Why La Ceiba, Honduras? (see bottom of page for map Honduras and misc. photos of La Ceiba & Utila Island)

La Ceiba is a fairly modern Latin American city, the third largest in Honduras, though it doesn't really have a big city feel.  Nor does it have the feel of a tourist town despite being a jump off point (by plane or ferry) for the Bay Islands, famous as a SCUBA diving destination due to spectacular reefs and marine life.  La Ceiba is located at sea level on the coast of the Caribbean, though only a few miles to the south arise majestic mountains, home to a rain forest and the Pico Bonito National Park.  Below:  The mountains south of La Ceiba, as seen from a ferry on the Caribbean and the sunset as seen from Utila Island

      

La Ceiba is close to important areas of fruit cultivation, and at one time was significant port for the exportation of fruit.  While the city itself doesn't seem grossly impoverished (there is actually a modern air conditioned mall!), it quickly gives way to rural areas, where some of the worst poverty in the Western Hemisphere is found. This combination of severe poverty, and the consequent need for humanitarian efforts, geographic beauty, and "first worlder" tourist traffic made La Ceiba a logical location for Las Sonrisas de los Nios *More text below photos:  An old Standard Fruit Company rail car in a jungle park in downtown La Ceiba and the dock a few miles from town

       
 

Besides its proximity to the Bay Islands (Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja), La Ceiba is gradually developing an infrastructure for eco and adventure tourism, especially along the Cangrejal River, which originates in the mountains a few miles south of the city.  Activities include fairly significant white-water rafting and "extreme" zip-line canopy tours (typically we haven't visited the tourist attractions as we worked to develop and run the project, but we did spend an afternoon doing a zip-line).  Along the main road extending east from La Ceiba there are a number of places that advertise camping and hiking and horseback tours of the forest and jungles.  All in all, anywhere you go north (the Caribbean and the Bay Islands) or south (mountains, rivers, rainforest, and jungles) you will find abundant natural beauty and adventure (including the area around El Cacao!).  The one tour operation we personally know can be found at www.jungleriverlodge.com.  Another group is called OmegaTours and can be contacted at info@omegatours.hn. below: on the zip-line; the Jungle River Lodge with Paco the parrot; map of Honduras

            

       Looking toward downtown La Ceiba on San Isidro (the main street)                                Three kids on the abandoned dock in La Ceiba  

                   

                                       The Central Park in La Ceiba                                                                           Independence Day Parade, September 15th

                         

                       Independence Day parade reviewing stand                                                                   People watching the parade downtown

                     

           A photo op, 2 girls next to a very still Honduran marine                                                                   Utility pole downtown La Ceiba

              

                                     A shanty town on the beach in La Ceiba                                                                   The cathedral in La Ceiba

                    

Photos from Utila Island, about a 1 hour's ferry ride from La Ceiba, well known as an inexpensive place to learn SCUBA diving (the first photo is of the Utila branch of the Central American Spanish School)