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The main purpose of this blog is as a permanent record of my adventures throughout the Americas by motorcycle. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions - I'm an open book.

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Friday, 20 July 2012


My experience in Honduras did not start well. El Amatilo is the dodgy late night bar of border towns - no one really wants to go there, but everyone finds themselves passing through (usually in a daze), and regretting it the next day. I got out of El Salvador no problems, and was in high spirits about getting into Honduras. I had instructions, and thought I was prepared. I wasn't nearly prepared for the clusterf**k that is El Amatillo. Let me paint a scene: Imagine a decrepit town, rustbucket vehicles kicking up dust and pouring fumes out over the open sewers and piles of rotting garbage. Somewhere around the corner is an unlabelled building that represents customs. Note this is probably the only border on this planet that customs comes first. Somewhere else, equally hidden, is Immigration. No one except for the touts speak any english, or could understand my attempts at spanish. Add in a heavy dash of border official corruption, a pinch of banks (who are supposed to take entrance fees) closing for the day at noon, and finally put this whole recipe through a power outage, and there you have it: El Amatillo. I ended up having to use a tout, probably getting ripped right off. I couldn't wait to put the town in my mirrors. The stab marks made with a pen in my diary on this day probably explains it all.

 Anyway, I headed up to Tegucigalpa on the way to Lago de Yojoa. Thankfully I had left early enough that I didn't have to stay in Tegucigalpa, as it is apparently a larger version of El Amatillo. The circle road certainly painted the same picture as all the previous travellers - a city of favelas and distinctly lacking any tourist attractions. I was starting to wonder how long I was going to spend in Honduras. About 5 minutes past Tegucigalpa, a miracle happened: It turns out that the US had agreed to build a road for Honduras, at a cost of half a billion dollars. It is, without a doubt, the best road I've been on since Mexico and possibly the best of the trip. I was wooping with joy, and nearly cried - it was beautiful. Thankyou, Uncle Sam: this biker is most appreciative. That was definitely the turning point for Honduras - I can point to the exact point where the road turned from dust to asphalt, and my frown turned upside down. The next 2 and a bit hours was a never ending series of tight corners (black marks on my saddle bags reminded me later how tight) on the smoothest, cleanest, most reliable tarmac this side of the Rio Grande. All through the most spectacular pine forest I'd seen in a while. It was almost like I'd started my trip in Canada all over again, but in summer. I passed trucks and bikes alike, and waved to all the locals (selling honey of all things!) as I passed from mountain pass to mountain pass. The Isle of Man can suck it - Rossi, Stoner and co. should be battling it out on these roads. For those of you who care, it's the CA-5.

Honduran roads can vary in quality somewhat....

 The end point of this magnificent specimen of bitumen - Lago de Yojoa, Honduras' largest freshwater lake. Lonely planet (and several other travellers) had told me of a brewery run by an Oregonian, built in paradise near the lake and eco park/ coffee plantation. To be honest, they had me at Oregonian brewery but I was also keen to check out the local sights. When I pulled up I knew the border trials had been worth it - this place was built in a patch of jungle, with a pool and restaurant/bar. A quick flashback of El Amatillo, and I plonked myself at the bar and told them I was staying at least 2 nights. They'd be lucky to pry me out of that bar at the end of the night - Oregonians are probably the best brewmasters in the US, and this place didn't disappoint - who knew apricot or rasberry beer could taste so good? When I get home, I'm definitely trying to replicate the apricot brew - that was bliss.

 The next day, I shook off my hangover and visited the coffee plantation/eco park. As it was Sunday, the local village had split in two - to watch the local junior soccer teams. I passed one on the way into the park, and made a mental note to stop by on the way back. The eco reserve was very interesting - coffee plants, mixed with tropical rainforest and magnificent scenery at every turn. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to take decent photos of butterflies, who just won't stay d**n still. A local bird watcher told me that there were a few toucans in the area, but I couldn't see any of them. Lunch in town, cheering on the local soccer team, a quick afternoon swim, and a few more beers capped off a great day.

 The next day, recharged and refreshed, I made the bold (and somewhat foolhardy) decision to bolt for the other border. Destination: León, Nicaragua. An 8:30am start put me in good stead, and I hit the border on time, battle hardened and ready for anything.

Photos Available Here

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