Monthly Archives: March 2014

Waspam, Rio Coco, Nicaragua

The Rio Coco is like a giant highway for the Miskitu people (miskitu uplika painkira, my beautiful Miskitu people).  Waspam is one of the busier small ports on the river, deep in the heart of the Miskito Coast.

How do you get to Waspam?  Good question, because it is seriously off the beaten track.  We were in Puerto Cabezas (or Bilwi), which has an airport with connections to Managua.  From Bilwi we went by private vehicle on a fair dirt road to Waspam.  It took about 3-4 hours in a 4wD pickup, and we stopped for snacks once.

Arriving by road to Waspam

Arriving by road to Waspam

Once you get to Waspam it is actually a nice town for tourists.  We stayed at the Hotel Rose, which is owned by the Cunningham family, who also own the Casa Museo hotel where we stayed in Bilwi.  We were just part of the family.

Porch at the Hotel Rose.  We enjoyed it greatly in the evenings.

Porch at the Hotel Rose. We enjoyed it greatly in the evenings.

There are several comedors in Waspam that serve a typical meal at lunch and dinner.  There are also many small shops that serve snack food and water and beer.  Waspam is pretty easy to navigate.  

We are on the Nica side of Rio Coco, across the river is Honduras.

We are on the Nica side of Rio Coco, across the river is Honduras.

This is one comedor where we had a great lunch.  The dining room is right over the river.  If you didn’t drive to Waspam, about the only other way to get there is by river, so this might be the way you came in.  You can travel by river to other communities up and down the border between Honduras and Nicaragua, and eventually you could get boat rides out to the coast, to arrive in one of the coastal towns of Honduras, like Puerto Lempira.

Waspam has internet cafes for your communication needs.  It is such a groovy place to hang out, in the middle of nowhere, but still with plenty of traffic and action and services like food and drink and entertainment.  It is deep in Miskitu country too, so you can drop your Spanish, and say “miskitu bila aisisna” (I speak Miskitu!), or at least “drapkum” (a little).

 

 

 

 


Comayagua, Honduras

Semana Santa is the best time to visit Comayagua, to see the sawdust carpets.

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Comayagua is a good historical destination.  The main plaza has great colonial architecture, including the city hall and the Cathedral.  Inside the Cathedral is a very old clock, sometimes considered the oldest working clock in the Americas.  It was confiscated by the Spanish Government from Alambra and sent to the Noble at Comayagua in 1537.  Pretty old!

During Easter Week, on Good Friday there are parades and carpets.  You can find these types of processions in many Honduran cities during Easter Week (including Copan and Tegucigalpa), but Comayagua is one of the biggest displays of carpets.

There are several nice hotels in Comayagua, typical of a bustling small city, including the Santa Maria de Comayagua and the Hotel Antigua.  You can find info about hotels on Facebook  or in Spanish at Ven a Comayagua.

For a great traditional Honduran meal, go out to the Atoleras on the Highway.  There are several places that make famous Honduran traditional foods, such as atol (a beverage of thick corn starches with spice), tamales (meat and veggies stuffed into a cornmeal wrap and boiled or steamed) and tamalitos (sweet young corn tamales, usually without any stuffing, and with white crema).  It is all very delicious and local.  The atoleras don’t seem to have any websites up, so you will have to ask a taxi driver.


Omotepe, Nicaragua

Omotepe is an island, in the middle of a lake, in the middle of an isthmus, between two oceans.  Or maybe it just seems that way to me.  You have to take a ferry across Lake Nicaragua to get there, although construction is underway for an airport.

The island feels like a different world, certainly compared to Granada or Managua.  There are fresh-water sharks in the lake, and monkeys and birds all over the island.  There are volcanos as well.  To make things even more unique there are fascinating petroglyphs around the island, including a collection in the yard near the church, and a hillside museum and hiking trails that every taxi driver offers as a tour destination.

There are great places to eat and stay in Omotepe.   There is the Charco Verde, a hotel, restaurant, and beach close to the port where the ferry comes in.  The Charco Verde is also a local feature, a green pool located nearby in the mangrove forest.  It makes a great place to visit and explore.  The Hotel Villa Paraiso is also cool, with its own restaurant and beach.  It is a little farther down the road.

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omotepevolcanoThe beach at Villa Paraiso, with the Volcano in the backgroud.  An amazing place to spend a night or two.

 

 

 

 

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Ojo de Agua is a small spring that has been turned into a balneario or a swimming pool.  It has beautiful clear water in a lush jungle setting.  It usually has lively groups of tourists and locals.  There is food available, so this makes a great place to spend the whole day, or just to stop for dinner.  When you swim in the pool, you are in the Ojo de Agua, on an island, in a lake, in an isthmus, between two oceans.  It can get pretty heavy on the existentialism so it is good that they serve Toña at the little dinner shack.


Tapachula, Mexico

A great starting point for a trip through Central America, Tapachula is, to me, a bus and airport kind of city.  It is where Mexico ends and Guatemala starts, and there are lots of transportation hubs.  This is a great stop on a bus ride from Mexico City, and there are connections to Guatemala City, San Salvador and points south.  You can catch your first leg of a Tica bus here, which might take you all the way to Panama.

The town is a busy little place, and they have a Holiday Inn, which is my choice, since I can book it with my membership.  Hotel staff are very friendly, and if you don’t believe me, you can read what they say about Tapachula in general on TripAdvisor.  I was amazed that there were such positive reviews for many places to stay, considering the fact that this is not exactly Acapulco or some other tourist destination.

I can spend at least one night, banking for a border crossing, eating and drinking in a bustling metropolis before a long bus ride.  Sitting with other travelers in the hotels, and making plans for the next destination.

There is also an airport in Tapachula, which comes in handy if you decide that you are tired of roughing it out on the highway, and you would rather just fly this leg of the journey.  There are AeroMexico flights to Mexico City, Guatemala City, and connections to other places like Cancun and Roatan.  Never a dull moment in Tapachula.

 

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