A Travellerspoint blog

April 2019

Roatán, Honduras - A Caribbean Paradise

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As I said in the last post, we are in love with Roatán. It has such a cool, chill vibe and is filled with fun, beautiful places and people. The Main Street of West End, where we are staying, fronts on the beach so the views from the bars and restaurants are awesome.

West Bay is also very nice but much more touristy. It's where the cruise boats take most visitors and is jam packed with beach bars, lounge chairs, and vendors. But it's a nice place to hang out on non-cruise-ship days and it has some awesome snorkel spots.


We rented a jeep one day and drove around the island.

The island is long and narrow and the center has a spine that runs along it from which you can see both sides of the island - from beach to beach. The roads down to the beaches from there are steep and winding and really fun to drive. Although, I can see why no one drives when it's raining!

The farthest north we got was the Garafuna village of Punta Gorda. It's a beautiful spot along the coast and was quiet the day we were there but I hear it can be a lot of fun when the Garafuna get their party on.

The reefs, beaches, and blue waters are around every turn and are stunning! It was a great drive. I even got to practice my stick-shift driving! We ended the day back at TranquilSeas in Sandy Bay, quickly becoming a favorite hang out!


Roatan's fringing coral reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, that runs from Mexico, down to Panama and amazingly surrounds the island completely. It's just off shore in many places so easily accessible for snorkeling from the beach and it also supports a ton of dive shops all over the island. Scott has been wanting to try diving for awhile now but due to some physical limitations (nothing serious!) I haven't wanted to do it. Enter Courtney! We hadn't seen this before but here they offer Discovery Dives, which basically teach you the very basic skills and put you in the water for a dive within four hours. It was the perfect opportunity for them to try it out.

So serious!

Needless to say, they were hooked immediately and were able to dive again before Courtney left.

Now Scott is completing his PADI certification so he will be able to dive elsewhere.

Never fear for me! I ride along on the dive boat and snorkel the reefs, hang out with the captains, and generally enjoy the views of the island and reef from the water.

It also doesn't hurt that they chose the dive shop, Sun Divers, right next to our favorite bar, Sundowners on Half Moon Bay. Free beach chairs, the bar just up a short flight of steps, sandy feet and wet bathing suits welcome!

Just out front in the bay there is awesome snorkeling, a rope swing off a converted sailboat, the iSoar (double-entendre intended), anchored in the bay, and some of the best sunsets on the island. It's also the bar where we can watch the Caps in the NHL playoffs (so sad about last night!) and participate in a Sunday night Game of Thrones viewing party! No wonder it's our favorite.

Scott trying to "walk on water" like the locals!


There are three turtles living in Half Moon Bay. Courtney and Scott saw one and I was able to shoot this video of one. Check it out! I could have watched it all day.

Swimming here is like swimming in a huge aquarium. It's hard to capture the breath-taking color and quantity of the fish and coral but here's a few. It's amazing to see how well the fish match their environments. Sometimes it's hard to pick out the fish in a photo! You'll just have to come here to see it in person for the true experience.

Some areas have deep canyons and the coral is different. The last photo has coral "pots" that are really cool!


Agoutis, Lizards, and Birds - oh my!
Roatán is truly a tropical, jungle paradise. It is filled with tropical vegetation, birds, lizards, and animals of every sort. In our backyard, along with the roosters and chickens we have these little fellows, Roatán Agoutis, rooting around. They're sort of a giant guinea pig. (Note: this is a picture from the sanctuary.)

There are lizards of every sort. Besides the Anole from our last post, which are everywhere (running across our porch, hanging out in trees). There are the house anoles that live up in the house eating insects for us.

There are these amazing Black Spiny-tailed Iguanas that are only native to this area...

...and these Green Iguanas, that hang out sunning themselves on tree branches.

The most prevalent bird (of real interest IMO) here is the Velasquez's Golden-fronted Woodpecker - they are everywhere and noisy!

But I was also fortunate enough to see both migrating Swallow-tailed Kites and Eastern Wood-Peewees. The Kites were special because they are so rare that the eBird folks contacted me to make sure I wasn't making it up!

And then, of course, there are the huge parrots that we only saw with Courtney on our tour of the local Sanctuary. They truly are stunning and maybe one day we'll see them in the wild!

And last but not least the Toucan of Fruit Loops fame! I actually once saw this in the wild in Costa Rica.

Sloths and Monkeys!
But the highlight was seeing the Capuchin monkeys and the sloths at the sanctuary - opposite ends of the animal spectrum! The monkeys run around the cage and jump on and off of you while the sloths just hang on waiting for you to put them back on their branch.

We were lucky that a baby had just been born - so sweet!


West Bay and West End, as the names would suggest, face due West so every day is another amazing sunset. We just can't get enough of them! Here are a few favorites among the hundreds we've taken.


And last but not least, we were so happy to have Courtney come to visit for her Spring Break! She persevered through some really rough travel days and delays and we are so thankful. It was really fun to share the island with her and share new experiences - not to mention to have someone else to talk to! You've seen her in a lot of the photos above but here are a few favorites to end on a high note!

Posted by mrb430 08:55 Archived in Honduras Comments (1)

Goodbye Panama, Hello Honduras

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We arrived on the Caribbean island of Roatán, Honduras on Tuesday after enjoying a little over a week in Panama City. Just taking a quick look back, we really love Panama City for reasons both explainable and not. Panama City has that special something that NYC has, it's just an extra energy, an extra coolness, that makes you love it more than you probably should. I mean, it has no beaches, it can be dirty and chaotic, it's ridiculously hot and yet...we can actually see ourselves living there. It was an appropriate place to kick off our second year on the road.


Just look at this skyline and some of the iconic architecture.

At night it is so impressive. Especially when they decide to shoot fireworks off over Casco Viejo.
There's a beautiful park that stretches the length of the downtown with gardens and bike paths and awesome views back to the downtown.

There's an amazing seafood market that supplies both individual customers and all of the restaurants with the daily catch.

And there are outdoor restaurants all around it serving the freshest ceviches and seafood dishes.


Add to that the historic area of Casco Viejo that rivals historic San Juan in Puerto Rico or Cartagena. It manages to be old and beautiful without feeling overrun by tourists - a great combination.


Finally, it has just enough of the modern American conveniences to make it easy. We went to the mall and bought a few clothing items we needed but had been unable to find. We went to B-Dubs to watch the final four and championship. We were able to restock some hard to find pharmacy items that had been confiscated (for those of you that read our Q&A, we are on our second pair of tweezers and third pair of cuticle snippers!) We ate tacos that tasted like Mexico, Italian food that tasted like Italy, croissants that tasted like Paris, and wings that tasted like America.

So, if you like cities like we do, make sure to put Panama City on your list and check out the apartment rentals in the Hard Rock hotel where we enjoyed the amazing views from the pool and roof top bar you see above.


But now we are in Roatán and back on island time. Our first impressions are really positive! We've been reading about Roatán in International Living magazine for years as a great place to retire so we are excited to finally see what all the fuss is about. And we're thinking w agree. It is a great combination of a Caribbean vacation island look, feel, and vibe with just enough Central America thrown in to make it interesting. Everyone speaks English. There are expats from around the world. It attracts both older and younger tourists so, unlike Bocas, we're not always the oldest person at the bar. There is live music and happy hour specials. If you're looking for somewhere less expensive than the islands you know but with all the fun, I think we can safely recommend you check out Roatán.


We rented a nice house just up a hill behind West End. We rented it quite awhile ago and before we had perfected our checklists apparently because our first surprise was it has no AC! Luckily, it cools off enough in the evenings and the house if full of fans so we aren't uncomfortable. And it gives us a taste of what it really means to live like a local on a Caribbean island!

As normal, we have a huge porch to hang out on, literally!

And great neighbors!


The island is insanely lush with huge tropical trees and ferns everywhere.

It really has a lot of undisturbed areas full of jungle that are amazing to explore.

And it has great beaches, great beach bars, and good restaurants.

And the snorkeling is world famous. Just look at the reefs surrounding the island we saw flying in.

Yesterday we went snorkeling and saw TONS of fish just off the beach. The coral in close to shore is not impressive but the fish certainly were. More to come on this with pictures!

And tomorrow Courtney arrives to stay for a week. We are really excited to see her and show her around.

Keep up with us @arrradventures on Instagram.

Posted by mrb430 10:26 Archived in Honduras Comments (1)

More Q&A - Cuz' Why Not

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So ever since we wrote the Q&A, we've been thinking of other questions we could have answered. So here we sit on a Thursday night answering all those questions you don't have but we think you should...and a few we did actually get!

Q&A With Cocktails

What's in your backpack, other than clothes and toiletries, you couldn't live without?
Well there are a few things...for instance we spend a minimum of two hours every morning over coffee, which means coffee is mandatory. So we carry our own collapsible coffee makers, filters, and always some coffee. These are the handiest of gadgets!

Then, for drinks, we do find it necessary to juice fruit, so Marcy carries the reamer. Can we just say if there is one kitchen implement that should be in every backpack, after coffee of course, it's a reamer. Our friends on the sailboat to San Blas were soooo impressed!

You must be prepared for the looks from airport security, however. I mean they think these are weapons..large_IMG_5881.JPG

So who knows what they think our reamer is! Of course it could be the insane man accompanying me that sets them off.

Finally...is there anything worse than warm beer? Obvious answer, NO! So we both carry our Yeti coozies! Scott stuffs a pair of socks in his and, of course, it's where I put the reamer. For those of you with a devious mind, the X-ray doesn't see through these and they never check them so...draw your own conclusions about what you might stuff inside.

What's in your backpack you could live without but carry anyway?
Ummm...nuff said.

What do you wish was in your backpack but you live without?
Scott: My Sonos speakers. But I find we do quite well with our UE BOOM!

Vanna would be proud - though she'd never wear a Stranger Bocas tank top!

Marcy: A pet! Wouldn't that be great...a furry friend you could just unpack at each location?!

Have you thought of any inventions that might be good for travelers like yourselves?
Bitters, a necessary ingredient of both Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, in ketchup-like packets because they are hard to find, expensive when you do, and hard to carry in your backpack! I mean, what would TSA think of that?!

What's the real key to your success?
Being able to feel at home in a hotel room! Here's a typical hotel kitchen - I mean sometimes we have REAL a stove but if you can plug in a burner - really do you need one? And an oven...really no one needs an oven, right? Wait we do have a toaster oven! A microwave for popcorn and nachos is essential though because everyone needs popcorn and/or nachos for the Netflix binge night!

Not to worry about booze, mixers, and fruit - they're are available everywhere. And hotels have ice machines! Conveniently, at this Hard Rock it's the next door down! Do notice, however, the full size bottle of bitters! I mean, really, shouldn't they come in handy carry packets or otherwise be standard equipment in every hotel room?!

How do you stay on budget?
Refer to previous answer re: Netflix and nachos!

How do you amuse yourselves given you can't afford to go out every night?
Refer to previous answer re: Netflix and nachos! And this blog! We sit on our deck and think up silly, alright, stupid sh%$ to do.

How much do your packs weigh?
Our backpacks are exactly the same weight, 26 pounds. That being said, our "day packs" are a different story. Scott carries 18 pounds of electronics.

Yes that's only 8 pounds less than his backpack! I'd give you an inventory but them you'd know we were crazy!

And then I carry the toiletries and pharmaceuticals - we have 11 pounds of those - including, of course, the very dangerous tweezers and snippers!

Really, I must digress here. I'm just so annoyed. Every agent has something they don't like and you never know what it is. We flew from Bocas TO Panama City with these but - noooooo - can't fly from David to Panama City with them. Can SOMEONE, ANYONE, please standardize what is allowed and what isn't? NeXt they'll be taking Scott away saying he's a danger - well...

Anyway, we normally check our big packs (never mind we bought them small so they could be carry-ons - we fly such small airlines that they must be checked), so it's our daypacks that get searched EVERY time. While Scott oversees the electronics search, which is an odyssey unto itself, I politely smile as they go through "Nurse Marcy's" pack and all the pills, potions, and dangerous implements.

They look at me like "what of this stuff do you use to party on the plane"? To which I think, "if I'm taking Imodium for fun, then I haven't had much fun in your country, have I"?

So this blog, it take time right? What does Scott do while you're typing?
Well... typically I write these in the morning and he's reading the financial times, looking at our net worth on Personal Capitol (it's an obsession really - are we up or down?!), or paying our taxes to the US of A (as he did today - you're welcome by the way). But tonight, he's DJing and mixing drinks - yep still grateful the ice machine is just next door.

How do you stand spending so much time together (i.e. Don't you get sick of each other)?
We're really good at ignoring each other for hours at a time. I mean - sometimes you just need some personal space - even if you are in a studio-size hotel room. That's what social media is for!

Thanks for playing along. We were amused putting this together - hope you were, too. Another night on the road, another new amusement.

Don't forget to keep up with us @arrradventures on Instagram.

Posted by mrb430 21:04 Archived in Panama Comments (2)

Marking One Year on the Road

View 2019 & 2018 & Jacksonville Insert Map on mrb430's travel map.

So as we sit on our beautiful balcony on this overcast morning at the Hard Rock Panama Megapolis overlooking Casco Viejo, we are reflecting on our first year of travel.

It's been an amazing year!

Thought I'd do a Q&A to record some of our memories. Looking back we really loved everything we did and everywhere we went. It's really hard to pick just a few to answer these questions but we'll give it a try! What questions do you have for us?


What's the best thing about your retirement?
Marcy: Having nothing we have to do and all day to do it.
Scott: Not having to wake up to an alarm clock.

What's the most stressful time/thing?
Scott: Our first drive down the Baja. We had built up such expectations about what could go wrong...and then nothing did (if you don't count forgetting to get our passports stamped at the border and having to drive all over Tijuana and down to the port at Ensenada to get them!) .
Marcy: Remembering what day, date, month it is; where we will be next and when do we need to be there.

Do you miss home?
Marcy: It's hard to miss something you don't have.
Scott: Occasionally, but yes its hard to miss something you don't have but I do miss some of our friends.

What DO you miss about the US?
Marcy: Well, we left Cadeau and Ruby there this last year and I miss them very much. Other than that, friends and family.

Scott: Easy access to sports in my home. Friends and family, of course.

What mistakes did you make?
Marcy: Well, there was the time I booked the same flights from Porto to Montpellier twice! And there was the time I convinced Scott to do the "short" drive around the Lake of the Ozarks that turned into a seven hour drive.
Scott: Eating a Super Burro in La Paz! Never been so sick...Thinking it would be cheap to stay in the rural western US. Turned out to be some of our most expensive accommodations - looking at you Tiny House in Custer SD for $110/night!

What did you get right?
Both: We didn't decide to camp our way around the US! The few days we did it we did not enjoy very much (to put it mildly). Still think it's the best way to see Bonneville, however.

Is there anywhere you wouldn't go back to?
Marcy: Magdalena Bay, not worth the time, except for the oysters!
Scott: Cartagena, being there once was plenty

So your rookie year is complete, are you a pro?
Marcy: No but I'm not sure that's the goal. When we think we have it all figured out I think it just means we've lost our curiosity.
Scott: No, we're maybe "journeymen". Still figuring things out.

What's the secret to your success?
Marcy: Taking each day as a new day and having the right partner who does the same.
Scott: Having the right partner is essential. Being flexible, really talking about what's working and what's not working, making adjustments when we need to, acknowledging that there's no "right" way to do this.

Is it hard to live out of a backpack?
Scott: Little bit, not really. Limits the temperature zones you can visit.
Marcy: Not if you don't mind wearing the same five outfits all the time!

What's the most frustrating thing about full-time travel?
Marcy: Never knowing what the airport bag inspectors will confiscate! Last time it was tweezers! Really?
Scott: It's a little hunter/gatherer to figure out food. Where/what to eat, where to shop. We accidentally stumbled into a grocery store here that was totally kosher - most things imported from Israel. Not only couldn't we read the labels but the selection was strange to us to say the least.

What are the differences between traveling in North American and international travel?
Scott: It's the first time I haven't owned "wheels" since I got my first bicycle!
Marcy: Other than the obvious things about language, food, money, I'd have to say it's the shopping. Shopping in the US is easy, whether for food, clothes, goods, etc. Finding what you need/want outside the US can be a challenge.

What's it like not to have a physical home?
Scott: I'll answer with a story. When we were in Las Vegas and we decided to go to Nashville for Marcy's birthday, we parked our truck with all our belongings in the airport parking lot, left it, came back, jumped in and took off again. As long as you have the things you need, it doesn't matter where to keep them.
Marcy: I find it surprisingly easy and liberating. I only have to worry about the here and now. That being said, spending a month with my parents in their home was fantastic. I was especially grateful we were there to let Cadeau go, that she passed so easy, her ashes are scattered beneath their pine tree, and they were there to comfort us. Not to sure what we would have done had we not had their surrogate physical home.


Where did you have the most fun?
Scott: La Paz, we were there so long we racked up a lot of good times
Marcy: As a single place/event, Red Lodge Montana for the Stanley Cup. I agree about La Paz and we made good friends there too. Having friends and family visit Baja was great fun, too.

What were the most fun activities?
Scott: 4x4ing in Colorado, Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo and concerts, Bonneville!
Marcy: Driving to remote beaches in Baja, Keith Urban in Nashville, Train to Silverton, ATVing in Colorado

What's the most beautiful place you went?
Marcy: Baja, for sure. Followed closely by SouthDakota/Wyoming/ southern Montana in spring - the WILDFLOWERS!

Scott: I have two, the Tetons and the San Blas Islands.

Where's the hottest/coldest place you went?
Both: Hot - La Paz in September (if you don't count the time we got out of the car in the desert of Nevada when it was 106)! Cold: Field, BC! We had every layer we owned on! (And it was July)

What's the best accommodation you stayed in?
Scott: Nicest, the Wynn Las Vegas. Best Overall, Matlacha

Marcy: Our second house in La Paz or Matlacha, can't decide. Jackson, Wyoming a close third.

What's the worst place you stayed?
Both: The very first "hotel" we ever stayed in on our first night on the road. It was basically a toxic waste dump. Lesson learned that first night - you get what you pay for.

Biggest disappointment?
Marcy: Going to the Sun road being closed. Not being more impressed with whale-watching.
Scott: Cartagena. Underwhelmed me, totally.

Craziest thing you saw?
Scott: The snow banks on the Beartooth Highway

Marcy: Day of the Dead in La Paz...and Scott after too much Mezcal that night! Ha!

Craziest thing you did?
Scott: Driving the shelf roads in Colorado to 12,000+ feet.
Marcy: Sailing to the San Blas!

Biggest surprise?
Scott: Northern Baja is cold in February! It was snowing in Yellowstone in late May!
Marcy: San Diego is cold in August! And we had a great surprise when the Wilkes sent us shots of Jameson to Cadeau's wake in Fort Collins. I'll never forget that kindness.

What was the best food?
Scott: Oysters from the bay in Baja, Lobster from the boat in the Rosario Islands, crab from the boat in Bocas. But topping it all...Chateaubriand in La Paz at the Mesquite Grille.

Marcy: Everything Scott said plus oysters in Apalachicola and shrimp in Matlacha.

What food surprised you?
Marcy: Wild Boar Osso Buco in Custer, SD! Delicious! Amazing gin and tonics in Colombia!
Scott: Lime and salt soaked crickets served with Mescal. The wild boar was outstanding too. Almost worth a trip back.


Coolest thing you saw?
Scott: Needles Parkway in South Dakota where you can see Mount Rushmore through the tunnel openings.
Marcy: Wild horses on the Pryor Range and that part of South Dakota

Most interesting things you saw?
Marcy: Civil Rights trail in Alabama, Birds in Boquete, Roadrunners and Coyotes in Baja - ok all the birds and animals we saw

Scott: Abandoned mines in Colorado and Baja, slick rock cave formation in South Dakota.


What are you most excited about in the coming year?
Marcy: Leaving the Americas and exploring other continents.
Scott: Croatia and Cyprus because I've always wanted to go to islands in that part of the world.

So any questions you have leave us a comment and we'll answer! Also, keep up with us @arrradventures on Instagram.

Posted by mrb430 10:26 Comments (0)

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