Honduras: Copan and Roatan

I’ve become so used to colonial Central American cities that Copan- our first stop off in country #35, Honduras – (initially) didn’t strike me as anything special. The brightly painted buildings, the layout of the main plaza, the cobbled streets… One thing that stuck out at different from towns such as Antigua, Flores and Panajachel was how much the town changed once the sun went down. This was the first time in any of these supposedly ‘dodgy’ countries that I felt unsafe at night: with cars pulling up alongside us and copious amounts of lads flowing out of unlit areas like spiders escaping from heat.

Our concerns were short lived, as always, as by the next evening I trusted the area and joined the locals in the queues for street food at the main plaza; but I thought it was an interesting first observation of Honduras, which stereotypically sits behind only El Salvador and Venezuela as the ‘most dangerous’ countries in this part of the world.

Copan was small enough to see the whole town from a viewpoint up at the top of one of the many steep roads that lead into it (which we did one early morning); and by the third day we were ready to board a local bus to take us to La Ceiba, via San Pedro Sula. From La Ceiba, we got on an hour-long ferry to Roatan, which is to Honduras what Caye Caulker is to Belize. White sands and the blue waters of the Caribbean, whose novelty hasn’t yet worn off, greeted our bare feet as we wandered from our West End hotel to West Bay. We bonded as a ‘new’ group, despite having half a dozen or so remaining from the first half of the tour, playing frisbee and volleyball. Several locals joined in, and I internally-apologised for ever doubting the safety of Honduras.

I thought that snorkelling would have peaked in Playa Del Carmen or Caye Caulker, but the locals convinced me to explore the coral reefs that hug the shore of West Bay and I’m glad they did. The water was shallower so the reef appeared more vivid and colourful; and there was a bigger variety of fish. Huge rainbow fish, parrot fish (I think, judging by their beaks chomping down on the corals?) and two 5-foot barracuda baring their teeth came to say hello as we swam through the underwater maze. They were just as mean looking as I imagined but I was pleased to spot one after they eluded me in my previous dives (although one did end up grilled and seasoned on my plate in Caye Caulker!).

The street food in Roatan was some of the best I’ve had since leaving Mexico, with freshly grilled chicken and chorizo topping most of the menus. We ate at two pop-ups before visiting a man called Keith who had a stall on the beach for our final night. We provided our own drinks, having spent our afternoon picking coconuts from the many palm trees, chopping them open with Jay’s machete (bought from a Guatemalan market) and mixing rum and juices inside them.

Like Caye Caulker, a few days on Roatan is plenty, and we were treated to a plane rather than a bus to transport us to our next country -our penultimate with this G-Adventures tour: Nicaragua.

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