Honduras Travel Notes
|San Pedro Sula||Utila (Diving)||Roatan||Guanaja|
Our experience in mainland Honduras has been only in flying into San Pedro Sula on our way to the Rio Dulce. Soon we will be traveling the Bay Islands and will add to our notes.
We got a great deal on last minute travel back to the Rio by flying on Spirit Airlines through San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
But the flight arrives in Honduras at about 1am, and the only sorta-direct bus to Rio Dulce leaves once a day at 6am. Below is a recap of our notes on this trip.
Where we Stayed & Getting there from the Airport
We ended up using the Tamarindo
Hostel because I could contact them on the internet. They responded quickly
and answered my questions.
They quoted me $12pp bunk or $40/nite double w/ bath. It was kind of a funky 60's hippy kind of place. But clean and we were able to get a few hours much needed sleep. They also had wifi.
The Tamarindo also pre-arranged a taxi driver to meet us at the airport at 12:30am. The taxi driver was nice and spoke English and was waiting for us with a sign as we got out of Customs. We saw very few (if any) waiting taxi's at that time of night, so it's a good thing to try to arrange something ahead of time. It cost $25 US (and he took US cash). The daytime price is only about $10 but to have someone waiting for us at midnight we thought was well worth it.
There are some additional hotels mentioned at the bottom of the page.
Customs and Immigration
Immigration was easy. Customs x-rayed all our bags as we exited baggage claim. We had 4 big/heavy suitcases full of boat parts and lots of other stuff (and 2 laptops in our carry-ons).
They noticed one bag full of electronics while going thru the X-ray process, and asked us about it. Dave told them 'They are repaired electronics we are taking back to our boat in the Rio Dulce. We are only going to be in Honduras for a few hours and leaving in the morning for Guatemala'. We were prepared to show him boat papers, but weren't asked. The guy just said "OK, I'll let you go".
We paid no fees at all to enter Honduras (in fact, a large sign in the airport said that no fees were required).
Note that going thru the Honduras/Guatemala border by bus, no one cared about our bags either. They were never asked about or unloaded from the bus.
Getting Honduran Cash on Arrival
There were several ATM's in the airport as we exited and we got Lempira easily there.
There are also money changers at the border crossing, where the bus stops--just look for the guys wandering around with huge wads of cash. (just be careful with your cash, make sure you know ahead of time what the exchanged rate should be and how much Lempira you expect back from your cash).
Getting from the Airport to the Hotel at 1:30am
The taxi driver arranged by the Tamarindo was waiting at the exit of Customs with a signboard and our name on it. He spoke good English. He essentially checked us in to the Tamarindo (put our bags in an empty room) and told us to bang on the white door upstairs at 5am to get the girl up to get us a taxi to take us to the bus station for the 6am bus. No paperwork, no money required. But we paid the girl $25 US cash in the morning.
Getting to the Bus Station by 6am
The taxi driver that the Tamarindo called for us at 5am did not speak English and did not know the Fuentes del Norte bus (which is actually at the El Rey Express bus station) and started taking us to the new bus station out of town. But after asking on his radio, turned around and took us to the El Rey Express station, which is still downtown, and quite near the Tamarindo.
The address for the El
Rey Express Bus Station, as of December 2007, is 9 Avenida South, between 9a
and 10a Calle South. Ph: 550-8950
We bought tickets at the El Rey Bus Station (in the shorter line, labeled Fuentes del Norte) and the bus pulled up at 6am on schedule and we were off.
On the Bus
We made 3 stops for Honduras and Guatemalan Immigration, but no one cared
about our bags at all. We did have to get off the bus and do a Guatemalan
Immigration thing, but they didn't stamp our passports. They said the
Honduran stamp we got at the airport was all we needed.
At the Ruidosa crossing, where we thought were were supposed to change buses, there was a lower class Fdn bus there waiting. But when the guy went to get our luggage out, it was on the bottom, and the street was all muddy. So they told us to get back on the bus and we went just a short distance to the actual Fuentes del Norte bus station near Morales, and there they let us off and told us our bus would be coming in 15 minutes.
2 hours later, we found out there was a big traffic accident between Morales and Guat City, and our bus still wasn't there (no buses were running). We finally dragged our heavy bags across the street and flagged down a nearly-empty cuchillo (collectivo) van, who charged us 50Q to take us and our 4 large suitcases the rest of the way to Rio Dulce.
Flying in to Guat City at a decent hour seems a lot easier. But the price
was right for the 0-dark-thirty arrival in San Pedro Sula.
We met some people on the bus who had stayed at a different place in SPS, and really liked it. They said it was near a big City Mall. Another traveler on the bus was also familiar with it and had stayed there several times. Casa Hotel "Los Molinos" They paid $34 and it included Breakfast (though not at 5am), free internet access and airport pickup. firstname.lastname@example.org or look them up on hostelworld.com (504) 510-03-35
Other Rio Dulce boaters have also mentioned the following other hotels in San Pedro Sula:
Hotel Bolivar, $34, which is near
the town square. If I stayed there again, I would take the time to pick out
a room; the one we were assigned was quite shabby, though I later saw some
better looking ones. We decided to look around town the next day and found
the Hotel Palace International. The folks there were very nice and the room
was clean and orderly. We paid only $5 more for that room than what we paid
for the Bolivar.
My directions are not the best, but I believe that the Hotel Palace International is closer to the El Rey Express bus station than the Bolivar, however. I don't know if either of these hotels are set up for late check-ins or early departures - as we left to catch the 6am bus, the stairs at the Hotel Palace International were dark as was the lobby. To get out of the locked lobby, we had to wake up the night guy who was asleep on the lobby couch !!
Another Link for Info: The Rio Dulce Cruisers Net - Inland Travel
We got to Utila in our own sailboat, most people on a budget take the ferry from