Omeo – Tela

Omeo: a place where despite the searing heat, you would choose insect repellent over sunscreen. Every time. Some of the nastiest mosquito borne diseases lurk here (not ones likely to kill you, but ones that make you wish they would) and it would appear that every mozzie in Honduras got the memo that you’re in town.

Despite this, Omeo is a pretty little village clinging for dear life on the edge of Bahía de Omeo. The beach has all but been reclaimed and the tide is now turning its attention further inland. Sumptuous rainforest meets the tides on either ends of the village and hazy mountains rise up in the distance. A clutch of local boys were hand fishing at the far end of a jetty that had seen better days.

After exploring the beach, I wandered up to the Fortaleza de San Fernando de Omeo. A potted history… The Spanish decided it would be a good idea to build a fort to protect all the loot they had nicked out of the land in the way of precious metals, etc. but they weren’t prepared to put in the hard yards. The local Mayan told them quite firmly to sod off so the Spanish jumped in their boats and sailed over to Africa. There they managed to (forcefully) coerce a band of merry Garifuna men to help with the cause. With toil on behalf of the new recruits, the fort gradually started taking shape with solid foundations of mountain stone and bricks.

However, the pesky British were lurking around and it was decided to finish said fort ASAP. Thus, the new recruits were sent to harvest the bountiful supply of coral from the offshore reef to use as building materials and hence hasten the job at hand. Soon enough the Brits came knocking (with cannons, not knuckles) and decided the fort and all its treasure would be theirs. The Spanish, not at all happy with this decision, decided to take the fort back some time later. To their dismay, they discovered that the Brits had nicked all their loot on the way out. Now there was no way to complete the fort with an alligator infested moat, forever denying it Theme Park status.

After an extremely informative tour of the area, I cashed up at the local ATM and headed back to Roli’s to gather my pack. The bus went straight past the front gate, so no lugging of said pack was required. In Puerto Cortes, I caught another bus to San Pedro Sula, the second largest city in Honduras. There is nothing pretty about San Pedro, unless you’re a fan of polluted, congested roads.

At the bus terminal, I eventually found where to catch a bus to Tela, my next destination. It turned out I had to wait until 5.30 pm and that the bus wouldn’t get into Tela until 8.30 pm. Unfortunately I was stuck. There wasn’t any nearby accomodation and San Pedro was not somewhere I particularly wanted to spend any time in anyway. I decided to go on to Tela and chance finding accommodation later at night.

The guidebook recommends not venturing the streets of Tela late at night due to soaring crime rates, however, I caught a taxi to a place recommended in the Lonely Planet where fortunately they had a room available. The stout señora behind the desk had a camp coordinator no-nonsense look about here and spoke with a thick Honduran accent I couldn’t understand. Arrangements were nevertheless made and I gratefully had a (cold) shower and sunk into bed.

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