thank goodness I have not had any problems yet, but then I dont eat much before boarding a bus.
Gracias is a hot and dusty town that looks like its right out of a Wild West film. Men standing around in straw cowboy hats and boots, a few bars with swinging wooden doors, and lots of people on horseback. Of course I cant visit any of those bars as women dont do that here, and it would be really unsafe for me. I saw drunken men literally stumbling around, one in particular who fell of a bike and it took him a good 3 minutes to stand up and get back on the bike. That was at 10:00 am!! Found the same thing in Copan too, lots of drunk men falling off the curbs.
I had to walk around for a bit to find a hotel, and I gathered that there arent many tourists here, or at least lone women travelers, and although everyone was nice, I attracted a bit of attention. Ended up at what I thought was a cute little place.
After exploring town and eating dinner at a cool restaurant on the hill, I headed back to my hotel. I went to bed about 9:00, and an hour later was woken up by an extremely drunk man who was running through the hotel banging on doors and walls. Apparently his wife had left mad and he was looking for her. The owner of the hotel did nothing but watch, and I immediately shoved the chair with my big heavy backpack against the door. I stayed awake for another hour (that guy left) and heard lots of doming and going. I was staying at an hourly hotel!! It was rated in the guidebook as the best in town, but I found out the next day that it has changed owners and gone downhill. I did sleep about 4 hours and no one ever bothered with my room or me.
Monday, August 5 Gracias, Honduras (4 on map)
I immediately checked out of that hotel and went to the one on the hill where I had eaten the day before. I had originally not considered staying there because it was way out of my budget, but checked in today. The owner, a Dutch lady, was the one who told me that my original hotel, although on of the best in town, had really gone downhill. Most travelers only come to this town to go to the nearby National Park, as I had, and most are in pairs or groups.
This new hotel had a TV even most of the programming was in Spanish. I napped then went to walk around town. Gracias has a few good cathedrals, and is a very colorful little town. Theres a great fort on the hill just behind the hotel where I spent a couple of hours exploring and taking pictures of the mountains and city.
I asked about hiking into the park and was informed that is not safe alone, but fine in a pair or group. I had hoped to find other travelers that were headed there for the day but it seemed that I was a day late, as everyone I met had gone the day before. So, instead I looked at the beautiful park from atop the fort.
Decided I would move on the next day, as there was no guarantee that other travelers would come to visit the park, and I was eager to go to El Salvador.
Stay tuned for my report on El Salvador!