Author’s note: This post is part of my series on my recent trip to Honduras. To read past posts on Honduras, click here.
La Ceiba is not known as the most beautiful city in the world. In fact, it is known for being well, rather ugly. I had been warned about the unattractiveness of the city several times through my research in Lonely Planet and other noteworthy travel sites. But La Ceiba was where my volunteer project was based so I was going to make the best of it and be sure to use that good old “third-eye” (i.e. open-minded approach). Ugly or not, I would find the beauty of it.
A little background on La Ceiba which I found interesting per my friends over at Wikipedia:
La Ceiba is a port city on the northern coast of Honduras in Central America. It is located on the southern edge of the Caribbean estimated population of over 170,000 living in approximately 170 residential areas (called colonias or barrios), it is the fourth largest city in the country and the capital of the Honduran department of Atlántida. La Ceiba was officially founded on August 23, 1877. The city was named after a giant ceiba tree which grew near the old dock, which itself finally fell into the sea in late 2007.
When I arrived via ferry from the rich, lush tropical paradise of Roatan I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t honestly know what to expect and will admit that I was a little naive in my thoughts that Honduras would be similar to Guatemala. I was very wrong indeed. It was like comparing apples to oranges. They two countries are nothing alike. Not in culture, people, architecture or landscape. While Honduras is certainly beautiful, the town itself of La Ceiba was not exactly what you would call beautiful. Yet as I said before, you had to open your eyes and find it. It was definitely there.
The landscape of Honduras is certainly stunning, awash in jungles and mountains. However, my first impressions of the city of La Ceiba itself were a bit of surprise and disappointment. It looked nothing like my lovely Xela or Antigua, Guatemala where I had traveled the year before and adored. Instead, La Ceiba was dirty, run-down, full of electrical wires and ugly.
The center of town is a mishmash of buildings in various states of decay along with lots and lots of electrical wires. It is bursting with activity during the day and shut down and empty at night.
There is some beautiful architecture in La Ceiba. You just need to look behind the buzz of electrical wires and junk shops.
And then….there are the markets.
And I saved the best for last. There are the people….
Stay tuned….next up we will learn about the fascinating history of Honduras.