Our final couple of days in Utila consisted of ‘fun’ dives, drinking, watching football, and planning our next steps. The fun dives didn’t turn out to be fun for me. In fact I only managed to do one of the two dives, due to the open wounds on my feet caused by my flippers rubbing. Dom did both and is now an all round ace diver as her ears no longer hurt when descending.
We met a guy from England who now lives in Texas and ended up spending the evening with him in a bar. The next day was spent drinking too. After a morning swim, we did a bit of travel planning before heading to our favourite restaurant for lunch and to watch Wales in the semi-final of the European championships. Obviously we were on the pop again. Some to settle our nerves, and some to drown our sorrows after the final whistle. Although we lost the game, the boys did the nation proud and can hold their heads high.
Our travel planning resulted in us deciding the next couple of legs of our magical mystery tour. Firstly we would head to the Jungle River Lodge on the outskirts of one of Honduras’ many national parks: Pico Bonito. We awoke at 5:15am, finished packing, ate breakfast and jumped on the 6:30 am ferry back to the mainland. From there we had a free taxi as part of the deal to stay at the lodge, but as we needed to go into town to buy some hiking boots for Dom, we ended up paying about $10. The boots are going to be needed a lot in the next few countries so it was an investment rather than a waste of money.
After arriving at the lodge, a lovely place in the heart of the jungle, we ate a second breakfast before heading off to do a spot of white water rafting. The rafting was ace. It was a two hour paddle downstream through a series of rapids. We got soaked and almost lost Dom off the side of the boat, but it was great fun.
Once we were done on the river we returned to the lodge for a shower, a bit of grub, and some admin. The lodge is located on the bank of the river and there is a spot where you can jump from a rock about 20 ft into it. Not wanting to miss a great ‘red shorts video‘ moment, I slipped into them and Dom filmed me jumping in. Not on the first attempt however. I was too eager to take the leap of faith and the camera only got me entering the water so I had to climb out and do it all again. The current is strong too and I almost got dragged away. Being on a budget, we decided against the dinner they sell at the lodge and walked fifteen minutes or so towards the park, where there is a little village. There we found a little cafe with an amazing backdrop. We got a pork chop, plantain fritters and coleslaw each for a total of $7. The views alone were worth the price. We’d got chatting to a Dutch guy who is also staying at the lodge and he joined us. After chatting politics and enlightening him on the horrific policies of the Tory party, I’m pretty sure he now thinks Britain is an awful place to live for the majority of its citizens. The open wounds on my feet had by this point become a feeding ground for flies and so we headed back to the lodge. Dom was battling a cold and so went to bed not long after getting home. I spent an hour or so chatting to our new Dutch buddy before retiring myself. It had been a long day and another early start awaited us.
We awoke at the crack of dawn again. Early rising is now common place for us. It doesn’t bother me like at home though. After a coffee we walked to the village again to take advantage of the cheaper food options than the lodge. The price was lower but so too was the standard. It didn’t taste great and Gordon Ramsey would’ve torn the woman a new arse hole, but it was big and more than filled the gap. A hearty meal in readiness for our two hour hike through snake infested jungle. We had been told that although there are loads of highly venomous snakes, you’d have to be an idiot to get bitten by one. Being an idiot, this filled me with dread.
Our entrance to Pico Bonito national park was 300 Lempira for the two of us, about £15 give or take a few quid, and was well worth it. We crossed a suspension bridge high above the river we rafted along yesterday, and entered the jungle. The humid air was full of the sounds of birds and animals that we were unable to see or identify. All around us were hidden creatures, beautiful birds and silent enemies. The floor was alive with insects going abut their business, oblivious to us. A world within a world.After a while we got to the first of the two waterfalls that are the parks main attractions. We sat around for a bit taking pictures and rehydrating before heading off again, deeper into the jungle, further away from what little civilisation there is in the area. Two guys caught up with us and mentioned they had just seen a snake. I was desperate to see one. From a safe distance though of course. I may be an idiot but I’m not stupid. I would get my wish on the way back but it was only small and was being held by one of the afore mentioned guys, and so I was a little bit disappointed. Too much of a zoo like scenario. We didn’t even see one of those boring green snakes that look like really long frogs.
After about an hour of walking we arrived at our destination: a huge waterfall. To a man, we put our bags down and got our heads under the ice cold water which was almost as refreshing as an ice cold beer. I had worn my hat to avoid snakes falling on my head but the only purpose it served was to increase my temperature. The way back was mostly downhill and so we managed to get back to the lodge in time to hurriedly pack our bags, and just about catch our bus to La Ceiba, our ticket out of the jungle and to continue our adventure.