I’m now holed up in the Banana Republic guesthouse in La Ceiba, waiting out a storm that has unleashed torrential rain over the last four days, clogging up the city’s water supplies and grounding marine transport to a halt.
It’s not ideal, as my current plan is to make my way through La Moskitia – the Mosquito Coast – in order to pick up an epic track that heads south of Puerto Lempira into Nicaragua. From what I understand, the whole area is linked only by waterways and dirt roads – not a slab of pavement in sight. It’s said to be wild and remote, and home to the largest tract of rainforest north of the Amazon. I’ve been advised to stock up on cash and food, both of which can be hard to come by.
Part of the reason I’m keen to make it through is to visit Mocoron. While travelling in the US, I met a gifted folk singer, Gigi Love, who turned out to be the daughter of a Honduran woman who runs this foundation. It’s eighty kilometres down a rough dirt road from the main settlement of Puerto Lempira, and sounds like an incredible opportunity to learn about Moskitian life.
Aside from flying, there are a couple of ways to get to this region. I can try and catch a cargo boat from La Ceiba direct to Puerto Lempira, a twenty four hour ride that, subject to negotiations with the boat’s captain, costs around 1200 lempiras ($65).
Or – and my preferred option – I can cycle as far east as the road will take me, all the way to the Garifuna settlement of Batalla. Then I’ll try to pick up a succession of dugout canoes along the coast (a route shared with cocaine-smuggling narcotraficantes), or inland through various waterways. I’ve heard rumours there’s a cargo boat from Brus Laguna I should be able to connect with, subject to weather variables. There’s woefully little information on biking through the area, though this link on the Lonely Planet Thorntree forum has proved useful.
Unfortunately these canoe rides sound potentially expensive, as gas is hard to come by and options are limited, especially when travelling solo. Transporting the bike could be pricey too, as it’s effectively turfing someone out of their seat.
But the real fly in the ointment, as I’ve come to find out, is that the rainy season lingers longer on this north eastern coast of Honduras than in the rest of Central America, as it scoops up the edges of America’s east coast winter weather system.
This can make jungle travel by boat and dirt road slow going, or leave you stranded… Looks like I still have a couple more days to mull it over…