Friday, September 29, 2006

Honduras Bay Islands part 2

Útila has been a part of Honduras for over 150 years. Yet its nature reflects its independence and its local government works diligently to promote and protect its unique and wonderful culture. For almost 200 years Spanish conquistadores and British pirates battled for control of these islands, ignoring the Indians for the most part.

During this period, the Islands were used for food and wood supplies, safe harbour, and slave trading. Remains of British forts and towns named after famous pirates remain as their legacy. One group of slaves was "parked" here once during the heat of a battle. When the winners came to collect them, the slaves refused to go.

These are the Garifunas who still populate much of the Bay Islands, maintaining their own cultural identity and language. Punta Gorda on Roatán is one of many villages where they live.
Roatan, the Home of the English Pirate Henry Morgan, sounded too crowded to me so I preferred to go to Utila instead. The ferry takes only about 2 hours to get there.

There are no roads on Guanaja, the third island. Islanders travel by boat. There is a canal that locals call, "the cut", that allows access from the south to the north side of the island without having to go all the way around. It’s called the Venice of Honduras because the amount of canals. Guanaja was devastated by 'Mitch' Hurricane, and still some parts haven’t recovered since.

I will come back again.

Honduras Mountains

We drove back to San Salvador this time through San Marcos and Sta Rosa de Copán. The Mountains where amazing!. Cerro 'El Celaque' is 2880 meters high.
We were above the clouds. We had to cover the roof of the car a couple of times due the strong rains. Everything seemed so humid and wet, much like The Highlands or Asturias in the North of Spain, but with higher mountains and much more trees

Honduras-El Salvador Border

The customs in El Salvador were much more serious. The customs officer told me I shouldn’t get a passport stamp in Honduras next time, because you reduce the 90 days you have in El Salvador down to 30. Weird. So you choose to get stamped or not? He was polite and nice though.

Watercraft papers were asked again.

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