In the Western part of the country, at least, there are enough churches to satisfy even the most rabid colonial architecture aficionado. Some of the smallest, most humble examples can also be the most touching. We're not talking vertiginous naves and gold-laden altars here, but peaceful and cool sanctuaries, away from the sun and from the worries of the world.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Little variety in the cuisine
The food I tried was good and inexpensive, but also remarkably unchanging. Except on the coast, where there is plenty of seafood, the fare is almost set in stone: plantains, pork chops, refried beans, hard cheese, eggs, avocado, and tortillas. You can add variety with licuados (fruit smoothies). And, of course, there is always plenty of coffee on hand.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Strong family units
I felt 100% safe in the parts of Honduras which I visited. Not coincidentally, I noticed that family ties are very strong there. Everyone seems to be carrying a toddler or accompanying a senior citizen. Even young men who sell bootleg DVDs do it while minding a baby. It's probably an oversimplification, but I had a feeling that Honduran society is basically decent.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Getting Around the Water Issues
When I was there several years ago, the water supply in Juticalpa was turned on from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., which would have worked fine except for during those hours the Sandinistas would on occasion sabbotage the water supply.
I'm pretty sure washing clothes in the river was a common activity, regardless of whether the city had running water, and it was where where I ended up bathing during the week I was there (upstream from the cattle, on good days).
The money is Honduras is the Lempira named after an indio called Lempira. The lempira was fluctuating a little in between my two trips around 10-15 Lempiras for $1 US.
The only currency of any real value in Honduras is the US Dollar. I wouldn't risk bringing other currencies. It was possible to get cash advances from my credit card at most major banks (Banco de Occidente, Banco Atlantida and Bancahsa in Tela for example or Banco Atlantida, Credomatico, Aval Card and Honducard in SPS). Most banks are open from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 2:00 to 4:00 from Monday to Friday, and only in the morning on Saturday.
In San Pedro Sula there are always touts trying to get you to change your dollars on the street near the central park. The rate they are offering is usually the same as those of the banks. In Tela, however, I was living there for sometime and new the touts quite well (they knew me by name) and had no qualms about changing my money with them. I didn't have any trouble...
To find out how much the Lempira is worth click here to launch the currency convertor
Carving of the head of an old...
Carving of the head of an old man. If you think about it, he must have been a Ruler - why else would they have gone through the trouble.
Actually I have since learned it's the head of a bacab, one of fifteen around the base of a temple. 'bacabs' were representations of Mayan deities, and there were perhaps as many as 166 of these. In a complicated system, each bacab also represented a direction (east or west for example), as well as a color.Related to:
The famous 'petroglyph' or...
The famous 'petroglyph' or 'heiroglyph' staircase at Copan. If they ever get all these stones back in the proper order, they may be able to translate the Mayan writing some day. For all we know it just might say 'Please keep to the right.' hehe- just kidding!Related to:
Another Mayan 'stele' Take...
Another Mayan 'stele'
Take the trouble to go up the road another kilometer and visit the connecting site known as 'Las Sepulturas.' It is called the 'tombs' for the burials found under the floors of the buildings. But perhaps more importantly it points to how Mayan society organized itself, with relatives of the Ruler of Copan probably being given compounds of their own to live in. If you look at the site carefully you can tell, even by the topography, who was important and who was less important in descending order. The caretakers here are very lonely, few tourists bother to come.But it is certainly worth a visit.One of the workers kicked the dirt and then picked up an object and handed it to me. It was a piece of a Mayan obsidian blade.Related to:
Honduran 'money' is the...
Honduran 'money' is the Lempira, and the exchange rate as of 3/2001 was 15.25 Lempiras = $1 American. The currency is basically notes, so if you are owed in change for example 5.20 Lempira don't be surprised if you don't get the 20 centavos. Nobody likes the coins as they are basically worthless, so they tend to round things off.
Rule of thumb:
15 Lempira = $1.00*
20 Lempira note = $1.35*
50 Lempira note = about $3.25*
100 Lempira note = about $6.50*
500 Lempira note = about $33* (but change them at a bank cause no one else usually has enough to change them - except gas station attendants, of course!).By the way, as soon as you leave the airport you will be greeted with money changers with big wads of bills. You might as well change some money with them. Apparently it isn't illegal, they do it quite openly, and you will get the same rate or better than the rate being offered in the banks.
DON'T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE TRAVELOGUES
Looks very Indian doesn't it? An interesting trivia fact > Only two early civilizations came to an understanding of the value of 0 in mathematics, and about the same time - 700AD. The Indians and the Maya.Related to:
The famous 'Altar Q'...
The famous 'Altar Q' depicting the 16 dynasties of the Rulers of Copan - 4 on each side.The most well known Ruler of Copan was '18 Rabbit' who ruled for 43 years. He was responsible for beginning the construction of Temple 22, the hieroglyphic staircase, and the extraordinary ballcourt.He was captured in an ambush by warriors from Quirigua, and later, unfortunately, 'lost his head.'Related to:
The Lenca people
The Lenca Indians of Honduras were here with the Maya, and today remain a truly traditional culture. Independent, and frequently autonomously operating under their own "rule" (not the Honduran government's).
This picture was taken in La Esperanza, western Honduras, near the border with El Salvador.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The Indians resisted Spanish colonialism, and, by some accounts, almost managed to drive the colonizers from the mainland. The chief of the Lenca tribe, Lempira, led 30,000 Indians against the Spanish, but was treacherously murdered at peace talks in 1538, and by the following year resistance was crushed.
When in Roatan, the islanders...
When in Roatan, the islanders speak a mix between english, spanish and a local slang that noone could understand. Don't expect luxury there. People is nice but not extremely friendly.
Don't be in a hurry... take your time..
Internet connections are SLOW....
Internet connections are SLOW. Hotmail is very slow connecting and also very slow in loading the inbox. People said that Yahoo mail was fast. Consider getting Yahoo mail before you travel or at least empty your inbox, and divert your junk mail before you leave. The cost of internet in Tela and Trujillo was 25 limp ($1.56) per half hour. I could manage to read one or two messages and send two or three in one half hour with Hotmail. In Utila it was way worse. It is much slower, and costs $12 per hour. I thought that was bad until I found out it was $8 per half hour! I managed to read 1 and send one message to 2 people in a half hour. In Tela I found internet at the Mango Cafe, at the West end of calle 8. There was another on 8 calle at about 4 av. In Utila there are well marked internet access on the main road on both sides of Monkey tail road. In Trujillo, internet is available at a computer school. Go to the west end of 3 calle, turn left and immediately look upstairs to the right for the school. There is a stairway at the side of the building. I saw a poster for an internet cafe, but I don't know where it is.
Oh, by the way, the streets are not marked. 1 Calle is the one that goes past the front of the park and Church; count from there (Also, the Moon guide has town maps).
Copan Ruinas, Copan, Honduras
Good for: Solo
West Bay Beach, Island of Roatan
Good for: Business
Bahia de Tela, Tela, Honduras
Good for: Business
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