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xEurasia Odyssey

La Ceiba to Roatan

HONDURAS | Wednesday, 24 December 2014 | Views [394]

La Ceiba to Roatan


The ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan is a perfect way to get between the mainland and the island.  The fights often cancel, whereas the ferry seems to always go.  The view of the Nombre de Dios range from the boat is spectacular as the clouds that normally arrive around 10-11 in the morning make the peaks appear as if they were floating in air.  They cover the horizon and frame the range in white fluff.  The trip only takes a little over an hour and during the voyage various islands come and go from visibility.  The peaks recede into the distance, but they are always there as shadows that provide an anchor to reality.

When we arrived at the harbor, we docked across from a large cruise ship; apparently one that leaves from Florida on a four-five day Caribbean cruise.  The people disembark for the day at the beach and then cruise from Honduras to Cozumel during the night. Our hotel, the Las Palmas, had the beach they used.  The hotel had cute little rustic cabins, unfortunately filled with little red biting ants, but the beach, with its clear dazzling blue waters, more than compensated for a few bites. In the photo gallery you can see the glorious view from the beach bar, which serves the typical Caribbean frou-frou drinks. The hotel has its own underwater museum complete with a replica of a sunken 16th C Spanish galleon.  They have both dive and snorkel possibilities to view the museum.  The coral reef is right off the sandy beach and shallow swimming/snorkeling area.

Las Palmas is in Dixon Cove, named after a local pirate, and about 20 minutes by taxi from the West End, the backpacker/dive capital of the island.

We drove to the West End for an afternoon and were glad we did.  It is a fairly typical Caribbean scuba center, complete with extremely overpriced kitschy souvenir shops, good diving options, and a number of other water activities, including a glass bottom boat for those who don’t want to get wet, and for those who are a bit more adventurous, double & triple parasailing (I really want to do this, but here it was too expensive for me), air helmut oceanfloor walking ala Capitan Nemo, and a new one on me, a mini-underwater scooter that one rides with an air helmet.  I’m not sure what they use for fuel, but it doesn’t look like they are all that environmentally sensitive.

On the way back to the hotel, the taxi took us on a mini-tour of the western half of the island.  We drove through a number of villages along the coast and zigzagged through the interior hills.  What was most striking was the complete contrast between luxury hotels and a few villas and the houses of the majority of the people who live and work on the island.  The two economic areas are side by side, and as in the mainland cities, both the shops and residences are gated, fenced and protected often with coiled barbwire or broken glass set on the top of the surrounding walls. The setting for human habitation is dramatically different from the forests surrounding them, which are open and wildlife is free to roam wherever they like. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go looking for buried pirate’s treasure, but we were assured that there still are some on the island.

One of the most surprising views, was that of a U.S. coast guard ship anchored off just off the coastline.  The taxi driver said that it is there to patrol for drug traffikers, but what the U.S. is doing in Honduran waters is a mystery to me & does lend credence to what Eric had told us in Porvenir. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay in Roatan; the water, beaches and reefs are amazing. 

As I was a little concerned about making our international flight, we flew via CM air in a little puddle jumper with no overhead luggage compartments, overhead lights or even cabin stewards to the capital the day before our United flight to Houston. We spent the night at a delightful old hacienda, Casa Xochicalco, with a beautiful Honduran garden.  Now we are at the airport and, surprise, the UA flight is delayed!  I hope we get home for Christmas, but if not, travel remains a wonderful adventure.



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