Apr 2, 2018

La Mosquitia, Honduas

One of the great things about travel is that the memories are always with you. A name, picture, book, or movie often summons up wonderful travel experiences.   That happened to me recently.  The book “The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston was on the New York Times best seller list.  While reading it I had flashback images of our adventure to the area of the Monkey God. The “Lost City” wasn’t really “lost.”  Stories of a city in the middle of La Mosquitia have been around for hundreds of years but it wasn’t until recently the actual city was located and explored. 

La Mosquitia is in the easternmost part of Honduras along The Mosquito Coast (named after an indigenous group not the annoying bug). It is a tropical rainforest accessible only by water and air and inhabited by the Moskito, Pech, and other ethnic groups.  Part of it is designated as the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site.

The idea for our adventure started with a book written by one of my favorite travel writers, Paul Theroux.  His book, “The Mosquito Coast,” told about a family adventure or misadventure on a Honduran river in La Mosquitia. A movie with the same name starring Harrison Ford followed.  While searching for things to do in Honduras I found that there was a tour to La Mosquitia.  So off I went with my husband, John. and our son, Jim.  Our tour included the owners of the tour company, Emelisa and her son, Alfredo, plus our guide, Elias.

The adventure started as soon as we boarded the 10-seater airplane in La Ceiba. John sat in the back most seat. Behind him the live, clucking chickens in a white burlap bag undulated like a giant amoeba.  We ran into heavy rain which buffeted us around mercilessly. There was no door on the cockpit. Looking out the cockpit window I could see – sea, land, trees, sky as we were bounced around. Frightening! Amazingly we landed in Palacios on
the soccer field that served as a runway. I was impressed with the pilot’s skill - we did better than the other plane on the side of the runway that was missing a wing. 

While our provisions were transported to our next mode of transportation we walked through the town to a stream where we boarded small motorized boat that took us out to sea and then into Ibans Laguna. I notice a TV antenna on a bamboo house – electricity had not reached this part of Honduras. Factoid: a small TV will run for 30 hours on a car battery. When we reached the tiny jungle village of Belem our supplies were transported to a horse and cart while we walked to Kuri where we stayed in a traditional house on stilts owned by Don Sixtos. Along the way we stopped at a school and that boasted a sign in Spanish, “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”  

We went swimming in the ocean while the wife of Don Sixtos’ cooked us a hearty and delicious meal on her clay stove that included fresh fish, rice, pineapple, coconut milk, and, a first for us, breadfruit. The next day, the son of Don Sixos, ferried us for eight hours up the Rio Platano in a motorized dugout to Las Marias where the adventure