Honduras North


Global Mark : 11.64

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Tradition Market Relax Fiesta 


 4 5 2 4 2 4 2 2 12.50

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
9 78%(7) 56%(5) 56%(5) 1 to 15 10.78

Description : A village with a Garifuna atmosphere, between mountains and a superb bay

Comments : Most travelers are disappointed by what they find : this is not the idyllic little paradise described by some guidebooks. The setting is charming but it is rather dirty and you do have some safety issues here as well. Recommended only, for the setting, on your way to Juticalpa or The Mosquitia.

What to do ? Admire the bay / Relax on the sandy beach / Swim in the warm water / Visit Garifuna villages / See where the American adventurer William Walker was put to death and buried in 1860 ($1 for the Fort, free cemetery, tomb on the left when entering, white fence) / Warm up in hot springs (7km on the way to Tocoa, inside a Resort so likely to be expensive ) / Walk the Capiro and Calentura Park and spot or hear monkeys / See a private collection of junk at the museum (L30, exp) / Boat Guaimoreto Lagoon and see lot's of birds / Spot 12ft long crocodiles (crocodile reserve, $5) / Loose money at slot machines / Enjoy seafood at one of the best restaurant on the North coast (Comedor Caballero, Garifuna village of Santa Fe, 10km walk away) / 

What you may not like ? The lack of good & cheap hospedaje & comedor / The very sticky weather / The rather dirty beach (the water however is clean) / The safety issues : walking alone toward Santa Fe or Cerro Calentura is not recommended / Bringing valuables onto the beach is also a bad idea / The look of some locals : tourism is a novelty here ! / The need to take an expensive tour (with Turtle Tours at Villas Brinkley, $15-25 for 3-4 hours only) for most of the nearby natural attractions as tricky to find or dangerous on your own / The limited transports to anywhere on Sunday

How long ? You did not spend 4 hours on a bus for just one night did you ? 

Where to stay ? There aren't any good nor cheap places in town for solo traveler. Couple however can get good bargains.

- Near the Parque :

  • Hotel Emperador (4344446), west of Parque / Room w. cable TV & shower 120 / Go there for the nicest room in this price category / What you may not like : the rooms are small w. one bed only so unsuitable for sharing with a stranger
  • Hotel Mar de Plata, north of the above / w. shower 120(1) or 150(2) / The view from some rooms is OK but it is rather basic and therefore expensive. The manager is friendly however. 
  • Hotel Trujillo (4344202) / w. cable TV & shower 120(1) or 180(2) / Free water / Go there for the acceptable rooms, a few offering a view 
  • Hotel Catracho, S-E of Plaza, 5mn walk / w. shower 80(1) or 120(2) / Go there for the large rooms set by a small garden / What you may not like : the management is unhelpful, the rooms are basic, the water is cut regularly and the fans are rather bad. 
  • Hotel San Jose, opp. the above / w. shower 60(1) or 80(2) / Go there for the cheapest & acceptable rooms / What you may not like : the setting is dirty and not too securing (was ok with me). Not recommended for girl alone.

- A bit more remote (10-15mn walk, not recommended late at night) :

  • Hotel Acuario, down the path by Hotel Mar de Plata, by the beach in Cristales / Room 80, w. shower 100 / Go there for the cheapest prices for two. The rooms however are rather small, basic and not spotless. 
  • Hotel Coco Pando, next to the above / Sgl w. shower 80, Dbl 100 / Go there for the acceptable rooms, if possible w. a view / What you may not like : it remains fairly basic
  • Villas Brinkley (4344444), on the hillside, 1km South of Plaza / w. shower 190, w. AC & cable TV 380 / Pool & gym / Good restaurant / Travel agency / Book exchange / Go there for the charming hotel, the great wooden rooms, the superb view from the terraces (worth a visit even if you do not stay) and the excellent deal for two / What you may not like : the 10mn walk uphill. 

Where to eat ? A few comedores, all charging L30 for the basic 'tipico' meal. Nothing to write home about. For the best atmosphere, great view, good food and reasonable prices (L45, limited selection), head uphill toward Villas Brinkley's Restaurante Lempira (closes at 8pm). For seafood, El Caballero in Santa Fe is apparently not to be missed. 

Internet ? There is on place next to Hotel San Jose : L30 for 30mn, L60 per hour. 

Change ? The two banks in town should be able to change your dollars and TC. Cash advance (Visa & Mastercard) also available.

 << Discover the beach

Leaving ?
You may wish to leave sooner than expected. There are regular buses to La Ceiba from 1am to 3pm (L40, 4 hours) and San Pedro Sula from 1am to 1:30pm (L83, 7 hours). There is one bus a day to Juticalpa (3am, L75, 10 hours) and to Tegucigalpa (4:30, L143, 9 hours, 1st class) 

The trip to Juticalpa : SSSS / Right / L75 / 10 hrs incl. 2 hours wait
I had asked a dozen of locals : "At what time does the bus leave ?" And I had received a dozen of different answers, from 3am to 4am. 3:30 therefore sounded like a fair bet and I set my alarm clock at 3am. But then, on second thought, I changed to 2:45, in order to arrive at the station at 3:15. There was only one bus after all ! 
Fortunately, I woke up a bit earlier. The time to crush a few cockroaches and I was out, on my way to the plaza. I arrived at 3:05 and the bus was there already (it leaves near the pier, by a gas station.) We departed five minutes later, nearly empty...
We drove about 16km to the village of El Carbonal. And then we stopped... for two hours ! Why ? Because we had to wait for another bus : we would live at 6am only. So what about living Trujillo at 5am instead ? No answer. Strange question indeed : why wish to sleep two more hours in a bed when you could spend the same time sitting on a bus with a blasting stereo ? 
The stereo noise was lovely but, with the engine switched on at 5:30, it was even better. As scheduled, we left at 6am. So, if you miss the bus in Trujillo, you know where to find it...
The only good thing about this weird organization was that we could see the nice mountainous scenery from the early beginning. The right side looked the best but I did not keep my eyes wide open all the time and the view on the left was full of people in the alley...
We reached San Esteban at 9:30 and took a 20mn breakfast break. We also had a lot of passengers' breaks : there aren't too many buses in the area but there are a lot of tiny villages and disseminated houses. As the bus was packed, it took a while for any passenger to get off or get in. 
The road was a dirt road nearly all the way but, as it had rained a lot the night before, there was fortunately no dust. It climbed a bit (better for the view) but oxygen level was never an issue. We touched the paved road at 1pm and reached Juticalpa fifteen minutes later. Welcome back to civilization !

See also trip from La Ceiba