Tuesday, January 10, 2006

HONDURAS - Lake Yojoa and Pulhapanzak waterfall

When we crossed the border into Honduras, we had only planned on visiting Copán and then returning to Guatemala. However an article in the Honduran newspaper Honduras This Week convinced us that we should drive three hours east to Lago Yojoa, situated just about in the center of the country.

The rainy view of Lake Yojoa from one of the many popular fish restaurants that line the side of the main highway that goes to the capital Tegucigalpa

What convinced us to change our plans and explore more of Honduras? While the idea of a lake in the mountains is always appealing, the real reason we went to the lake was to visit the D&D Brewery and Inn. This is the only place we know of in Central America to find any of a variety of special treats. Not only can we drink delicious MICRO-BREWED BEERS, but we can also have BLUEBERRY PANCAKES for breakfast! This is a big deal, since most Central American beers are the rather bland Pilsner style (ie Corona, Budweiser), and there’s almost no variety. As for blueberries, most Central American people don’t even know what they are, and supposedly this area is the only place in Central America where they are grown.

The D&D Brewery is the brainchild of Bob Dale, an ex-pat from Oregon who bought a small coffee finca near the lake and turned it into a little paradise (according to Bob, one only needs the "testicular fortitude" to open a business in Honduras). Right in the middle of the grove of coffee trees which still produce hundreds of pounds of coffee every year, Bob put in a swimming pool, built a tiny restaurant next to it, and set up a half a dozen or so rooms to rent out.

Bob and his handsome dog Buster (one of Kina's many suitors on our trip; we both agree that of all of these suitors, Buster is the most "qualified")

Bob shares stories of expat life in Honduras with Howard and Angela, proprietors of the Iguana Azul backpackers hotel where we stayed in Copán

The setting is sublime, and to top it off, Bob is a super-nice guy who really made us feel at home. He’s happy to share his various creations (for instance, he makes his own sodas, pickles, jellies, and other treats, in addition to some really fantastic beer), and he has lots of great stories to tell about his travels in Central America. He’s really quite an inspirational guy, and we’re certainly glad we met him.

Bidding farewell to Bob and his wife Cynthia

While we were staying at the D&D Brewery, we traveled about 20 minutes to arrive at the spectacular Pulhapanzak waterfall, the biggest in Honduras.

The view of Pulhapanzak waterfall from the top of the gorge

What was really special about this waterfall was the secret passage that takes you under the falls to a small cave behind the plume. At first it looks like a suicide mission, but with the help of a local guide, we found our way through some small pools at the bottom of the falls, up over some boulders and into the spume – completely exhilarating!

The view from below. To get behind the falls, you have to walk along a muddy trail that starts at the wooden platform on the left. Eventually you have to jump into some pools in the river under the falls and climb over boulders while being pelted by the water from above.

Back into Guatemala, into the jungle of Petén for Christmas