Semana Santa or Holy Week is observed in most parts of Latin America the week leading up to Easter. A lot of Hondurans take advantage of the religious holidays where basically everything - stores, government offices, banks, etc. - close down, and hit the beaches or rivers. Its the best excuse to take a road trip, leave the cities, and look for any possible way to cool off in the extremely hot climate that begins around the same time of year.
This year, I was invited to Amapala, the main town on El Tigre Island that is surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Fonseca in the Pacific Ocean. I have not been blogging at all in the last month because of my travels inside and outside of Honduras, including this trip to southern Honduras. I've never actually written any sort of tourist post related to my travels in the country, so figured I would give it a go.
While visiting Amapala, we ate local seafood, took a 2.5 hour boat ride to the mainland Port of Henecán - the only port on the Honduran Pacific coast - in San Lorenzo, Valle, watched the sunsets, did a trip around the whole island, chatted with local folks, and visited the beach.
On the boat ride to the port, and also a restaurant in San Lorenzo, we drove by Bird Island, named for the various species of birds that land or live there; tons of mangroves that protect the coast, shelter and feed the diversity of species living on land or in the water; and to our dismay, the several large vacation homes and mansions of Honduras' national elite including energy magnate, Freddy Nasser; current President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and others.
We stayed in Playa Negra (Black Beach in English), given its name after the color of its sand. On our first walk on the beach, we came across a small group of youth digging up "chiquirines" - a type of seafood that lives under the sand where the waves wash onto the shore. Chiquirines translates to crickets in English but I am unfamiliar with their real English name, if it even exists. On the last day, we bought some chiquirines from two local boys and decided to cook them up and try them. They were a little crunchy, but overall, delicious.
On the way back from Amapala, we stopped on the main road in Pespire, a southern town with arguably the best small yellow mangos in the country. Pespire mangos can be found in most of the Tegucigalpa markets, and I can definitely say that Pespire mangoes alone, have converted me into a major mango lover.