Honduras - Day 3
When the Sunday train trip failed, I wanted to agree with the management of Honduras Railroads, if I could at least take a ride on a freight train as in Guatemala. Therefore, I went back from Omoa to Puerto Cortés and San Pedro Sula. I arrived at about 9 am. People already worked at the train station, but the flat cars with lumber were still at their original place. I explained my request, and got an answer: The only passable track in this area goes to Puerto Cortés and is used by freight trains only. Taking a ride would generally be possible, but now I have to wait, because a segment is closed and under reconstruction. The next freight train is scheduled for Wednesday morning around 8 am.
I thanked them and as it was Monday morning, I took a bus towards the coast. Spending time in San Pedro would make no sense, as there is nothing interesting in the area. At the bus terminal, they showed me a bus going to nearby El Progreso. We went slowly, with detours to smaller cities. In La Lima, we could see remains of overgrown and partially stolen narrow-gauge tracks, which used to operate throughout Valle de Sula. However, I would have been happier, if we went faster. I was getting bored by Latin America's city life with many sellers everywhere. Gradually I realized that I had probably taken a wrong bus. According to a guidebook, a trip from San Pedro to Tela (about 100 km) can be traveled in two hours, but it took my bus almost an hour to make the first 35 km. In El Progreso, I transfered to another bus towards Tela (slow again - there were no others). The landscape in the North is very different from central Guatemala. Instead of dry mountains covered with grey grass, there are plantations of coco palms everywhere. The trip to Tela ultimately took four hours.
In Tela, I went to a hotel. Originally, I was looking for Boarding House Sara recommended in a guidebook for 50 HNL = $3, but somebody showed me a different one with the same price. It was completely wooden, probably several decades old. It would have been risky to try to reach a more interesting La Ceiba on the same day. Tela is (similar to other cities) unimpressing, its public beaches disgusting (I had not seen so much trash and dogs on such a small place before) and as 5 pm, my end of day, was coming closer, I gave up even more modest plans of going to nearby Garifuna villages of Tornabé and Miami or to the clean beaches of Telamar Hotel in a distant suburb. Instead, I met a Japanese and a Pole with a US passport, who came to Honduras for two weeks and just came back from a nearby Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas (Punta Sal). They went on a one-day trip with one of the local travel agencies and enjoyed it. They also recommended Roatán island, which they planned for the following day.
The day ended fast. I went to bed, promising that Tuesday must be organized better. As there was no fast bus from downtown Tela, I had to get up early, preferably at 6 am. There are more interesting places than Tela, even in Honduras.
© Jan Peula, 2005