Honduras North

LA CEIBA

Global Mark : 12.61

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
 3 4 3 3 3 3 5 1 12.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
22 68%(15) 50%(11) 45%(10) 4 to 16 12.73


Description : The third largest city in Honduras with a few natural attractions outside and an exciting nightlife inside.

Comments : The opinions about this place are rather diverse : some loved it while others hated it. It will depend of course whether or not you like Honduras cities or have time to spend around. This was not my case so I did not stop. You are welcome to share yout thoughts & tips...

What to do ? Go through only ? / Wander a bit around the Parque central / Splash at the waterfalls and pools on the Rio Maria (8km, bus to Sambo Creek, off by the bridge, 40mn walk) / Nearby, swim at nice Playa de Peru / Walk the beach to the Garifuna village of Sambo Creek (basic accomodation) / Explore the cloud forest of Pico Bonito National Park (info : 4433824) / Splash a bit more at Los Chorros, a small river with falls and green pools (on the highway to Trujillo, km sign 209) / Spot 5000 butterflies and 1000 other insects at a museum (L15) / If you prefer the real things, walk the tropical butterfly farm (at the base of Pico Bonito Park, L30) / Hear or spot monkeys at Cacao Lagoon, an ocean-side lagoon surrounded by mangrove forest (24km toward Trujillo) / By the village, see cacao & sugar cane plantations / Descend the rapids of the Rio Cangrejal (some of the best class II, III and IV rapids in Central America !) / Boat the mangrove swamps of Cuero y Salido Wildlife Refuge / Celebrate San Isidro with 200,000 people : this is Carnival time ! (one week in May) / Year round, spend the evening at "Zona Viva" along 1 C, the lively night zone : this is what Le Ceiba is famous for ! / Watch an Hollywood movie at the cinema / Bath at the hot springs of the Fig Tree medical center of famous Dr. Sebi, an "alternative" curative center (L30 for 15mn !) / Learn Spanish (a few schools) 

What you may not like ? The very limited buses (taxi is the main mode of transportation) / The 2km away bus station (L9 by collectivo taxi) / The 5km away dock, Muralla de Cabotaje (L30-40 by taxi) / The dirty & polluted beaches by the town / The sexual harassment / The slightly higher accomodation costs / The crowd on the beaches during WE / Some safety issues (check with locals which walks are safe or not) / The total cost to visit the Wildlife Refuge (Bus to La Union then human-propelled railroad cart, $10 entrance fee, L100 per canoe, L50 per guide, etc.) / The other attraction costs and time it would require to visit them all ! / The Carnival's cost increase and the need to book accomodation well in advance.

How long ? A few minutes to one night if heading to the Bay Islands. Quite a few days to visit all the natural attractions...

Where to stay ? Cheap places are in short supply in town. The cheapest listed by Honduras Tips were Royal (4432311, L65) and La Brisa (L50). Most people however spend more. Amsterdam 2001 (4432311) has dorm for L50 and dbl w. shower for L130 but a few people complained about the aggressive Dutch owner. Rotterdam (4400321, 1C Av Barahona) was recommended and should only be slightly more expensive. Share your discoveries !

Where to eat ? Plenty of restaurants incl. the classic fast food and pizza chains. Cheaper comedores as well.

Internet ? Internet Cafe (4434152) at Centro Commercial Panoyotti and Intercon at Plaza del Sol Shopping Center should offer the best rates of the expensive the North coast : L1 per mn. 

Leaving ? All the buses depart from a central bus terminal, unfortunately not that central as 2km away. And of course, there are only taxis ! Collectivo cost L9. Private ones around L30. All boats depart from the dock, 5km away. And guess what ? Still no transport ! A bus goes half the way but the walking from there would be long and it was reported unsafe. So, taxi again ! It should not cost more than L25 per person (if with friends, bargain hard !) or L40 if alone.
The good point about that central bus station is that you can inquire about any transport out. There are a few buses to Tegucigalpa from 6:15 to 15:30 (L110, 6.5 hours), buses to Tela every 25mn from 4:30 to 18 (L19, 2 hours) and regular buses to Trujillo until around 3pm (L40, 4 hours). There are however no more buses to La Union in Olancho (there is another La Union nearby so it is a bit confusing). The only bus South, to Juticalpa is at 6am (L110, 10 hours). This means spending the night in La Ceiba. Going via Trujillo may therefore be a better option. 

The trip to Utila Island : SS / inside or outside / L40 + L185 / 10mn + 1 hour / Taxi + Boat
Being on my own, at the bus station and in a hurry, I had little room for negotiation so I agreed to pay those damn L40 for that damn 10mn taxi ride to the pier. Damn monopoly !
There, there was even less room for negotiation so I agreed to pay those damn L185 for that damn one hour boat drive to the island. Damn monopoly !
Altogether, the transport represented the cost of one dive ! And I will have to leave as well : another dive !
The movie w. subtitles looked interesting but the sea was a bit rough so concentrating on any kind of text was a bad idea. Not enough time to see the end anyway...Lying down on the comfortable empty seats was a better option. Going on the upper desk to breath the fresh air would have been another.
Upon arrival, the bags were discharged from the cargo room without the slightness care. We had been given numbered tags but nobody checked anything. A big complete mess ! Welcome to relaxed Utila !

The trip to Trujillo : SSS / Right / L40 / 4 hours
A bus was ready to leave when we arrived at the station but it was full already. Fortunately, another one was scheduled for half an hour later. With a 4 hours trip ahead, you do not wish to wait too long at the bus station, even so plenty of salesmen would love your company...
The bus was soon packed, with plenty of people standing in the alley. Most however got off an hour later, when plenty of snacks sellers showed up at the windows. The scenery that showed up was also quite interesting : mountains and various plantations of fruits. I could not really spot the left side but the right side looked better. The road was good most of the time, with a few deviations only on rocky roads. After 223km and two stops to fill up he tank, we finally arrived. The sun was ready to go to bed and so was I, after a good shower... 

See also the trip from Tela