The first stop on our RTW Detour was New York city, the Big Apple. We had wonderful hosts in our friend Avi – whom we met in Cambodia a few years ago – and his roommates. The Pope was in town, creating a bit of chaos as we explored some neighborhoods on the west side. We spent a few hours in the eclectic Washington Square Park, and then partied long into the night. On Sunday we got our football fix by going to an NFL game (our team, the Philadelphia Eagles, won!) and that last night, we sat on a roof top patio and saw the “blood moon”, supermoon lunar eclipse (good or bad omen for our trip that night we weren’t sure). All those experiences made for an amazing few days!! We look forward to the next time NYC fits into our itinerary because it’s a city we love to wander around.
Now we are in Honduras and it was a wild ride getting here…
We left Avi’s apartment at around midnight on Sunday night without so much as an afternoon nap. Our first mini hiccup was at the subway station. Turns out the A line was under construction at the stop we wanted; fortunately a mild detour on another train got us back on track in no time though. We got to JFK airport with plenty of time for our 4:55am flight, which was great because Avianca airlines would not give us our boarding passes and would not fly us to our destination without having an exit ticket of some sort from Honduras. It was quite frustrating because our intention is to depart Honduras by land and we aren’t 100% sure when that will be. After a lengthy conversation with the supervisor we realized he wasn’t going to allow any exceptions. Defeated, we broke down and bought a ticket to Houston Texas a couple of weeks later with full intentions of cancelling it as soon as possible.
Our first flight – to El Salvador – seemed much longer than 5 hours with a bit of turbulence, not much sleep and a meal that didn’t quite sit right. However, once we got to the El Salvador airport things turned around! The flight arrived ahead of schedule so we had some extra time to sit around and read before our connecting flight to Honduras. Tyler planned the flights perfectly with minimal layover time. No rush. No stress. No boredom.
When we arrived in Honduras, customs was a breeze (they never asked for confirmation of our exit ticket as Avianca had implied they would), picking up our luggage was easy and our bus left about an hour after our arrival just as planned. Everything was working out great 🙂
The three hour bus from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba was beautiful! While driving through the country side it all started to really sink in. We are in Honduras. It is so surreal to be here. We have planned this trip for so long and it’s finally happening! Our natural instinct when we come to something new is to relate to past experiences. The lush green mountainous landscape looked so familiar. But the buildings are different. There are churches rather than mosques or temples. The signs have a different language. It’s a new place that we are excited to explore and we are going to do our best to put any preconceived notions behind us so we can take full advantage of everything Honduras has to offer, even if we’re only here for a short while.
Our bus (Hedman Alas tour company) was also timed perfectly and we got to the ferry port with an hour to spare. The ferry out to Utila was a breeze! I didn’t even get sea sick which is a good sign since we are going to be doing our Open Water PADI course on this island and there will be a lot of boating involved.
Now we’re settled in and ready to give this scuba diving thing a shot. Neither of us have ever done it so we are both just jumping in! It’s all part of the adventure.
What’s the most epic travel day you’ve ever had??
Give yourself plenty of time on travel days and do a lot of research. We have stated in previous blogs that our itinerary is vague and our research is extensive. We take travel days very seriously. We would rather have one crazy travel day than two semi-boring, long and drawn out days to get to our destination. There have been multiple times our days are more than 20 hours long just to get to where we want to be. That being said, these days are (ideally) planned to a tee. Yes things can go wrong, flights can be delayed, buses can take longer than expected etc. Luckily for us on this day and generally in the past, we have had great success with in depth research to find the best route that suits our needs. And when I say we, I generally mean Tyler. He is the big picture guy who helps us get around continents; I help us get around cities.
Avianca (or any airline for that matter) generally has a condition that they will not fly you somewhere without an exit ticket. Their reasoning is that if you don’t end up getting into the country because of lack of exit plans, they will become responsible for your departure. We cannot fault them for this. Personally we were happy to take full responsibility of our own travel plans and offered to sign something to that effect – taking all the fault off the airline – but that isn’t the way they work. We have come across this in the past and have always been allowed to fly after explaining we intend to exit by land. Even China had no problem with us entering without exit plans. So, how did we get around it this time? We booked the cheapest flight we could find with a respectable airline that wouldn’t screw us over for weird fees. If you run into this, it’s a good option. In our case, all we had to do was cancel the flight within 24 hours of booking and we got a full refund. Another option if you want to plan further in advance is to at least have a bus departure scheduled. All the airline is really looking for is a confirmation number that they can note if some super crazy scenario arises. Then they don’t have to worry about you anymore. They are protecting themselves and that’s what we are all out to do. We cannot fault the airlines for having this policy in place. The rest of our flights were perfect – the one was even ahead of schedule – and we would definitely fly with Avianca again.