Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Honduras to Belize

After leaving the Bay Islands, we headed East along the coast to the town of Trujillo. Famously, this is where Cristopher Columbus first set foot on the American mainland, on his final voyage to the Americas in 1502. The town was initially the capital of Spain's colonial province of Honduras, and was repeatedly attacked by pirates including the notorious British pirate Henry Morgan. For such a sleepy little town, it has played a very important role in Latin American history.

After this we headed West along the coast to Omoa, another colonial small town. Nowadays it's a popular weekend resort destination for the people of nearby San Pedro Sula, Honduras' second city. The principal tourist attraction though is a Spanish fort, built in the late 18th century and also repeatedly attacked by British pirates and privateers (similar to pirates but officially supported by governments in Europe).

Feeling it was time to leave Honduras we caught a boat to take us from Puerto Cortés across the Gulf of Honduras to Placencia, Belize. This is such a different place to the rest of Central America. In the 16th century, Belize was largely ignored by its Spanish conquerors. It became a popular base for English and Scottish pirates during the 17th century and Britain became more interested and took over more control, even while the country remained officially under Spanish rule. In 1862, Britain declared the territory of British Honduras, and people from all over the British Empire settled here, accounting for the rich ethnic diversity found in Belize today, along with the language - English. In 1981, British Honduras became the independent nation of Belize.

The boat journey itself was amongst the most 'exhilarating' experiences of the whole trip! It certainly helped Rachel to face her mild fear of boats head-on. No photos are available, as moving around or holding anything while the boat careered over the extremely rough sea was to take one's life in one's own hands. We survived though, and Rach is feeling a little better about boats too (a good job, considering we've taken about 10 boat trips in the last week alone!).

Here's the view from the veranda of our cabin in Placencia, right on the beach. Worth the hellish boat journey, we think.


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