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Indigenous Villages and other Places of Interest

 

Clicking on an icon will open a page of small photos taken during the CASKE expedition.

 

 

 

 

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Utila

English is the first language on Utila. People there speak Spanish but consider themselves of English descent. The accommodations are cheap and the crowd tends toward the twenty-something nomadic traveler type. The diving is spectacular and cheap and every night there is a party to be found somewhere on the island. Hotel Tropical is a great deal with clean rooms and a kitchen for cooking your own meals. Check out the Looney Lagoon restaurant at the Creekside Resort for the best food on the island. Chef Dave Ayarra is a transplanted San Franciscan with a flare for grilled and braised meats and local seafood. 

During many of the breaks, Luke chose to go to the islands. This one is Luke's favorites.

La Ceiba, November 2000 Flood

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La Ceiba

La Ceiba is our favorite city in Honduras. Its ethnic diversity, fun-loving people and selection of bars and restaurants make it one of the most lively and colorful places in Honduras. Garifuna people make up a large percentage of its population and the local discos are worth a look to observe people dancing the Punta. Salsa, Merengue and Reggae are also popular. La Ceiba is also the transportation hub to jump to the Bay Islands, take a flight to La Moskitia, visit the surrounding national parks, or take a rafting trip on the Rio Cangrejal. (Some English spoken)

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Trujillo

With lovely beaches, lively nightlife and important history, Trujillo is a funky place to stay for a few days. Columbus first set foot on mainland America, just south of town. The Spanish built forts there over the years and the Dutch and British pirates had fun sacking them. It is also the final resting place of William Walker, the infamous American filibuster who tried to take over Central America in the mid 1800's.

For good cheap fun, we recommend the hotel Cocopando in Barrio Cristales right on the beach. Most of the Garifuna population lives in that neighborhood and they love to dance and party. The Hotel has great local soul food and a lively dance bar with a sound system the size of a wall. Quieter more upscale lodgings are found up the hill by the town plaza.

The Towns in La Moskitia

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Las Marias

Las Marias is located in the heart of the Rio Platano Biosphere. It is a picturesque, traditional village with a young eco-tourism program. The population is half Pech and half Miskito. For our first visit we paddled our kayaks up the Rio Platano. The second time we hiked up with a guide through the jungle and built a balsa raft to go back down. Most visitors charter a motor canoe to make their trip to Las Marias. You can organize your trip from La Ceiba with Eco-Aventuras, or fly into Palacios and charter a boat yourself. While in Palacios you should visit the Garifuna village of Plaplaya, then take a collectivo water taxi to Barra Platano. From Platano charter a motorboat to Las Marias. In Las Marias we highly recommend the hospedaje of "Weiknatara" kept by our Pech friends Bernardo Torres, his wife Maria and their children. It was our best experience in nine months of traveling in Honduras. View our full documentary  on Pech people and Las Marias.

Click here for recommended lodgings

Click here for recommended guides

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Raista

Raista, on the sandy shore of the Laguna Ibans, is the home of the Bodden clan. The extended family comprises the entire population of the village. Our friend Eddy Bodden is one of the most trustworthy and helpful people we encountered in La Moskitia. His wife is a cook of great local renown and all the people working for the Mopawi NGO based just down the beach have made her kitchen a popular place at meal time. Eddy is also the owner of the butterfly farm. If you go, make sure to say hello from Juan Felipe and Lucas (Jean-Philippe and Luke) the two crazy kayakers.

To go, get a collectivo boat from Palacios. They always wait for the planes to land to make their trip to Platano and stop at all villages on the way.

Lodging: Eddy's sister-in-law operates a three-room boarding house. It's seen better days. Plans are in the works for a new building.

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Patuca

Brus Laguna is the hub for visits to Ahuas and the Tawahka people on the Rio Patuca. We were not impressed by the town. We moved on quickly southward to the next significant town Barra Patuca, and were pleasantly surprised. It was clean and well-organized and its people were very friendly. If you are interested in a tour up the Patuca River, we recommend you arrange it directly from Patuca.

Lodging: There is no real guesthouse, but families will offer lodging in their houses and will cook meals. Just ask around. Flights from Puerto Lempira are available.

 

Copan Ruins

 

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Copan

Copan's fame as one of the top three Mayan archeological sites is well deserved.  Not only are the ruins spectacular, but the sculptures and carvings found among them are the most intricate and detailed in the entire Mayan empire. The site is much smaller than Tikal in Guatemala, and is easy to do in half a day. The village next to the ruins is quaint, relaxed and friendly with cute places to stay and great dining . English is widely spoken in Copan.

Click here for recommended lodgings

You can view specific photo galleries by clicking on the photo icons in the left margins. For more detailed information and statistics on villages, including festival and market days  Click here


History

Native People


Lodging, Food and Equipment

Unlike guidebooks that try to offer a comprehensive list of  establishments, few of which the authors have ever visited, we only mention our favorite, highly-recommended places.

La Ceiba

Lodging: If you are looking for a lovely bed and breakfast or an elegant dinner on the beach, we highly recommend our friend Carlos' place: Meson del Puerto in La Zona Viva. If you are on a very tight budget, the cheapest place we have found is Hotel Royal. The only thing "royal" about it is its name, but at 50 Lempiras per room it is hard to beat. Hotel Caribe is where we stayed when we wanted a clean affordable place with private bath. 

Restaurants: We loved returning to La Ceiba after weeks in the jungle because we knew we could stuff ourselves with great food. Again Meson del Puerto is highly recommended for mid-range fare. One step below is a little palapa restaurant on the beach owned by the same people that serves rustic, local cuisine. For a change we recommend the Israeli restaurant Cafe Shalom in the Central Plaza. It is rarely full, but the food there is delicious and authentic Mediterranean cuisine. For people on a budget, our favorite place was the Pupuseria Universitaria next to Hotel Flamingo.

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Copan

Lodging: For a cozy and charming mid-range option our favorite place to stay is the Cafe Via Via kept by a Dutch couple (Gustavo and Anne Cooman. Tell them we sent you).

Cafe ViaVia Copan
Gustavo and Anne Cooman
Tel: 651-4652
(2 blocks from the Parque Central)

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Las Marias/Platano: Weiknatara

Lodging: Bernardo's two room boarding house and farm up-river from Las Marias is magic. Cacao, coconut palms, citrus, bananas, coffee, sugar cane, avocados, limes, etc. make it a veritable Eden. Don't expect cushy beds or plush accommodations, but the surrounding jungle scenery is transcendent. A fresh cup of coffee or hot cocoa (produced on the farm) for breakfast, river fish for lunch, and a mug of fermented cane chicha with your dinner are a few of the culinary treats to look forward to. Swim in the river, try poling a pipante dugout, or go fishing with the boys. Weiknatara is not to be missed.

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Eco-tours & Guides

Tours from la Ceiba: Rafting (contact Jorge Salaverri at Moskitia Eco-Aventuras). Jorge is one of the best guides in Honduras. He can take you rafting the Rio Cangrejal (class IV), or trekking anywhere in La Moskitia.

Raista: Eddie Bodden

Eddie, a Miskito man and former lobster diver, has become well known for the butterfly farm that he manages in Raista town, on the way to the Platano River Biosphere. A beautiful flower garden is surrounded by walls of netting in which you will see a variety of brightly colored tropical butterflies. He sells the larvae to the buyers in the States and runs tours of the farm for visitors. He is one of the most helpful and knowledgeable folks in the area. Consult with him to arrange tours and transportation, etc.

Las Marias/Platano: 

Bernardo Torres

Bernardo is one of the few full-blooded Pech in Las Marias. He is a relative new comer to the town, moving in with his family less than fifteen years ago. He is extremely helpful, attentive and knowledgeable. Stay at his place, trek with him in the bush, talk with him about Pech culture; it will be a great experience.

Mario

Mario, half Pech and half Miskito, and his wife run a boarding house in Las Marias as well. It is rustic but immaculate and cleverly designed. Mario constructed the entire thing. He is laid back with a broad, ready smile and he is always willing to accommodate special requests. One day he took us into the bush during a monsoon to show us how to log balsa wood and make a raft. Stay at his place, take a trek and learn a few survival skills. You will love it.

You can arrange trips to Las Marias from La Ceiba through Eco-Aventuras or fly into Palacios and make arrangements yourself from there. Most likely you will be welcomed by Martin Herrera, the President of the Las Marias Eco-Tourism Committee. All trips need to be organized through the committee but you can choose your guide. Martin seems to favor his family members but there are many other knowledgeable guides in the village who also need work. Try Mario, or arrange to have lunch and/or stay in the house of Doņa Catalina Ramos.

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Recommendations and Information for Paddlers

Our favorite paddling stretch was between Trujillo and the Cabo de Camaron (edge of La Moskitia). The beaches were pristine, the Garifuna people were friendly and fun, and the fish were plentiful. You can follow our itinerary to view our camps with GPS coordinates and paddling distances. Read our journals: JP's journal and Luke's Journal.

We have also heard good things about paddling the bay islands of which the chain of 12 islands that form the Cayos Cochinos (Hog Islands) seem the most intriguing. We paddled many places in the Honduran La Moskitia (avoid Nicaragua) that we recommend, yet paddling it is a challenge. Go to Las Marias, but paddling up the Rio Platano was hard work; take a motor canoe or walk. Further south along the coast, many canals, lagoons and small indigenous communities are spectacular.

Read about Health and Tropical Diseases: Click here and Malaria: Click here

Adventure Stories from:
Central American Sea Kayak and Jungle Expedition (CASKE 2000)

Journals & Itinerary

Expedition Highlights from Honduras:

Photos

Note: Prior to the CASKE 2000 expedition kayaking the full length of the Caribbean coast of Honduras from Guatemala to Nicaragua had never been done. As well, there was very little documentary material available on the lifestyle of the Miskito, Pech and Garifuna peoples. Follow our adventures to experience both.


Expedition


Adventures in Honduras

Copan was the jewel of the Mayan Empire. The Black Garifuna towns on the Caribbean resonate with Punta music. The Bay Islands are full of pirate lore and host to legendary diving. The Mosquito Coast is a wild jungle and home to indigenous Pech , and Miskito people. Our documentaries, photos, and travel tips give you all you need to discover Honduras by yourself.

Return to our Main Page: Adventures in Honduras


Photos: Honduras
CASKE Expedition
 

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