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Day 19 Copans Ruinas to SPS

Written on: Saturday August 11th, 2007

A journal entry from: Central America Road Trip 2007

One more early and quick tour today before I take off and that was the Sapo Canopy Tour. This one costs $35 and was definitely well worth it. I´m the only one on it, even though the guides tell me they sometimes have groups as large as 35. I guess an 8AM departure is too early for most gringos (I originally wanted to go at 7). So I hop inside a pickup with our driver, my 2 guides and a policeman (not sure what he was doing along) and we head up and up the hill. 1200 meters according to one of the guides and I can believe it. If this zip-line tour had even half that vertical drop it was going to be fantastic. Now the one pòtential drawbacks for some people is that the guides did not speak any english, but I understood enough from the gestures, my broken spanish and my past zip-line experience to know what to do. I think they said there were 15 platforms and I don´t know how many lines on this tour, though honestly, I didn´t keep count. The lines were mostly pretty fast due to good vertical drops. One of them was supposedly 1km long and I could believe it. I had to reach way back to keep from being swung around in the wind. Some of them were also pretty high up from the forest floor below. Up to 300m according to the guides. And  the views were also truly amazing, including views of the ruins at some points. Unfortunately, it was only aafter we had started an dI was ready to take a picture that I discovered that I had forgotten to put the battery back in my camera when I had recharged it the night before. 

About half way through we walk between platforms and my guide Selso points out the Sapo stone glyphs from which this tour takes its name. There was this large barely discernable crocodile. Selso found it amusing when I stumbling tried to say the spanish word for crocodile - cocodrillo - until I told him the english version which he had an equally hard time with. Why don´t we just call them lagartos or alligators. And of course there were also the sapos or frogs, which were symbols of fertility. It took me a second to understand what Selso was trying to do when he pantomined out how the women would sit to give birth at this site. They infertile ones would also come here to sit, to improve their chances of becoming pregnant. He also pointed where some nancy(sp?) fruit lay on the ground and scurried around gathering a bunch up. These are small marble size yellow berries, smooth with a small black pit that tasted a bit like apples.

A couple more lines of note. I finally tried the ¨superman¨position for one cable. The hitch was moved from my belly to my back and the guide hooked on in back while I extended my feet straight back, my head up and forward and my arms out like either superman or to the sides like a plane. And then we took off. Let me tell you, others might find it a thrill, and it was, but I didn´t care for it. Far from giving you a feeling of empowerment, of flying through the air like superman, it made me feel totally out of control. Plus it put a huge strain on my back as I struggled to keep my upper body up since my center of gravity was far forward from my attachment point. The next line was over the river, which was cool. And when the last guide made his run he demonstrated El Mono or monkey where he put his feet up high in the air and let his upper body and arms hang upside down. I´ll have to try that one sometime. I give these guys a good tip since this was one of the better if not the best zip-line tour I´ve been on (and I´ve been on a few)

When we get back to town, it is barely 10AM. I had originally planned and heading to the Bay Islands or at least La Ceiba from here, but was reconsidering. First of all, I wasn´t sure with all the various transportation connections that I´d be able to fit it all in  aand still also visit Ometeppe back in Nicaragua and Arenal in Costa Rica before I had to return to the US. It would definitely be tight if doable. The 2nd and probably bigger reason was my ankle. Though still swollen, it felt reasonably decent each morning but was definitely sore by the end of each day and the swelling limited my range of movement. I was not sure how well I could handle flippers and the diving, which is the reason to go to the Bay Islands , requires the use of flippers. I´d hate to go there and discover I couldn´t handle the diving. And if I wasn´t going there, going to La Ceiba probably wasn´t worthwhile either.

So I decided to take it fairly easy and go just to San Pedro for the day and see how I felt the next day. Since I thought I had plenty of time to do that, I elected to take another chicken bus rather than the slightly more expensive Hedman Alas Ejectivo. The HA bus is airconditioned and takes 3 hours. The chicken bus is al fresco and supposedly takes 3.5, but in many ways I prefer the chicken buses since you´re often going slower and looking out open windows rather than zipping by everything trying to look out sealed and somewhat obscured windows on the fancier buses. Unfortunately, I got on the 1st bus I saw, which was only going to Entrada and was more of a minibus. I guess the minis because they´re a little smaller actually go into some of the smaller villages which they larger chicken buses mainly bypass on the main road. About 5 minutes from Copans Ruinas, the minibus pulls into Santa Rita and then sits for close to a half hour. Well, at least I got a little inside look at Santa Rita. We also stopped briefly at another small village that my chicken bus a couple of days earlier had missed. This time the trip to Entrada took 2.5 hours. Fortunately, there was another bus leaving for SPS as soon as I got there and this time the conductor of that bus even grabbed my pack for me as we rushed across the highway to get on his bus. That bus zipped right along and we were out the new main SPS bus terminal 1.5 hours later. BTW, that was probably the nicest bus terminal I´ve seen yet in Central America, more like an airport. Rather than take a cab which was probably also pretty cheap, I hop into a collectivo van for the rest of the way into the city.

Let me tell you, as nice as the terminal was the city of San Pedro Sula is the opposite. It looks almost as if a bomb went off in it, with decrepit buildings everywhere. It is easily the ugliest city I´ve seen yet. Not really sure where I am staying I get off at the old train station which is just a couple of blocks from the central plaza and look for a hotel. I had gotten a reference on one just on the other side of the plaza (once I get my bearings), so I go there and its pricier than my usual places but is pretty nice and I decide to stay there anyway rather than spend any more time hunting around with my bum ankle. I dump my bags and go out to get a late lunch, just a banana licuado and a chicken empanada. I also check out the museum which is pretty nice and the pool area at the Gran Hotel on the plaza, but thats pretty much it. Mainly, I just relaxed, enjoyed the a/c, watched some telly, and tried to keep the load off my foot.

Total cost for the day about $96: $45 for the zip line, $34.50 for my hotel and the rest assorted transportation, food and drink