Destination: Roatan, Honduras
One obvious reason why I love my job as a Flight Attendant is the travel experience and the fact that I can write about it and share it with readers like you.
My first flight of the year (2013) was at Roatan, Honduras. As it was also my first time in this place, I was excited to find out what this country has to offer. My first thought? Food.
Tortilla is a staple food of Hondurans. It is usually made of cornmeal rolled into thin pancakes and supplemented by beans. This combination is what you would usually see in every Honduran meal.
I found out that green vegetables are not common in the average diet of Hondurans and albeit poultry and piggery are common, Hondurans reserved their meat for special occasions.
One popular Honduran dish is called Mondongo, a kind of rich flavored tripe soup. Other special delicacies include carrots stuffed with cheese, plantains and corn dumplings and creamed beets.
Of course, there's plenty of sumptuous fresh seafoods. So, you could imagine all lobsters, if you wish.
They also make a beverage out of fermented corn and sugarcane. But a must try drink is called the Monkey La La, which is Roatans' signature drink. An amazing and evil-licious combination of vodka, Kahlua or coffee liqueur, half and half, ice cream and cream of coconut, blended until smooth and frothy.
I'm not sure how did they come up with the name, "Monkey La la", which actually refers to a small lizard or as the locals actually call it, "Jesus Lizards".
I tried the tortilla but can’t go crazy on the beans and you know why. I could only have a sip of the specialty drink since I was on duty and couldn't have any alcoholic beverages. My ginger ale was good enough for the day.
Where in the world is Roatan?
Roatan is one of the major and largest bay islands of Honduras located in between the islands of Utila and Guanaja. Honduras, which was formerly known as the Spanish Honduras is a large inlet of Caribbean Sea located in the Central America. It is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by Nicaragua and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras.
Have you been to Honduras?
Honduras is the second-largest country in Central America. Spanish is the main language of Hondurans. However, most Hondurans can speak English.
Except for its coastal areas, Honduras is mainly mountainous with low lands jungle. Considering the size of the country, Honduras population is just over 5 million and hence, Honduras is not that populated. About 90 percent of Hondurans are mestizo of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry.
Hondurans believed that human being and spirits (usually an animal) are so closely connected that they share the same soul and so if one dies and so will the other. Hondurans folktales are mostly about a variety of spirits and many of whom live in wells or caves.
In general, a visa is required to enter Honduras except for the following nationals:
Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, EU countries, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Qatar, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
However, a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity is required to enter as well as depart.
Point of Entry:
Honduras consists of various islands, which makes it an excellent vacation get-away and getting to Honduras is pretty easy. There are four major operating airports:
- San Pedro Sula Airport
- Toncontin International
- Roatan International Airport
- La Ceiba International Airport
Climate and Mother Nature
Throughout the year, Honduras average temperature ranges from 28°C to 32°C. It is hot and humid almost all year round. Temperature depends on altitude not by season and it is cooler (low 23°C) in the mountain areas. So, generally, it is subtropical in the lowlands, temperate in the mountains.
It's January. It's winter in my part of the world. We left the base at freezing -7°C and safely landed at Roatan International Airport at a lovely sunny 29 degrees. Up in the air, you can see the vast expanses of Mother Nature that this country has to offer. Although the island of Roatan is equipped with all the modern gadgets and high tech connections, people come to visit the island to disconnect from the daily routines of life, enjoy the purest nature and simply relax to the soothing sounds of it.
Sure enough, life still is in touch with nature here. There are popular attractions and tourist destinations and right as we landed, we can already feel the warmth of Honduran hospitality.
Roatan is known for its pristine beaches mostly located in the lush landscape and peaceful setting and well-known divers paradise with over a hundred diving sites. You can dive deep with the dolphins and other sea creatures in Roatan. The island boast about some of its stunning reef, abundance of wonderful sea animals and the best topography around the island. If you’re into diving, here are some of the best dive sites in Roatan in no particular order:
1. Cara a Cara–the Shark Dive – yes, this is a must do for divers looking for a more thrilling adventure of seeing sharks underwater.
2. Calvin’s Crack – the name may sound funny but it is so named because divers will enter said crack through a small opening on the top of the reef, head down through a narrow fissure in a single file and head towards the blue light at the end of the tunnel and upon exit will go to the amazing steep and deep wall and there you will find Calvin’s crack.
3. Spooky Channel – the dive here starts from the murky lagoon of Sandy Bay. Head toward the mouth of the channel and out through the spectacular scenery from underwater and above.
4. El Aguila – literally means “The Eagle” is one of several wrecks’ the island has to offer. It was purposely sunk in 100 feet of water and now split into 3 sections by a hurricane. El Aguila is home to many large grouper and smiling nocturnal eel like predatory fish of warm seas that typically hides in crevices with just the head protruding.
5. Mary’s Place – a spectacular reef home to all kinds of fishes in the water; located on the South Side of Roatan, Mary’s place is where you find both soft and hard corals and the reef by itself is but a remarkable mix of channels with fascinating nooks and crannies.
Roatan also boasts about its nature trails, botanical gardens and birds sanctuary. Roatans’ parks and gardens present the diversity of the small island’s plant and animal life, where baby monkeys are cutely roaming free.
If you're not in the water, you can definitely get right into the Honduran culture and, if you are more like an arts and culture enthusiast, Roatans have a number of museums and galleries for you to enjoy. Its rich history and culture lives on Garifuna villages and there are quite a number of local artisan works around the area.
Although the island is quite laid back, Roatan is live and loud at night as far as entertainment is concerned. There’s a lot of exciting places where live music, dancing or just cool drinks are always in store. Entertainment scene in Roatan starts as the sun sets over the island and nightlife is safely enjoyable.
You may also want to try the Honduran cigars, simply get mellow or dance the night away while enjoying the balmy Caribbean breeze skims across the water.
Other Hubs by CrisSp on Social Issues:
- H.O.W. – To Sing-A-Long
Does it really have to hurt to be human? Here’s a look at how some of our favorite music can affect us humans and how this artistic renditions of love towards humanity can change the life we live and the world we live in.
Honduras, although rich in natural resources is one of the poorest country in Central America, where unemployment is extremely high. More than half of the labor force in Honduras is not formally employed. Women usually work as domestic helpers or street vendors. The small middle class consists of professionals, merchants, farmers, civil servants and business employees. So far, the country is only producing two main commodities: bananas and coffee.
It is only recently that they began to open their country for tourism. And so, when you get the chance to visit Honduras, please be generous towards its hard working people and show them some love as they care for you while you are in their soil. Nearly two-thirds of their population lives in poverty and truly it is not their fault to belong to one of the under-developed countries in the world.
"For not only do people need food, but they need also the touch of a hand, the sound of a voice. For food lasts but a day, but love is for always." - Mother Teresa
More travel tips by Suziehq:
- How to Stop Acting Like a Tourist when Visiting a Foreign Country
Some useful tips and ideas for how to stop acting like a tourist when visiting a foreign country. Deciding to visit a particular country or countries is half the work now how to reap the benefits.
The Bay Islands are generally safer than mainland Honduras and although crime rate in Honduras in general is high, the majority of these crimes do not affect tourists. Reportedly, most visits to Honduras are trouble-free. However, please note that there have been attacks on tourists in the recent years, which includes armed robbery and petty theft like pick pocketing but hey, this happens everywhere. So, just be extra cautious.
As a general rule in visiting a foreign country, take your personal security seriously and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Here’s a quick travel advice:
1. Avoid displaying valuable items like cameras, laptop, ipad and even mobile phones particularly upon arrival at the airport. There have been instances of foreigners being targeted when leaving the vicinity of the airports and while heading to their actual destination.
2. Do not wear expensive jewelry and only carry minimal amounts of cash.
3. Travel with several sources of funds like cash, travellers’ checks (in US dollars), credit cards, etc., and keep them safe and in separate places.
4. Always withdraw money from a reputable place like banks and big shopping centers or change money in hotels or banks. Do not withdraw big money at one time and avoid withdrawing money at night.
5. When going places, carry only small amounts of money with you and be aware that victims of robbing have been killed and injured resisting attack. So, do not resist and simply hand out the cash in the event of a robbery.
6. Take particular care if travelling between towns and cities at night.
7. Never walk alone and if driving, be extra cautious on certain routes as car jackings may occur.
Other than these, life indeed in the island is relaxed, soothing and peaceful.
Other travel related hubs by CrisSp:
Copyright@CrisSp~TM/01-2013. Fearless but not heartless!
© 2013 CrisSp