La Ceiba, in the north of Honduras, is often used solely as an entry point to the traveling hotspot islands Roatan and Utila, and that’s a real heart breaker. La Ceiba is exactly the sort of place that travelers can explore and discover for themselves, the sort of place where people tell you very little about but you take a chance with and never regret it. With national parks and beautiful rivers cutting through the surrounding regions, La Ceiba is waiting to blow up as a tourist destination – so go and explore it before the horders arrive.
Fortunately, I had a contact at the tourism board who had told me just how beautiful the La Ceiba region was, and I was determined to explore it for all it’s beauty. Although I had heard the city was quaint, it was the outskirts of the city I had my heart set on. I wanted to be in the jungle for a day or two, read a book, white-water raft, hike – so I spoke to Honduras’ most knowledgable hotel owner, an awesome gentleman by the name of John Dupuis, he owns the hotel I had selected – without doubt the best accommodation I had stayed in in Honduras, La Villa De Soledad. Their tag line ‘Relax in Nature’ sounded exactly what I needed after two many days on twelve hour chicken buses. So I checked-in, and did exactly that…
La Villa De Soledad is about twenty minutes from the city proper, perched literally on the side of the beautiful Pico Bonito National Park, it’s like the hotel is engulfed by it, so peaceful. Then there’s the Cangrejal River which La Villa De Soledad literally overlooks, you can hear the water streaming past from the hammock on your patio, unreal.
The hotel is a family run affair, John is the face behind the business and his uber-friendly wife is there bright and early serving fresh coffee and fresh fruit for breakfast each morning. Actually, one evening I hadn’t eaten dinner so I was invited to share the family dinner with them too, now that’s seriously good service.
Considering that the hotel is so secluded, surround by rivers and national parks I was a little scared about the wifi connection, but believe it or not, it was super fast. Skyping my staff, sorting out new projects and blogging – none of it was an issue. This place was blowing my mind.
John showed me to the room and it was just beautiful. Spacious, ultra high ceilings, en suite, wifi all designed with nature in mind, wood finished and wood furniture everywhere. The true highlight of the rooms are the patio outside though. Each room looks onto the ‘garden’, I feel guilty using such a small term for their land as actually the patio looks onto the entire national park. There’s a ridiculously comfortable hammock perched just outside your room, one for each guest so don’t bank on getting too much work done if you’re staying here for a day or two. Chilling in the hammock, with the water gushing past, in the middle of the national park, reading a book – it’s been a long time since I’ve been so relaxed.
After spending a whole day relaxing, the next day I thought I’d venture from the hotel into the national park. It took about five minutes to walk from the exit of the hotel to the National Park entrance, I paid my two dollar entrance and off I went. There are a few trails you can follow, and maps are available at the entrance. I didn’t venture too far, but the beautiful bridge crossing the Cangrejal River was an awesome site. Again, I brough my book, found a spot and had one of those moments that I talk about now and again. “Wow, I’m really traveling right now – in a gorgeous National Park, in Honduras, completely solo – loving life”. The next day I rafted down that crazy river, but that’s another blog post 😛
Spending a few days at La Villa De Soledad was exactly what I needed. I was recharged, smiling and so grateful to John for everything he had helped organise. If you’re in Honduras guys, don’t skip La Ceiba as merely the entry point to the islands, take a coupe of days, relax the same way I did, you literally cannot be disappointed. Happy travels.