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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Visiting Valle de Angeles in a week day

Last week I made a quick trip to Valle de Angeles, you know, the famous colonial town near Tegucigalpa, about 30 minutes drive. I have written previous posts about Valle de Angeles, a place which is famous for being a tourist destination, colonial spanish town in the Tegucigalpa area, in Honduras.

I don´t know how many times I have gone there, I´ve lost the account. Now, the interesting thing with this particular visit is that I did the trip in a week day, I believe it was a Wednesday morning. Most of the times I have gone there, it´s been on a weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. Most people who visit Valle de Angeles do it on weekends, the amount of people that goes there in a weekend day is a lot. Since the moment you begin your trip going out of Tegucigalpa and taking the road to Valle de Angeles, you notice a lot of cars and people going with you in a weekend. And when you get there, to Valle de Angeles, there is a lot of people walking in the streets, most of them are tourists. But you know, it is really a lot of people in a normal weekend day, which is fine, no problem.

Now, going back to my initial topic, this time I did the trip on a week day. It´s not the first time I go there in a week day, but it has been only a few times that I've done that. And you know what, I think you enjoy the trip a lot more on a normal week day compared with a weekend day. And you know why?. It´s simple, because you can enjoy more with much less people around the town at the same time. You will always find a lot of tourists and people visiting Valle de Angeles any day, in fact this time there were a lot of people also, but nothing compared with the crowd that goes there on weekends.

You can feel much more relaxed with less people around you, you can take a walk in the town, very cool, very easy. You can have much more places available to park your car almost anywhere.

I also took this opportunity to visit a very interesting place there. As you probably know, Valle de Angeles is the main base of the artisans who work and make incredible handicrafts. The artisans have some type of exposition for their work. In Valle de Angeles there are several pavillions for showing the handicrafts. These pavillions are some type of large showrooms where you can go in there and take a walk to admire all kinds of handicrafts. I had been there many times before also, but this time for some reason I had more chance to take a better look at these pieces of art work because there weren´t many people visiting in a week day. It´s incredible how beautiful these handicrafts can be.

Many of them are carved wood, some other are pottery, hammocks, paintings, you name it!. These artisans really know their work. I believe these handicrafts are really unique, they are pieces of real art. The variety is very wide, going from the range of little things that you could place in a desk in your office or home, but also you can find very large items. For example, I saw a carved wood door, 2 meters high, 1 meter wide. It´s a door you could install in your home. I will get a door like this someday very soon to put it in my home. It´s incredibly beautiful. There are also carved wood boxes, they have rural landscapes carved in the surface. From little boxes to large boxes. They would make an excellent ornament in any home or any office. Real impresive work.

The artisans have an association, it´s called Asociacion Nacional de Artesanos de Honduras (ANAH), which is National Association of Honduran Artisans. These people are really incredible with their work.

After visiting the artisans pavillions, I took a long walk downtown Valle de Angeles, looking at the beauty of the town. This place is really great, you feel very relaxed, it´s like traveling back in time, you forget about the city at least for a couple of hours. Someday I would like to live in a town like this….

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A quick visit to Copan Ruins

This time I would like to tell you about a quick visit I made recently to the Mayan Ruins in Copan, Honduras. This is not the first post I write about this mystic and extraordinary place, and I´m sure it won´t be the last post either. I have been there many times before, and I will be there many times again in the future. It is always a very good place to visit. You can never see enough of Copan Ruins, not in one visit and I think not in all the visits you could possibly do.

I was taking vacations for one week early this year, and I was thinking about what places I could visit. Most times when you are planning vacations, you are thinking about visiting new places……. Where I have not been before?. Where could I go this time?. That's fine, I guess most people think this way. However, this time I was thinking to myself, it's been at least 3 years that I have not visited Copan Ruins, it's always a very interesting place to visit, and decided to go there, at least for a day in order to take a look and refresh my memories of that place.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I was based in El Cajon with the idea to visit several places that week, and one of those places was Copan Ruins. So I made up my mind and went there for a one day visit, leaving El Cajon early in the morning, visit the ruins the rest of the day and return to El Cajon late in the afternoon.

In order to take advantage of a one day visit, I had to leave early in the morning. Driving from El Cajon to Copan is about 3.5 hours. You have to go from El Cajon to San Pedro Sula, and take the main road from San Pedro Sula to Copan. So I left El Cajon at 6:00 am and I got to Copan Ruins at 9:30. That was a good time to get there, I could stay in the Ruins at least the rest of the day. The weather was not very hot, it was cool, excelent for this visit.

Once you are in Copan Ruins, it's an adventure, it is like traveling through time many centuries ago. In this post I'm not going to talk in detail about the Copan Ruins history, but every time I visit this place I get an incredible feeling………Wow!. The monuments, the ruins, the carved stone, it's amazing. I don´t know how much you are familiar about mayan ruins, but you know, Copan is the most artistic Mayan place ever known. Any person who knows about Mayans can tell you this. The buildings, the hieroglyphic writings carved in the stones. Copan Ruins was the most artistic mayan place that ever existed, and you can see that in the ancient ruins, it's still there.

There are many other mayan cities all over Central America and even in Mexico, some of those cities are larger than Copan, or have much larger buildings, higher or whatever other feature. But looking at ruins from an artistic point of view, Copan is the one site to visit if you had to choose one Mayan place to go someday. Well, that´s may point of view anyway……..

That day I visited every corner into the Copan Ruins, climbed every stairway, every monument, I even visited a couple of caves that go into the buildings, very interesting. Later that day I felt pretty tired, you know, it's a lot of walking, but it is worth it.

In the afternoon I went to the town nearby to have lunch and a cup of coffee, ……… you know what is the name of the town nearby? ………..wanna guess?. It's easy. The name of the town is………Copan Ruins, it´s only about 4 miles east of the Mayan Ruins. Very beautiful town, colonial buildings, good places to have a good food, it´s very nice to walk in the streets. A lot of tourists there, people from all over the world. If you visit the Mayan Ruins in Copan, you have to visit the town as well.

Later that afternoon I left Copan with the feeling that it was a worth visit. I felt pretty tired but with a great feeling.

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A visit to El Cajon in Honduras

A few weeks ago I visited a place in Honduras near Lake Yojoa. This place is unique and very interesting. The name of this place is El Cajon. What about it? What's in that place that is worth visiting?. Well, let me tell you that I was planning to take a week for vacations, and I figured that visiting the north area of Honduras would be a good choice.

My idea was to go somewhere that could be a good location in order to take advantage of the few days available, so I could go to different places in the same week, but I needed like a base for establish myself, and go to the different places in different days, and go back to my base the same day, so I could do something similar the next day and so on for the rest of the week.

Someone I know suggested to go this place, El Cajon, that would be a good place to establish myself as I was planning, the location is good, it is pretty near to some very interesting other places where I could go and return the same day. Now, everything I knew about El Cajon so far was that I have heard about it, this place is known because there is a water dam in the area. In fact, the name of this water dam is El Cajon. But I said, what about a water dam?. It may be an interesting place to visit, but for one day and that´s all. I thought I could go there, visit the water dam, but I had no idea what else I could do there.

To give you an idea where it is located, as I said before, this place is in the Lake Yojoa area. You have to drive about 20 minutes north of Lake Yojoa in the main road to San Pedro Sula, and you will get to a detour right to a well known town with the name of Santa Cruz de Yojoa. You drive about 25-30 minutes in a paved road, into the mountains, and you will get to El Cajon.

Well, it turns out that El Cajon is a water dam, but you know what, it is one of the highest water dams in the World. Yes, it is listed in the top 20 highest water dams of the whole world. The concrete water dam structure in El Cajon is about 230 meters high, it looks huge!. Another interesting thing about this water dam is that because of its magnitude, it is a huge electricity generator. In order to keep this water dam and all its associated facilities running, a lot of people has to work there.

The electricty company has two base camps where the employees that work in El Cajon need to live. The camps are pretty nice, they have in there all they need to live, they are like little towns.

Going back to my initial plan, the idea was to be based in one of these camps, I had a complete house available with living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, a complete house. Now, the catch here is the following …… how can anybody go to one of these camps and get a house available?. Unfortunately I have to tell you that these camps are not open to the public, they are only available for people who work there, or their families.

Well, I think I was pretty lucky on this one…….it turns out that my sister in law works in the electricity company, and she could get me a house because we are relatives, we are family. With this place available for me, I could go on with my initial plan. I figured it would be a good idea to go there, establish myself in one of those camps, and go to different places the rest of the week, go and return the same day so I could spend the night in the camp.

And I did just that, I went there and had a very interesting week. The same week I went to San Pedro Sula, next day I went to Tela, next day I went to the mayan ruins in Copan, next day I went to Lake Yojoa and Pulapanzak. I also spent a couple of days inside the camps in El Cajon, it is very cool, they have pools, parks, places to visit inside the camps, you can admire nature, mountains, fresh air. I also went to visit the water dam of course, it is incredible.

Ordinary people can also visit El Cajon, the water dam. It is a one day visit, you can go there anytime and take a look at this interesting place. Unfortunately you can not stay in the camps unless you work in the electricty company, or some member of your family works there. Lucky me on this one!

In other posts I will tell you about the other places I visited that week (Tela, San Pedro Sula, Copan Ruins)……….

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From Siguatepeque to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

In my previous post I told you about the first half of the trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula until getting to Siguatepeque. When you make this trip driving from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula, you have to take a rest in Siguatepeque. It is like a must stop, while you rest you can have lunch, there are a lot of restaurants right next to the road. I suggest you go to Granja D'elia, very good food. A lot of people stop there to have food, drink coffee, take a rest. You can relax for some minutes, stretch your arms and legs, breath natural air. It is not a good idea to do all the 4 hours drive from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula without taking a break. Siguatepeque is the perfect place to take that break, right in the middle of the trip.

After taking a rest and food, I moved on with my trip. Siguatepeque is like in the mountains, similar to Tegucigalpa. Going from Siguatepeque to San Pedro Sula is about 2 hours drive, most of it is downhill, from the mountains down to the Valley of Sula. Now, there is a very interesting place in the road, I already have written previous posts about it. About 30-40 minutes from Siguatepeque, in the road to San Pedro Sula, you will spot to your left, right next to the road, Lake Yojoa, a very beautiful lake. It is surrounded by mountains, the water is very blue. It is a very beautiful landscape. Unfortunately this time I didn´t stop in Lake Yojoa, I was kind of a hurry in getting to San Pedro Sula. But many times I have stopped in Lake Yojoa to enjoy the natural beauty, and to enjoy some of the best fried fish food I've ever eaten, fish food is delicious. Not this time, but next time I will stop by and eat fish.

Going from Lake Yojoa to San Pedro Sula is like getting into more plain terrain, not a lot of mountains. By the way, the road in this area has been recently enhanced, there is a project for enhancing the road from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa until become a real Highway, right now it is under construction. There are many interesting places in this area, near Lake Yojoa. A nearby place is Pulapanzak, a famous waterfall. If you want to go there you have to take a turn left and drive through a different road and drive about 30 minutes. Another interesting place nearby is Santa Cruz de Yojoa, a nice town. In that area you will find El Cajon, which is a very large water dam, it was built about 20 years ago. I've been there by the way, very interesting. In order to go there you should take a turn right going to Santa Cruz de Yojoa, and drive about 30 minutes into the mountains. But again, this is a different road, not in the way to San Pedro Sula.

Next key place in the trip in the way to San Pedro Sula is La Barca, which is an intersection where you decide to go north to San Pedro Sula, or turn right and you're in the way to the city of El Progreso, Tela, La Ceiba (beaches in the Caribbean). This time I took the way to San Pedro Sula.

Not very far from La Barca, you will get to the following towns: Potrerillos, Pimienta, Villanueva. When you get to the town of Villanueva, you almost made it to San Pedro Sula. Villanueva is only 20-25 minutes from San Pedro Sula, it is an industrial town, a lot of Maquila facilities. Villanueva has become like a south neighborhood of San Pedro Sula. A lot of people live in San Pedro Sula and work in Villanueva, they travel every day to their work. From Villanueva to San Pedro Sula there is a highway, very modern road. In no time you will get to San Pedro Sula.

Well, this is it. Very interesting 4 hours drive, the only stop was in Siguatepeque. I will tell you about San Pedro Sula in other posts.

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A trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula in Honduras

A few days ago I made this trip, driving from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula, this is in Honduras. I have made this trip several times, but it's always an interesting adventure. I would like to tell you about this trip, in case you are interested to do it someday I hope this information can be helpful.

Well, let´s start saying that Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula are the two main cities in Honduras. Tegucigalpa is the Capital city, San Pedro Sula is an industrial city. Both are large cities. The population of Tegucigalpa is about 1.5 million people, and San Pedro Sula is about 1 million. Now, it's interesting to know that San Pedro Sula is larger than Tegucigalpa, is like more spreaded in a valley, and it is surrounded by nearby cities which have become part of the main city. Most factories and industries are established in San Pedro Sula. Tegucigalpa is the base of the Honduran Government. Tegucigalpa is located in the central - south zone of the country, and San Pedro Sula is located in the north zone, very near to the Caribbean sea north of Honduras. Anyway, these are the two main cities in Honduras. The third largest city in Honduras is La Ceiba, a port in the Caribbean. I will tell you more about these cities in other posts, I was only trying to do like an introduction and give you a quick overview of these cities.

Many local people have a popular saying…. they say while Tegucigalpa thinks, San Pedro Sula works, and La Ceiba enjoys. There is a carnival in La Ceiba every year, a lot of fun. I will tell you about the carnival in other posts.

Going back to our main subject, the trip from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula is very interesting. It is a 4 hours drive. The road is in pretty good condition. When you begin your trip in Tegucigalpa, you just take the main exit north of the city and you're in your way to San Pedro Sula. There are a lot of mountains in the Tegucigalpa area, the road goes up and down into the mountains, a lot of curves in the road. You have to watch out and drive carefully because the road has a lot of heavy traffic, a lot of buses and trucks use that road. Aproximately 20 minutes you will get to the valley of Amarateca. Then you go again into the mountains and will go through beautiful pine trees mountains. A lot of pine trees, all around. The pine tree is the national tree in Honduras, is like a national symbol.

About 1 hour after beginning the trip in Tegucigalpa, you will be in Comayagua, it is large valley. The city of Comayagua is almost at the end of the valley coming from South to North. Comayagua is a colonial city, very beautiful by the way. It used to be the capital city in Honduras in the 19th century, before the capital was moved to Tegucigalpa. This time I didn´t stop in Comayagua, I just went ride by the side of it.

After the Comayagua valley, you will go again up into the mountains, again the pine trees all over the place. It´s amazing how many pine trees you can see. About 30 minutes after leaving Comayagua, you will get to the middle of the trip, you are in the city of Siguatepeque.

Right now we are in the very middle of our trip, I will continue telling you about it in my next post…..

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Spanish Outlook village in Belize

In my previous post I was telling you about San Ignacio, a very nice and interesting town. I was also telling you about a nearby village named "Spanish Outlook". If you want to visit Spanish Outlook, there is something you should know in advance. It is an amish town, the amish people have their own traditions, customs and culture, they are very unique. They have lived in this area for many years. In fact, in all Central America there are only a few amish town communities. A couple of them are located in Belize, and one of them is Spanish Outlook. I bet you didn´t know this story…………..did you?

I would like to tell you about a very interesting experience you can have when taking the road to Spanish Outlook. When you are coming from San Ignacio, you take a left turn from the main road to Spanish Outlook, it is not a paved road, it is in pretty good condition though. A couple of miles into that road, you suddenly get to a river, and if you want to continue in your way to Spanish Outlook, you have to cross that river to the other side. But guess what……………there is no bridge, and it is not a narrow river. How can you do to cross to the other side?. Don’t worry, there is a way, and very interesting indeed……..would you like to know how?

The answer is………….there is a ferry available for crossing the river. You have to move your car up into the ferry, and the ferry will take you to the other side. The interesting part with this ferry is that it is operated by a man, there is a driver inside some type of rustic cabin into the ferry, and that man has to operate some manual devices and gearshifts with his very own effort, moving some pulley. The ferry is attached to guiding cables, and it moves because of the man operating the pulley. That man works very hard all day, every day, going from one end of the river to the other all the time, taking the ferry, cars and people all the time back and forward crossing the river, with his very own hands moving the pulley. He is a full time ferry driver, almost never has a chance to take a rest ……..incredible!

Well, after crossing the river you will finally get to this amish town, Spanish Outlook. Very nice place, a lot of work in the area, agriculture, cattle farming, milk industries, chicken farms, it is a very industrial place in its own ways. And you wouldn´t believe what other industry is set in that very remote area inland Belize, I couldn´t believe it myself until I saw with my very own eyes…… I insist, you will never believe it…

Do you want to take a guess?. If you have never been there I bet you would never guess.........There are oil wells in the area!. They take crude oil from underground and take it to a nearby oil terminal. Yes, in this remote amish community inland Belize, I'm not kidding!. It seems there are oilfields in that area, with enough amounts to take it out from the ground and take it to the refineries. It is under the control of Belize government of course.

What interesting things you can see in these places. You would never believe that Belize has so many different places to see and visit. We will talk about Belize again in future posts, there is so much more to talk about this beautiful country.

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Getting to Dangriga and San Ignacio in Belize

As I was telling you in my previous post about inland Belize, I finally made it to Dangriga, which is a town located in front of the ocean. By now we are down south of Belize City. There are many attractions in Dangriga, being a town right there in the ocean, main attractions are associated to beaches, cayes nearby, everything for which Belize is famous all over the world. I will tell you more details about Dangriga and nearby places in other posts. Right now, let´s go back to inland Belize.

My next destination was another town named San Ignacio. In order to get there from Dangriga, you have to drive back to Belmopan, about one hour and 15 minutes drive as I mentioned in my previous post. When getting to Belmopan you just turn left and continue the main road to the south west. From Belmopan to San Ignacio you have to drive about 40 minutes, it's very near really.

San Ignacio is a very beautiful place, inside the mountains, a lot of nice landscapes. There is a river entering the town, and a very large bridge. A lot of rain forest places, even jungles nearby. It looks nothing like the beach, it is completely different, you couldn't believe these places actually exist in Belize.

There are also Mayan ruins in the area, not very far away from San Ignacio. That´s another visit and will talk about it in the near future. I had the time to have lunch in a very well known touristic resort in San Ignacio, it has a fine restaurant with a beautiful view to the mountains. The name was San Ignacio Hotel and Resort, pretty nice place. You can sit in an outdoor terrace, and enjoy the view while you eat at the same time. Very relaxing experience.

If you want to go back from San Ignacio to Belize City, it's only about 1 hour and 30 minutes drive. However, before going back to Belize City, I suggest you take some time to visit a nearby village in the way. Just ask local people about "Spanish Outlook" village, they will show you the way, it's very near to San Ignacio.

I will tell you about Spanish Outlook village in my next post……

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A quick visit inland of Belize

I'm sure when you think about Belize, you inmediately associate this country with beaches, ocean, cayes, diving, islands, all Caribbean type of destination. And you're right, that's the main reason tourists go to Belize, a beautiful place indeed, a paradise for diving into the ocean and looking at coral reefs. Cayes in Belize are famous all over the world, that is absolutely true.

However, I would like to tell you about a trip I made to inland Belize a few days ago. Not a lot of people have the chance to make this type of trips. Who would want to visit the inland part of a country which has some of the most beautiful cayes and islands in the Caribbean?. Well, there are a lot of people interested in visiting some other destinations in Belize, there is a lot more to see other than beaches and cayes you know.

Anyway, let's start by saying that many people think that Belize City is the capital city of the country. Even myself, not a very long time ago thought that. I was wrong, and many people are wrong also. For your information, maybe you already know but many people don´t, the capital city of Belize is Belmopan, it is about one hour driving south west from Belize City. It is located inland Belize. You know, Belize City is the largest and main city in the country, but it is not the capital city.

The road that goes from Belize City to Belmopan is in good condition, the landscapes are nice, rural areas, very green. It is plain terrain all the way, no mountains or hills, not a lot to see really. My final destination was the city of Dangriga, it is located south east from Belmopan, about one hour and 15 minutes drive. Road in pretty good condition also. When you get to Belmopan you have to turn left and you're in your way to Dangriga. The landscapes change dramatically on this part of the trip. You start to see mountains all over the place, very beautiful views indeed, it is like a rain forest, very nice.

There are some interesting tourists attractions in the area which we will talk about in other posts. For instance there is the Blue Hole National Park, it's in the way to Dangriga into the rain forest. Local people say that it is like a hole in the middle of a river, the water goes from the hole into the ground and travels many miles until getting into the ocean, going through underground caves. Can you believe that?. I'm not completely sure it's really that way, but it is like a local legend and tradition. We will look into this famous Blue Hole in other posts as I said.

There is also a very famous view looking to the horizon at some mountains about the middle of the trip to Dangriga. It is the "sleeping giant mountain", local people say that if you look with full attention to that mountain, you can actually see the figure of a man sleeping, the mountains in the horizon somehow actually look like a sleeping man, a giant man. I could not believe that, not until I saw it with my very own eyes….it is true, the mountains have a shape of a giant man resting, that's the sleeping giant. What an interesting place indeed.

In another post I will tell you about the continuation of this trip, very interesting…

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Would you like to know what is Pulapanzak?

What am I talking about? Am I kidding you? Maybe you are wondering if this word "Pulapanzak" is some mistake, what is it?. Well, the word Pulapanzak is the name of a very famous waterfall in Honduras, in the heart of Central America, and of course, like many destinations we've talked about on our blog, you bet it is a very beautiful place.

Let me tell you that Pulapanzak is located very near Lake Yojoa, and it is a very good place to visit especially if you like nature and things related to rain forests or similar places. If you ever visit the Lake Yojoa area maybe you could make some time to take a quick trip to Pulapanzak. You can drive very easily to get there, it´s about 30 minutes drive from Lake Yojoa. If you're driving from South to North, like going from Tegucigalpa to San Pedro Sula over the main road, just after passing Lake Yojoa take a turn left, it's in the way to "Cañaveral", a very well known place in the area. Don’t be afraid to ask local people how to get to Pulapanzak, they will tell you, it's not difficult to get there.

All the way from Lake Yojoa to Pulapanzak is very beautiful, a lot of nature surrounding the road, very green landscapes. As you admire the mountains, trees and little towns along the road, in no time you will be in Pulapanzak.

When you get there, you have to get out of your car and walk. There are safe places to park your car, from there you have to walk in order to get to the waterfall, you can not see the waterfall from the road. But don´t worry, it´s not a long walk, only a few minutes.

Once you get there, I'm sure you will agree with me………it is a very beautiful natural scene, the waterfall makes a perfect picture for a good memory. I suggest you take some good pictures of the waterfall, with you in the pictures of course and the waterfall in the back. It feels like you are in the jungle, admiring how beautiful some natural places can be. This waterfall reminds me about some great places I have seen in many movies and TV documentals. It is very beautiful indeed.

Don´t expect to find hotels, resorts or very complex touristic facilities in the waterfall area, even though there are some very good hotels in Lake Yojoa, only minutes away. If you can take some food and water with you to the waterfall, that would be a good idea. I hope that it can stay that way for many years, I mean, the less touristic infrastructure, the better, it feels more natural that way.

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Would you like to go to Santa Lucia in Honduras?

In this post we would like to talk about a little colonial town located very near Tegucigalpa, capital city of Honduras. This town is Santa Lucia. If you ever think about a colonial spanish kind of towns, there are a lot of options in Central America, from Guatemala to Panamá, all over the countries there is a wide variety of towns under this definition.

However, now we will talk about Santa Lucia. Well, what can we say?. A lot of things. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Santa Lucia is peace and calm, very relaxing place. If you like old spanish type of towns, you will love Santa Lucia for sure. There is one great advantage on Santa Lucia, it is very near Tegucigalpa, it's only about 20 minutes driving, the road is in good shape. You can go there anytime if you ever visit Tegucigalpa, no matter if your visit is related to business or work, you could go there very quickly to have lunch or an early dinner, it's a visit you can´t miss.

I visit Santa Lucia whenever I have the chance. A lot of people I know from Tegucigalpa actually live in Santa Lucia, they live in the middle of the mountains surrounded by nature, a lot of pine trees, the weather is great, you can breath fresh air all the time. It is very relaxing indeed.

If you ever go to Tegucigalpa some day, you should definitely plan a visit to this town, it's in the way to Valle de Angeles, another colonial town which I have written about in other posts. Even though you could make a quick visit as we said before, we suggest you plan a visit on a weekend if possible, or any other day where you have enough time available. It would be ideal if you could get to the town, park your car, and take a walk on the cobblestones streets, walk as much as you can all over the town, go into the colonial church, take your time to watch the natural landscapes all around you, feel the taste and odors of colonial towns, talk with the local people, enjoy a cup of coffee, try the local food, see for yourself the beautiful flowers in the country, bottom line……relax, relax, relax.. What an incredible feeling!. And if you had more time to spare, let´s say a couple of days, you can actually spend the night there, there are many colonial hotels available in the town.

If you ever visit Tegucigalpa and couldn´t go to Santa Lucia, it would be really a shame. However, in a clear day with sun and no clouds, you can actually look with your own eyes this little town inside the mountains from Tegucigalpa, just take a look to the mountains in the north east and you will have an idea of what this town is all about. But the best thing would be to go there. Remember, it´s only 20 minutes drive…

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Vacations in Roatan

As a continuation to our last post about Roatan, we would like to tell you as an information the next things about this paradisiac island. Roatan and the Bay Islands are located very near to the north coast of Honduras in Central America, we're talking about the Caribbean here. It has an exceptional location, we're talking about the center of the American continent, very easy access from many places. It is very near from the South East part of the United States. For a better reference we will show you a location map, you can see here that it is very easy to get here from some major cities like Miami, Houston or New Orleans, also from many cities in Central America.

There are a lot of ways to get to Roatan, one of the most usual ways to get there is by air. We want to tell you that Roatan has an international airport which receives daily flights from Houston in Continental Airlines, from Atlanta in Delta Airlines, from many cities in Central America via Taca Airlines, there are charter flights coming from Europe from time to time. There are also a lot of local flights coming from Honduras main land, daily flights to Roatan. Bottom line, getting to Roatan is very convenient and easy for any tourist.

Another way to get there is through Cruise ships from the Caribbean, this travel alternative has had a very fast growing rate in the last few years. It is very common to see big Cruise ships in Roatan, right there in the docks. We were in Roatan a few weeks ago and we saw a Carnival Cruise ship, that is very usual. International Cruise lines arrive to Roatan very frequently. Can you imagine how many tourists visit this island?. It is incredible. When you are in the island, you are in a very touristic place, you can see tourists from all over the world. It is very usual to see American tourists, canadians, from europe, there are a lot of italians tourists and residents in the island as well. Also a lot of tourists from Latin America. As we said, tourists and people from all over the world.

With these many people visiting the island, Roatan has a great amount of Hotels and touristic resorts, a wide range of offerings, let's say for every taste, for every budget. However, even though there are a lot of hotels and touristic infrastructures, at the same time we can say that it is still a place yet to be discovered, yet to be fully developed by the big international hotel chains, famous hotels are yet to be installed. This is something that is coming in the next few years, in a very near future. Hopefully when this happens, the island will still keep it's natural beauty, one of the most atractive things of the island is that it still keeps many natural spots and places that are in its natural shape, we could describe many places in the island like virgin places.

If we want to describe a little bit the geography of the island, we can say that it is aproximately 40 miles long from east to west, and it is rather thin in a way, we don´t believe it is more than 3-4 miles wide from north to south. Even though it is not very wide, it has a lot of mountains in the middle with tropical forests, they are incredibly gorgeous landscapes by the way, people can practice extreme adventure sports.
As for the beaches, there are a lot, and we could describe the beauty of the beaches here with one simple expression ……..Wow!. We don´t have any doubt that we're talking about ones of the best beaches in the World, no kidding. Landscapes that could be in the best postal photos or calendars with pictures of beaches and oceans. You have to be there in order to appreciate the real dimension of such natural beauty in this island.

For divers this is a complete paradise, it would be very difficult to find some other place in the world with beaches like the ones in Roatan for diving and snorkeling. Coral reefs are right there in front of the island, and according to the experts on this field and activities, this is a very special place. A lot of people come from the US, especially from Houston every weekend to practice diving, it is a hobby for these fans. It is a diving paradise for those who have access to Roatan in a very easy way. They just take a direct flight with Continental Airlines and less than 2 hours after, they are already enjoying in Roatan, very convenient, isn't it?

In future posts we're going to tell you a little bit more about some visits we have made to Roatan in the recent past, and some special places like beaches in West End and West Bay. For now, we strongly suggest that you take into consideration a visit to Roatan if you are planning in the future any visit to places in the beach, it is a real alternative for a great vacation, it is worth it, you won't regret your visit, that's for sure…..

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Roatan, a paradise in the Caribbean

Roatan, a paradise in the Caribbean

On this post we want to tell you about a touristic destination that we could consider like a jewel or precious stone if we were talking about paradisiac places, beach and ocean locations, the perfect place to take vacations if you want to really enjoy of white sand, blue water, beautiful natural spots. Well, this very special place is Roatan. On this blog we already had written something very brief about this beautiful place, but we also said that it was not possible to cover everything in one post and we would be writing something else in the future. Well, here we are then…..

Have you ever heard about Roatan or the Bay Islands? Does this name sound familiar to you? Do you have any idea where this place is located or what is it all about?. If you are the type or person that manages a little bit of touristic information related to beaches destinations, "Caribbean" type or similar places, you surely know what we are talking about and the name of Roatan will be familiar to you.

On the other hand, if you don't have any idea about this place, or if you had never heared about it, we want to tell you that you've been missing about the possibility of having in your potential travel and tourism destinations one of the best world class spots, first class, that doesn't have anything to envy to any other touristic destination in the world. We are not exaggerating, it is just like that, believe it or not!

If you already had information about Roatan, or if you already had heared about this place, we're going to give you a brief information that we´re sure is going to be very helpful if you ever visit this island. Or if you already have been there and would like to go again some day, it's always good to have additional information and tips from many sources.

Before we begin, if you didn´t have any information about Roatan, you could have a quick idea about how Roatan looks like in a very easy way, you can do it yourself in no time. They say that an image speaks a thousand words, sometimes images describe by themselves everything we could possibly write and try to describe about a place or location. Well, that easy way is through the Internet, it's the most practical tool that we have for getting information. You can go to Google, activate the image option and write the word "Roatan", click on the search button. Inmediately you will have a lot of images in your computer about this place. You will be able to see images with white beaches, blue water, spectacular sunsets, coral reefs, and so many other images related to this kind of views.

Roatan is a beach place that definitely falls into the category of paradisiac destination, that's a fact. The landscapes and views in Roatan are spectacular, very beautiful. When you visit this place, you inmediately start thinking about how beautiful our planet is, how wonderful our mother nature can be. We have visited Roatan many times, and every time we visit this place, we can never get enough from it, it's incredible.

Well, there is a lot to tell about this island, and as we said before, it's impossible to cover information on this destination in one post, we're going to have to cover this topic in separate notes, so our posts are not that long to read. To start, we want to tell you that Roatan is part of a group of islands in the Caribbean part of Honduras, in Central America. We're talking about the Bay Islands, that's the name of this group of islands. The largest island is Roatan. By the way, the other islands are also a world class tourism destination, no kidding!. But we're going to talk about those other islands in other posts so we don't make a mix of everything in this particular post. In this opportunity we will try to focus on Roatan, and also we're going to share with you some interesting information, and some personal travel experiences as well, with our personal touch and point of view. We were in Roatan a couple of weeks ago and it turned out to be very interesting, and even though we just visited this island, we're already looking forward to our next visit as soon as possible.

In our coming posts we're going to cover some topics and information about this paradisiac island in the Caribbean part of Honduras…

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