First, use backpacks. Don't
read into this -- I am not a backpacker nor a hiker. When you hit that
first cobblestone street in Honduras with your wheeled suitcase looking for a
hotel, remember I told
For packing, I like
backpacks with an internal frame but there are absolutely zillions of brands out
there from which to select. Make sure you try it on before buying it.
The Washington Post recommends these three as 'women-friendly' backpacks, all
designed for better fit for women.
Weeklong pack: Mountainsmith's Chimera ($250!)
Weekend pack: Camelbak's Isis
Multipurpose pack: Granite
Gear's Vapor Trail ($150)
• Next, when you begin to pack, put everything you think you will need for the trip
on top of your bed. Now, randomly throw half of it onto the floor.
is left on the bed.
Some rules (ok, guidelines) for Honduras packing:
Rule 1: Under-pack.
Rule 2: See rule 1
above. You will be lugging this baggage. Porters at hotels are few and far between. My
wife and I each carried a backpack that weighed 30-35 pounds. We had everything we
needed. Laundry services are widely available, eliminating the need to
pack for two weeks of fresh clothing.
Rule 3: If you are
traveling with someone, pack half of each person’s things into each backpack.
That way, if one of the bags doesn’t show up in Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, or San Pedro Sula, the trip proceeds
Rule 4: Pack only
cottons that “hand-smooth” out. Cottons can be washed out at night in the
sink with a bar of soap. Cotton breathes in Honduras's heat.
Inexpensive laundries are in all the cities in Honduras.
Khakis and a collared shirt get you anywhere in Honduras. Women? – A long
skirt and blouse seemed appropriate for all our travels. You will see
shorts on Roatan, La Ceiba and Tela.
visitor suggests that after observing local women wear less than 'conservative
clothing,' women might want to consider capris and cotton. My wife offers
that the smaller the village, the more conservative you will want to dress.
Use your judgment.
If you get caught like I did in the middle of winter without shorts, department
stores in La Ceiba have an excellent stock.
And some more:
Rule 5: Pack a bar
of Ivory soap, a plastic bag for the “wets” and extra small ones in your purse
for motion sickness.
Rule 6: While
packing, toss in small
2 ounce bottles of shampoo, hand lotion, etc. Don’t
lug weight unnecessarily. Save the room and weight for hauling back
important items -- cigars, coffee, and rum.
Rule 7: Regardless
of when you go, pack plenty of sunscreen lotion with a high number. Suntan
lotion is pricier in Honduras
than it is at home.
Rule 8: Wear and pack
only comfortable shoes with plenty of cushion. Cobblestones, such as those
near the Copan Ruinas, are unforgiving on
the feet. Sandals for the beach are wonderful and weigh so little.
Honduras has 110-volt electricity so your
appliances will work. Many of the outlets in Honduras are the old variety
and won’t accommodate the larger left prong (polarity prongs) that our
appliances have. Buy a flat prong adaptor before leaving home and toss it
into your backpack.
When we first traveled to Honduras
in 2003, ATMs were few and far between and less than reliable when used.
That has changed. Visitor after visitor has notified me that they have
used ATMs in Honduras without any difficulties. Before you wing your way
south, just flip your ATM over and do a web search. See where it might be
accepted if you have any doubts.
sure you have a handle on the conversion rate for dollars to lemps before you
stand in line and get 3930 lemps in public. Use discretion...use the ATM
during the day, in a secure area, busier site rather than a solitary site, etc.
Count it back at the room, saving the receipt in case there were problems.
Regardless, have a backup plan with some cash and travelers'
checks should the ATM system fail you.
Go with a recognized name. I recommend only American Express. They have
the widest acceptance. (Banco Atlantida wouldn't even cash my American Express
checks in Santa Rosa de Copan). There is no reason to travel to Honduras just to
out that the banks don't care for your credit union's travelers' checks.
Buy small denominations. While every hotel accepted our Visa, I
saw only one restaurant that accepted a credit card. This could have
changed and I would welcome current travelers experience via
in a luggage store and use it. Similar belts that drape over the neck are just
an invitation to trouble. (See more on
money issues in the
For those of you coming from Europe, bring only American dollars. I saw no
other currencies being cashed in banks.
Are you really sure you want to do that? Maybe in the
tips section I can persuade you to use
the buses, collectivos, and planes. Driving in Honduras is not for the
faint of heart but if you insist, order a
ahead of time. It is next to impossible to find a map in Honduras. In
the past, I have been able to find a map in Central America at the Texaco gas
stations. In Honduras, I struck out.
For those that want to
drive, Spring 2007 visitor Ron Hay has a good article on his experience of
driving in Honduras. He did fine and his article
is a good balance to my flat refusal to drive in Central America.
rental agencies are in San Pedro Sula and Tegulcigalpa. While I
recommend the collectivos and buses on Roatan,
motor-biking can be fun.
Cameras and Film
Buy a new battery for your flash unit, toss in
extra flash memory cards, battery charger and extra batteries if you are a digital user. Also, buy extra film in the States or Canada -- very pricey in Honduras and the availability
isn't always what you might need.
• In airports, if using film, take your camera out of your
carry-on and hand it to the security agent. Ask them to pass it around the
scanning equipment. The agent may ask you to snap the shutter.
(Flash memory cards and their images are not harmed by x-ray equipment.
Run it thru the machine without worry).
leave the film in checked baggage because it will be ruined. Even the
Transportation Security Agency now
inspection of film/cameras and not putting film in checked baggage.
Small alarm clock
A small battery operated alarm clock is a good idea. Front desks may or may not
honor that 7 a.m. wakeup call. In the rural parts of Honduras, the
roosters are pretty good about honoring your request for an early wake.
The problem is, it is usually a bit earlier than you had arranged.
Congratulations. Sit back and enjoy your flight. You have laid out a
loose itinerary with built-in flexibility, fully prepared for it, and packed
accordingly. Your tickets, passport, cash, and travelers' checks are all
in the right places. Right? Now, just a couple more things.
Travel Healthy on the Plane
Get up at least once an hour and walk the length of the plane.
In between, stand in place. This keeps blood circulating in your legs.
Avoid crossing your legs.
Easy on the booze.
Hydrate. Drink a 1/2 quart of water for every two hours airborne.
Other excellent ideas
healthy plane traveling are provided by Dr. Andrew Weil at The Prevention website.
Keep expectations in check. It is only human to have high expectations.
Let them go. Let the trip "be what it will be." Be open to
serendipitous moments, being present to other people, and changing that sacred agenda you so meticulously
planned. Parts of your great plan will disintegrate:
• Bus connections get blown because your Spanish is a tad weak or
the bus hits a horse.
• You get traveler’s
diarrhea and can’t go anywhere for a day and a half.
• You fall in love with a town
but can’t stay because you are booked at the next hotel.
• Relax. Schtuff happens.
Enjoy the trip. Take what is presented and revel in it.
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Present weather and 10-day
San Pedro Sula,
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