Honduras - Day 5
I planned to leave the hotel in Sambo Creek around 7:00. A frequent problem of small hotels is, that if a guest wants to leave early, he will not find anybody to open the main entrance for him as everyone has a shifted day. Something similar happened here. Everything was solved by a dog, which barked and called the owner.
Buses operate frequently in Honduras. One arrived soon, turned and I was on the way back to La Ceiba. At the main terminal, we were shortly after eight. To be sure, I called again to the railroad company, if the tomorrow's train is confirmed. If it were postponed for another day, I could still catch a morning boat to Utila with a departure at 9 am from the port. The lady who answered the phone told me, that it would run - I have to be at the station between 7 and 8 am. I immediately looked for a bus to Tela. There were two standing next to each other - a fast expensive and a slow cheap. I chose the first one, to the dismay of an agent, who took me here and assumed I would choose his cheap one. We did not wait long anywhere and were in Tela in about an hour. Fast buses on this route are less convenient because they do not go to downtown Tela, but stop on a road just outside the city (not to delay passengers heading for San Pedro Sula). If there is no local bus at the same moment (and a you do not want to take a taxi), you have to walk about 15 minutes to the center. Anyway, it is faster.
I was planning a short trip to famous Garifuna villages of Tornabé and Miami, which I did not make on Monday. After learning that the bus left shortly before my arrival, the next one will come in half an hour and the trip takes one hour one way, I gave it up this time as well. I have seen Garifuna villages already. Instead, I got on a local bus and took it to Telamar Hotel in the western suburb of Nueva Tela and went on a beach. The weather was perfect, sun was shining, it was warm and swimming was fine. I talked shortly to some Americans, who went there for a vacation.
From the beach, I went directly to a terminal of Tela Expres, which operates direct buses to San Pedro Sula. The bus left at 2 pm, travel time should have been 1.5 hours. I would have appreciated something like this on the way here. In San Pedro, we were before 4 pm. I planned to stay in the same hotel as on the first night. The Tela Expres terminal was however far from the center and I walked along the train station on the way. The head office had still open doors. Why not take an opportunity and say hello? The lady, which answered my question in the morning, had however different information now. The tomorrow's train is not sure, so I should come between 7 and 8 am and ask again. This did not sound good. I asked her to call the colleague, that I arranged everything with. He came, called somewhere with a cell phone - and answered with certainty: the track works take longer and the train will not run on Thursday, but only on Saturday. This was enough for me. I thanked them and apologized that I have no more time. I immediately went to a bus terminal and went to the suburb of Puerto Cortés, on the crossroads where buses to Omoa leave from. Just be away from San Pedro Sula, where I can expect nothing any more. The van was half-empty and we had to wait for more passengers. I watched the time, because dusk was imminent. After coming to Puerto Cortés, a bus to downtown Omoa came soon, with a final stop just next to Roli's Place hotel. We still arrived at a reasonable time. There was an available bed in Roli's Place, I checked in and went for a dinner. The restaurant was full of students of a local sailor school, who were busy copying correct answers on exam questions. One told me about his experience with luxury cruises from America to Europe - the travel takes about 4 days one way, there are about 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew on the boat, and the price is approx. $4,000 per person). In the hotel, I met other tourists from Canada.
How to conclude? I saw many things, but less than what could have been achieved with a better organization. I did not travel by the freight train and missed other potential curiosities while trying to do it. Whenever I give up, I usually later regret that I did not give up sooner and wasted time and energy on something, which ultimately did not go well. In this case, however, I think that at least the Monday's discussions at the head office made sense. I got contacts, which had not been available on the internet, and got an experience, that "Honduras is not Guatemala". If you have time, come as well - the "density of interesting places" in Honduras is much lower than in neighbouring Guatemala, but there is still a lot to see and do. As well as in other Central American countries, the people are nice and helpful. If you are interested in Honduran railroads, call the numbers listed on a special page - and with a bit of luck, you will see what I have not. If such contacts had been available one month earlier, everything would have been very different.
The travelogue continues with a return from Honduras to Guatemala through the archaeological site of Quiriguá.
© Jan Peula, 2005