Over the past few months I’ve recounted our experiences on a Caribbean cruise in October 2007 and with our trip to New Zealand now exactly seven weeks away, I thought I’d do a post on the fourth and last port of call, Roatan Island, Honduras.
Of all the ports, this was certainly the most impoverished area we visited. Residents listlessly rested on the stoop of cinder block structures and primitive huts. Trash littered yards and along the roads. However, because the country was not yet developed, it was also one of the most beautiful countries we visited.
We took a school bus (probably put of commission in the United States in the 1970s) up a steep, narrow dirt path up to the highest peak of the island. Of all the things that I have done in life, this was by far the most harrowing and most life-threatening.
At the top we were to zip-line from tree to tree, back and forth down the slope of the mountain, finally arriving at a pristine, private beach. Since then, we have zip lined at other places (in Mexico and in the North Carolina Mountains) and Alex and I agree that our first time was by far the best. Starting at the top of the mountain and zipping along the canopy of the rainforest, the ground 200 feet below us, was an amazing experience. The platforms that we were flying to and from were built with a wire floor and basically scrap wood, sufficient to hold maybe 5 people at a time. But the staff were incredibly efficient, catching us as we flew in, moving our harness to the next line, and handing us off to the next staff member to fly down the next line.
The beach we arrived at was the most beautiful beach we encountered during our trip. The beach was clean, the mountains that came up to the beach gave us terrific scenery, and the water was that perfect blue-green you only get in the Caribbean.
Roatan Island, while currently undeveloped, is known for its water sports (snorkeling, scuba diving, etc) and probably won’t stay undeveloped long. I’m glad we were able to visit before it becomes just another tourist destination. I guess Roatan Island doesn’t necessarily represent all of Honduras, but right now, I have a great opinion of the country as a whole!
Officially, my opinion immediately after the cruise was not the most positive, but over time I think I’ve realized why. First, I think cruises are an excellent way to “try out” a country; because of this cruise, I know I don’t want to go back to the Cayman Islands but we returned to Mexico for a longer stay. Our cruise was seven days, which is a little long to be on a boat, and it was just us two. I think I would have a better time on a shorter cruise with friends-that’s why I’m headed to the Bahamas for a 3 night/4 day cruise with my girls in April. A great benefit of this particular cruise is that it’s actually staying overnight in port, letting us experience the nightlife in the Nassau. Usually cruise ships don’t do this because they have to close their casinos while in port, cutting into their revenue, but while in Nassau, the casinos can stay open.
So have you ever been on a cruise? What did you think?