With two cities inside the top 5 most murderous in the World it would be easy for you to fall into the trap of considering Honduras as nothing more than a violent and gang controlled playground of the CIA that offers little more than fear and blood.
This is wrong.
In northern Honduras I stayed in La Ceiba, more specifically the Pico Bonito National Park, and it is utterly breathtaking. I was fortunate enough to find a Jungle Eco Lodge in the heart of the park which was a deep in the jungle like terrain and a stones throw from the Cangrajal River (the river of crabs.) The place is run by a German man named Udo who designed the lodge to submerge into the surroundings using smart architecture and natural produce and not raze land to build cement towers like so many are keen to do.
The lodge is beautiful, it has lodges that are embedded in the jungle with open sides to fully appreciate the wildlife atop the tree line. There is a novel swimming pool that uses cleaned rainwater and a cleverly designed bar and restaurant area surrounding which are hammocks and swinging seats for quite times.
Around the lodge, Udo has created what can only be described as a Garden of Eden with over 150 different fruit trees, countless medicinal plants and fresh vegetables growing all around, it is Willy Wonka’s answer to botany.
Coupled with the stunning scenery and the garden aplenty, the lodge operates a tours company, Omega Tours, who provide rafting, hiking and kayaking tours on and around the film scene-esque river. We took them up on the offer and went river walking and rafting, we left around 9am and swam, walked, climbed and jumped up the river before heading back downstream to hit the rapids. Udo and one of his adorable Rottweilers cam with us for some swimming too and I can not recommend this experience enough. The guide was extremely likeable, very friendly, professional and helped us to get the most out of the experience. After the thrills we headed back to the lodge for some lunch, usually on these things you get a sandwich and a bag of crisps, not here. We were served beautiful pasta with a variety of sauces and extras which we enjoyed with our new friends, guide included.
This brings me to my final point about the lodge, the food. Firstly, and in line with how this place was designed, almost every piece of cuisine is locally sourced, right down to the condiments, they are either grown on site or sourced from within just a few miles. Secondly, the menu is wonderfully varied, it caters for meat eaters, veggies and vegans and even has a touch of German flair. I would wholeheartedly recommend the Brattwurst and Weisswurst!! Beautiful.
Simply put, not only is this part of Honuras breathtaking in its scenery, it offers up a setting such as the Jungle Lodge to enjoy its pleasures. Forget wherever you had planned to go this year and get to La Ceiba!