We decided that instead of spending $46 USD each on a shuttle from San Salvador, we would attempt to chicken bus it the whole way from El Tunco (El Salvador) to Utila (Honduras). 14 hours, 4 chicken buses, 2 taxis and 1 collectivo later and we managed to make it as far as San Pedro Sula - Honduras's second largest city, and apparently the recently awarded murder capital of Central America (don’t worry mum - we're fine!). We didn’t particularly want to spend the night here but our final 5 1/2 hour bus from Octopeque turned into a slow 8 hour journey, and we missed the last connection onto La Ceiba, where the ferry’s depart from.

Despite the long hours we had a pretty smooth day of transport, spending a total of $40 between us including food, so finally a travel day that didn't blow the budget! The border crossing at El Poy caused us only one problem, when Ty temporarily misplaced a tiny piece of paper which you have to hand in to a security guard as you cross from El Salvador into Honduras, but otherwise was pretty straightforward. The bus from San Salvador drops you pretty close to the border check point, and its only a couple of minutes walk from there through to the Honduras migration office. 

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The 'vomet comet'
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Capt'n Morgans Dive Centre
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View from the dock
We asked a local taxi driver in San Pedro to take us to a cheap hotel/hostel and we ended up at Tamarindo Hostel, one of the few listed in Lonely Planet’s 2010 edition. Conveniently they said they could book us onto the bus the following morning to La Ceiba. What they didn tell us, despite me asking, was that there is more than one bus that gets you to La Ceiba in time for the morning ferry. They also charged us 200 limpiras for the ticket, when it only costs 115. We felt pretty bad as well because a lovely taxi driver who dropped us off at the hostel agreed to come back and get us at 5.15am and take us to the bus. He even arranged it with the hostel manager. It wasn’t until the poor guy had left and we had no way to contact him that the manager told us 5.15am wouldn’t get us to the 5.30 bus on time and he would gladly order another taxi for us. Yea, we bet you will. To make matters more frustrating when we got on the bus the following day and gave the conductor our ticket he said we had no proof of actually paying, and tried to charge us again. We managed to talk him around but needless to say we don’t exactly recommend staying there.

After a rollercoaster ride on the boat aptly named the 'vomet comet' we arrived on Utila and braced ourselves for the onslaught of dive shop representative's we had been told to expect. We had done a bit of research before hand and had emailed Captain Morgan’s Dive Centre. We still intended to check everyone out but after talking to them all and looking at a couple we decided to just go with Captain Morgan’s. They are all pretty much of a muchness...dive course, free accommodation and two fun dives at the end... and we were hot and tired so couldn’t be bothered walking around anymore.
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View from our study spot
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PIrates Bay Inn
Captain Morgan's was great. The staff are really lovely and they built a new jetty this year at the front of the Pirate's Inn where all their divers stay, so you can literally roll out of bed, into your gear and onto the boat.

I was feeling pretty shattered from our long travel day and lack of sleep and was hoping to give my stitches another day or two to heal before knocking them around with the dive mask but unfortunately for me an open water course had started that day and it was either get caught up that night on all the theory, or wait another 3 days for the next course. We need to start heading south if we are going to make it to Chile for our flight home so not wanting to wait another 3 days I sucked it up and settled in for 3 hours of terribly cringe worthy PADI theory videos that night and was ready for my first confined water dives the next morning. Ty did his open water course about 13 years ago so had only signed up for a refresher, but he sat in on the theory videos with me to see how much he could remember.

The next morning our instructor Shane showed me, Alvoro and Sienna how to put our gears on and took us about 20m offshore where we learnt how to breathe underwater using the tank and the regulator, what to do if we lose our equipment under water and safety techniques in the worst case scenario of something going wrong.

It’s such a cool experience breathing underwater, but it is so hard to describe! I have a lot of trouble when we go snorkelling clearing water from my snorkel, and always end up choking myself, so I was pretty nervous about using the regulator, but it’s actually so much easier and didn’t cause me any problems. 

To be continued....

6/13/2015 11:43:51

The bus from San Salvador drops you pretty close to the border check point, and its only a couple of minutes walk from there through to the Honduras migration office.

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Jacob
1/5/2016 19:17:22

why is there no instruction on how to accomplish this here?

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Christina
1/17/2016 21:20:02

Hey Jacob, thanks for your message. check out our 'rough costings and times' page at the top of our blog site (http://towardsthemenagerie.weebly.com/some-rough-costings-and-times.html) for information on how to make the trip. remember it was a couple of years ago now (2014) so things might have changed a bit since then. Happy travels!

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