Saturday, January 21, 2012

Honduras: Tela & Lancetilla

Tela is a grungy little beach town, bigger than anywhere we had stayed so far on the trip but by no means a big city. It was an afternoon's bus ride from Cuero y Salado.

The hotel we had picked out in the guidebook didn't exist (continuing the theme of misinformation from the Lonely Planet). So we just headed to the ocean and got a room in the first hotel we stopped at. It was a little cramped and in need of a paint job, but a balcony looking over the ocean for $25 a night? We took it.

The next afternoon we packed up and headed to Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, a few miles away. We took a tour of the arboretum and spent the night in one of their guest cottages.

Lancetilla is a strange spot, a very cultivated park in the middle of a community that's much more forested. But when we tried to walk around in the wilder areas, along the dirt roads, we were turned back several times by people asking us not to walk in the community.

In the morning we spent a few hours birding in the park and saw among other things: tanagers, orioles, nesting oropendulas, toucans, parrots, and a ferruginous pygmy owl.

On this tour and the one in Las Mangas, we were told that the guanacaste tree has special significance because if you make a wish known while holding on to the tree, it will transmit your wish up the tall trunk and out the many branches, straight into the heavens. Can't hurt to try, right?

Mid-morning we caught a cab out to the main road and started a long day of bus travel.We bought fresh lychees for the road from one of the many vendors that mobbed the bus at every stop.

It took a few hours to reach San Pedro Sula, and four more to Copan Ruinas.