9/10 July -
Ocotal – Danli - 57km
It was a slow and steady climb up to Las
Manos and the Nicaraguan/Honduras border. After we crossed the
border it was an easy downhill ride to the first town in
Honduras. Danli was a fairly small but lively town with a good
number of cigar factories. I did not feel well due to a chest
infection, so we stayed another day. It was rather boring just
lying around doing nothing, but I thought it a good idea not to
cycle as I did not expect to have any easy riding in Honduras.
Honduras is quite a mountainous little
country and there appeared very few flat sections.
11 July - Danli – Zamporano - 65km
As expected the road slowly crept up the
mountain for about 20km after which we descended into a valley
of sorts. Once we cleared the valley it was up yet another
mountain pass. By the time we reached Zamporano we decided to
stay there for the night and tackle the next climb in the
morning. We found quite an interesting room (a bit expensive)
but quite luxurious. It even had hot water so we showered for
hours, washed our hair and enjoyed the luxury for one night.
12/13 July -
Zamporano –Tegucigalpa - 37 km
It was a short but once again very hilly
ride over the mountain. Tegucigalpa (teh-goos-ee-gal-pa) is
situated in a valley at an altitude of 975m. So once over the
mountain it was mostly downhill into the city centre.
As is the case with most Central American cities the centre
of Tegucigalpa consists of a central plaza and church. Although
it is the capital it is not much of a touristy place and one
feels a bit out of place. We had no idea where to go so we
hauled out the old Lonely Planet to get an idea of where to go.
The central plaza
was a rather busy and interesting place with loads of
down-and-outs, street performers or what is often called “human
statues”. I can watch them for hours as I think it quite
impossible to stand that still for such a long time.
The city is not
known for its safety and many traders prefer to trade behind
bars, not something that inspires confidence! We did the
necessary laundry, shopping and internet and was ready to move
Not only is the city dangerous, safety
wise, I also
understand that the capital's international airport, Toncontín,
is notorious around the world for its extremely short runway for
an international airport and the unusual maneuvers pilots must
undertake upon landing or taking off to avoid the nearby
Besides the main Cathedral there was one
more interesting old church, the Iglesia Los Dolores. One of its
most interesting features is the main facade. It is in Baroque
style, with a central and two lateral towers. It is decorated
with glazed terracotta sculptures and figures representing the
Passion of Christ - his unseamed cloak
the cock that crowed three times - all crowned by the more
indigenous symbol of the sun.
14 July -
Tegucigalpa – Valle De Angles - 33km
A clean shaven Ernest and I set off up the
mountain and as expected it was a steady climb (and rather
steep) up the valley. We stopped ever so often to fill
water bottles and after 33km we arrived
in a small but interesting village by the name of Valle De
Angles. A former colonial mining town with old restored buildings,
it looked so interesting we turned in to look around a bit. The
village was quite lively and seemed a place where city folk come
to spend the weekend. We followed suite and stayed for the
night. Ernest rightly remarked that
most probably called Valle De Angles as one needs wings to get
out of there again.
15 July - Valle De
Angles – Gauimaca - 73km
We awoke to the sound of macaws and green
parrots, not a bad way to wake up.
was nothing to do but set off over the mountains again. We
climbed steeply over the hills, at times doubting whether it was
a good idea to have come this way. Again we descended down into
a valley and then climbed up and over the mountains. I realised
that we were way off the beaten track, as we hardly encountered
any traffic, just the odd horse or bus. The paved road came to a
surprising halt and we battled along a dusty and rutted road
until we reached the junction town of Talanga. Talanga was a bit
of a Wild West town with an ancient central plaza and dirt
roads, and the stretch of paved road coming into town was being
used for drag racing (police were the time keepers at the
finish!). The road was not even blocked off, and we had cars
racing towards us like bats out of hell!
We continued on up
and over another set of mountains until we reached Gauimaca
where we found a simple roadside room. The room was so cheap
that we booked in there, instead of camping.
16 July - Gauimaca
– Juticalpa - 86km
The weather did
not look too good as we awoke to a drizzle, but fortunately it
cleared up and by the time we left it was overcast but not
raining. Just outside town the paved road once again came to an
end, but just as inexplicably it fortunately reappeared later.
That was to set the trend for the day. The road went from bad
gravel to perfectly smooth concrete, and then back to no surface
again. Fortunately the pine-forested hills were not as steep as
the previous days! That is not to say that there were no
We arrived in Juticalpa and first looked
for a bank. No bank wanted to dispense any cash and I was
worried that the card may be damaged. In addition, Ernest could
not draw any money as he had
lost his card. In the end we had to settle for a rather
expensive hotel where I could pay by credit card.
We understood from the locals that the
road to the coast was a dirt road and very steep in places. It
was not very reassuring that they indicated that it was also
very dangerous…..indicated by pulling an imaginary gun and by
pointing two fingers to the temples. Apparently it is an area
well known for
drug trafficking, but somehow I don’t think they will bother
After all this
happy news we took a walk to the supermarket and found an ATM
that was prepared to spit out some money. We stocked up on food
as there appears to be very little along this lonely and
sparsely populated, 300km stretch of road to the coast.
17 July -
Juticalpa –roadside camp - 43km
Shortly after leaving Juticalpa we turned
left at a heavily guarded
turn-off. The road immediately
started to climb up the mountains and after 20km we reached our
village where we filled up with water. The road slowly
deteriorated and we struggled along a narrow dirt road higher
and higher up the mountain. We climbed and we climbed and we
slipped and we slided but still there was no end to the hills.
Once we spotted a half-built
asked permission to sleep there for the night. The owner had a
down the valley and was
in the process of building a new one next to the road. It must
be a slow process. It suited us just fine as we could camp out
of sight of passing vehicles and had running water. No sooner
had we pitched our tents and curious locals came to look at us,
some peeping shyly around corners and others just staring
expressionless, mothers brought their babies so they could have
a look at
the strange looking foreigners.
it got dark and they headed home leaving us to our own devices.
18 July - Roadside
camp – San Esteban - 64km
We continued to crawl up steep hills, no
faster than walking pace, and then got completely bogged down in
clay, eventually coming to a complete standstill. It became
quite impossible to even push the bike any further as the wheels
became jammed in the frame. I tried dragging it but kept on
sliding backwards down the hill and in the process my feet got
stuck and I broke my sandals (the only shoes I have).
Fortunately nothing lasts forever, and after a
kilometre or two
the clay gave way to more manageable mud.
At last we rounded a corner and could see a large valley down
below. The road mostly headed downhill and along the valley to
the small village of San Esteban. We found ourselves a room, had
a shower and washed most of the mud of the bikes.
19 July - San
Esteban – Village - 72km
Uphill for about 20 km out of town we
seemed to have reached the high point as the road headed
steadily downhill. The going was however incredibly slow as the
road resembled a dry riverbed more than a road. Stones, sand and
deep ruts made the going very slow, the traffic we encountered
along the way made no faster headway than us. This is a rarely
visited area and we passed small indigenous communities where
taking out a camera made kids run for their lives!! In fact
you don’t even have to take out a camera, just spotting us made
them run for cover. We continued down the road at
pace and at sunset we decided to set up
camp next to the road.
20 July - Unknown
village – Saba - 80km
We were definitely out
mountains and after a short cycle the road spat us out at the
coastal lowlands amidst oil-palm and banana plantations. We were
back in the hot and humid tropical region of Honduras. Finally
we were back on a paved road;
not only was it paved it was also flat!! How quickly things
change. We reached Saba early but decided to stay there for the
night and tackle the last 80km to the coast the following day.
21 July - Saba –
La Ceiba - 83km
La Ceiba is located on the Caribbean coast
and is surrounded by lush jungles, mountains, large rivers, and
sandy beaches. It was therefore not surprising that we had to
climb yet another mountain before finally arriving at the coast.
It was Saturday afternoon and the
hectic with cars and busses. We weaved
through the traffic to the city centre, found ourselves a room
and I was more than happy to flop down on a bed and watch TV.
22 July - La Ceiba
It was Sunday and
the city centre was dead quiet. We wondered down to the beach,
had lunch and spent the rest of the day chilling out, doing very
little except for some much needed laundry. Seeing that we were
at the coast we decided to take the ferry the following day to
the nearby Bay Islands. The island of Roatan is well known for
diving, be it snorkeling or scuba diving.
23 July -La Ceiba
– Roatan - 27km
We packed up and cycled the short 7km to
where we found a large ferry ready to take us to the islands.
The islands are located about 50km off the coast and after about
an hour and a half we were dropped at Dickson´s Cove. From
Dickson´s Cove we cycled about 20km to West End
there were plenty of accommodation, a few small shops and a
lovely bay with crystal clear water.
Accommodation was quite expensive but
Ernest set off on
foot in search of something more reasonable. He came back with
good news as he found a nice room with a shared kitchen, veranda
and hammock. The room resembled a house as the kitchen was well
equipped with microwave, stove, toaster, coffee-maker, pots and
pans. Three rooms
led off the kitchen and Miriam and Doris
(from Austria) were two pleasant people to share the house with.
Roatán is the largest of Honduras' Bay
approximately 50 kilometres
long and less than 8 kilometres
across at its widest point. The islands are surrounded by the
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the
Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia's Great
The islands have an interesting history.
The English occupied the Bay Islands on and off between 1550 and
1700. During this time, buccaneers used the islands as a safe
and transport. English, French and Dutch pirates established
settlements on the islands. They frequently raided Spanish cargo
vessels carrying gold and other treasures, which the Spanish in
turn stole from the locals. At one time, it
over 5,000 pirates lived on Roatan.
24/25 July -
I set off to the local dive shop,
determined to do at least one scuba dive. Unfortunately they
could only do it the following day so I rented some snorkeling
gear. I snorkeled until my hands and feet were completely
wrinkled. The water is not only warm but crystal clear and the
are close enough that one can snorkel from the beach. I don’t
think I had ever seen so much life and colour underwater;
it was plain amazing.
The following day
Ernest and I took a walk to West Bay, a half hour walk along the
beach. If at all possible, the beach at West Bay was even whiter
and the ocean even bluer!! We snorkeled and spent most of the
day on the beach.
26 July - Roatan –
Dickson´s Cove – La Ceiba - 33km
unfortunately time to back up and go back to the mainland. We
cycled back to Dickson´s Cove where we got the 14h00 ferry to La
Ceiba. Once in La Ceiba we went straight back to our previous
hotel, which was centrally located in the centre of town and
close to the supermarket.
27 - 28 July - La
Ceiba – Tela - 103km
It was an easy ride to Tela,
although it was extremely hot,
at least the road was fairly flat. We ambled along and reached
Tela in good time. We found a good room at Bertha´s and Ernest
immediately set off to the supermarket to find ingredients for a
salad. He came up the most awesome salad one can imagine. It had
just about everything in it that one can imagine,
from olives to boiled eggs and avocadoes, all on a bed of
lettuce. What a life!!
Tela is a small but busy and interesting
Honduran town with a lovely beach stretching for quite a few
both east and west of the town. The
of town was a hive of activity with narrow and busy streets, a
lively market and hectic traffic. I strangely felt quite at
home. A short walk down the beach brought us to La Ensenada
a small indigenous village where kids played carefree in puddles
and rustic restaurants served fresh seafood right on the beach.
fishing boats on the beach completed the picture.
29 - 30 July -
Tela – San Pedro - 98km
Not a bad day on the road, the road was
good and not to hilly. San Pedro is a rather large city;
fortunately it was Sunday and the roads quiet. We found a nice
room, Ernest cooked some pasta and soon it was bed time.
31 July - San Pedro – Quimistan - 63km
After our morning cuppa, which was free,
we headed up the Western mountains of Honduras. We
back in the mountainous regions of Honduras (en route to
Guatemala). We slowly headed up the
which looked very fertile, judging by the amount of fruit stalls
along the way. Along the way we found a bamboo pipe, squirting
out cool, crystal clear water.
thing on a hot and humid day!! We arrived around midday at the
small village of Quimistan, found a room with a TV and watched
the Olympics for the rest of the day.
1 August -
Quimistan –La Entrada - 55km
It was a short but hot and hilly ride to
La Entrada where we arrived fairly early, found a hotel (with
TV) and watched the Olympics for the rest of the day. Not that
there was much else
to do in La Entrada, it’s a hot and dusty crossroads town with
hectic traffic and busses zooting off in all directions.
2/3 August – La
Entrada – Copan Ruinas - 65Km
We had a rather interesting day. Although
it was once again very mountainous it was a beautiful stretch of
road with coffee plantations next to the road. We soon spotted
of the famous Copan coffee farms and popped in for a cup of high
10km from the Guatemalan
we reached the beautiful and tranquil village of Copan Ruinas,
famous for the nearby Maya ruins. We soon found a room as just
about every second building
appears to be some sort of hotel/hostel.
I was up early as the gates to the
Archaeological site opened at 8h00. This was my first visit to
Maya ruins, so I went a bit overboard, taking loads of photos.
Although not the most impressive of Maya ruins, it is said to
be one of the most important, dating back to AD250 – 900. Today
the site is situated in a beautiful park. Archaeologists are
still hard at work discovering more and more structures. I quite
like the names of the early kings, Great Sun Lord, Waterlily
Jaguar, Moon Jaguar, Smoke Jaguar,
etc. Archaeologists are still working out what happened to the
Maya at the end of the classic period and what caused the
collapse and abandonment of so many cities. The best evidence at
present, points to a series of droughts around the 8th