Ron Podmore's The Best of Central America: Bay Islands, Honduras S 2 Ep 2
What treasure awaits you in the world's second largest Great Barrier Reef? Is there really gold along the coast in Honduras all this and more awaits you the best of Central America Welcome to Honduras [Music] Music I'm Ron podmore and welcome to the Best of Central America. I produce these shows all on my own. There 's no Hollywood hype here it's just strictly what you see.
I explore the best of Central America and in this case everything that has to do with Honduras; amazing beaches amazing plazas and of course even it's Mayan ruins. Come along with me explore, travel with purpose let's see what Honduras has for you. Our visit begins at the San Pedro Sula International Airport from there we will travel up and over the mountains to the municipality of La Ceiba connecting by ferry to the Bay islands. Upon arrival we will enjoy both the Cayos Cochinos National Marine Monument before making our way over to the island of utila and eventually back to LA Ceiba. (Soft piano music).
The Explorer Christopher Columbus made four trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain 1492, 1493, 1498 and the final trip in 1502. Columbus was determined to find a direct water route west from Europe to Asia but he never did instead he stumbled in the vicinity of the Americas mostly the Caribbean Columbus being of Italian Heritage was contracted with the King and Queen of Spain to find a direct route to the West Indies the King and Queen of Spain paid for him to find a faster Westerly route. He never did sit foot in North America the real credit goes to the Norse Viking Explorer Leif Erickson around the year 1000 a full 400 plus years before Columbus. Amerigo Vespucci, for which the Americas are named gets the credit for identifying that there are two clearly distinct continents that of North and South America It was during Columbus's third stint in the America Spanish authorities caught wind of Columbus's brutal treatment of the natives a report from Spanish Governor Francisco de Bobadilla recounted Columbus and his man's use of tortures to subjugate the people they encountered in the Americas or in Central America describing their actions as oppressive; the King was instructed to imprison Columbus and his two brothers and they were sent back to Spain in shackles the brother spent six weeks in jail until King Ferdinand and Spain released them and eventually pardoned him as well Christopher Columbus however was stripped of his Grand title of the governor of Hispaniola [Music] City Image, traffic, noise and various sounds to the north and to the east of Honduras second largest city of San Pedro Sula lies the world's second largest Coral Reef National Monument we have a group of Garafino population that is going to put me on a boat and they're going to take me right out to the Cayos Cochinas National Monument where we're going to explore the best of these coral reefs. Honduras continues to find his footings and move forward with an eye set towards sustainable economic stability . Although Honduras is one of the original 50 signatories that established the United Nations Honduras was also originally known as the Banana Republic.
Today the term Banana Republic often creates images of unstable economies something that goes back to over 100 years ago when an American businessman played an instrumental role in working with the American government to overthrow a Honduran president in exchange for favorable trade concessions a few years later Honduras working under that American businessman eventually became the world's number one exporter of bananas. Honduras has been diversifying its economy over the past several decades to move beyond that of Agriculture textiles and more so expanding into financial services and Manufacturing Honduras is growing as Economic Opportunity zones to better job prospects for its people. However, these Economic Opportunity zones are working in tandem with individuals from different countries and those who write policies are trying to restrict the potential of livable wages in exchange for profits which are already significantly less than that of developed countries in exchange for bringing manufacturing and near sourcing closer to the United States however there is room significant Room to Grow the Honduran economy oh yeah To the east of Honduras third largest city La Ceiba there is a small community called Sambo Creek. it's at Sambo Creek where many tourists have an opportunity to rent a boat and go out to Utila island or in my case heading out to Cayos Cochinos which is a national Marine Sanctuary set up off the coast there are two large islands off the coast of Honduras and with that there are 13 smaller Islands or what we call keys or chaos this is an absolute stunning Miracle proportion in which the water is so Crystal Clear over 110 different coral reefs that are very much thriving in this atmosphere right here there are also numerous aquatic marine species some of that have not even been discovered yet the important thing to remember is coming here today Kyle's Cachino National Marine Sanctuary is the most important thing is to keep the shoes off and anything that is underneath that the chaos Cachino Marine National Monument is considered among the places you should put on your bucket list the Cayos Cochinos National Marine Monument consists of two islands Cayo (key) Manor and Cayo (Key) Grande and 13 smaller islands situated roughly 19 miles to the northeast of La Saba on the Northern Shores of Honduras although geographically separate they belong to the Bay of islands department and are part of the Roatan municipality the Island's residents are around 100 indigenous and Garofino populations and with climate change prevalent these islands are at risk due to the rising of the world's oceans the islands are a marine protected area and are managed by the Honduran coral reef Foundation the coral reefs here are part of the world's second largest coral reef system and is known as the Meso-American Barrier Reef there is a scientific research station here on the island what's interesting being on these islands is there are no roads there are no cars there are no bikes there's many hiking trails that connect to Residents in a hike to the scenic jungles will bring tourists face to face with the world's only endangered pink boa constrictors that unlike most snakes they actually give live birth the pink boa constrictor itself isn't pink rather it's the tail that retains a distinct color that can range from Orange to salmon pink [Musical Score] [Music] The men that helped provide that boat and the experience for us to be able to travel out to the Islands of Cayos Cochinos did a fantastic job but more so I was impressed with their sense of spirit the sense of camaraderie their sense of community after we got back to LA Ceiba those men those Garafuno men, they all came together and they helped push that boat back onto land there must have been 10 15 of those guys that put that trip together so that we can go out and explore experience the best of what the Cayos Cochinos had to offer they share with me that there's another Island that I need to visit and that is of Isla Utila a rapid ferry to go from La Ceiba to the island of Utila.
Honduras was originally inhabited by many indigenous peoples and communities when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century the Western central part of Honduras was inhabited by the Lencas the central northern coast by the toll and the areas to the east and west of modern day Trujillo by the Paya the Mayans and the Nahua these autonomous groups maintain commercial relationships with each other and with other populations as far away as Panama to the South and Mexico to the north Honduras has ruins of several cities dating from the Meso-American pre-classic period that shows the pre-columbian past of its country [Music] foreign from either nearby Roatan Island or the city of La Ceiba Utila is primarily known for its incredibly rewarding diving experiences as well as its surrounding Waters famous for it being the whale shark capital of the Caribbean whale sharks reside in this area year round and it's very easy to spot them on the Northern side of the island with its deep Marine shell of these two islands that cater to tourism both have a unique personality Roatan is more developed and carries with it Vibes of relaxation utila on the other hand is more geared towards a festive party crowd complete with Tuk Tuk's Golf carts and a car free environment not to be missed is to whale shark and oceanic Research Center [Music] [Music] I am here on Utila island with my tour guide and new friend, Gustavo. Gustavo is going to be showing me around the high points of utila which includes a chocolate factory my favorite an iguana farm and a house of seahorses Gustavo nice to meet you nice to meet you how are you good and you I'm doing fantastic. Love being here.What would you like to share with us for Utila? Come to Honduras; beautiful people and a beautiful time! That's right and a beautiful time can be had in Utila..... Let's see what we can discover here. [local traffic noise, tuk-tuk, motorcycles] how's it going thank you how are you pretty good and yourself I'm doing great what's your name Lejourn Cooper. Lejourn? Lejourn and Cooper okay Lejourn Cooper it is I'm Ron nice to meet you.
This is awesome this this is chocolate? that's right chocolate and coffee chocolate coffee and sweets ice cream desserts all the good stuff that's awesome I'm at home now. what do you got so come right in okay I'll show you around here is our Cafe this is our main menu So everything is everything is made right here everything you made right here even the plastic bags, etc. Cocoa grown here or off the island or on the island or because on the elevation that we're on, one of the Honduran smaller Islands the elevation changes the flavor of it so we go higher up which is afraid of capital Honduras and that's where the temperature changes um the elevation how long does it take to grow the coffee to the seeds five months six months takes about seven months for a fully grown pod takes a lot takes about four weeks two weeks of beans being dried out......two weeks to be in Sun Dried for the coffee for the chocolate for the chocolate Okay chocolate now for the coffee takes about two years to grow The cocoa and then again it goes through the process on the main yeah and you get the protein right here or not is there a is there a block of time a season when it is time to harvest the coffee and a time in the season to harvest the chocolate? No, because here Honduras is very uh still in the topics so anytime Anything Grows any season of the year okay so how do you make the chocolate then so you have the beans and everything yeah The coco bean Is roasted grounded and clean and we have our beans we have our dried beans, once it's clean from the husk then we have our separation so the bean has 50% butter 50% fiber so we do the separation right here and we have green chocolate and dark like the chocolate within about 15 hours you're going to have a perfect form for our chocolate it's poured into this correct so after the grated process this is the mold where we're going to let it that about maybe 30 minutes and you have perfect body how much chocolate do you eat oh my God every day how much coffee do you drink maybe three cups a day this is fired that is I do one cup of coffee a day but it's all American coffee I want the real coffee the real chocolate and utila coffee company is the place to be that's right we have the best that is awesome yeah Lejourn Cooper, appreciate it very very much. thank you for coming it was nice to meet you thank you see you next time [Music] thank you The Caribbean Vibe is very much alive and kicking here on this island and the cultural experiences from foods liquids attractions await people who do decide to visit Utila.
Nothing wrong against Roatan Island but I can promise you between Roatan and Utila there is a big difference between these two islands and I can probably even say that the sunsets here are spectacular While there I had an opportunity to enjoy the blue Beach Bistro bar with expatriate Zach and he was very accommodated and provided me with lots of information and what a great place to stop take a breather and really rebalance for yourself for wellness and for health [Music] here in the downtown central business district of utila I met once against one of many amazing people with me I have is Troy. Troy is a long time resident here of Uila. Troy nice to meet you hey same thank you tell me about your job you're a very unique individual here what is your experience here on this island uh I do quite a few things but say my last eight years spent as mere here on the immensely like a city mayor City Mayor so we governed the island for eight years and as mayor you get to do everything you know you have full commands so you're in charge of education security you're in charge of Health making sure the island is nice and clean for the tourists so a lot of that stuff come under us and I understand after you left being a very rewarding job as mayor you've established a dive shop scuba diving a retail business this wonderful restaurant here and of course real estate I've been in the dye business in the tourist industry for 30 years so my life before Mayor was business so I also own a marine construction company we have barges we barge all of the construction material over to the island and and also properties you know we develop Islands so I've been in the real estate business since 2001. as tourists begin to return to utila and more people begin to Rediscover the ideas of being certified and scuba diving right here in utila what's what does your crystal ball project for not only Utila but also Honduras in general from a business perspective or economy it's a tough question it is a tough question you know uh I was talking to some of our new government officials the other day and uh you know here on the local level also on our central government level and they're excited you know it's a new government they want to do as much as they can do to help to generate more business but the opportunities here in our country is good I think for foreign investment right now we're entertaining some guys up from the states on investing on some properties here and and they're excited you know you know they're excited to come in to a place that's uh clean it's new and utility is a is a perfect little island for for the type of investment that these guys want to do as real estate you know the whole Bay Islands you know Roatan is our bigger island you know it it tenders to the cruise ships yeah that are interested in coming down out here and helping you know we can use the investment it creates jobs. (Ron:) There's a culture of respect and acceptance and embracing the people coming here it's very clear to me that is something that the people here of utila should celebrate and they're beyond amazing people whom I've met very accommodating very and I'm just like I can move here right now. Well, we loved having you here.
Thank you for your time, Troy I look forward to meeting you again thank you and please come back. Ron:I will! [Slower, melodic piano music] The two biggest questions I get from many people that ask me regarding Central America and in this case Honduras is that of safety and poverty. Yes there are many organizations here in Honduras that are helping to eradicate poverty and the most important thing that I would probably get out of this is that there is multiple opportunities for economic sustainable business enterprises but amongst all of that it's the family. Family is first in Honduras as it is in many Central American countries without family nothing else is possible and that is extraordinarily prevalent and evident in all of the people's spirits and their souls and everywhere I've traveled.
The Honduran Coast packs its country's biggest draw from the Northwest portion of the Omoa (State) department and its Spanish forts all the way down to the southern portion of it that of the city of La Ceiba which is its launching point where the Bay Islands, Utila, Roatan as well as that of Cayos Cochinos National Marine Monument there's a lot to experience in this beautiful country. I'm Ron podmore; travel with purpose Explore More with me the best of Central America I'll see you next time. [Nature sounds, birds, soft waves] [Program music initiates] [Music] [Laughter]