San Pedro Sula – Copan Ruinas

Despite San Pedro Sula being listed as the No. 1 most dangerous city in the world, the Travel God of Security decided to take things a little too far this morning. The only way to keep the dorm room shut last night was to engage the lock. Seems a simple enough thing. Not, however, when said lock decides to jam up completely and refuse to budge. After several unsuccessful attempts, I started calling out through the bars of the window. Nothing. I googled the phone no of the hostel and rang it. Continuously. For about ten minutes. Accompanied by loud banging on the offending wooden door. 

Finally, the young Salvadorian guy who checked me in last night groggily came to my aid. I explained my predicament and he shuffled off to get the key. Alas, the key wouldn’t work either which meant I was trapped. A locksmith was called but my bladder wasn’t going to wait the length of time it may or may not take a Honduran locksmith to arrive. I pulled out my little multi tool set and took apart the lock casing so as to get to the main locking mechanism. The Salvadorian guy tried disengaging it with a utensil knife but to no avail. I didn’t have anything suitable my side to use so left him to try find something more hardy for the job. He eventually returned with a large screwdriver which he managed to wedge into the locking mechanism and finally disengage it. After nearly an hour, I was finally free! For that, my bladder was extremely grateful. 

Packed and ready to leave, I waited for the taxi I organised last night to return to pick me up. After more than half an hour, I decided to get the hostel staff to call for another one as I wanted to get a move on. The bus terminal in San Pedro Sula has a large shopping mall attached, with a great food hall right where I had to wait for my bus. As I chowed down on local cuisine, a young boy came over with a plastic cup and a bottle of soft drink. His mother, sitting nearby, smiled and nodded. I politely declined, but the three young children soon became my waiting room companions. 

To exit the waiting room, I had to go through security screening, though it wasn’t as stringent as others I had been through in this country. Then I was sandwiched in a minibus with my pack atop in the roof rack. The drive up to Copan Ruinas allowed me to see another part of the country quite different to where I had just come from. The road in the main followed the Río Ulua and wove through the valley passing spectacular scenery. As we left the tropical jungle behind us, pine topped hills took its place. We passed small coffee plantations carved out of the surrounding bush, though there is always room for maize and other Honduran staples. 

The bus stopped just outside the entranceto Copan Ruinas. The pastel pink archway on the edge of a bridge crossing a little river made a pleasant welcome to the town. Cobblestone and paved sections of road crisscrossed the hilly terrain Copan Ruinas is situated on. Traipsing up and down some of these roads fully laden in order to find the hostel I had picked out of the guidebook, was losing its appeal in the sticky heat. Especially when it wasn’t where it was indicated on the guidebook map! Directions sought, and I gladly dumped my pack on a dorm bed.

Hostel Iguana Azul ended up being an absolute gem of a hostel. Dirt cheap (AUD11) and spankingly clean, the US expat who built it 20 years ago did an amazing job. A more upmarket bed and breakfast next door served light meals and was available for hostel guests to use as well. This part of the property overlooked the Copan Valley with stunning views. A couple of cervezas watching the sun sink behind the mountains was the perfect end to another interesting day in Honduras. 

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