It was an early start today as we had to catch the 7am chicken bus from town. I think the chicken buses were the only bit of this trip I wasn’t looking forward to as I have really long legs and was worried about the lack of leg room, however this didn’t seem to be a problem on the particular bus we had despite the fact it got really crowded for a while.
The bus took a bit longer than expected due to mechanical problems and we arrived in San Pedro Sula half an hour late which meant we had to rush to get our tickets and bags checked onto the next bus. Luckily our leader was ahead of things and she managed to get fast-tracked to the front of the line for tickets. There was just enough time to use the restrooms and stock up on refreshments in the shopping centre within the bus terminal before boarding the express bus to La Ceiba, where we were due to take the ferry to Roatan Island.
As usual in this part of the world we got stuck in traffic on the way to La Ceiba meaning there was another rush to get across town to the ferry terminal – this time a lot more urgently than the previous one. Luckily Mena was on top of things again and we managed to have our bags offloaded first and then we all got in some VERY speedily driven taxis for the journey to the ferry terminal. After checking in and passing through security we were given sea sickness tablets due to the fact the fast craft can get really choppy at times – and we definitely needed them on our crossing.
The journey itself was nice just a little too rough for me – I could have done with the seasickness tablets in advance to give them a chance to work their magic. I think every kid on the ferry was sick even with the seasickness tablets :(.
As we approached Roatan we passed a huge cruise ship which I didn’t expect to see at the island. Mena said the cruise ships create a bit of controversy when they visit the island as traditionally only the main roads are paved on Roatan Island with the smaller towns being unpaved sandy roads to keep their atmosphere and their way of life. The cruise companies don’t like this and so keep throwing money at the local government with the understanding that they will pave all the roads to keep the cruise day-trippers happy. Some of the locals are unhappy about this and I would sympathise with them – when you travel you don’t try to change a place you embrace the atmosphere and local culture and this is exactly what the ethics of Intrepid Travel are. It’s also the way I look at travelling so I don’t think the islands should change their way of life and their character just to satisfy the rich cruise passengers who invade the island for just a matter of hours before leaving again!
We’re staying at La Quinta Inn on Roatan Island which was only a short taxi ride from the ferry terminal. As well as being on a nice tropical island with unpaved roads this hotel also has free wi-fi which we all made use of before heading out to a place called The Lighthouse for a group dinner. The Lighthouse was expensive but I liked my food… and the “Giant Monkey LaLa” cocktail that I had.
Some of our group have gone out to a beach party with some locals but I decided to come back to the hotel to read and relax for a bit. This seems a nice place and I’m looking forward to the next few days here.