We're in Roatan, Honduras working some and relaxing some and headed to Pico Bonito for some rest and relaxation. We had a job with a dive shop working as the Dive Shop Managers, however the owner of the shop had a different vision for his shop than I had and it just wasn't what we were looking for. We worked 6 days a week all day at the dive shop, stayed in a rental on the property of the shop, and even the day off didn't seem like a day off since we were at the shop. Unfortunately, we needed a break from the month-long job, and getting off the Island was just what the doctor ordered.
Pico Bonito - Mountainous Beauty
Shelly and I skipped out of Roatan for a few days to the jungle of Pico Bonito, Honduras to do some white water rafting and some relaxing. We chose Omega Tours Adventure Company & Eco Jungle Lodge because we did a horseback ride there a couple of years ago, and we absolutely loved it. We flew out to La Ceiba from Roatan and took a cab up to Pico Bonito National Forest. This place is in a pristine jungle just outside of La Ceiba and breathtaking in its natural beauty. Silvia and Udo run Omega Tours and they are the most gracious of hosts. The lodge is peaceful and welcoming. and the German food is authentic and delicious. Silvia and Udo are from Germany and have been in this neck of the woods for decades. They have built an amazing place up in the mountains.
Getting Setup For Rafting
Getting To Pico Bonito From La Ceiba
It's easy to get to Omega from La Ceiba. It's a 45 minute (20 dollar) taxi ride from in town up the mountain on dirt roads. If it's pouring rain, you will need a 4x4 I would think, but our little Corolla taxi cab made it no problem. After 45 minutes of kidney-beating jostling, we arrived to the resort. There is a small pool that is fed from a spring creek that runs through the middle of the place. There are places to eat, lounge in hammocks and a really neat little area with two swinging chairs where you can put your feet in water and cichlids pick at the dead skin on your feet, giving you a pedicure of sorts. The rooms are rustic yet comfortable. No televisions. We loved this. I can't see coming to a place like this and watching TV.
We booked the tour for the following day and enjoyed drinks and a Schnitzel dinner in the bar. As I said before, the food is absolutely delicious. It was more food than we wanted to eat, however we ate it all and possibly licked the plate. That evening we took a stroll down the long driveway to hear the river rushing and look at the millions of stars visible in the night sky. The amazing thing about the mountains near La Ceiba. There are very few biting insects. There are however some gigantic insects. We saw a beetle that had to be the size of my thumb. The next morning we headed out for the free breakfast and took the afternoon half-day trip down the river.
Rafting Down The Rio Cangrejal
We ate a free lunch (comes with rafting) and got suited up in our life-vests and helmets. We were given a paddle and we headed down to the river. There was a 10-15 minute briefing on how to paddle and what to do in case you fall out and we then practiced our paddling techniques in a calm part of the river. Our tour guide was Saschel and he's from Austria. He has been living abroad for a long time and has spent the last 4 years in Ecuador as a river guide. There was another boat with us too with 3 other travelers.
White Water Rafting The Cangrejal
I have been river rafting before and this was Shelly's first time. The river was at medium height and there were plenty of class 2 and 3 rapids and a few 4s. Sashel was great! He told us to get down, we got down. Told us to get up, we got up. Paddle right, paddle left, back paddle and so on. Neither Shelly nor I were expelled from the raft at any point and the river water was cool and refreshing on a hot day. It was beautiful. The water green and turbulent with blue skies above. I had a GoPro attached to my life vest and filmed some of the rapids. About midway through the river, we stopped to cliff dive. Shelly and I are no strangers to this.
The "First Rock" we jumped off was an open landing into the river which was deep only about 15-20 feet above the water and you could see your landing area. The "Second Rock" was quite higher (around 30 feet up) and into a gorge about 15 feet wide. This made the heart pound. We all jumped one by one.. and of course Sashel did a front flip. (the guy is nuts!)
The rock overhung from the jumping spot and you really had to jump forward and way or hit the rock you were standing on. If you jumped too far, you could hit the rocks on the other side. From this height, it seemed if we were jumping into a tiny area. It was adrenaline pumping to say the least. Shelly and I were last. I am not sure if it's better going first or last in this kind of thing? We both made the jump and without injury.
Heading Back Home
We got back into the rafts and headed to the lower section (and calmer) of the river. It was absolutely gorgeous. Waterfalls, tall trees, and mountains on both sides of us, created a serene backdrop. Around 4:30 we finished the tour and packed up the gear in the truck and headed back to Omega. That night we were bushed! All the paddling, sun and excitement of the day made us sleep like babies. The following day we headed back for our 4pm flight from La Ceiba back to Roatan.
Change In Perspective
We loved our stay in Pico Bonito and at Omega and we will be back again some day. Some things we realized was how strange it was taking a "vacation" from our travels. We were in Roatan, and by all means a beautiful place. We headed to the mountains of the mainland to "get away". Going home, meant something different. We were going back to Roatan which seemed like home from our vacation. It was a strange feeling doing this. When you travel (not just vacation) you make the places you stay your home. We realize that home takes on different meanings to different people. I guess it really is where the heart is.