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Cayos Cochinos

This website was developed to share information about Honduras, and more particularly Trujillo and surrounding areas, where Charlene & Paul are making their home – well, part-time anyway. We want to dispel the fears that it is a dangerous and unsafe travel or living destination. If you’ve never visited Honduras, you’re missing out on a wonderful experience, where the people are friendly, the food & drink is good, the cost of living is low, and the water is great to swim in. If you simply follow common sense rules – stay away from ‘spotty’ areas at night, watch your back, never walk alone – you’ll be fine. We’ve felt more threatened in parts of the U.S., where we lived for many years, than we ever have in Honduras. And Trujillo is the unspoiled jewel: off the beaten path, with an improving infrastructure, located on the gorgeous Caribbean Sea. Who could ask for anything more? If you want a more ‘touristy’ location, Roatan is close by, and for divers & snorkelers you also have the other Bay Islands to explore (Guanaja, Utila), with regular ferry service from Trujillo to Guanaja and from La Ceiba to the others. Or take a plane to any of them! Then there’s beautiful Copan; the other towns along the North Coast like Tela & La Ceiba; Lago de Yojoa and area ; Santa Lucia …………  the list goes on & on.

We love historic Trujillo!
– the real life town of ‘Coralio’ located in the fictional ‘Republic of Anchuria’, as described in O. Henry’s delightful collection of short stories: “Of Cabbages & Kings”. After fleeing the U.S. in 1897 to avoid bank embezzlement charges, O. Henry holed up in a Trujillo hotel, and coined the term “banana republic” to describe an economy where there was favorable treatment of the fruit companies within Latin America. Read more here

– the final resting place of William Walker, an American filibuster who tried to conquer Central America but was shot by the Honduran government in 1860. You can visit his grave in the central Trujillo cemetery.

– where Dole Fruit (formerly Standard Fruit Company of La Ceiba, one of the 2 major players in the Honduran economy that prompted O Henry to call Honduras a Banana Republic), ships bananas out of nearby Puerta Castilla

– a favorite spot to plunder gold and silver for English, French & Dutch pirates and privateers, including “Pegleg”, “Blackbeard”, Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, Calico Jack Rackham, etc. in the 1600 & 1700’s. Visit the fort when you’re here and imagine looking out over the bay watching in trepidation as they arrive in their sailing ships.

In addition to information and useful tips about living in and moving to Honduras, we want to use this as a means of sharing with others our experiences & excellent adventures. We invite comments on the News and Comments page, as long as they follow generally accepted polite conversation – no ranting or vulgar language and please, no links to adult sites or content. And if you have a story and/or photos you’d like to share, we’d love to see them! Just send us a message on the Contact Us page and we’ll send you instructions on how to get them to us.

 

Our recent Posts & Stories

What to know about Honduras by Kenny Lee

I am writing down a few observations made on our trips to Honduras. Reason for doing so is to encourage some of my friends to visit.

First thing is to discount everything you thought you knew about Honduras unless you have been there. We are settling outside Trujillo. To be more precise we are on the beach between Santa Fe and Trujillo in a very rural area. If you lived in an agricultural area of the Deep South during the 1950’s it would be very familiar to you. Animals are worked on farms. Cattle and horses roam freely. There are no heavy industries in this area. Bananas, pineapples, oranges, palm oil, and other fruits are money crops.

Not everyone in Honduras is poor. You can find just about anything available there as in the US. Probably won’t find snowshoes or ice fishing gear though. Transport of large objects is of note. Not often do you see items such as refrigerators secured by winch straps in a pickup. It seems SOP to get all your buddies to ride in the bed with aforementioned large object and secure it upright while proceeding down the road. I am sure they are more handy than winch straps when time to unload. Clever!!

There is crime in the bigger cities. Trujillo has very little crime and it is mostly directed toward unsecured property. Think for a minute about US crime. Do you venture into Chicago, St Louis, New York or even Savannah without paying particular attention to the part of town you are entering? Honduras is no different. What I saw were kids and single women walking at night from house to house visiting friends or on some errand feeling perfectly safe.

There are a few biting insects but if you stay out of the jungle unless you have repellent they are not bad. There are less mosquitoes there than Savannah and no sand gnats. Beach walks are one of the great joys. We will need to improve on trash patrol of jetsam and flotsam. I have discovered a plethora of sandals and shoes washed up but no matching pairs. They all seem to be women’s and children’s. Is someone taking women and kids offshore and making them swim back?

We are bringing our bluetick hound, Mooch, with us. She will become a Honduran Hound for sure. I have seen a standard garden variety o’possum but no raccoons as yet. Mooch has been trained to not tree possums so no worries there. She is a good tracker so if you get lost we’ll find you. I am not sure how she reacts to wandering drunks however. Astronauts have gone to the moon with less paperwork than it takes to get a dog into Honduras. When we are done with this you may ask me for advice on the procedures.

The most dangerous things I have found are tumulo’s (speed bumps), torrential rains, kids on motorcycles, potholes, and fruit trucks. We made the mistake of driving from the airport to the coast at night. We came upon an 18 wheel fruit truck stopped still in the middle of the road with no lights, no reflectors, and painted solid black. Our friend, Scott Bronger was driving and I still don’t know how he stopped in time. We no longer drive distances at night.
Rules of the road are either nonexistent or at best suggestions. Hondurans drive either below 35 or above 80. If someone is going between 35 and 80 he/she is likely a gringo. Turn signals last forever there because they are never used. Turn signals on? Yep it’s a gringo. You should not drive your car if high beams or horn is inoperable. Taxi drivers use horns as much as those in San Juan, PR but accomplish their driving with much less cursing apparently. The fastest things I have seen are free range chickens, dogs crossing the road and people changing tires at the side of the road. I have deep respect for the Honduran people for their respect of all life. They slow down for all animals from what I have observed. You will not see many animals run down by cars there as you do in the US.

Fruit and produce is incredibly delicious. Your grocery bill is about half of that in US. You need a working knowledge of Spanish to be comfortable. I on the other hand have learned to jump up and down excitedly and point to what I need. This works in absence of my wife who has a better grip on the language than I. Kids are very smart here. They learn Espanol at a very early age and theirs is much better than mine. Go figure!!

There are many hiking trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls and pools. They are wonderful places to cool off and relax. You may see tropical birds or monkeys. We plan to spend a lot of time with these.

I have a new vocabulary concerning fish. Lisa is the word for mullet. Robalo is a cobia. Pargo is a snapper. Mero is a grouper. Dorado is a dolphin fish (not porpoise). Seafood is very reasonably priced and can be had directly from the fishermen.

Restaurants there have wonderful food reasonably priced. I have not had a bad meal anywhere. I admit I am somewhat adventurous with meals. A coke is a coke like it used to be in US. I am still trying to find a dealer for my Little Debbie habit.

Toyota rules in Honduras. There is a llanterra on every street corner and one in between. A llanterra is a tire repair shop and I did not grasp the significance thereof until I drove on the roads.

A Few Do Nots:
-don’t ask the rain forest tour guide how toucans taste or if he has a crockpot recipe for parrot.
-don’t molest the boa constrictor as he is likely to return with reinforcements in form of a bigger friend. Jungle guides advice.
-don’t drive over a pothole. They as deep as the ocean or at least deeper than the radius of a 15 inch tire.
-you can fly to Honduras with fishing tackle, hooks, and pliers in your carry on luggage. You cannot fly out of Honduras with same regardless of explaining to the security guy you have flown all over the world with fishing tackle (no knives). Do not, I repeat do not jump up and down excitedly and point out his asinine decision. Also do not point out what is the difference between the end of the pliers and the end of your truck ignition key. These would be the keys you need to get from Savannah airport to home unless you have extra keys hidden on your truck frame.

Ducks walk easier in water than on land. That has nothing to do with Honduras. It was just something I observed one day and never told anyone.
Buenos Dias , Amigos

Driver’s LIcense

An update regarding our renewal of our drivers’ licenses this year
1. We paid our license fee at Banco Atlantida in Trujillo (much easier than doing so in Tocoa), and got an appointment date & time (9 a.m.) for the next day
2. Got there in time to have medical review done. Since this was a renewal, no need to take written & road tests. We paid lps. 700 each, but later learned if we negotiated, we could get for around lps. 350 each.
3. The new young man & woman in the traffic office were very pleasant. Everything was proceeding fine until the man asked to see our residency cards, which expire the following month. He said we needed to our renew residency first and come in with the new card (the temp. paper wouldn’t do). But our driver’s license expired today, and in the past it was never a problem to get the renewal when our residency expired within the month. Anyway, he said it wouldn’t be a problem, just show the expired license & all the renewal papers at the road block if we’re stopped. Of course we were – twice – on the way back to Trujillo. 2nd time we weren’t sure it was actually OK that license was expiring, but after they pondered it for a while, they finally let us go. Incidentally, everyone at the roadblocks was exceedingly pleasant & polite.
So we’ll be heading back in a month to renew our license, after we receive the new cards. At least we won’t have to stand in line and get a number. We met someone we knew from Trujillo who was getting his 1st license. They require a written & road test now (only a simple written exam when we first got our license) and of course the demand is high, so he went there at 3:30 a.m. to be in plenty of time, only to see a long line around the building. He just managed to sneak in with the last number given out for the day – number 30!