I’m now writing from a hostel in Leon, Nicaragua. I had a hell of a time getting here but I now understand why people like Nicaragua so much: things are cheap and the people are very friendly, helpful, and ready to joke around.
I was on Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras for about a week. I spent most of the time chilling, gathering my thoughts, and finally writing my Stranger in a Strange Land Newsletter for March. I summarized all I’d done so far in Guatemala and Honduras and then talked about safety in Latin America, including my own personal experience being mugged on my last trip.
Then the next day I went to a tiny island, “the Water Cay“, one of the many Cays around Utila. I did a little snorkeling around Tela but this was the real thing. I wish I could have taken underwater photos for you all to see. It’s just another world.
We’ve all seen those amazing photos and videos of coral of all shapes, sizes, and colors with fish of all shapes, sizes, and colors darting around, all in perfectly clear water. Well, it’s real. I couldn’t believe it.
At the same time, I don’t know if I’ll be going snorkeling again any time soon. I got so much salt water in my mouth I got sick. If you’re not careful you can end up surrounded by coral in very shallow water with nowhere to go. You can avoid that I but I was new and didn’t understand you had to follow certain paths.
“Sometimes the road less travelled is less travelled for a reason.” -Jerry Seinfeld
You have to walk along the sea floor covered in sand or soft vegetation and then cut over to the area where the sea floor drops down dramatically and is covered in coral. It’s amazing how much you can see around the coral in shallow water (you don’t even realize how many fish are swimming around you until you take a peak with your goggles) but it’s so much more when there’s room for the fish to swim.
Someone saw an eagle ray before I went to the same spot. I saw many tiny fish and a bunch of big green fish going from one spot to the other putting rocks in their mouth and then spitting them out. Then I saw hundreds or thousands of tiny, silvery, glittering fish moving together in a few separate schools. At one point I was completely surrounded by them. You realize that if they were of the carnivorous sort they could totally gobble me up!
It was a lot of fun being in Utila: it’s chill there and the locals speak an accent that sounds like a mix of Jamaican and Irish accent to me. But I’m really happy to be in a whole new country: it really is the case that every country is different in so many ways. I was planning on just sticking around Guatemala but it’s looking like I’ll see most of the Central American countries on this trip! I’ll keep you posted: I won’t leave you hangin’!
More photos per the commenter’s request!: