A Travellerspoint blog

Copan Ruinas

Ruined trails and Ruinas cocktails

Bells bells I awake at 4am to the sound of church bells going mad and I think city of Comayagua is on fire......fortunately the brass band starts up now as well and a load of people carrying a massive statue of Jesus burdened under the weight of the cross round the corner so its all ok!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After that rather rude awakening it's off for the mammoth bus journey to Copan Ruinas, first stop is the three hour trip to San Pedro Sula to catch our four hour connection to Copan! Its well worth it though as Copan is a truly beautiful little mountain town not far from the border of Guatamala. (Also the journey across the country is absolutely beautiful. Honduras is much greener than we imagined it would be, and we pass through mountains, rolling hills and meadows in the course of the journey, and see lots of typical Honduran homes at the roadside...)

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Life in Copan again revolves around the Parque Central and Tuks Tuks speed over the cobbled streets with scant regard for pedestrians or indeed speed limits or rules of the road...

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We found a great little Posada which was family run and very friendly....also cheap too unlike most things in Honduras (which surprisingly is more expensive than we thought it would be)....and it had a great view of the town from the roof terrace.

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The main draw of this little town though is the fact that just 1km walk away is a Mayan Ruin. Its was awesome it was set in the woods and was loads grander and more well preserved than I expected..

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Also there was a well whole set of steps that where carved with Hieroglyphs....the only down side was that when they moved them to clean them they sort of put them back in the wrong order so now they cant decipher them.....doh.

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After our day at the ruins we ventured out to take advantage of happy hour (we have only been having a drink every now and then as it blows the budget way too quickly and Russ appears to have become a puker! Those of you with Facebook may have seen Rusty with a couple of miniscule Long Islands!) Anyway made some new mates and had a generally fun night...

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Not the same without you guys though, these people have never even heard of the fabled pan-lickers of old camden town!! Miss you all heaps, lots of love C&R xxx

Posted by russncath 13:42 Archived in Honduras Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Choloteca and Comayagua

One rubbish place, one good place!

Hola Chicos,

Not been on the old tinternet for a while as we have been undertaking a mammoth journey across Honduras for the last week! It started off with a very long and very odd day of travelling which included sitting in someones living room waiting for a bus (apols for lack of apostrophes but cant find them on this keyboard!), becoming practically stuck to pleather bus seats as we bumped along for about six hours in clouds of dust, another incidence of the road being layed in front of us, toilets with turkeys in and lots of police checks (yes they give machine guns to children in uniforms here!) Also very moving was the many stops the bus made to give out food to local children who live in the little wooden shacks lining the road, made Rusty and I feel pretty guilty about the room service we had been talking about ordering in Vegas.

Anyway we finally made it into Choloteca which is the first major town you come into after crossing from Nicaragua into Honduras. We had decided to stay here for the night to break our journey and we literally checked into the first hotel we saw after the bus dumped us at the side of the highway! We didnt bother with anything in Choloteca as its not meant to be the nicest of places. As you can see from the pic below we busied ourselves with sampling the finest Honduran cuisine at the nearest restaurant!

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Up and on it like an ommelette the next morning, for another very long day consisting of three hour bus journey to the capital Tegucigalpa, which is basically a traffic snarled metropolis, albeit in an amazing location surrounded by mountains. After San Jose we have decided to skip all capitals from now on, so it was straight onto another bus bound for Comayagua, the old colonial capital. Very pleased when we arrived as this was a lovely little town, set around the usual cathedral and parque central combo...

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Spent a pleasant couple of days here, seeing the local sites and just generally enjoying the town life. We felt like we stood out a lot more here too, as didnt see any other backpacker types the whole time. Local people definitely seemed more surprised to see us but were all really friendly and wanted to have a chat! Here is a pic of some lovely old locals hanging out by the Iglesia Mercad!

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And here is me hanging out by the Iglesia San Franciso...you get the picture

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Saw some cool Lenca stuff in the local museum too and had a good laugh trying to converse with the spanish speaking security and tour guide who accompanied us around the exhibits! Still think we are improving, muy bien!

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So anyway time to head off for another long journey, more of that next entry. Lots of love to all, C and Rxxx

Posted by russncath 14:59 Archived in Honduras Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Granada & Leon

Sipping Coffee in Colonial Grandeur!

Hey everyone,

Hope all´s well back home. To update you we have spent a relaxing few days in the old colonial cities of Granada and Leon and have concluded we are definitely city folk at heart. (No scary bugs here!)

We left Ometepe last Thurs (I think) and had a long journey to Granada consisting of a bumpy taxi ride across the island, a ferry journey where we sat on wooden benches and watched a lovely classic hits DVD put on by the locals (think Paula Abdul and Madonna circa 1985), a ´collectivo´taxi ride (where they stuff as many people into the taxi as possible), a crazy bus ride with the usual 95 locals standing up and hanging onto the side of the bus, and finally a short walk through the hectic market area of Granada- phew!

Anyway we arrived eventually at our chosen hostel, which had dark cool rooms set around a leafy green courtyard, and headed out to explore. Granada is so coooool!! The streets are lined with beautiful old colonial buildings painted lovely colours (see below), and they have obviously spent quite a bit of money restoring the parque central and the area around the cathedral which is all pedestrianised.

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Had a good wander about and then a lovely evening out consisting of cocktails on the central square and a ridiculously cheap but fat mexican dinner overseen by a mariachi band and local kids breakdancing on the street!

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The next day was all about the sights! We had a tipco breakfast of Rice N Beans then headed out, the churches here are amazing and we climbed up the bell tower of one and got some great views of the city!

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Saw the old fort that was used to protect Granada and then a trip to the Museum, after all this culture we need a bit of a coffee. I really wanted a linen suit and a panama hat!

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The next day it was off to Leon! We got on the bus which was again packed then we needed to change at Managua to a shuttle bus to Leon. This is basically a minivan which gets rammed full of people and I was at the back sat under all our bags for the ride cheers!

Leon is cool tho. not quite a well restored as Granada but similar in style again the amazing churches and an immense cathedral.

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The place we are staying in is a lovely old colonial building with a courtyard with hammocks and a little pool out the back, we are in a massive old room with huge doors and a little balcony overlooking the city.

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We were meant to be on our way to Honduras today but have got to wait another day for the bus as it was full today. Tragically this means another day of lounging by the pool for us- hard life! Missing everyone lots and lots now, please keep the comments etc coming as we love to hear from you all. Will update you once we get to Honduras, adios amigos, C and R xxx

Posted by russncath 10:06 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Hola Nicaragua

First stop the Island de Ometepe

Well our first land border crossing is done! Was not as bad as expected just a lot of queueing but we are very good at that! On the other side we managed to grab a cab with some German dudes to the ferry port at San Jorge to get the Ferry to Ometepe (an Island made of two volcanoes that have risen out of Lago de Nicaragua) - The ferry however was not for another two hours so we decided to make the trip on the Lancha............

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Dad (Malc) you would have hated every minute of this as it was really rough and with it being such a tiny boat people were being sick all over the place!! Still we made it to the other side in one piece and took a local taxi (theý´re so cheap here) to our chosen hotel El Encanto. The island itself is a truly amazing place, so peaceful and picturesque, with the twin volcanoes dominating the skyline in both directions. It´s also a bit of an eye-opener coming here and driving along the dirt roads, with people washing their clothes in the river and riding horses to work! We weren't quite sure what we´d let ourselves in for after the taxi dropped us the end of a dirt track but we were suitably speechless when we finally arrived. The gorgeous little hotel was basically just a row of cabins looking out over the lake, with views of each of the volcanoes...(the first pic is of dormant Volcan Maderas and the second of the higher and active Volcan Concepcion)

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The hotel had a little restaurant attached (which was lucky cos there was fook all for miles) that served really good food and beers and also a bottle of rum and two mixers for $8!!!!!! About 5 British Pounds. The next day we walked down to Playa Santo Domingo which is the islands beach but the lake was so high there was very little of it on show so we walked back! Check out the main road!

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Mucho relaxo later we had dinner and then had to fanny around like big girls throwing bits of balled up paper at the Scorpion on the wall!!!! Slept with one eye open under the Mosquito Net wrapped in a cover.

Our final day on Ometepe and we headed out with our guide Hector to El Mirador (the lookout). It was a good old walk across agricultural land, up through some forest (more monkeys), and one final steep climb and we were rewarded with an amazing view of the other side of the island. The pic below shows Volcan Concepcion and the Istiam river which runs across the Isthmus (bit of land connecting the two islands).

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Fortunately it was easier going on the way down!

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Anyway (bugs aside) we had a very relaxing couple of days in Ometepe, but we need to keep moving as only planning on spending about a week in Nicargua altogether and still want to see Granada and Leon. Hope all is well back home, keep those emails and comments coming, lots of love to all, C&R xxx

Posted by russncath 14:04 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Samara and Liberia

A strange goodbye to Costa Rica!

Well with very heavy hearts we said farewell to the lovely Montezuma, and the next few days did not really help us to feel much better! After a long and bumpy journey we arrived at Samara on the Pacific coast. As you can see the beach was truly fantastic...

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But unfortunately the first couple of places we looked at to stay were not. Picture roaches in the shower swarming with tiny bugs, rooms the temperature of the sun, large snake sized holes in the wall and fans that looked like they´d been dropped in a mud pit and never been cleaned!! Anyway we were starting to feel pretty miserable after looking at these lovely places when we were rescued by some friendly European girls who were staying at a hostel down the beach. Here is Rusty looking more happy after we´d checked in at Casa Brian!

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Casa Brian was really sound ran by a Canadian dude surprisingly called Brian! He had some great stories to tell from his hippy days living in a park in Amsterdam amognst many other and the place had a really nice feel! It was well lairy though and we ended up having a beach party where we found we could speak fluent spanish after drinking a silly amount of Rum with some locals and the dudes from Casa Brian!

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Feeling rather worse for wear the next day we attempted to lay on the beach but it was so hot I was starting to melt so we had to go and chill out with copious amounts of water! We got dropped off in town by Brian in his old banger of a jeep and had a lovely dinner but then found out we were stuck as both the Beach and the road were pitch black and we couldn`t get home!!!! Anyway found a taxi eventually after avoiding the giant rats roaming the streets (apparently they´re called Opposums) and got back to find the Lairy dudes playing I have Never and getting ready to go Cocoloco tuttifruitie at Las Olas a bar down the beach!

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We cried off and chatted to Brian awhile before bed! So glad we did as the next morning everyone else was in trouble as they´d left the gate to Casa Brian unlocked all night, one of the girls had tried to bring a known Costa Rican thief into the hostel and poor old Rob the german dude had been held up on the beach and had a coconut thrown at his head! Decided it was high time to get out of dodge so we made our way to Liberia our last stop in Costa Rica.

We were hoping for a nice peaceful little town to hole up in, but we arrived on fiesta day to find the streets full of horses and lairy dudes with cowboy hats!

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To cut a long story short we were tired and a bit gormless and got well and truly taken in by a seemingly friendly guy in a tourist guide outfit who led us a merry dance around the streets of Liberia before ultimately making off with our hostel money for the next two days. Long story but let´s just say we were pretty pissed off but also slightly impressed with his blagging skills, and hey at least we didn´t get any coconuts thrown at our heads!! Found a lovely little hospedaje in the end and had a quiet couple of days looking at the sites of Liberia and watching the ongoing fiesta and bullfighting on local cable TV!

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So it´s onwards and upwards literally- off to the Nicaraguan border now-adios and miss you all lots xxx

Posted by russncath 13:45 Archived in Costa Rica Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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