December Update 3: Cayos Cochinos

One of my biggest goals to do before I left Honduras was to go to Cayos Cochinos, a collection of islands and Cays off the coast of Honduras. Well with just a few weeks left until I leave I packed up my bag and headed off to paradise for a few days between Christmas and New Year’s. I had worried that there wouldn’t be any buses on the 26th but, silly me, didn’t realise Honduras is pretty much back to normal the day after Christmas. 

So I headed to a La Ceiba – straight away it seemed so strange to travelling without my travel buddy Laura! Although we drove each other crazy at times I really got used to waiting in bus stations and sitting next to Laura on countless buses in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. So it was quite lonely to travel without her. A lot of people were shocked also when I told them I was going to travel by myself but I didn’t want to visit Utila again, where Julia has gone, so I braved the trip sola. I stayed in a hostel in La Ceiba before heading to Cayos and met a couple of people from the States and Austria so had a nice meal in a bar with them. There was a live band and four people showing off their ass shaking moves – a gringo also got up to sing a traditional Honduras song which was pretty cool! 

The next day I headed to Sambo Creek where my boat to the Islands was leaving from – I had found a package deal with all my accommodation, food and 3 dives included. As we came up to the islands I was amazed at how bright the sand was on each island. The Cay we stayed on was so basic – there was no running water or electricity. There was only one light on the whole island which was in the kitchen of the main cabana which was solar powered and on my second day there wasn’t much sun – so no light. In the picture below, I stayed on the second cay from the bottom – the one nearest to the bottom is home to a Garifuna village and you could actually walk from island to island: 

There was a main house on the island with two bedrooms and then 3 cabanas with 2 bedrooms each. While I was staying there, there was also a group from Tegus I got to know – I even knew one of the girls already from Julia’s project! Honduras really is tiny! The food was really typical Honduras – fried chicken or fish with frijoles and rice. I did freak out a little at the hygiene as there was very little clean water on the island but I just had to get on with it as that is what island living is! 😀 The first night we also had a bonfire with marshmallows which was really fun – I also spent a loooong time looking up at the stars, there were so many and they were so clear 😀 

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The second day of my trip I went scuba diving – my only time diving was in a swimming pool at Centre Parcs! So definitely a little bit different. I was quite nervous at first but we started on a beach so I could ease into it – it was amazing to go down and see the fish. At some points huge schools of fish were swimming right next to me which felt really surreal. Our next dive was out at sea and I was super scared to do a James Bond style backwards fall off the boat with this huge, heavy tank of oxygen on my back but it was fine. The third dive was my favourite – we went to see a plane that had crashed into the water about 15 years ago. It was amazing to see how the coral had overtaken it and it almost blended into the rest of the reef with plants all over it and fish swimming around it. My diving instructor opened the door to the plane and there was even so many plants in there – it was seriously cool!! I’m so glad I went diving and I think I got it a lot cheaper than if I’d gone from Utila or Roatan – especially as I had a one on one lesson, rather than as a group.

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That afternoon I went to the island next to us which is a Garifuna village – it is amazing how a community can exist on such a small island. Around 150 people live there, 100 being children, and almost the whole island is made up of their houses. The houses looked really sturdy – as they would need to withstand bad weather, and the only the island’s whole economy survives from fishing and tourism. The island even has a small kindergarten school and the children get a school boat to a nearby island for school after that. I had a walk around the houses and saw people cooking, fishing and playing card games. Everyone looked really happy and relaxed – it was pretty awesome! I didn’t have my camera with me though so I don’t have any pictures from inside the island but I have some from the beach…

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I was meant to stay on the island three nights but the second night it rained and the forecast was looking bad so I left the next day with the family I had met from Tegucigalpa. Before that though we went snorkelling off the island and had some yummy baleadas. We then got completely soaked going across the rough water back to the mainland on a really basic boat. And I then had a bit of a nightmare trying to find a bus going back to Tegucigalpa so I ended up getting one that was quite a bit more than I’d want to pay… but it was unbelievably comfy 🙂 

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So that was my last trip of my year in Honduras – I fly out of Tegus two weeks today and I’m already starting to feel a little emotional. There are so many things I wanted to do before I leave and so many people I need to say goodbye to – I hope I will have time to do at least the most of it. I will try to post as much as possible these next two weeks as I know I’m going to be crazy busy when I get back to England. So have a great New Year everyone and make sure you see 2014 in with a bang 😀 

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