Author’s note: This is the second post in my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read more, click here.
As I walked down the stairs off the plane and entered the steamy, humid air of Honduras I felt an instant shock at the thickness and warmth of the air. After a dry cold December in Minnesota, the tropical heat and humidity of Roatan felt like I had entered a sauna fully dressed.
The second reminder that I had arrived in Honduras was Customs. I have traveled abroad many times and had never seen a Customs area and process quite like the one I found in the tiny airport of Roatan. There was no rhyme or reason to the queue. It was just a random, push and shove line and somehow I ended up at the back with a group of energetic scuba instructors. At least we got a few laughs at the craziness of customs on a small foreign island!
During my flight, I had done my share of reading the latest edition of Lonely Planet Honduras and learned some pretty interesting facts about this amazing land. First, Honduras is the second largest country in Central America (112,090 square kilometers) and is roughly comparable in size ro the state of Tennessee. Second, over 75% of the land is covered by rugged jungly mountains, something that I did not know before coming to Honduras. Third, Honduras has two seasons: Wet and Dry. Apparently I had come at the tail end of the wet season and was in for some crazy torrential downpours but it beats the insane heat during the months of June, July and August. It is always humid here as well. Fourth, it is the only country of its neighbors Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua that did not find itself embraced in an awful civil war, despite the fact that Honduras shared the same economic and social circumstances. This was the one fact that interested me the most. Why was Honduras so different than her neighbors? It was something I wanted to find out.
I gathered my luggage and was happy to see my ride awaiting with a white placard in hand with the words “West Bay B&B”. After being ripped off many times before, I always request an airport pickup in advance when traveling to another country. It is always nice to have a smiling face awaiting your arrival, especially when you are traveling alone.
Another young couple, newly-weds from South Carolina, were staying at the same place as me so we spent the next twenty minutes chatting away in the cab. I sat up front so I could take pictures along the way. The lush, verdant landscape and gorgeous vistas of the Caribbean Sea where not at all what I expected of Honduras. Little did I know, that Roatan and the mainland of Honduras are worlds apart. Like night and day.
The sky was cloudy as it had just rained. Not the best weather for taking pictures nor hitting the beach. But our driver, an Islander born and raised in Roatan, assured me that the brilliant hot sun would come out before the day ended, and he was right.
Based on extensive research on TripAdvisor and in Lonely Planet, I decided to try two parts of the island for my stay. For the first day, I would stay in lovely West Bay, supposedly the most beautiful beach on the island and some of the best snorkeling (the entire island of Roatan is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world so you really can’t go wrong with where you stay). For the return trip at the end of the week, I was going to stay at a secluded cay on the other side of the island. I wanted to experience both and looking back, I am so glad I did.