My first day on the island of Cayos Cochinos in Honduras has come to an end. The island is only about an hour boat ride from La Ceiba but once here you can’t help but to feel as if you were transported a world away. It’s not necessarily the best place to be since I am traveling solo unless of course I decide to finish the great American novel that I have yet to start. But it is absolutely beautiful.
There’s only one hotel, the Turtle Bay Eco Resort, it’s a nice place with a healthy reef right off the beach. A perfect place to relax, I just wish I had some bug spray, the no-see-ums are getting fat off of me!
I was really impressed with the wall I dove today because it was covered with colorful coral. I would show you but my go-pro was lost months ago in the ocean while surfing. So the next few days you will have to appreciate the views above water like the amazing sunsets that I think, taking an educated guess, that they are a daily event around here.
I forgot about the new Honduran law that came into effect a few months ago, after the new President was sworn in. (the word is the law was passed in hope to deter crime) No wonder the bar was empty when I entered it last night. I promptly left after being reminded that no liquor was allowed to be served Sunday 5pm until 7am Monday. This goes for tourist towns too. It was fine with me it ensured a good night’s sleep.
I’m still in La Ceiba, there’s a beach but it is not a vacation type town. It’s a stopover on the way to the islands off of Honduras. Yet I have been here a few times before a few years ago to cover a hurricane and over a decade ago to do a homestay while studying Spanish. I wish I could find the home where I stayed but there’s no chance of that happening.
The highlight has been the full rainbow I saw last night just before sunset. It was incredible. I stood on the street corner in the rain just looking at the brilliant colors. I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful sight.
Tomorrow I head to Cayos Cochinos an island that only has 1 hotel. Being stuck in one hotel with no other options for meals is not something I would normally do. It’s a long story, which includes being impulsive, on how I booked this 3 day trip. It is definitely far from the backpackers trail and I will soon see for myself if the island and hotel is worth the price. I’ll keep you posted!!
I’ve seen my first sunrise of the entire trip! As much as I love the peacefulness of early mornings I can’t seem to get up in time to enjoy them unless I have to. Today I wanted to get across the Nicaragua – Honduras border before the crowds. ($3 to leave and $3 to enter)
I was lucky and found an empty van going to Tegucigalpa to pick up a group from Gap Tours. The trip was about 8 hours but it was a beautiful ride. As we drove through Nicaragua just about every time I looked out the window I wanted to take a picture. It seemed there was always one of the country’s many volcanoes standing at attention over the landscape. Not to mention the livestock, carts and horses and other interesting transportation that share the road.
Next I head to the port city of La Ceiba, Honduras. I’ve been there before because it’s where you catch the ferry to the Bay Islands. I will be there two days until I catch a boat for the Marine Biological Reserve of Cayos Cochinos. Where there’s only one hotel on the island and the main draw is the diving. This is the last beach of my 3 month Central America trip and I expect it to be a highlight.
The trip to Granada from the beach was easy. The bus to Rivas was comfortable, cheap & empty. I missed the next bus but so did a fellow traveler so we split a cab to the city.
I have met so many amazing people from all over the world, it really is a highlight of traveling. It’s as if people carrying backpacks (most anyway) are in the same club. There’s no secret handshake but an unwritten rule of watching out for and traveling with one another. The other day I started out alone until I got on the first bus with 2 Dutch girls heading the same way. By the time we crossed the border it was us plus a German girl and a Swiss guy. All 5 of us shared the economy sized cab to the beach.
Now I am back on my own (which never seems to last for long) but my time here is coming to an end so I’m not as flexible as I had been.
I’m only staying in Granada one day. I was here 7 years ago but came back to break up my trip north so I don’t feel a need to visit the nearby volcanoes again. That said I really like this town. Yes it is full of tourists both national and international but it is a nice place to walk around. There’s enough to do, like hike a volcano or take a boat out of the lake, to keep busy.
Tomorrow I head to Leon, Nicaragua where I will spend the day. Then it is another border run into Honduras. Just this morning I’ve made plans to go to Cayos Cochinos, a remote island off the coast. This will be my last beach stop before heading back to the states and I am really looking forward to it!
After 5 hours on a local bus, an unorganized and crazy border crossing
Paying to leave Costa Rica
from Costa Rica, (Click and read at the end of this page for details on the crossing) and squeezing 5 people in an economy size taxi I made it to the beach. The beach of San Juan del Sur is nice but with so many boats off shore and the sewage it is not a place I wanted to swim.
Which is fine since there are many other
good beach options just minutes from town. The first day things were nice and quiet around here. I went to Playa Hermosa to surf but when I returned to the city the construction of event tents and stages had begun.
It is a big holiday this week, it is Semana Santa. Holy week the last week of lent and the week before Easter Sunday. This quiet town has turned into a loud crowded street party. The room rates have doubled and the alcohol and telephone companies seem to think the event areas with the loudest music wins. It’s just a shame it’s not live music!
I am heading out to the colonial town of Granada and by the weekend I plan on enjoying the Semana Santa festivities in Leon, Nicaragua. I just hope the holiday doesn’t mess with my plans to surf down a volcano!
I finally spotted, not just one, but 3 different species of toucans. Que magnifico! After this sighting I feel I can finally leave Costa Rica.
It has been weeks of seeing sloths, howler monkeys, white faced monkeys, beautiful birds and stunning blue butterflies so all I wanted to see before I moved on and out of Costa Rica was one toucan.
Tortuguero National Park did not disappoint. (only my camera did hence the Toucan photo is from http://peterbeesley.blogspot.com)
The morning tour of the park delivered a tree full of white faced moneys and the most beautiful toucans sitting on a branch. Appreciating the birds in the park isn’t hard. There are so many unique shapes and colors. If you’re a birder this is the place for you.
The village is small and the beach is nice but the current is so strong it is advised to stay out of the water. There are many places to grab a chair on the river and watch the sunset. It’s a beautiful place with nice people and definitely worth the boat and bus trip to get here.
One more Costa Rica stop for me La Fortuna next is Nicargua as I travel toward my final Central American destination, Antigua Guatemala.
I needed to end my beach bum streak so after 10 nights I decided to
leave Puerto Viejo. I could have easily stayed another day or two or even ten but there are more places to see like Tortuguero where I am now.
It’s up north on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The trip here was beautiful. It required a 3 plus hour boat ride up rivers and canals through the national park and into the village. It’s a beautiful trip one in which the captain points out turtles, birds, lizards, sloths and monkeys along the way.
Just as we arrived it rained and the village is muddy. I am guessing that’s normal especially when I saw the shop renting boots. I wonder if my flip-flops will fit in them?
Hopefully I will have something worthy to post tomorrow after my tour of the park which starts at 545am, yes in the morning.
I am definitely not in PV anymore!
I took the public bus to Cahuita National Park a few days ago, sorry for the delayed post, but it’s not like I can take the computer to the beach with me. (and everyday’s been a beach day) Back to the park, it was a nice way to spend the day. I started with a snorkel. The coral was healthy, a lot of Elk Coral, a few reef fish and a sting ray. From there I had the boat drop me off at the point of the park and I took a leisurely stroll, about 45 minutes, back into town.
At one point while in the park I sat in the shade on the beach watching the waves when a guy walking by says to me “look up.” The trees I was surrounded by were filled with monkeys. On the trail I also saw raccoons, sloths, cool colorful butterflies and a few other critters.
I have spent more time in Puerto Viejo than anywhere else in Costa Rica. The beach, the jungle, the people and the atmosphere are the reasons I can’t seem to leave. It’s not the the cleanest place I’ve ever seen ( a mandatory monthly cleaning day like Rwanda and it could be) and it’s not prettiest place I have ever seen (click on my Fakarava page) but it helped me understand the phrase Pura Vide.
Although this has been my favorite place in the country it is definitely not for everyone but it is perfect for me. Perfect for me to pass the days riding my bike to the beaches, listening to live music, looking for wildlife, practicing spanish with friends and well just chilling out.
After checking the date I just realized I have 3 weeks left in Central America so I know I have to get out of this place. There’s a few more things I would like to do and see before I go therefore tomorrow I will consider and maybe even actually buy a transport to Tortuguero. I really want to see the park there so that is my plan as I make my way north into Nicaragua.
Until next post Pura Vida!
The journey is the destination and that proved to be the case when I stopped for a pipa frio (cold coconut water) just south of Puerto Viejo. As I was enjoying my $1 coconut I heard howling. It was a family of monkeys up a tree. The kind lady who sold me the coconut brought me onto her property for a better view.
It’s really beautiful here with the jungle adjacent to the sea. While on my bike I almost ran over a huge yellow snake, thankfully I saw it just in time to swerve out of its way. I tried to do some bird watching but found it’s not for me. I can never spot them. Perhaps my lack of patience has something to do with that.
That said see the picture below of the power lines? That is where I saw a sloth climbing across the lines and of course I did not have my camera on me but I can assure you it was an amazing sight to see. I felt lucky to have stumbled across the sloth and to see it up close, heck I have had my head in the trees all week just looking for one.
I will be heading to Cahuita National Park with my camera so hopefully in the next post I can actually show you the critters I have been referring to.
I rode down to Manzanillo from Puerto Viejo and the beach there was ok. Based on today’s beach hopping I would say Punta Uva is the nicest in the area. Yet twice I stopped at Playa Chiquita (photo) for a break.
Another dreamy day of traveling with no set destination.
It was raining so we decided to ride our bikes to Playa Bluff. It’s about 10 miles out of town. The surf is so powerful it is known for breaking boards. Experienced surfers enjoy it for the long rides and the waves that offer the opportunity to get tubed.
Rex & I on the beach “road” to Playa Bluff
The ride there was challenging especially during high tide. Once the asphalt ends the road turns to hard sand, then a few klicks on a rock road after that a bit of wet beach then back to rocky dirt. The payoff is a wonderful beach bar with a view of the pounding surf. I highly recommend biking or bussing to both Playa Bluff and as I wrote about in my last post Starfish beach.
Bocas Town is a good place to base out of since there are plenty of restaurants, bars and markets and you don’t need a vehicle (unless you head to Aqua or another club on the water that requires a water taxi) but this is not the place to spend the day. To get to the beautiful beaches you need a bike ($6) or a boat ($5). Every place we have been has chairs for rent and restaurants.
Although I enjoyed my time here Rex has gone home and I must move on. It is time to make my way north. Next stop Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast of Coast Rica.
Until next time Pura Vida!!