Feb. 4, 2007 La Ceiba, Honduras On February 4, we sailed over to La Ceiba (north coast of Honduras) to stay at Lagoon Marina to get our dinghy outboard and alternators repaired, as well as to do some inland travel. En route we saw three whales about 1/4 mile off our starboard side. Lagoon Marina is owned by a German couple, Toni and Rita, and they have made it a lovely place to stay. Our outboard motor turned out to be irreparable, so we ended up buying a Mercury outboard from the marina as they are reps for Mercury. We were invited to attend their daughter Stephanie's 15th birthday party (quincinera party) and had a blast with hip-shaking dancing to hot music and loads of good food. La Ceiba is the third largest city in Honduras, and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and rivers. We've made a couple of trips around La Ceiba: the first-class Pico Bonito Lodge, and the Rio Cangrejal (known for white water rafting and hiking on trails which include waterfalls).
From February 10 to 20, we took a roadtrip via bus to Copan, Honduras, and Antigua, Lago Atitlan and Chichicastenango in Guatemala. We mainly traveled with the Hedman Alas bus company, which is a first-class, modern bus. In Copan, we stayed at the beautiful Hacienda San Lucas. The owner, Flavia Cueva, was a former caterer in the U.S. Eight years ago, she returned to her family's hacienda and renovated it to include a restaurant and hotel. The grounds are lovely and the food is superb...we had a five course meal with included roasted chicken in mole sauce and empanadas. Dining here is a must! She has views directly across the river to the Copan Mayan ruins, where we spotted scarlet macaws in the trees.
We also stayed at a newly opened hotel, La Casa Rosada, which was previously a private summer home of a Honduran family. It was absolutely charming with its pastel pink facade, comfortable room (including a steam shower) and beautiful courtyard, complete with pink orchids in bloom.
Antigua is a charming town built in the colonial Spanish style, with volcanoes (some active) in the backdrop. The scenery is spectacular and the city is vibrant, with beautifully colored walls, behind which gorgeous courtyards and homes can be found. There were many international tourists, many are here to attend the abundant language schools. We loved this town for its spectacular scenery and vibrant culture.
The bus ride from Antigua to Lago Atitlan was about 3 hours. The lake is surrounded by three volcanoes and the views were stunning. We took a boat from Panajchel to our scenic hotel, La Casa del Mundo in Jaibailito. It is owned by an American and his Guatemalan wife, and was built into the hillside.
From there, we took a private shuttle to Chichicastenango, an hour and a half away, for the famous Sunday market. Guatemala is comprised of 50-60% indigenous Mayan people, and many of them wear traditional clothing. The market is colorful and crowed, not only with tourists, but it is a market for the local people. In addition to handicrafts, food and day to day wares are sold. We bought a cotton bedspread and colorful weavings.
On February 28, we celebrated my birthday at Las Cascadas Lodge on the Rio Cangrejal, only a few miles from La Ceiba. The lodge is beautiful and our room overlooked a waterfall. There's a path behind the lodge which leads to several pools and a larger waterfall. Muy romantico!
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