In Honduras, we probably spent more time exploring natural rather than historical sights. This trend kicked off early at our first stop in Honduras at Copán Ruinas, when we visited Macaw Mountain. This is a private bird reserve about 2½ km out of the beautiful colonial cobblestoned town itself. The park’s key aim is to save Central American macaws, parakeets, toucans and other birds, many of which were pets whose former owners tired of them and/or had enough of “paradise” and left the region to return to their home country leaving an unwanted bird, some of which apparently live to the grand old age of 100! Although the centre has various release programmes (through which birds are liberated back into their natural habitat), many unfortunately will never be able to be rehabilitated to this extent having become too domestic and reliant on humans meaning they will stay in the park forever. Visiting the park made for a fun few hours and a few comedy moments especially when I was completely taken by surprise when I thought I heard someone saying “hola” and “como estas?” and yet could see no one around: of course it was one of the parakeets who had been taught to say a few phrases!
Other birds at Macaw Mountain
Also in Copán Ruinas in the great outdoors, we visited the rather grandly titled Luna Jaguar Spa Resort for our latest dip in hot thermal springs. Boy are we staying clean on this trip! Once we’d been given the official tour (which we had somehow managed to miss when we first arrived), this made for a very relaxing afternoon and was a much better experience than our visit to their Guatemalan counterparts, Fuentes Georginas outside of Xela: mind you, to be fair, we had a much better day for it in Honduras. (see Blog Post “Back in hot water” dated 29 August 2018).
Banana plant and coffee plant (but I don’t know what the middle one is)
While in Copán Ruinas we did of course visit the Mayan archaeological site which, after all, gives its name to the town: this was home to one of the most important of all Mayan civilisations and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It wasn’t as grand as some of the sites we’ve previously visited in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico (some of which we plan to revisit on this trip) but was still interesting enough and it was very quiet and there weren’t many visitors making for a peaceful visit.
Back on the nature trail, in Lake Yojoa, we perhaps had far too close an encounter with the natural world when we got up early one morning before sunrise to go bird-watching on the lake. Having turned on a light to get dressed, suddenly our room filled with a swarm of rather angry wasps which took us somewhat by surprise and wasn’t an ideal start to the day. We managed to escape the room without being stung and fortunately a very peaceful rowing boat trip on Lake Yojoa restored our sense of well-being. We saw lots of herons as well as woodpeckers, egrets and kingfishers etc but unfortunately our eyes weren’t as sharp as those of our guide and sadly only he spotted the durante (flock) of toucans which was a little disappointing. But it was a very pleasant little trip out on the beautiful lake before the rest of the world woke up. And a quick change of room on return to the hostel meant we didn’t see our buzzing friends again fortunately.
Lago de Yojoa and some of its bird-life
In northern Honduras, we spent a couple of nights on the edge of the very picturesque Rio Cangrejal. Here we tubed down the river in an inflatable tyre across small rapids and then did some rather gentle hiking in the Pico Bonito National Park to a pretty waterfall although this was much smaller than the Pulhapanzak waterfall we had visited while staying in Lago de Yojoa (see Blog post “A splash of adrenaline” dated 20 September 2018).
Pico Bonito National Park and Rio Cangrejal
And then finally, before crossing to the Bay Islands (see Blog post “Island Life” dated 30 September 2018, we had time for an overnight stop in Trujillo, on the Caribbean coast. It was here where Christopher Columbus first set foot on the Central American mainland in August 1502 noting that the Bay of Trujillo had very deep waters. In the sixteenth century, it became an important port under Spanish rule even briefly becoming the capital of Honduras but its pre-eminence did not last long as it was always vulnerable to pirates and to attacks from other colonial powers (including the British) and so a century or so later on, the Spanish pretty much abandoned the city deeming it indefensible. Today it is a charming but very small and sleepy place and although interesting to wander around, it’s fair to say that there wasn’t a huge amount to see here. But it added another stop and a bit of variety to our 2 week trip to Honduras.