41. Roatan (Bay Islands) (Part One)
Central American countries really aren't that big, especially when compared to Australia. But it took us 13 hours to travel from Copan Ruinas to Roatan, with a bit of drama thrown in for entertainment.
We started at 6am, catching a nice, comfortable bus to San Pedro Sula. After a 2.5 hour wait we boarded a bus that was one step (maybe half a step) up from a chicken bus - old, hot, definitely not road-worthy. A few hours into this leg of the trip we suddenly heard a loud crash, followed by metallic objects flying by our window. It took us several moments to realise that it was our bus that crashed, ploughing into a car in the middle of the street. The whole bus appeared to be in shock, with no one moving or talking. Someone up front started ordering all passengers off the bus, and we were only too happy to comply. Outside we could see the full extent of the damage. Everyone seemed to be okay, which was the main priority. The car was a write-off, the front of our bus had fallen apart and the stairway to get off the bus was somewhat narrower than it was before.
Along with most of the other travellers we grabbed our bags and sat on the side of the road, not really sure what to do. A half-full minibus turned up and offered a few people a lift, which we gladly accepted. Of course we were then charged another bus fare for this. Thankfully they dropped us right at the ferry terminal, where it was only a one hour wait for the next boat to Roatan, one of the popular Bay Islands.
We presumed it would be smooth sailing from this point on. Not to be. The two hour crossing was possibly the most turbulent ferry ride I had ever taken. I could see by the number of faces buried in spew bags that many others agreed. It looked like the boat would actually tip over at times. Even though I knew this was statistically unlikely, I couldn't erase the thought from my mind. Dry land could not come soon enough.
With our stomach contents safely inside our own bodies, we disembarked the vomit-maker and caught a taxi to West End. A short search found us a not-too-expensive hotel, with A/C, hot water and wifi - the trifecta! Happy to be away from public transport we strolled up and down the main street using our own two feet, quickly realising that prices here were not as cheap as we would have liked. Even basic street food was more than double what we were used to paying. We settled on cheapest option, baleadas, although the quality was sub-par. It was an early night for us, exhausted after a long day of travels.
At least the sunsets were on our side.