Author’s note: This post is part of my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read past posts on Honduras, click here.
When I arrived at the ferry station and saw my fellow passengers, it was the first real indication that Roatan and the mainland of Honduras were worlds apart. Unlike the jam-packed United Airlines flight from Houston loaded with passengers dressed in their country club best, 98% of the ferry passengers were Honduran. I was the only blond-haired blue-eyed person on the entire ship of a couple hundred people.
I honestly will say that I was a bit apprehensive about arriving on the mainland. I’d done my homework before the trip and knew that Honduras had some of the highest levels of poverty and crime in the Western Hemisphere. Although I had traveled alone to Guatemala just a year before, I knew Honduras would be different and I’d have to be a bit more careful as a solo woman traveler.
Per the CIA World Factbook, “Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America and has the world’s highest murder rate. More than half of the population lives in poverty and per capita income is one of the lowest in the region”. Those numbers don’t lie and don’t sugarcoat the real dangers that lurk within the country. Yet, not all of Honduras is crazy dangerous. Like any other big city in the world, La Ceiba has its safe and unsafe parts. As long as you use some common sense, you will be fine. The US State Department website abated my fears by saying that although there is danger in Honduras, “the vast majority of travelers travel without incidence“.
Roatan is part of the Bay Islands or Islas de la Bahia, and is only 1.5 hours by ferry from La Ceiba where I would be staying for my volunteer work.
I arrived well ahead of schedule for the departure time of 2 PM. It was a hot and humid afternoon, typical of Honduras in the rainy season. I opted to wait in the outside area instead of the indoor air-conditioned lounge as I knew it was a mere 25 degrees F at home in Minnesota. Best to enjoy the sticky heat and and also to adjust. There would be no air-conditioning in my host family or the places I would be spending most of my time.
It was hard to say goodbye to this verdant tropical paradise. But the good news is that I knew I’d be back in less than a week.
I let the gentle waves calm my soul and began to wonder what my week would be like in La Ceiba. Would I like it there? Would I feel safe? Would I be able to communicate with my half-ass Spanish? These were all things I’d have to figure out.