Armed police carrying M4 Carbines slung across their torsos greet all 14 passengers with umbrellas to shield us from the cold rain as we step off the small, twin-turboprop airplane. Such a gentle and welcoming gesture from these hardened-looking men in uniform. It’s a friendly reminder that although I’ve stepped foot on a Caribbean island, I’m still in Honduras. Since 2009, this Central American country has been considered one of the most dangerous in the entire world. The island of Guanaja, however, is very different than mainland Honduras.
The islanders are the Caracol people, or Bonnacans, as they call themselves. Spanish is second to English on the island. The main cay, where the majority of the inhabitants live, is called the Venice of Honduras. The primary method of transportation is by boat. The crystal clear, blue water, along with some of the longest and most beautiful reefs in the world, make this island a popular destination for divers. A plethora of coconuts, banana trees and untouched beaches with a remarkable mountainous backdrop is normal, everyday life. However, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m being monitored closely, but not by those intimidating-looking police officers at the tiny airport.
Over the next five weeks, I found this island to be incomparable to any other destination I had ever visited. My experience was unlike anything I could have ever expected. I felt like I’d been thrown onto the set of a movie production or possibly transported into another time period.
Trevor Davis, former cidermaker and working musician from Frederick, is a travel writer and content creator scouring the Earth in search of taboo culture to absorb.
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