Friday, February 29, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Let's visit Graham's Place

Well, our half hearted attempt at fishing didn't put any bounty on the table for lunch so we all made our way over to Graham's Place, located on Josh's Cay just off the southeast corner of Guanaja Honduras.

Graham's is well known for his free mooring buoys for cruiser's, as well as free ice and water to boaters, and all that is expected in return is that the sailors come in occasionally for a cool beverage or food. A pretty sweet deal! Graham's Place also gives new meaning to the swim up bar ...... I know, the fancy resorts have a wonderful swimming pool that is manned by a bartender to keep all the swimmers or "loungers" hydrated .... well take a look at this! At Graham's Place you just pull up at log stool and take a seat in the Caribbean Sea .... way COOL!
Protection from the sun comes from the thatched palm frond roofs.

Graham is actually not a local Honduran, but hails from the Cayman Islands. A pleasant fellow, who meticulously maintains his resort, is a terrific host and will stop by your table and chat while everyone has their favorite beverage. The day that we were there the we enjoyed Salva Vida, a local Honduran brand!

The food was a bit pricier, reminded us more of Florida prices, but everyone had a good time and we loved the island atmosphere with the parrots and other local "critters". A walk around the island revealed hammocks swinging in the lush foliage ... just begging for someone to hop in and spend the afternoon snoozing in the tropical breezes.

Here I am with our host Senor Graham ... a charming guy who takes his job of host seriously. We toured the property and all of his cabanas were squeaky clean and ready for the next guest. In the distance there were two people kite surfing ..... paradise!

The cabana's are cozy little cottages in a studio and one bedroom design ... decorated with an island flair ... and all of them had air conditioning for those guests that are running a bit hot! His room rates include breakfast and lunch ... so if you are in the area sure to stop by!

Graham also has an natural "aquarium" set up in between his docks where you can see the turtles he has saved from the soup pot as well as lobsters, conch and a variety of interesting fish ... the water is so clear you can view it right from the dock ......... and for you folks that are missing one sock, Graham's Place has a similar problem in reverse. There is an area on one end of the island where various shoes, sandals and flip flops wash up on shore ... of course, never a pair, only one ... he has made a memorial for them!

These are just some of the things to enjoy while traveling in Guanaja Honduras!
To visit Graham's Place online go to:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Moon over Guanaja!

Like two little kids waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, we were up at 4:00am sitting on the deck enjoying the moon over Guanaja! The performance was better than any academy award winning movie. The warm breezes, the rustle of the palm trees and the great expanse of the universe ... WOW ... does it get any better? We stayed there until the sun started to poke its head up and our second day in Guanaja Honduras began.

Tina and Lela were moving about in the kitchen and the smell of coffee beckoned us to begin our day...... after all, this was Friday and everyone knows that the supply boat from the Honduran mainland comes to Bonacca Town, the small cay where the majority of the Guanajan's live.

From the picture you can see the small cay of Bonacca ... we stayed on the "large" island ( 3 miles by 11 miles) just behind Guanaja Rock, about a five minute ride from the small island of Bonacca.

Guermo picked us up at 9:00am and we went by Pango over to the cay ... he introduced us to Jim and Kathy Springer, two expats that are retired from Georgia, and they have called Guanaja home for the last 15 we met Gar, also from the US. He sailed his boat here many years ago and just never left! He keeps his boat on anchor in the bay in front of the Manati Bar...... we also ran into our friend Jim Jones on the street finishing up his weekly shopping.

Friday is not only the day that all the fresh vegetables come in, but it is the time that all the Gringo's boat over to the small cay and catch up with all the news from the other seems that everyone meets at this one cafe and orders Baleadas. They are are thick tortillas filled with eggs, beans, cheese and sometimes pico de gallo or meat or avocado and are delicious!
I guess, for the local Gringo's, this goes on every Friday...the men eat and drink and the women wait for the produce to get unpacked so they can make their purchases......everyone enjoys the Friday festivities!

Of course, we only have a limited time to experience this Bay Island paradise, so we cut our visit short to Bonacca and headed back to the resort to get our fishing poles and try our luck.

The guys are readying the poles and they actually make their own lures. It seems that the locals do not use rods, but do what is called hand lining ... meaning they simply throw out the line from a spool held in their hand and when they feel the tug they pull it back in by hand. Daniel, shown in the picture here with my husband, told us how they "chum" the hot areas with packed conch shells. They mash up fish remains with sand and then stuff them in an old conch shell .... as the shell floats down to the bottom it releases bits of "fish enticing" food, then as the shell sits on the bottom, the fish gather around trying, without luck, to get the remaining chum out. He and his brothers have caught over one hundred pounds of yellow tail snapper at a time using this method. Unfortunately, they call this sport "fishing", and not "catching" and we were a little late in the day for the catching part! A good thing we were planning on heading over to Graham's Place, another local resort and eatery for lunch, but more of that later!

Guanaja Honduras has a magic all its own ... right now we are under its spell ....... !

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Later that Day......

Guanaja Honduras .... things move a bit slower down there, but it was finally time to say goodbye to our new friends at Manati. Guermo, our guide, said that we had to stop over and see Robert before we headed back to the resort .... hmmmmm..... I don't remember emailing to Robert, but as I get older, I find that I do suffer from occasional "mental pauses", perhaps we know him and I just can't remember....

Well, Guermo piloted the boat over to a modern looking home with a large boat house located just down from the Manati .... we hopped out and Robert came out and met us on the dock, introduced himself and invited us in for a cold beverage, truly an offer we couldn't refuse! What hospitality!

Turns out, no, we hadn't met Robert before, but he is good friends with Ronnie who owns the boat we were using ... in fact Ronnie's construction site is just next door! Robert was born in Honduras, but had lived in the United States since he was a child. He is a retired Lt. with the Hillsbourgh County Sheriff's Office in Florida and had always wanted to return to his homeland. Once retired, Robert returned, fell in love with Guanaja, bought an existing home and totally remodeled it. He now lives quite happily in his Caribbean hideaway!

Last on our tour of the day was to stop at the Castaway, a Marina development started in 2006. We were met by Kevin, the caretaker, and he showed us around ..... the bar area looked great, restrooms new...but no electricity running, so no cool beverages! The plans are to have a full marina, homesites and pool.

There was one home near completion that was for sale ... a 2/2 just a few steps from the ocean ... the wide porch opened up to a terrific view and the warm tropical breezes ... asking only $175,000 .... not bad compared to US prices. This was just the first of many properties that we would see in the coming week.

Evening was fast approaching, and it was time to head back for dinner. Tina had whipped up some fresh fish, french fries and steamed veggies ... topped off with banana cake for dessert...yes the bananas came right off the tree outside the kitchen door ... YUM!

One last beer of the day and we were in bed by 7:30pm! YIKES, what a day!

Our first day in Guanaja Honduras, a Bay Island Paradise .... things looked pretty nice .....

Monday, February 25, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Happy Valentines Day!

What did YOU do for Valentines Day? We arrived in Guanaja Honduras ... and let me tell you, it was way better than a box of chocolates! Here, I am being greeted by my new friends Denis and Daniel of the Nautilus Resort ... these guys are local and have the knowledge of the people, the land and the water ... what more could you ask for?

After a quick lunch at the resort prepared by Tina .. a tasty beef steak sauteed with peppers, a vegetable rice and mashed potatoes, we were ready for our first adventure.

Guermo, our boat driver and guide for the week, loaded us into our friend Ronnie's 25 foot Pango boat that was to be our taxi for the next week .... SUPER! Powered by a 75 horse Yamaha it really flew over the water.

First stop was the Manati Bar and Restaurant. Owned by a German fellow named Hansito, it is managed by a German husband/wife team named Klaus and Annetta. Klaus and Annetta have been in Honduras for many years and actually suffered through the wrath of Hurricane Mitch in 1998 where they lost a touring motocross business they owned on the mainland. They have since moved out to Guanaja and call this island paradise their home...... and paradise it is! They have a wild hawk that has its own perch on the back porch.....he just comes for a visit when the spirit moves him!

Sitting at the bar, you can look out onto the bay and watch the sail boats at anchor enjoying their slice of the Caribbean paradise also. According to Annetta, some of the sailors stay a day or two, others haven't moved for years! One thing is for sure though, they all dingy in to partake of cold beverages, good conversation and the freshest of foods...both German and local prepared by the couple. I am a sucker for fresh bread and the day that we arrived, Annetta was baking bread in the kitchen....OH, MY!!!!!

For entertainment there is a pool table, dart board and for a less "physical" activity, a hammock swinging on the porch.

Valentines Day would in "paradise"not be complete without a TOT of rum so Klaus broke out the 18 year old Rum and we toasted to lovers everywhere! Truly an afternoon to remember!

Guanaja Honduras, a Bay Island paradise!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Our Chariot Awaits!

Here we are .... Guanaja bound! While we had our fingers crossed, my husband's hat blew off in a gust of wind! It was an interesting flight after the deluxe flight we had from Miami to San Pedro Sula, Honduras aboard TACA. The AC didn't work, but I was told later that it hasn't worked on that plane in over 20 years!

I was fanning myself with the emergency procedure brochure, trying to stir up a little breeze, when I really looked out the window, WOW.....the various hues of blue came into view as we began our flight over the Caribbean Sea. Spectacular is the only way to describe, the various Bay Islands and their surrounding Cays came into view with lush green vegetation and mountains.

Twenty minutes later we began our approach for landing. Our new adventure was about to begin! We were told by our friend, Jim, to look for his house as we approached Guanaja and there it was, four little rooftops on a hillside over looking Wilmont Bay....simply beautiful! We started taking pictures from the air.

The landing was smooth and when the door popped open we were greeted by the warm tropical breezes of the Caribbean. We off loaded and were met by our new friends Senior Denis and Daniel from the Nautilus Resort. There are no roads on Guanaja, so they had the boat waiting for us to take us to our island paradise for the next week....everything went so smoothly.

Ten minutes later we arrived at the resort and were escorted to our room and then introduce to our cook, Tina and our housekeeper, Lela..... both women would become like "family" over the next week!

Our exploration of Gunaja Honduras, this island gem, began immediately with our boat driver/guide, Guermo directing us to all the local places....but more of that later....for now, let's kick back and enjoy a cold beverage! Guanaja Honduras, here we come! CHEERS!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Guanaja Bound .... Pre-Flight!

We are Guanaja bound. We have never been to Honduras before. I am going through the usual pre-flight activities. In addition, I have made extra copies of our passports, ID's and have added the phone number of the US Embassy in Honduras......hopefully we won't need to use that one! TACA has sent us the 48 hour flight notice and I am as excited as a kid waiting for Santa to come down the chimney!

I guess the question is, will we like it? Will we love it enough to consider it for retirement?

We are going to stay one night in La Ceiba at the CocoPando Resort (on the ocean) owned by a wonderful guy named Charlie.... you can check out his place at :

The next morning we will be flying to Guanaja on Islania Air and will be picked up at the airport by Mr. Denis, manager of the Nautilus Resort, where we plan on making our headquarters for the next week or so. We have been in touch via e-mail with Mr. Denis, a very friendly, professional man and we are looking forward to meeting him.

Ronnie E. has generously provided us use of his boat and a driver for the week, so we plan on making good use of both to learn all about our "maybe" new home.

We have already loosely planned on meeting our new "e-mail" friends Sharon and Mike at the Manati Bar Saturday afternoon and this makes us already feel at home....not really in a strange new is terrific to already be welcomed this way! You can visit Guanaja Sharon at her blog that she maintains at:

So we are Guanaja bound...leaving on a jet plane....see you there!

Guanaja Honduras - Retirement, What's That?

Retire in Guanaja Honduras?

My husband and I are part of the baby boom generation....that means being born between 1946 and 1964. We are at the point in our lives where mainstream American would consider us retired because we don't go out to work a nine to five job, but in actuality we have never "worked" harder. According to many surveys that seems to be the new "wave" retirement. This isn't your Mom and Dad's retirement, kids! The Baby Boomers want more from life, age is just a number and we are ready to go looking for it!

ADVENTURES! That's what it is all about.

Honduras has a lot to offer in the way of retirement benefits. Retirement in Honduras does not mean being far from family in America. It is only two hours from the United States by air, and four Honduran international airports make it easy to schedule travel. Property taxes are low, health care, with many US trained doctors, is available and other tax incentives are offered if you decide you want to do business in the tourism industry.

If you lead a fairly active lifestyle you might want to go white water rafting, hiking, fishing, scuba diving or snorkeling. The Bay Islands are surrounded by the world's second largest coral reef. Maybe you want to slow down a bit...... Honduras' beaches, waterfalls, lakes, and cloud forests provide beautiful settings for spas and retreats.

Need help at your hacienda so you can enjoy all this beauty? A maid or a gardener will only set you back about eight dollars a day US. The average American can live "large" with a small pension of $1,000-1,500 a month!

This sounds like paradise to me!

Retire in Guanaja? Maybe! The investigation continues!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - How do you Pronounce That?

Guanaja, pronounced Gwa-nah-ha. I first heard of this Bay Island about five years ago. My husband and I purchased a boat from a couple that were selling because that were going to move permanently down to the Bay Islands in Honduras.

At the time, Honduras seemed like a long way to travel for husband and I had our mind focused in on the Bahamas.......and that's what we did. We traveled all over the Bahamas, enjoying the crystal clear waters, the warm breezes and running from hurricanes, expensive food, ridiculously high cruising permits and the crazy fishing regulations. We purchased a condo ... YIKES ... high property taxes. Everything has two sides!

A new year begins and we remember Cindy and Jim, the nice folks that we bought our boat from, wonder if they are still down there....didn't they do real estate? GOOGLE is a wonderful thing, I put their names in and POOF, there they were, their website done in bright, tropical colors, selling property down in Gaunaja. A quick e-mail and later that day we spoke on the phone. Our interest was piqued and soon turned into an almost obsession to learn about this island paradise that has not yet quite been found by the masses.

I fancy myself somewhat of an internet researcher and I searched out anything to do with Guanaja and Honduras.....obsession turned into excitement! We loved what we saw...I emailed a few Americans that owned property down there. We craved more information about this island gem. The one thing that I came away with was that everyone I had contact with was extremely helpful and friendly. What a terrific community!

We can hardly wait to visit in person, just to kick the tires a bit..........soon we will be Guanaja bound!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Guanaja Honduras - Where the Heck is that?

Guanaja, Honduras.......where the heck is that?

Long story short, Guanaja is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. If you are like me and it has been MANY years since you had geography in school, Guanaja is located about 40 miles off the coast of Honduras, which is in Central America. Honduras shares its borders with Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador and while this may sound confusing to some, get on an airplane in Miami and in two hours you will be there...or at least on the mainland. Another 25 minute hop on a puddle jumper and you will land at the Guanaja airport.......COOL! Paradise really might not be that far away from home.

My husband and I have been seriously researching where the best place for our retirement should be spent. I'm not talking rocking chairs here, although a swinging hammock might be nice, but a place that is perfect for all the activities we love....boating, fishing, snorkeling, diving, good food and friends.

Follow our research and let's enjoy the journey together!