Friday, December 26, 2008

Guanaja - an Update to the Update

A picture of Castaways Resort from April 2008 .... a place that we wanted to call a home away from home .... you can see the hummingbirds if you look close!

The latest update to the update from Guanaja.  My friend Guanaja Sharon sent me this latest post from her blog.  Click on her link and she has the "scoop" on what happened with the Castaways along with current pictures.
So sad, it makes me want to cry ... We had a lot of fun there and met a lot of terrific people ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Guanaja - an Update ...

Guanaja is a Bay Island paradise, but beware of the sand traps that may await you!

Our friends Brewski Bob and Aunt Patti were disappointed when the Castaways Resort went belly up. Even though they had a contract in effect on their dream cottage on the Caribbean, it was written in the US ... the developers were Americans, after all .... and not worth the paper it was written on! Thank goodness the developers were not holding any escrow money. So much for honesty.

Last week another unusual happening ... the Castaways burned down ... Oh My! Wonder if they had insurance ... smirk ....

Guanaja is a beautiful island paradise and most of the people we met were wonderful. BigAl and I had our hopes up on a lovely piece of property ... even had all the money in escrow down in Honduras ... unfortunately we could not get a clear title ... YIKES! We had a great attorney named Felix Reyes, he was honest and treated us fairly.

We had a totally different experience with another attorney named Melanie Wetzel ( American ) in La Cieba. She took $2,000 from us and never delivered the corporation she promised us ..... lol .... referred by an American attorney we thought we did our due diligence.

Will we return to Guanaja ... maybe ... perhaps ... for a vacation! I don't know right now, there seems no pressing need to go back. I am a positive person by nature and I guess I expect the same from others, but by no means do I wear rose colored glasses. We own property in the Bahamas, Austria as well as the US. I was quite aware that third world countries have different "rules" of the road so to speak .. it seemed though, that most of our issues came from the non-Honduran's taking advantage of situations.

I will keep this site updated as the need arises and hope that everyone finds their paradise. Maybe it will be Guanaja, after all!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Guanaja - a Hopping Evening at the Castaways Resort!

Guanaja is such a small place that everyone knows each other on this Bay Island paradise ... or at least they soon do. Here we are on a Sunday evening enjoying ourselves at the Castaways Resort Bar.

We met old friends here as well as new ones ... and the best part is that everyone has a story to tell!
The music playing , the drinks flowing ... darts being played in one room and the ring game in another!

....... and of course, good Honduran food ...

Life is such in Guanaja!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Guanaja - Manati Bar

Prince Houdini does like to belly up to the bar at the Manati Restaurant in Guanaja, occasionally .......

Problem is that I have to order for him!

Guanaja, a great place to relax and enjoy!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Guanaja - Birthday Bash at Thirst and Last Stop!

The famous Captain Al decided to throw a big April Birthday Bash for everyone on Guanaja with April birthdays ... of course that included yours truly (April 5th) and my own Big AL (April7th) and Brewski (April29th) ... scary, huh?

The bash was held at his place at the airport called the "Thirst and Last Stop" and was very well attended. As a matter of fact, as the planes landed, more folks joined the festivities! The boys pictured below, from left to right, Brewski Bob, Big AL, Captain Al and Jim Springer ....

Guanaja Sharon welcomes back Jack and his wife Darien from their trip to New Orleans .....

Mike is wearing one of my favorite T-shirts that always makes me laugh!

Houdini is trying to sweet talk Geri out of some BBQ!

Brian making an editorial comment ...

Anke and her husband along with Jannette .... Cathy and Sharon in the background!

Guanaja Honduras is just one of those places that is special. Everyone has welcomed us here. Most of the people pictured have retired here in Guanaja. Some live here part time, going back and forth to the US or Europe and there were many more people that didn't hold still for pictures. Whether you decide to live Guanaja or just to travel here, you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Guanaja - What's not to Love?

Guanaja, a Bay Island paradise. I look at pictures like this and I think it is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen. Yes, there are skeptics ... is any place perfect?

Perhaps I have my rose colored glasses on .....

I have lived and worked in one of the wealthiest counties in Florida as a paramedic, you know, one of those people you call when the "rubber meets the road". I have seen, in my prestigious hometown, rapes, murders, child abuse, drug abuse, corruption ... not to mention people whose homes have dirt floors (that are not swept clean). I have been chased by crazy people, vomited and bled upon with contaminated fluids ... dodged bullets, wild drivers that just want to get close to the action and wrestled with patients that are just plain nuts. Sometimes it was just difficult for a girl not to loose her sense of humor!

When I look at Guanaja in the Bay Islands of Honduras, I see people, not all that much different from what I have met in Florida ... yes they are poorer, but most have a dignity about them that I admire. I have never been spat upon by a Honduran (unlike Florida), maybe I just don't hang out in the right places. It is true, that until you live somewhere you really don't see the whole picture, so I guess I need to reserve full judgment until that time.

For now, I look at Guanaja, its sugar sand beaches, crystal clear water and with the locals that have always been friendly towards me and think that maybe, someday I will live, at least part time down there.

I welcome any and all comments.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Guanaja, Wildlife Galore!

Guanaja Honduras is an exciting place for wildlife. There were all sorts of exotic creatures for Houdini and I to meet. At the very beginning of our visit we were told that nothing was poisonous ... well, that is good!

We saw all kinds of parrots .... wonderfully colorful birds that fly from tree to tree. Some are tame and can even be coaxed over.

Hummingbirds that that will fly right up to drink syrup from a hand held!

Lizards, geckos, chameleons and iguana's of all sizes and colors ... this guy was a brilliant turquiose and green. Beautiful!

All the lizards we saw were just kind of "hanging" out, but we were told that the "red" iguana could be aggressive. I honestly didn't want to test that information!

Next, we saw these agouti. The locals called them rabbits, but they don't look like any bunny that I have ever seen, although they were shy like rabbits.

There seemed to be a lot of different butterflies. All different sizes and colors.

Guanaja Honduras, what a beautiful Bay Island paradise! Go and enjoy the interesting critters.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guanaja - How do you Build a House?

Our good friend, Brewski Bob, and his wife, Aunt Patti, are having a home built on Guanaja Honduras. As you may or may not know, there are no roads on the Bay Island paradise. Everything is brought in by boat. This includes construction materials!

So, to answer the question, how do you build a house? One piece of lumber at a time! Every nail, 2x4 and fixture has to be shipped from the mainland of Honduras and then off loaded at the dock on Bonacca to be then transported to its final destination on the "big" island of Guanaja.

You would think that this would be terribly expensive, but this is the way of life over there. Their home, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath with wrap around porch, 50 feet from the Caribbean Sea is under $200,000! Talk about affordable retirement living!

And ... what a view from the from porch!!!!!

For anyone thinking about affordable retirement and or living options outside of the US, Guanaja may just be the place you are looking for. You can follow along with Brewski Bob and Aunt Patti's adventure by stopping by their blog at:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Holy Crab!

Holy Crab! These cute guys are everywhere in Guanaja. This type of land crab grows to be about 6 inches across and they basically eat vegetation and small insects. They dig their holes and wave their claws at people passing by and in general keep everyone entertained.

I must say though, that after dark and after a few cocktails, it is important to carry a flashlight with you lest you fall into one of their holes and twist an ankle!

The crab is edible. The meat is reported to be sweet, white and closely resembling that of the popular blue crab. A simple Caribbean recipe calls for boiling the crab with various seasonings. I know that at least one of the restaurants on Guanaja serves these as an appetizer and if you are lucky you will get to enjoy this tasty treat.

Why go to Guanaja? Holy crab, why not?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Guanaja Hummingbirds ... Flying Jewels!

OK, this is just a quick clip that we caught on video ... these special little hummingbirds that flit about the island paradise of Guanaja.

You have to look close, but at Sharon and Mikes' house they are everywhere. Too cool to imagine, these tiny creatures will land right on your hand and drink nectar out of a cup.

Guanaja is a "hummers" paradise!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Guanaja - Relaxing and Meeting New Friends!

Guanaja is an island that perfect to spend the afternoon relaxing and meeting new friends!

An afternoon trip to Bo's island House and Green Flash Bar is just the place to sip on a cold Cerveza listening to island tunes or pull up a hammock and let the tropical breezes lull you to sleep. There is terrific diving and snorkeling off the beach from Bo's also if you are so inclined.

Brewski Bob felt the need to de-stress after a delightful lunch before the boat ride back home! There is never a need to rush into anything on Guanaja.

While at Bo's, we ran into our friend Jim Jones while he was giving a boat tour to a couple from Vermont. Ann and Jim have been checking out Guanaja from afar for a couple of years and finally decided to check it out for themselves ... much like Alfred and me. Ann, a RN and Jim, in construction, sounded like they weren't disappointed with what they saw. After all, what's not to love about this sun drenched paradise?

The afternoon was coming to a close and we said goodbye to our new friends Ann and Jim. They toasted us as we pulled away in the boat!

Guanaja, Honduras, a Bay Island paradise ... come down and kick the tires for yourself!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Guanaja - a Special Place with Special People!

Guanaja is indeed a special place with special people ... it boasts of talented people from all over the globe.

There are too many to mention at once, but here are a couple of them. First off there is Brian Hatlelid, author of "A Sunny Place for Shady People". He is shown here with Brewski Bob after personally signing a copy for him. Brian lives on his sailboat and is anchored in the bay off of Manati Restaurant and Bar.

Another local "star" is Ian, a British ex-pat who lives on the island. A talented artist, he designs the artwork for t-shirts as well as painting murals and signs throughout the island. When he is not creating, he can also be found "jamming" at the Manati. Ian plays a mean keyboard as well as drums!
Of course, this is only two of the many multi-talented people on Guanaja ...... with every person comes an interesting story. Sometime when you aren't busy maybe you should just wander on down to this Bay Island paradise and check it out for yourself!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Guanaja - an Island Tour

Taking a tour of Guanaja on a lazy Sunday afternoon ... what could be better? We boarded the "Fishing Tales", a 36 foot Viking sport fish for the afternoon, with Captain Baxter at the helm. The crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea beneath the boat and balmy tropical breezes blowing in our faces ... WOW!

It is difficult to put into words the island beauty ... Guanaja offers so much, from wonderful sugar sand beaches to rocky coastlines ..... lush foliage and pine trees, mountain tops, waterfalls and a lot of fresh water streams. Truly my idea of an island paradise.

I'm not sure what I love the most, but the whole package just seems to come together quite nicely.

Another really positive aspect to Guanaja is the fact that it is surrounded by the world's second largest barrier reef ... only to be outdone by the great barrier reef in Australia. This reef protects the island from a lot of potentially damaging waves and currents.

Fresh water is abundant on Guanaja and there are fresh water, waterfalls and streams that come down from the mountain side. Everyone taps into this source and the water is good enough to drink right from the tap! Guanaja is the only Bay Island that has fresh water, a plus indeed.

The main question when deciding where to live is, do you want the mountains with an ocean view or do you want to walk out your front door and squish your toes in the sand. Both have so much to offer .... decisions, decisions...

Guanaja Honduras, a Bay Island paradise.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ring Game Competition in Guanaja!

A ring game has been installed at the Castaways Resort in Guanaja and has caused all sorts of competitions to spring up. Here we have Brewski Bob, fresh off the US ring game circuit representing Club Brown International, showing the locals how it is done!

It is a good thing that all that was lost that day were bottle caps!


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Lively Saturday Afternoon in Guanaja Honduras!

Saturday afternoon at the Manati Restaurant and Bar in Guanaja went from lively to "jamming" as the evening progressed!

Great food, cold drinks and lot's old and new friends meeting for a day of fun. Music was provided by the Guanaja Boys. Everyone in attendance agreed the evening was quite a success!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - a Saturday Morning in Paradise!

AHHHHH .... a spectacular Saturday morning in Guanaja ... this is Brewski's first full day here. The beauty is amazing. Bob comes over to our side of the duplex and we sip on virgin Mary's as we watch the waves gently lap the shore and listen to the birds in the distance. I think that perhaps we all celebrated his arrival to enthusiastically with Rum Punch last night and we are moving a bit slow today.

The ferry from Savannah Bight comes by overflowing with people ready to start the weekend. HOLY SMOKES, you think they have room for one more?

We wander over to the Castaways Restaurant where they fill our bellies with Denver Omelette's and hot coffee .... thank you very much, I think we will live!

Our day begins ........

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mayor Richmond of Guanaja Meets Prince Houdini

It started out as a regular day in Guanaja ... little did we know that we would have the honor of meeting the Mayor of this island paradise.

Harlon Richmond Hurlston, Alcalde Municipal, Mayor of Guanaja Islas de la Bahia, gave us a few minutes of his time for a quick interview. It was an honor that I hadn't expected. As we entered his office, above the door was a sign stating "No Corruption" ... how great is that? Something that many US politicians could take a lesson from!

Mayor Richmond's message was simple. He is concerned with his island's economy, tourism and the environment. The mayor wants tourism to flourish and to have these same tourists to return because of favorable experiences. The government has made money available just for this purpose.

Right now they are currently upgrading the sewer system to accommodate the growing population on Bonacca Town and construction has begun on a new terminal at the airport. After all, this is the first place that a tourist sees.

Mayor Richmond graciously posed for a picture with me and Houdini. It is probably the first time he has posed with a crazy American woman and a small white dog!

Thank you for your time Mayor Richmond. I look forward to visiting Guanaja, your island paradise again.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Brewski Bob Arrives!

What could be better......our good friend Brewski Bob has arrived in Guanaja Honduras to join us for the last week of our vacation?

We met Bob at the airstrip in Guanaja and the first two items that I handed him were a ice cold bottle of beer and a full spray bottle of deep woods off. Both items are a necessity for island living! The beer, Bob understood, but the bug spray? I told him to trust me on this and to use it immediately.

The airport in Guanaja is quite informal ... actually a couple of other attempts have been made to build new terminals, but for now it is comprised of a landing strip, a building that is used for storage and if you are very brave, a toilet! The Thirst and Last Stop is usually open for beverages and is owned by one of the local business men Captain Al.

We gathered up Bob's bags and soon we were cruising off on the "Fishing Tales", the Castaways Resorts fishing boat to show him his new home for the next week.

We were staying at the Castaways Resort and Marina in Guanaja and each of us had one side of the duplex. Each side had one bedroom, one bath and a large living room decorated with heavy island style furniture made right there in Honduras. Air conditioning and fans in every room, although the breezes off the Caribbean kept us cool and we never used the AC. The resort restaurant opened at 8:00am and stayed open until the last guest left in the evening and they featured good Honduran home cooking.

Depending how many rum punches we had consumed, in the afternoons, we would climb the stairs up to the "widows walk" on top of our rooms ... I don't know which was better, the oceans view or the starry night time view ... both were spectacular!

Another wonderful day in Guanaja, it's tough, but someone has to do it!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guanaja - Busy in Paradise

Guanaja Honduras, where the word "busy" takes on a whole new meaning. There are no traffic jams to get caught up in because there are no roads. Rush hour traffic means going over to the cay to grocery shop after the supply boat comes in and having five other boats at the dock. The map below shows Guanaja as it was and as is still is for the most part. Pretty cool!

Our day begins by going over to the bank. Yes, the electric is back on and we would like to open an account in this foreign land as we are planning on making this a part time haven. I have planned (I thought) for all possibilities, after all, how hard could it be? OK, if you have gone through this drill before, I'll wait for you to catch your breath as you are probably laughing yourself silly!

We are allowed to enter the bank by the guards after they make sure our cell phone is turned off and our bags are searched. These aren't ordinary guards, but men that are wearing bullet proof vests, carrying side arms strapped around their waists, in addition to the AK47 that are slung over their shoulders. WOW, I'm impressed, they even have bullets!

The bank is crowded with all the local folk and some of the gringo's that have obviously done this procedure before. I notice a tiny smile tugging at their lips...... we wait, and wait, and by now I have struck up a conversation with one of the young guards who is, by now, leaning on his rifle and petting Houdini. Two hours later we are seated at the new account desk....YIPPEE!!

We produce our passports, Florida driver's licenses, two bank references from the United States showing our good standing and CASH to deposit ... wait a minute ...... we each need two personal references from Honduran citizens, in addition we each need two business references from Guanaja ... HOLY SMOKES ... we are sent away disappointed, cash in hand and no bank account. Obviously we will need to re-group and try again another day.

Next on our "to do" list is the internet cafe. We go to the one next to Miller's Hotel. There are several computers, one working printer and no pens ... I finally bum a crayon off one of the little kids coloring on the floor while their parents work on the net!

The internet connection is pretty fast .. not like cable of course, but still pretty decent ... at least I am "connected" to the world wide web.

Guanaja Honduras is certainly not the United States by any means as far as fast paced business is concerned and that is one of its charms. I am tired of all the hustle bustle. I am ready to slow down and take it easy ... I just need to learn the new "rules" of Guanaja.

Oh, by the way, we were asked to leave the internet cafe ...... siesta time from noon to 2:30, :-) LOL!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Guanaja - Let's go to Graham's Place!

Guanaja Honduras is an island retreat with many special places to visit..... Graham's Place is one of these special places. Owned by a gentleman from the Cayman's named Graham Thompson, it is a definite "must see" on your island tour. Actually it is an island all to itself, called Josh's cay. You approach through the crystal clear water of the Caribbean Sea, but it is usually quite calm due to the protection of the world's second largest barrier reef that surrounds the Bay Islands area.

We have met Senor Graham before and he remembers us from our last visit here. So, a couple of beers later and a little catching up on the latest gossip and we are ready for the rest of the afternoon.

As we are leaving we notice this business man, in his dug out canoe, coming in to sell fresh conch meat. What a terrific dinner idea ..... fresh cracked conch and cerviche. The "conch dude" bargains and for a few pennies we have our dinner entree. Alfred knows his way around a conch from time spent in the Bahamas and volunteers for kitchen duty this evening.

Conch whacking and dicing can be thirsty work and here you can see Big AL in the kitchen back at Castaways Resort re-hydrating with cold cerveza.

Dinner was a total success and we even added a butter fish sashimi with wasabi to the menu. What better meal than fresh from the sea ingredients? I don't know if it gets any better than this!

Guanaja has my vote for Bay Island paradise!

For the real Bahamian conch recipe visit:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Guanaja - Back to our Island Paradise!

Our first day back in our island paradise of Guanaja and it is just as lovely as I remembered it. The temperature is balmy and mild, humidity just about like our home in Florida, with just a little more breeze to cool things down ...GREAT!

We walk over to the Castaways Restaurant for some coffee and breakfast and on the way it is difficult not to notice the wonderfully clear turquoise water and the palm trees swaying. OK, I could live here!

After a quick breakfast, our driver, Guermo, with our friend, Ronnie's boat showed up to take us on our journey today. First off, we wanted to check out the house that Ronnie is building. The roofers were busily working and soon it will be done. Next on our to do list is to go over to the cay, called Bonacca town, and to pick up some supplies and do some local business.

Supplies included picking up a couple of bottles of Flor de Cana rum and fruit juices to go with the rum. I have found that it is always good to have priorities on trips like this so you don't become sidetracked! As we were shopping, we realized that the power went off, not to worry in the grocery store, they aren't on a computer system anyway, so we complete our transactions, but the rest of our trip required electricity.

We had planned on checking out the local internet cafe, there are three on the cay and then to the bank and try to open up a local account. During the best of times these tasks would require a few hours on the cay, but without electricity ... impossible! We were told that several times a month the electric company just shuts down for a while for maintenance. These outages only last for an hour or so, but you never know when they will occur, or when for sure, the power will return .... there is always manana!

OK, we are getting into the island spirit to slow down and decide just to head back to Castaways Resort where we are staying. Captain Bob, the owner is up and around now and he is keeping us entertained with his bird, Lola. She is quite a character and I have other pictures of Lola and Bob, but I promised not to use them as they could be construed as possible blackmail material!

My husband decided it was a good time to stick his head underwater. He decided to snorkel right at the dock and found a little bit of structure at the end of the dock with small colorful fish and a lot of turtle grass. The best snorkeling is just a little further out on the reef.

Kind of a lazy day. Meeting new people at the resort and then renewing friendships from our last trip here. Nothing moves fast in Guanaja, so sometimes it is best to just sit back, sip on a tasty aged rum and ENJOY!

Guanaja Honduras, is not for everyone, but for us, it is paradise!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guanaja - Welcome to Paradise!

It seems that arrival of the ferry in Guanaja is similar to carnival time ...excitement everywhere. Enjoy!

Guanaja at Last!

Guanaja is just a short, depending on the weather, ferry ride away from the coastline of Honduras. We had to search everywhere for information on this elusive "yacht", but finally the local connection prevailed and we found out that the ferry travels from Trujillo to Guanaja on Thursdays and Sundays and leaves the dock at 1:00pm ...... most of the time, after all, this is Honduras!

Excited to be heading to our final destination we got there early, loaded all our gear, cooler with cold beer (a real must!) and fishing poles. There was already some freight aboard. I guess just about anything goes, even pigs and chickens! We noticed that there weren't very many passengers. I guess THEY knew that the boat wouldn't be leaving until 2:15pm! A local woman selling coconut bread meandered through the aisles selling her bakery goods and soon the boat literally became alive with people. Two cold beers into our wait the horn tooted a few times and slowly we backed away from the pier! Bye-bye Trujillo.

The ferry boat, or yacht, as the islanders call her has seen better days. She looks to be some kind of a large lake boat, refitted with seats taken from an airliner. The seat in front of me cautioned to keep my tray table in an upright position and to fasten my seat belt during take off. At this point I am ready for anything!

The locals that take this ferry all the time know the drill, get on board just in time, grab an extra seat cushion for a head rest and camp out in the center aisle for a three hour siesta. Next time we will know all the rules! For those of us who decided to stay awake there was entertainment on board. A few minutes out, the mate started up a movie on a flat screen TV up front. This would have kept me occupied except that the kung-fu movie they chose to play was in Chinese with Spanish sub-titles. YIKES!!!!

The seas were calm, but with a bit of a roll, just enough to be interesting. I think that was why the locals try to sleep on the voyage.

Three and a half hours later we docked at the municipal pier in Guanaja Honduras. Small boats were jockeying for position around the ferry to pick up passengers and freight and kept things interesting. I swear, I think that everyone must have a cousin in Guanaja. There must have been a hundred people waiting on the dock! For being in the nowhere, in Central America, on a Sunday afternoon, there was a lot of activity.

The Castaways Resort sent their driver, Arturo, to pick us up in his boat, so once again we moved our stuff. We arrived at the resort just as the sun was going down ... a beautiful time ... the restaurant was hopping with people and it was good to be on land again. What better plan than a cold beer?

Guanaja Honduras, our adventure begins once again!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Casa Alemania - Last Stop before Guanaja!

Casa Alemania, a beachside resort in Trujillo Honduras, is our last stop before we ferry over to Guanaja. Owned by a Geman fellow, named Gunther, and his Honduran wife, Paula, it made a terrific 2 day stop to relax before our ferry ride over to the Bay Islands.

It seemed that we were fated to meet up. Gunther and I share the same birthday and as a matter of fact we celebrated together with a French champagne that he brought out special for the occasion! My husband is Austrian, so he and Gunther had a lot to talk about, in German, of course!

Paula and Gunther were wonderful hosts and as you can see, quite doggy friendly! Houdini found out that Gunther had sold his Harley before coming to Honduras and thought that he would wear his own Harley gear for the birthday party.

Paula is a Doctor of Acupuncture and offers treatments as well as massage and facials. The prices at Casa Alemania are quite reasonable and they offer meals as well as beverages for their guests.

Relaxation is the key here and brightly colored hammocks strung between rustling palm trees were a great way to spend the afternoon and then a nice walk on the beach at sunset.

Life is good here at Casa Alemania and I highly recommend a stop over if you are in the area. You can contact them by telephone at: 011-504-9831-5748

Tomorrow we take the "yacht" over to Guanaja and the "Aventura en Honduras" continues!