San Antonio de Oriente in Honduras, a beautiful town

This time I would like to tell you about a little town in Honduras, which is very famous, and do you know why this town is famous for?. Well, let me tell you why. This little town which is located inside the mountains, not very far from Tegucigalpa, is known because it was the inspiration for a very famous Honduran painter, this artist was Jose Antonio Velasquez, who painted some of the most beautiful primitive paintings known worldwide. He has been recognized to be one of the best primitive painters in the world. Velasquez lived from 1906 to 1983, he was born in this little town, San Antonio de Oriente. Many of his paintings were inspired by the landscapes in his native town. If you ever take a look at some of his paintings, you will agree with me that his work is really great. You can see in many of his paintings landscapes of a beautiful town inside the mountains. Well, that town is San Antonio de Oriente.

I was there a few days ago, and I would like to share with you some interesting things when you do this trip. San Antonio de Oriente is located about 25 miles east of Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. You have to take the main Tegucigalpa exit to the East, going to the Valley of El Zamorano, which is a very famous location in Honduras, is known because of the Panamerican Agricultural School of El Zamorano, a very prestigious international institution for education of agronomist professionals who come to study from many countries in America.

Well, if you want to go to San Antonio de Oriente, you have to go to El Zamorano valley. When you get there, take a left turn going into a little town with the name of El Jicarito. About 3 miles and just before getting to El Jicarito, take a turn right, there is a road that will take you to San Antonio de Oriente, not very far from there, it´s only about 3-4 miles. Be advised that it is not a paved road, it is an unpaved road, not very wide, it goes up into the mountains nearby, a lot of curves going up all the way to our destination, San Antonio de Oriente. It´s a good idea to drive in a 4 x 4 car so you won´t have any problems getting there.

All the way until you get there is really beautiful, you drive inside the mountains and can take a look at some great landscapes looking down to the valley, and looking up to the mountains that surround the road, a lot of pine trees.

Finally, you will get to San Antonio de Oriente. If you've ever seen some of Velasquez paintings, you will be very surprised that you will see in this town the live inspiration of these paintings, you will be admiring a real live image of these famous landscapes. When you walk on those cobble streets going to the Church inside the town, you really feel like you are one of the characters in Velasquez paintings…..Wow, it´s incredible.

The town is located just inside the mountains, it is mixed into the trees and the base of the mountains. This is really one of the most beautiful landscapes you could ever see in Central America if you like colonial towns and beautiful natural landscapes. When you get there, it is a good idea to park your car and take a walk all over the town. If you can go up walking into the nearby hills, you will be able to see some of the most amazing views when you look down the town, the church, the streets…………really beautiful.

Not many people use to go there, I really don´t know why. Maybe because it requires some effort to make this trip. It is not in the way to any other place, if you want to go there, you have to decide go there and just go. It's like you have to say, let´s go to San Antonio de Oriente, and you just go. It is a very interesting experience.

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Central America competing in New 7 Wonders of Nature Contest

I don't know if you are aware of this contest, in case you were not aware let me tell you that there is a worldwide competition for naming the New 7 Wonders of Nature. People all over the world is to choose by Internet voting what places they consider to be a wonder of nature. Top 7 places are going to be officially recognized as the New 7 Wonders of Nature very soon. This is happening right now as we speak. At the moment there are over 100 places all over the world competing for this honor. By early 2009 there is going to be a final list for the top 21 places. Final voting for the top 7 is going to be completed in 2009, and winners are going to be announced in 2010.

There are many places all over the world that are candidates for this prize. Right now there are over 100 places already nominated as I said before, beautiful places from all over the world. All nominated places are really beautiful, we're talking about natural beauty, places that really take your breath away by just looking a picture of them. Some of these places are already famous, and some of them are barely known.

Central America had to be on this list, and it is. Yes, there are 10 Central American places already nominated. We would like to give you a quick information on these 10 nominated places from Central America. We're going to mention the nominated places by country and a very brief description of each, just to give you an idea of them. Here we go…

1. Belize Barrier Reef: coral reefs in Belize are really famous, they are definitely some of the best coral reefs in the world, a complete paradise for diving fans. Belize is known worldwide for having some of the best diving locations.

2. Great Blue Hole: it is a famous seascape in Belize, it has the shape of an almost perfect circle, it goes very deep about 400 feet, the diameter of this circular shape is about 1000 feet. This is one of the most known touristic places in Belize, a must see if you ever visit this country.

3. Pacaya Volcano: an active volcano, it has some eruptions from time to time. Located about 20 miles south of Guatemala City. When it has some eruption activity, the ashes go all the way to Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City as well. There are many volcanoes in Guatemala and Central America, but this Pacaya Volcano is one of the most famous.

4. Semuc Champey: it is a valley in the jungle, located in the province of Alta Verapaz, nearby a town called Lanquin. It is really a very beautiful place, there is a river that somehow goes down underground, looks like the jungle swallows the river completely, it is like the river dissapearing down and under the jungle. Not many people know this place. Incredible…

5. Lake Atitlan: one of the most beautiful lakes not only in Central America but in the world, no kidding. It is also the deepest lake in Central America, goes deep down to 340 meters. There is a volcano nearby, and several mayan towns. Incredible natural beauty, a must visit if you ever go to Guatemala someday.

6. Platano Forest: in the caribbean north of Honduras. A rain forest, it is an incredible jungle. The Platano River is one of the largest rivers in Central America, wild and beautiful. All area around this river is called the Platano Forest. Vegetation, trees, animals, a perfect place to visit if you are into adventure type of tourism. It is still unexplored, virgin land.

7. Coatepeque Lake, Crater Lake: the lake is inside what it used to be a volcano crater. Really beautiful and unique. There is an island inside the lake with some Mayan ruins. This is the only place nominated so far for El Salvador, but an incredible one it is..... don´t you agree?

8. Ometepe Island: located inside Nicaragua Lake. Ometepe is the largest island in the world inside a freshwater lake. The island was formed by the union of two volcanoes, both are part of the island, and they are attached together by a portion of land. Very easy to visit not very far from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua.

9. Cocos Island, located offshore Costa Rica, it is a National Park. This is one of the few islands in the world that is a complete rain forest. There are mountains and water falls. There are no hotels or resorts in the island in order to protect nature, visitors must get early in the morning and leave in the afternoon..... Wow!

10. Arenal Volcano, an active volcano as many others in Central America. Sometimes you can actually see the eruptions. It is part of Arenal Volcano National Park, a complete rain forest and beautiful jungle. It used to be not active for over 400 years, until it erupted again in 1968, it's been active since…

As you can see, there are a lot of places in Central America nominated for this world contest, all of them are really beautiful natural locations. Which one did you like the most?. Feel free to post a comment and let us know. I bet some of them were unknown to you, weren´t they?. I really hope some of these places will make it to the final top 7 at the end of the contest. You can also vote for your favorite places if you want, just log on to the following link:

Vote for the New 7 Wonders

Only follow the instructions. Hopefully you will vote for some Central America nominees…..

Tela, a beautiful beach in the Honduran Caribbean

This time I would like to tell you about another paradisiac beach in the Caribbean part of Central America. This interesting destination is Tela, in Honduras. As I have explained in previous posts, the Caribbean in Central America has a lot of tourist destinations, and some of the best beaches are located in the Honduran Caribbean. If you take a look in a map of Central America, you will notice that the Caribbean has a lot of territory, I mean, there is a large amount of beaches, all the way from Belize down to Panama. There is a lot of territory in the south with the Pacific Ocean as well.

From my personal point of view, the best beach destinations in Central America are definitely located in the north, into the Caribbean. Many of them are paradisiac places. This time I will tell you about this beautiful place, the name is Tela as I said before. There is a very good advantage about this place, it is very easy to get there. If you take a look at the Honduras map, you will see that Tela is located very near to San Pedro Sula. Do you know how many hours would you have to drive from San Pedro Sula?. It´s only one hour, or if you´re driving not very fast, it would be 1 hour and 20 minutes at the most. The road is in pretty good condition, it is paved road, most of the trip is through plain terrain, only a few mountains in the way.

You can go very easily to Tela from San Pedro Sula as you can see, you can even go for a one day trip, you go in the morning and come back in the afternoon with no problems at all. Now, I suggest you could go for more than one day, so you can take advantage of the trip and you could have more time to explore different beaches. Tela is a beautiful town, and has a lot of beaches. It is located into a Bay, the name is Bay of Tela, which is several miles long. The best beaches are not in front of the town, for getting to the best beaches you have to drive either to the east, or to the west of the town, not very far away. If you drive about 20 minutes in either way, you will find some of the best beaches in the Caribbean part of Honduras.

I especially like some very beautiful beaches going East. One of those beaches is La Ensenada, it is a very well known beach in the area. Another famous beach nearby is Triunfo de la Cruz. Both of them are really beautiful beaches, a lot of white sand, a lot of coconut palm trees. In this area there are Garifuna communities. Garifuna people are descendants from the African people that came to live here many centuries ago, they have been living here for many years. They have very interesting traditions, their music and dancing is incredible. Their food is really good. You can have a taste of their food right there in the beach, they have places like little tents made with palm trees where you can sit and enjoy their food.

Now, about the beach itself, Tela is known as one of the best destinations in Honduras if you want to enjoy taking a swim into the Sea. The place is great for getting in there and enjoy the water, enjoy the waves that come from the Ocean. Some other beaches in the Caribbean are really calm, it´s like going into a pool, no waves, but in Tela you will find ocean waves, it´s not like you´re going to surf or anything like that, they are smooth waves, really nice and cool.

A really good thing to do if you go to Tela is taking a quick trip with some Garifuna people in a boat, they can take you in a boat with an engine and drive you into the ocean all along the Bay of Tela if you want. That´s a real adventure.

If you go to Tela and intend to stay a few days, there are several Hotels and resorts, very good by the way. There is project coming in the next few years that will become very famous, the project is known as Bay of Tela. A lot of Hotels and resorts are going to be built, golf courses and all ammenities for a first class beach destination.

Every time I have the chance I go to Tela, I take the opportunity and go. When I think about taking a swim into the Sea, I inmediately think of Tela.

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