Wednesday 11th July Lago Yojoa – Gracias

Day of transit today. Took buses from the lake all the way to the beautiful town of Gracias. It took about 5 hours all up but I was able to enjoy some lovely scenery and views of the lake and surrounding mountains on the way. Gracias is a beautiful old provincial town with a dilapidated air about it. I stayed at Hotel Guancascos – which had some great views out over the town from it’s restaurant balcony. 

Thursday 12th July Gracias

Today I took a day trip out to the little town of La Campa. This town is known for having the best Zip Line in all of Central America. This is surprising because it is a tiny town of only 6500 people! The ride out to La Campa on the local bus was really scenic and took about an hour. The little town was beautiful, very clean with a lovely old church set in the back drop of the canyon that I was about to go ziplining through! Everyone was super friendly and welcoming and keen to have a conversation with me while I waited for the zip line guides to return from the group before me. They were all very proud of their town, which is very safe and has managed to keep apart from the gang violence experienced in other parts of Honduras. The guides eventually returned and took me up to the start of the zip line course from where I was able to take the 6 zip lines back down to the town. The views were incredible and the adrenaline awesome, particularly on line number 3 which was over 1km long and very high! It was really worth every penny! We finished the 6th line by the church and that was the end of the tour! I had a delicious lunch of fried fish and salad with plantines at a local restaurant and then it was time to catch the 1pm bus back to Gracias! 

In the afternoon I visited the local hotsprings – Aguas Termales Presidente.  We got there by tuk tuk from Gracias and the hot pools were great to relax my muscles from the crazy hike earlier in the week! It was a beautiful spot in the jungle and lots of locals come there to relax in the evening as it is open until 11pm at night every day. 

Friday 13th July Gracias.

This morning I headed out to the local national park -Celaque National Park. We took a tuk-tuk up to the park office up a very bumpy road. The park ranger was very welcoming, helping us to pay for the entry fee and then showing us the map with all the different walking tracks in the National Park. Celaque NP contains the highest peak in Honduras but it is a really long walk, more than one day out and then a second morning up to the summit and back down to the park office. It’s also covered by trees – so no viewpoint! This makes it a challenging but ultimately uninteresting climb! We decided to head to the waterfall viewpoint which was about 1.5 hour walk uphill through the forest with a bird viewing platform way up in the canopy at one point. The viewpoint was pretty far from the waterfall, but it was still a really beautiful place to relax and have lunch after a long climb! We only saw one other group of people the whole day in the park which was really awesome and surprising! At the end of the walk, we hitched a ride in the back of a pick-up back to Gracias. 

Later in the afternoon I headed out for a walking tour of the town of Gracias. I walked the cobblestone streets and had a look at the old churches of La Merced and San Marcos and also visited the Gardens and museum at Casa Galeano where I learned a lot about the history of the town and the local people. The final visit of the day was to the Fuerte (fort) of San Cristobal. This wasn’t really an impressive fort but it had nice views out over the surrounding mountains and a really cool sunset too. It was the resting place of the famous president Juan Lindo – who was famous because he instated compulsory schooling for children in Honduras for children up to 14 years of age. The quote on his headstone reads: “you could be a hated ruler of your time. But if you want to win the vote of the future generations, open schools”. Seems like a pretty forward thinking philosophy to me!  Tomorrow I’m heading for the town of Copan Ruinas to visit the famous Copan Mayan Ruins.