The best $6 bucks I ever spent was at the Termalitas Del Arenal Hot Springs. The landscaping was beautiful and the bonus, a great view of the Arenal volcano. It is high season here in Costa Rica and for some reason we were the only ones who decided to take a dip at these springs. Well more like a soak than a dip since we spent hours in them. I am so glad we didn’t go to the high-end tourist springs. (starting and $35pp) It was absolutely perfect especially after a morning of driving on the intense mountain road.
Tomorrow’s agenda includes hiking, waterfalls and maybe, well probably, another stop at the springs. Next blog I will share some pictures of the critters we met along the way!
With the armed guards stationed outside of homes and stores one could mistake this place for a war zone. The good thing is the city does not feel as dangerous as it looks, in fact I enjoyed wandering around the neighborhood. Yet all the houses have high concrete walls with barbed wire placed on top. The La Hamaca Hostel is no exception it too is built like a fortress. The people here are really kind and helpful and the hostel is laid out well with lots of common areas to hang out. Luckily it has a bar so I may even play a game of pool later tonight.
I started my one day in San Pedro Sula by dropping off my laundry. No longer do my clothes need the time to be sun and wind blown to
dry. I’m back in a city and they have dryers here. Then I walked to the mall a few blocks away. The mall was upscale so I ended up buying a pair of shorts that cost more than my two-night stay but they’re really cute! I also found a charger for my Go Pro, since I left mine on
the boat. Thankfully the cheap phone chargers here do the trick. (Yes it worked that is why today’s pictures are with a wide angle lens)
My next post will be from Costa Rica. I am very excited about seeing my niece and the change of scenery but I will miss Honduras! Hasta tomorrow my friends!
Sea legs were required for that 1 hour ferry ride I took today from Utila to La Cieba. Thankfully I have them. I was accurately pre-warned that it was like being in a coffin that would be rocking and rolling the entire way.
I had 4 hours to kill in La Cieba so I dropped my bag at the tourist bus station, Hedman Alas, and headed to the beach. I enjoyed being back on the mainland where the sidewalks along the car filled streets were lined with vendors selling sugar cane juice and fruit from their carts. After chowing on an ear of grilled corn, someone was selling on the street, I went to the beach where I found a nice bar that overlooked the water. (The main photo)
When it was time to head for San Pedro Sula I took the first class bus and it was nice. Nicer than any of the buses I’ve been stuck on covering politicians’ bus tours!
It took about 3 hours to get to San Pedro Sula and my pal, Tony on Utila, booked me at La Hamaca Hostel. I haven’t been in a hostel in years. The property is nice as were the two people who greeted me and took my $75 for two nights. (An uneven total because I have a shared bathroom tonight, tomorrow when the room is vacant I get a private bathroom) No dorm for me I splurged
Selfie at the bar!
for my own room. One young guest I saw as I arrived invited me to join the group out back for drinks. Age is just a number right!?
Good thing because the past month I have been feeling (#notetheselfie) 17 again: “Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ’bout tomorrow!”
Day by day I keep extending my stay in Utila, it’s an easy place to get sucked into, but I will definitely be on that Monday ferry to La Cieba, Honduras. Change of plans Cayos Cochinos will have to wait. My niece is coming down for spring break and she wants to go to Costa Rica so I am meeting her there.
I said it before and I will say it again the people here, the ex-pats and the locals, are just nice. It’s an easy place to be. If you are here a few days you can walk into any bar and see someone you have already met. There’s always an interesting person to swim, drink, eat or take a pub crawl with.
It’s been a fun last few days. I will miss this small town island culture where everyone is accepted for who they are and not what they do.
So this post is for all the people who are in the photos and those who were hiding from them:
Thank you for making my trip a great one!!
Now it’s time to enjoy my last day on the island with a dip in the ocean and a barb-b-que with some new friends.
As I mentioned in my last post my photos weren’t that great but the snorkeling we did yesterday off the dock at Coral View was excellent. My friend Tracy gave me a few of his photos to share.
A Spotted Eagle Ray Crab, Octopus and the dreaded Lionfish. You will see lionfish on some of the menus here because as in Florida the divers here also hunt them. They are pretty to look at but they’re venomous marine fish found mostly in the Indo-Pacific until they ended up here where they don’t have any predators. The lion fish if left alone will kill all the fish on the reef.
This is one of the cheapest places to get certified to dive. In fact many people come to get their open water certification and end up taking the next level of classes from Advanced Diver to Dive Master to Instructor. If you take a course the dive shops will give you a free place to stay.
Since I already had a place to stay and I have my certification I came for what is called “fun” dives. For 10 dives it’s about $25 a dive. A bargain compared to the U.S. and most places. The boats here, unlike Roatan, go out for 2 tank dives.
Most of the dive sites are very close, about a 10 minute boat ride. The first thing you will notice is the reefs are very clean. I haven’t seen many big animals since I have been here, a couple of eagle rays and a turtle but here I have learned to appreciate the tiny marine life. I saw my firs seahorse so that was exciting. There’s a lot of very strange small things in the water like the beautiful flat worm with orange spots that I saw yesterday. You will see the trumpet fish, angle fish, trigger fish, porcupine and many other reef fish on every dive what you won’t see is large schools of fish. Hopefully with time that will change.
When not diving you can snorkel a few places on the island. The one closest to town is the reef off Coral View. You can go to the bar on the dock grab a drink and a chair and make a day of it. Also snorkeling off the dock at Neptune’s I saw an octopus, barracuda and some other cool things it is worth the boat ride. (see my earlier post if interested)
I tried to find some better underwater pictures because my camera is awful but I went to 2 dive shop Facebook pages (internet is slow especially loading pictures) and the only photographs I could find were of people partying, so you are stuck with my photos.
I’ve been having so much fun, thanks to my friends on the island, it’s hard to find time to keep the blog updated. Here are some pictures of the bar (which is built in a tree) and restaurant called Jade Seahorse. It is an amazing work of art and unfortunately the pictures do not capture the beauty and handiwork. I am told the owner/artist has been creating this for years. It’s made up things such as bottles, pieces of broken glass, stones, and tiles. A place definitely worth seeing two times, during the day and the night!
Most days after diving in the afternoon, a quick shower then a sprint to catch yet another spectacular sunset at one of the many bars built on the end of a dock. My favorite, and not because I adore the owner who was gracious enough to invite me to her dinner party last night, Tranquila Bar or as the locals call it Tranqs. I like it because Edo the bartender is so nice and it’s a comfortable place to hang with a great view. Tequila Tuesdays it gets packed way after the sun goes down and the party doesn’t stop until about 4am.
I finally decided on my next move, it wasn’t easy I could have been fine hanging here for the next few months!! Sunday I am going to Cayos Cochinos. The trip is a bit pricey ( I am trying to stick to a self imposed budget) because it’s a marine reserve and there is only really one hotel to stay. It’s called Turtle Bay Eco Resort I will definitely let you know if it’s worth overnighting or a day trip. The manager has been very helpful so I have high hopes. I hear it is really beautiful so fingers crossed since I will be spending 3 nights there.
The proof is in the pictures, there are a few beaches in Utila, Honduras. Most things you read about this island will point out the lack of beaches but there’s two – one on each side of town. This photograph was taken at Chepas, beach, it’s the free beach.
Public beach on Utila
The other beach, which I would have had some photos of today if there wasn’t a big lock on the entrance to the beach, is called Bango beach. It costs $3 to visit Bango beach and they have chairs available.
The restaurant Neptune’s, the main photo, also has a beach and it is a great way to spend the day. Just make sure you set a time for the
boat to pick you up, we waited an hour for transportation. The restaurant has good food, beach chairs and a dock to swim off of with a decent reef.
Just like home I spent the weekend at the beach! I need to get my lounging time in because I think my next stop will be the ruins at Copan.
It’s the weekend and that means no Spanish classes in the morning so I went to Yoga. It’s a nice studio that overlooks the water and the price is by donation, as much as you can afford. The suggested price starts at 80limps which is 4 bucks.
As I was walking to the class I was thinking about how I will describe this island when I write the Utila page blog. It is definitely not a place for everyone. If you want 4 star and up you can check this place off your list of islands to see. While I work on describing it I am off to check out another place, it’s a restaurant called Neptunes. You have to take a very short boat ride to get there. The dive shop Bay Islands College of Diving (great name for marketing the kids come here to “college” and leave as Dive Masters and Instructors) has arranged transportation there for lunch. I am told it’s on a beach and has chairs available. So off I will go with my snorkel gear and school books and spend the afternoon there.
At some point I need to start thinking about how I am getting to my next place. I really want to go to Cayos Cochinos, islands off the mainland, that I hear are incredible but not that easy to get to and finding a place to stay is challenging. If that doesn’t work out I will head down to Copan Ruinas for a few days and make my way to El Salvador or Nicaragua
I was on my way to the beach when I saw a sign to Water Cay, a uninhabited island I wanted to go to. My timing was perfect the boat was leaving and it had room for one more, so I joined the trip and spent the day snorkeling and sitting on the beach there. I have been trying to go to a different place every night to catch sunset. The views are magnificent and the bars are all so different. These places on the water are all build on a dock and one even has an “aquarium” in it. It’s a hole in the middle of the bar where they put lights directed on the water so you can see the fish as they swim by, last night we saw a few squids. On any given night you will find groups of students, ignoring the sunset because they are busy studying for their scuba exam. It’s so inexpensive to get dive certifications here that the town is filled with backpackers. Thanks to the cliental prices are cheap.