I’ll start by telling you about our tour guide, Elia. She was the coolest person in all of the Honduras. I told her that I was going to write about our day trip with her, but I knew that it was going to be a mouthful. I just hope she understands that writing a great, thoughtful review takes time . . . and effort. Thanks Elia for being our friend in the Honduras for the day. ❤️
Elia of Hyde Tours was the absolute best guide and guardian you could ask for when traveling abroad. She not only recommended the best places to go, see and eat at, she literally took care of us. She saw to our every need, want and desire. Elia negotiated prices and told us what to be careful of. She watched our stuff and even enjoyed our adventure with us. Elia became the new member of our party that just happen to live on the island. Perfect for our day.
We initially had the need to get on a bus or van; Elia and her boss quickly found us a driver. As part of our tour with Hyde Tours, Elia’s boss gave us each an uncirculated bill from their local currency. Cool! It was Hyde’s way of giving back a souvenir of our travels since everything we paid for was using US Dollars. After getting settled into the van Elia got our driver to turn on the air conditioner in the van and she began to tell us everything about Roatan; the ups, downs and about the tribulations of living amongst the devastating hurricanes or typhoons (whichever it is in that part of the world), the economy and the pride of the island that Roatanians . . . or Hondurans share.
Elia made the 45 minute van ride to our destination spectacular, pointing out sites of interest and explaining most everything along the way while answering our probing American questions about lifestyles, economic conditions and living on the island. She was very candid and open. After our first attempt at the ‘most popular’ beach resort was squelched by the gate guard because it was already full, Elia took us just two blocks back to another resort on the same beach that was basically the same thing, but she said the good restaurant is closer and the services are better. You see Elia had a friend that owned the restaurant and she promised our desire of local Roatan cuisine would be greatly satisfied.
After getting settled on the beach, in our own little area, carefully watched by an armed security guard with the most archaic 38 caliber revolver with wooden grip held together with black electrical tape 🥴, Elia found us a snorkeling guide to take us to an area that was literally just off the beach. It was a good thing because while I had difficulty getting back in the panga-style tour boat on the awkward boarding ladder after diving, one of the others on our tour was not able to get back onboard; she had to swim, with one of the other tour guides and the others in our group back to the beach. A bit of a swim, but everyone had life jackets and enjoyed even more snorkeling than what was initially bargained for. I rode the boat back because I was already inside; got back to the beach and Elia was livid about the disappearance of her group and lit a fire under the snorkeling guide’s ass, got in the water, onto the boat and went to rescue the others so they didn’t have to walk the length of the beach back to our chairs.
After we ‘enjoyed’ our snorkeling escapade, others in our group got massages and drank the local beer. Elia then dried herself off after climbing in and back out the panga, she gathered us up and helped with our belongings and walked us next door to Beacher’s Bar & Grill for some of the best fresh sea bass we all have ever had. I told Elia the last time I had sea bass prepared like that was in Thailand. Elia continued to tell us about life on Roatan and we ordered several of the local Monkey-La-La. A hearty sweet drink concoction that she warned us of. As we talked and drank we began to wonder of our lunchtime meal that was taking forever. Elias friend came to our table and questioned our meal delivery. Within minutes of the kitchen’s oversight our deep-fried whole sea bass (yup, eye ate the eye…pun intended) and some very hot onion rings that were excellent came to our table. I think another round of drinks came with that oversight as well. Others at our table ordered the sea bass grilled rather than fried and it was equally delicious. Waiting was a small price to pay for such and enjoyable afternoon with Elia as she kept us all well amused with her stories about Roatan, her family and her dreams. Elia was a great host.
Roatan, Honduras is the travel destination we talked about most frequently during our Norwegian Cruise Line ports of call. Roatan has a good tourism industry and numerous vacation rentals amongst the lush greenery and tropical conditions with monkeys, birds and interesting plants that included three types of coconuts local to the island. Roatan has an international airport, very friendly people and low crime that makes it a great travel destination for the future.
If we are ever given the opportunity to visit the Honduran island of Roatan again in the future, we will definitely be looking for Hyde Tours and our Honduran friend, Elia.