Replies: 11 - Last Post: Jan 12, 2012 9:19 PM Last Post By: ayearinmotion
Jan 7, 2012 9:19 PM
Santa LuciaHello, next week my boyfriend and I are flying into Tegucigalpa for a 4 month journey in Central America. We had planned to go to the small town of Santa Lucia right after we land as we do not want to spend any time in the capital due to the high levels of crime there. However I have searched through books and on the web and cannot find any hotels existing in Santa Lucia. Has anyone stayed in this town before? I really do not want to begin my trip exhausted and nervous, then to arrive in a town that has no accomodation... If anyone has stayed here before please let me know where! Thank-you very much.
Jan 7, 2012 10:09 PM
1Hi! I have not stayed there, but this is probably the best option in Santa Lucia: http://www.hotelsantaluciaresort.com/
Keep in mind that Santa Lucia is really tiny and there is not much to do, although I imagine you must have a reason for going there. The town of Valle de Angeles, about 10 km farther, has more to offer. I am from Tegucigalpa myself, and although I always tell tourists to skip it if they do not have the time, as there's so many more places to visit in the country before it, I wouldn't say to run out of it because of the supposed crime. Yes, there is actually a crime problem in the country as in most Central America, but it's not targeted at tourists and if you take the normal precautions as you would anywhere you will be fine. I live in Europe now but we have been here for the last month and have not seen any problem at all. Personally I have never been mugged in Tegucigalpa, but have been mugged in the USA, Paris and Milan.
If you have any other questions let me know, I'll be glad to help.
Jan 7, 2012 10:32 PM
2Hello, thank you very much for replying! I apologize for generalizing that Tegucigalpa is a dangerous city. I just feel for myself as a young traveler and growing up in a small town to start off in a large city that does have a fair amount of crime, would just be far too overwhelming. However I am sure travelers more experienced and used to Central America would have a great time visiting there.
Valle de Angeles does appear to be a much better place to stay the first couple nights of our trip. Thanks for the recommendation, I have found a couple adequate hotels in the area.
After staying in Valle de Angeles we were planning on heading east, eventually going to Utila from La Ceiba. Do you know what towns would be nice to stay at on the way? As well we were planning on visiting Tela and possibly Trujillo, any opinions on those towns? Thanks very much for your help, it is nice to hear advice from a local.
Jan 8, 2012 7:15 AM
3You're welcome! If you will spend a few days in Valle de Angeles, be sure to go to San Juancito, an old mining town, which gives you access to La Tigra National Park, a protected rainforest, where you can do walks on marked trails and do birdwatching. There is a little place to stay which I hear gets good reviews called Mirador El Rosario.
Yes, I can definitely advice you on places to go before Utila, a couple of weeks ago I did an extended tour from Tegucigalpa all the way to Trujillo (your route). Just let me know what are your interests, how many days you have, and more about your budget and style of travel.
Jan 10, 2012 9:22 PM
4Great! Thanks for the help, we will definitly be making a stop at La Tigra it sounds like a nice way to start our adventure. Your extra help sounds awesome thank-you. I am very interested in nature, wildlife, hiking, small towns, nice markets, beaches...anything else exciting. We are definitly low budget travellers but are willing to splurge on activities that are worth the splurge. We are planning to spend around 3 weeks in Honduras possibly less or more... we have a very flexible schedule so far. Also any tips on places to be extra careful in would be fantastic, we are new to backpacking and would like this trip to go as smooth as possible. I really look forward to hearing your thoughts! Thank-you!
Jan 11, 2012 3:21 PM
5Hi, yes we will be arriving in Tegucigalpa on the 17th. After Utila we were thinking of going south to Trujillo or possibly just heading north to Tela and skipping Trujillo, depending on time. After reading your draft plan Amapala sounds very nice and we would like to end our time in Honduras there before heading over into Nicaragua. Our plans are all quite tentative still. Most of our plans rely on how much time we will end up spending on Utila. And yes the 3 weeks does include Utila but we could possibly spend a month in Honduras if there is still more we would really like to see. And I would like to scuba dive there but it is not for sure, we wont be taking the certification however.
I will definitely check out the reports by Rultikart too for a better idea. Everything shared in that draft plan was excellent though and very helpful to learn before entering Honduras, thanks!
Jan 11, 2012 10:57 PM
6If you have a chance do make it to Trujillo, highly recommended. Haven't been there, but I hear great reviews of a place for backpackers there: Casa Kiwi.
Since it's your first time backpacking, please be extra careful. Never carry your valuables and documents in your big backpack since it will be placed under or or on top of the bus when you travel. Carry a money belt with your money and passports, and credit cards, but always have some small cash handy, just in the extreme case something happens and you are asked for money, and also because it's never good to open wallets in front of anyone, always have loose money in your pockets. Read the safety and security threads, there is very good advice there. Do not hitchhike in Central America. Crime is not targeted at tourists in Honduras, there is a safety issue but mainly it concerns gangs and organized crime. Having said that, opportunistic thefts do take place, so if you are flashing valuable objects and are distraught you might become an easy target, it is the developing world and probably 99.9% of the people are poorer than you. Do not use laptops, ipods or smart phones in public transportation.
Yes, skip Tegucigalpa, especially with your limited time, and avoid San Pedro Sula, the other big city. If you do have to stay in Tegucigalpa, do not stay in the Comayaguela side of the city, it's cheaper but can be dangerous. Send me a message and I can give you options if you need. In the other places that I've talked about previously, my husband (white European) has always taken pictures with his big pro camera and nothing has ever happened, but I'm always aware of the surroundings when we travel. Avoid walking at night in the cities, always ask hotel staff about the bad areas and if possible ask them to walk you places at night (small tip maybe). Being your first trip of this sort I would say skip Olancho and La Mosquitia this time. Do you speak Spanish?
Of course, the best is to go at your rhythm, and it's hard to tell what you will like and wont. The following itinerary is for having a taste of Honduras, but it might be too much activity for some people considering the amount of time. For me it's enough time, but we personally like traveling at high speed. So here's a min of days per place plus the highlight activities of each.
I would do: Santa Lucia, Valle de Angeles, La Tigra (3 days MAX)
Head to the North. If you can, make a stopover in Lago de Yojoa area including Pulhapanzak. Check Panacam Ecolodge and www.gopulha.com (2 days)
Go to Copan (3 days) - Finca El Cisne - http://www.fincaelcisne.com/ (worth every penny) and the ruins. Immediately arriving head into Via Via
Head to Tela (3 days) - Punta Sal National Park and El Miami Garifuna Community, Laguna de los Micos
La Ceiba area (4 days) - Cuero y Salado, Rafting in El Cangrejal (Omega tours), Cayos Cochinos (Honduras Option Tours) from Sambo Creek Beach, Pico Bonito National Park
Trujillo (3 days) - Try to be there on weekend for Garifuna Dance and music, Laguna de Guaymoreto National Park, chilling at beautiful beaches
Back to La Ceiba to take ferry to Utila (7 days) - Have in mind that Utila does not have the paradisiac beaches that Roatan has, unless you get away to its keys, it's scuba diving paradise so consider doing the certification, wont find it cheaper anywhere else, will meet many backpackers there.
Back to Tegucigalpa and head South to cross into Nicaragua, stopping in Amapala (2-3 days)- best place to stay is Casa Gargolas, although you will find much cheaper than that. From what you tell me, I think Amapala is ideal for you.
If you wish, ask me about hotels and I will tell you if it's suitable or not. Best bus company is Hedman Alas. They have their own hotel which is convenient for early moment departures. It's the only exception for staying in Comayaguela in my opinion, but wouldn't go out that much in that neighborhood. Great coffee drinks and snacks in Honduras is the chain "Espresso Americano" found almost in every city.
I will probably be in the city on the 17th, so we can meet if you wish when you arrive to go over your plan and to give you better advice. Send me a private message if you want and I'll give you my details.
Jan 12, 2012 12:25 PM
7Wow, thank-you so much! I had just finished writing you our basic planned itenerary for our trip when my computer malfunctioned and I lost all of it! So our general plan for our trip, consisting of some of our own ideas and some of your suggestions is as follows.
Valle De Angeles, La Tigre
Head to the carribean starting in Trujillo
Up to La Ceiba starting with Utila, finishing with other attractions around La Ceiba.
Up to Tela while visiting the garifuna community and definitely exploring Punta Sal.
Heading inland, spending a night or two in Lago de Yojoa area.
Possibly heading up to Copan if time allows it.
Heading further west to Amapala eventually.
Ending our journey in honduras and entering nigaragua at the Guasaule border crossing
How does this sound to you? Would you recommend any areas on the journey from Valle De Angeles to Trujillo? As well as any places from our other longer journey from Lago De Yojoa to Amapala?
We have been working on our spanish, but it could definitely use some more work before we depart. And we are planning to stay extremely cautious during our trip doing all the things you have suggested in terms of safety, as well as using combo locks on our bags and a few other extra precautions. I think safety wise, if we stay very aware of our surroundings and of our actions beggining in Honduras will be a great learning experience for many future travels. Thank-you so much for all your advice though, you are a wonderful help! If I think of anymore questions I will definitely let you know. In terms of transportation I feel could be difficult for me, and just knowing the best ways to reach certain places and safest ways. In response to possibly meeting up, we would really like to leave Tegucigalpa as soon as possible but I will let you know if I would like to if I change my mind and definitely send you a private message. Thank-you so much for offering to meet though it is a very kind gesture and if we did not want to leave Tegucigalpa so quickly I think it would be a wonderful opportunity too. But much thanks for your help and I will hopefully hear from you soon!
Jan 12, 2012 4:17 PM
8Tegucigalpa to Trujillo is a long way, especially in public transport, about 10 hours without stops. Have you found a bus company that does it directly? If you look at a Honduras map you will see that from Tegucigalpa to Trujillo there is a straight route through the department of Olancho, which looks like it is not so far, but you should not use this route. That part of the country (Olancho) is a bit unsafer, and mainly because the roads are very bad. There is a plan to make it a proper highway but that will take many years.
The route you have to take is "La Carretera del Norte" - (North Highway), which goes through Lago de Yojoa, Tela, La Ceiba and then Trujillo. Most likely you will have to transfer to another bus in La Ceiba to get to Trujillo.
That is why I suggested a stopover in Lago de Yojoa, but if you are concerned for time I would go to Tela directly. Lago de Yojoa would be the last on my list, but do not miss Copan! Hedman Alas Bus does go to Tela but you have to go through San Pedro Sula which is unnecessary waste of time. So take "Transportes Cristina", which has also excellent service: http://www.transportescristina.com and does not go through San Pedro Sula. Spend a few days in Tela and from there go to Trujillo (4 - 5 hours away). Then come back to La Ceiba (2.5 - 3 hours) and either go to Utila directly or stay in the La Ceiba area.
On the way back do Copan, if time permits do Lago de Yojoa and certainly Amapala before crossing into Nicaragua. From Lago de Yojoa to Amapala you have to change buses in Tegucigalpa. To get to Amapala you have to take a bus to Coyolitoin Tegucigalpa and from there cross - 10 mins- by "lancha" (small motor boats always available). Transportes Cristina and Hedman Alas are first class companies which do the North Coast and Copan, but to Valle de Angeles and Coyolito it's more a sort of "chicken bus" you will have to take. I do not have precise info on those, but
they leave mainly from the public markets, either Mercado Jacaleapa or Mercado Zonal Belen. The one for Valle de Angeles leaves from the Tegucigalpa exit on the Valle de Angeles Carretera (road).
The only stopover, considering your limited time, after Lago de Yojoa and before Tegucigalpa is Comayagua (time permitting), the biggest colonial town in Honduras, the first capital. It is 1.5 hours from Lago de Yojoa and 1.5 hours from Tegucigalpa. Because of time and logistics it's better that you go direct from Tegucigalpa (Tegus as we call it) to Amapala.
Definitely do not waste time in Tegus when you arrive, go to Valle de Angeles. Do you know yet how? Will send you private message with my contact details. Wrote all this here just in case it might be useful in the future to somebody else.
Jan 12, 2012 9:00 PM
9Alright! Thank-you again for your great help. That sounds like a safe reliable journey. It is a shame to have to limit the possible routes of travel, but in regions that are less developed in spots, it is definitely a smart idea.
With this plan of travel we were thinking of possibly skipping Valle de angeles and that area completely, and just heading straight north. We were wondering if there were any nice towns to crash in the first couple of nights that were already on the route that we will eventually be taking. We really want to start in a safe place and get used to the vast changes we will experience before we start travelling.
Anyway, let me know...mainly the first couple of nights is our main concern right now, but the rest of the itenerary sounds great! You are really a wonderful help, look forward to hearing back from you once again.
Jan 12, 2012 9:17 PM
10Very important question: What time does your flight arrive in Tegucigalpa?
Jan 12, 2012 9:19 PM
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