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San Lorenzo, Valle, Honduras by Lynne Harrington



We took our first “chicken bus” (local terminology) ride in Honduras from Tegus to San Lorenzo on a wonderfully warm and sunny November morning. Our terrible Spanish again, got us on the local ride (we were expecting the “express” ride), but, it turned out to be the most excellent adventure !


My partner Bruce, an admitted chocoholic, had packed some five pounds of Reese’s, Hershey’s and Almond Joys in our day bag, thinking there’d be no required sustenance available on our somewhat short (3 hour) journey to the Pacific coast. Well, we probably got ten miles down the road before he broke out his stash and shared it with our seatmates. I swear, the adults had bigger sweet-teeth than the kids and we soon made fast acquaintance with our fellow passengers – a really good thing this became as we whisked by the stop to the Hotel Miramar in San Lorenzo about 2 ½ hours in...I digress for a moment, we did stop at a roadside café on the way for the obligatory toilet/cigarette break and Cokes and sandwiches…


Anyway, after seeing a couple of Hotel Miramar signs with us desperately looking at the mom next to us for guidance, she and her buddies figured out our faux-pas and yelled to the bus driver to stop and let us off.


An interesting blessing this was, sitting at the side of the Pan American highway somewhere in southern Honduras with five bags of luggage and a marginal idea of where we were going. Remember, our Spanish is next to non-existent, alas, and amazingly, two minutes later the ubiquitous banged up Toyota taxi (with passengers !) stopped to help us along. I still don’t know how he fit all our stuff in his car but do remember that that teenager sitting next to me in the back seat was studying the history of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts - just a hop skip and a jump from our home in Rhode Island, how DO these things happen ?


Well, we were driven quickly (60 lemps; maybe 3k) to the Hotel Miramar and knew things would be fine when we were graciously welcomed and shown to a nifty efficiency room that literally sat atop the waters of the Golfo de Fonseca (just south of the small Puerto de Henecan). The accommodations were fine and the staff like family. I’m not kidding on this comment, we were fed the most (!) freshest ceviche and homemade (fragrant, semi hard ?) cheese that we could fit into our bellies for gratis - I lust and groan after these treats now in New England and thank Rigoberto (Hotel Miramar Manager) for his wonderful attention !


And so, we paid $38.50 USD per night (+12%) for the room with a kitchenette. Since this appeared to be the only room-type available during our stay here, I note it for reality price reference. While seemingly high for “non-city” accommodations, we did get a full breakfast daily and the considerate attentions of all, which led to …


We were able to enjoy an incredibly up-close (mangroves, birds, fish) and glorious boat trip to Amapala arranged by the Hotel Miramar’s restaurant manager aboard a private 16' metal skiff for the two of us (plus captain) to scope out the local straits. We were a bit apprehensive, however, about embarking upon our transport when we spied the boat's anchor - a 12'' rock tied with a frayed plastic cord, but hey, when in Honduras...alas, we were assured that our captain had many years of experience in these waters and that the Golfo wasn't all that deep anyway. Since there was no way to verify the former, and not wanting to test the latter, we shimmied aboard.


Our worry was for naught. Capitan Jose skillfully plied the waters of the Golfo de Fonseca for 4 hours, taking us through wildlife-filled mangroves and past the shores of ritzy Coyolito and volcanic Amapala (Isla del Tigre). He also asked if we'd like to stop at the Cemeterio Jacobo Korea, a tiny, but active, island cemetary between Amapala and Coyolito - this turned out to be the highlight of the sail. The locals decorate their ancestors gravesites with the most heartfelt and unique grave markers I’ve ever seen and…


It is a fascinating graveyard that the local folk honor with uniquely constructed crosses and flower-bedecked memorials. We wondered how in heck the deceased were transported here as the low-slung workboats along the coast just don't seem capable of floating cement coffins ashore. Alas, our Spanish is horrible (you know this by now) and we couldn't quite communicate our amazement, and, never did figure out how they did this. The cost of this grand adventure was $60.00 for both of us, perhaps a bit high considering the prices of everything else in country, however, gasoline IS expensive and we never would have gotten this up-close and personal on a larger craft. If you can arrange this adventure, grab it…


For the experience, we will probably try the Villa Concha Mar Hotel and Condominiums in San Lorenzo on our next trip. This new facility is located two blocks from the Hotel Miramar and is already undergoing expansion. The Villas are full-service with a daily tariff of $35.00+ US. It has a great restaurant (very reasonably priced) and a well-stocked bar (tequila !!!) four levels high that offers a super view of the Golfo de Fonseca and mountains of Valle, especially at sunset…


And don’t miss the Parque Central in San Lorenzo. While anchored by the ubiquitous catedral, the park here is filled with super-sized painted concrete sea creatures that are just a hoot ! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it further east to Choluteca, or, southwest to Nacaome, definite venues for our next visit. It should be noted that there is also a port facility in San Lorenzo that is equipped with shallow-ship unloading capability, one can only hope that this facility will be able to handle increased commercial activity in the near future – the location is awesome and within proximity to other Central American/Pacific-side ports.


Lynne Harrington is a recently retired government employee who's indulging a long-held desire to travel while exploring cultural and business opportunities in Central America. She is based in Miami. Lynne welcomes any questions you might have about the San Lorenzo area or Honduras.  She may be reached thru her .                     

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