Friday, February 1, 2013

Honduras Travel Adventures: A Quick Guide to Copan Ruins



The Mayan ruins at Copán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are a must-see if you’re traveling in Central America. Located in Western Honduras near the Guatemalan border, Copán is the perfect weekend destination from many points in the region, offering a little bit of tourism, a little bit of nature and a lot of history and culture.
My husband and I, and a few friends, took advantage of a recent long weekend to drive to Copán Ruinas from San Salvador, El Salvador, which took about five and a half hours, including a leisurely lunch stop in Metapán, near the El Salvador-Guatemala border.
If you’re based regionally or swinging through as part of a longer journey through Central America, it’s a trip you can do with minimal advanced planning, since there are many places to stay that fit a variety of budgets.
We stayed at a great bed and breakfast called La Casa de Café, which cost about U.S.$55 for a double room and included breakfast and wi-fi. The service was excellent, the B&B grounds are serene and – best of all – the views are stunning. La Casa de Café also has a massage pavilion that offers hour-long massages for $35. I definitely took advantage of this after trekking around the ruins.
The ruins themselves are about a 15- to 20-minute walk from the center of town. There are also plenty of tuk-tuks you can take. The grounds of the archaeological park themselves are much larger than what I was expecting, which was a couple piles of rocks on a field – tall piles of really old rocks on a large field – but the park is vast, with structures spread out all over the compound, not to mention a museum as well.
The entrance fee is $15 for the Parque Arqueológico Copán (the main site), $7 for the Museo de Escultura Maya (a museum where many of the original altars and artifacts are preserved and on display, as many of the structures outside are replicas) and $15 for Los Tuneles (a network of tunnels from which the tombs and temples can be seen). We didn’t hire a guide, but there are English- and Spanish-speaking guides available for about $40 per group (our group was six people).
As you can see, the entrance fees can add up. We didn’t buy tickets to access the tunnels either, but it’s always nice to leave something new for the next visit. A guide and the tunnels will definitely be on my list.
The ruins are the star of the show in Copán, but animal lovers should also set aside a couple hours for Macaw Mountain, an aviary dedicated to rescuing, preserving and breeding a variety of tropical birds. The entrance fee is $10 and a guide is free, but a tip is recommended. Hiring a guide also allows you to hold some of the birds at the end of the tour.
A trip to Copán might be worth it just to visit Sol de Copán Cerveceria y Restaurante Alemana, a Germany brewery and restaurant. The owners are a German man and his Honduran wife who brew and cook everything from scratch in-house. It’s a must-visit for both the beer (German) and food (German and Honduran). It is so good that our group went there twice in 24 hours (and we were in town for less than 48 hours). I had the best pasta I’ve ever eaten, made from scratch everyday, then topped with cheese and onions and baked.
See this site for other suggestions on how to get to Copán and where to stay in Copán.
Natasha Padgitt is a writer living in San Salvador, El Salvador, where she and her husband are posted for his first tour in the U.S. Foreign Service. A Washingtonian turned expatriate, Natasha enjoys reading (to find inspiration to write), baking (to satisfy her insatiable sweet tooth) and running (to undo the effects of baking). She blogs at La Vie Overseas about “Expat Life as a Foreign Service Wife.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abundant rainfall was recorded across the Gulf of Honduras and northern Guatemala during the past week.
During the past seven days, rain showers resulted in high rainfall accumulations (>30mm) across much of the northern coastline of Honduras, the Izabal and Petén department of Guatemala and coastal Belize. The highest precipitation totals fell near La Ceiba and Roatán, Honduras

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Air Canada and United agree to revenue sharing joint venture

Air Canada and United Continental Holdings, Inc. announced that the airlines have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding setting out the principles for a comprehensive revenue-sharing joint venture that would provide for an enhanced partnership on United States-Canada transborder flights, and generate substantial service and pricing benefits for consumers traveling between the two countries.

Air Canada said its transborder network of 59 US cities will be bolstered by United's presence in 210 US airports. United's network of 16 Canadian cities will gain the 59 communities that Air Canada serves.
The airlines expect to launch the venture in early 2011.

Air Canada said "By managing pricing, scheduling and sales through a stronger joint venture, the carriers will be better able to serve customers by offering more travel options."

Friday, April 9, 2010

United Airlines, US Airways Merger Could Be All-Stock Deal

The merger talks between United Airlines and US Airways revolve around doing an all-stock deal, with United paying US Airways shareholders a premium similar to that of the Delta-Northwest merger, people familiar with the matter said. Delta, which bought Northwest in 2008, paid Northwest shareholders a 17 percent premium to the closing price on the day before the announcement.
The two sides have been negotiating break-up fees and reverse break-up fees in the 2 to 6 percent range, to be implemented if either side walks away from the deal.
The companies see more than USD$1 billion in synergies from a potential deal, the sources said. Issues such as management will be discussed in the coming days, but United Airlines would be the continuing brand, the sources said.
A deal could be sealed in a few weeks, the sources said. But they also cautioned that talks could still fall through or that other airlines could approach either United or US Airways.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Foreign Companies Will Not Own Controlling Interest in US Airlines Anytime Soon

I never thought I’d see the day that the United States would make good on its promise to the European Union (EU) to allow for greater foreign ownership of US airlines in return for open skies policy.

Now a recent agreement confirms that is not going to happen and is a big win for the US. It makes the previous open skies agreement permanent, which is good for both sides of the pond, yet it dodges the foreign ownership demand that was there after the last round..
According to the US Department of Transport (DOT), the new agreement . . .affirms that the terms of the 2007 agreement will remain in place indefinitely. It also deepens U.S.-EU cooperation in aviation security, safety, competition, and ease of travel. In addition, it provides greater protections for U.S. carriers from local restrictions on night flights at European airports. It also includes a ground-breaking article on the importance of high labor standards in the airline industry.
The new agreement underscores the importance of close transatlantic cooperation on aviation environmental matters in order to advance a global approach to global challenges.
Hmmm, vagueness or real......

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I always thought my 2 bucks went to the SkyCap

American Airlines is set to lose quite a bit of money after a Boston judge ruled Skycaps from 85 airports can join a class action lawsuit against the airline.
At the heart of the ruling is an American Airlines $2 fee for curbside bag check-in at the airport. In the past, curbside check-in was considered free - but tipping the skycap was customary. Once American implemented the $2 fee, passengers assumed that covered the entire cost.
One Skycap testified that his daily tips dropped from $200 to $70.
Logan airport skycaps already won a ruling, awarding them $325,000 to be split between nine workers.
Sadly for American Airlines, their money making scheme may have backfired quite badly. If other skycaps win in this class action lawsuit, any money the airline made with the fee will probably be wiped out.

Major Airlines Have No Responsibility Once They Contract With Regional Airlines

The National Transportation Safety Board says it's a serious but little known problem: the fact that once a major airline contracts with a regional airline to fly a route, the major airline no longer has any responsibility for that flight's crew, training or safety.
Many of the passengers on Flight 3407 assumed they were flying Continental because that's who they had booked through.
But in fact, they were flying Colgan Air, and the Department of Transportation's internal watchdog says there is a two-tiered standard for safety when it comes to airlines: one for the majors, and a different, and lower standard, for the regionals.
The NTSB says this has been a long-standing problem.
"The Safety Board is going to be looking at these relationships and the oversight and the resources associated with safety functions," said the Board's Chair, Deborah Hersman.
"Should the major airlines have oversight and responsibility for their regional carriers?"
Randy Babbitt, FAA Administrator: "These are separate corporate entities - and this wouldn't happen at the FAA this would be a DOT view - and ultimately a congressional view as to whether or not that responsibility resides with the carrier, who simply makes a commercial arrangement to carry traffic."
"But sometimes it's flown under the major's name.
"Randy Babbitt: "Oh absolutely, and that's what may inspire congress and the DOT to take another look."
And in fact, congress is taking another look - in a pending Safety Aviation Bill, the senate would place two new safety requirements for regionals:
•First, that the the majors have oversight for safety, training and maintenance when contracting with regionals.
•Second, that the FAA be required to make random safety inspections of the regionals every year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Honduras swears in Porfirio Lobo as President

President Porfirio Lobo was sworn today in at a ceremony at Carias Andino stadium, Tegucigalpa.
Honduras has sworn in newly-elected Porfirio Lobo as President, after months of crisis over the fate of his ousted predecessor, Manuel Zelaya.
Mr Lobo has said his first task as president will be to guarantee Mr Zelaya's safe passage out of Honduras.
The removal last June of Mr Zelaya, who is holed up in Brazil's embassy in the capital. Several nations refused to recognise the legitimacy of November's election.
Election pledge
While Mr Lobo was sworn in at an open air ceremony, in the capital Tegucigalpa he said
"Can you imagine starting a government with a President imprisoned in an embassy... it wouldn't be fair"

Presiden Lobo also said: "I pledge to be faithful to the republic and ensure its laws are enforced." The newly-elected President wishes to restore international ties and ensure the resumption of foreign aid, principally from the US.
Former President Zelaya has indicated that he is ready to leave Honduras.

Manuel Zelaya who has been staying in Brazil's embassy since September said. "I have an invitation... to go to the Dominican Republic and I will accept... obviously with the approval of the new government," Mr Zelaya told local radio.
His departure will mark the end of his efforts to return to office after soldiers forced him into exile at gunpoint on 28 June. He returned in September and took refuge in the Brazilian embassy.
Mr Zelaya was removed amid a dispute over his plans to hold a vote on whether a assembly should be set up to look at rewriting the constitution to extend the Presidency.
His critics said the vote, which was ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, aimed to change the current one-term limit on serving as President and pave the way for on going re-elections.
The media elected to inappropriately refer to this legal process of his removal from office as a coup.
Mr Zelaya repeatedly said he really had no interest in staying in power, but wanted to rewrite an outdated constitution to guarantee fairer representation for all Hondurans.
Military cleared
His ousting provoked international condemnation , but diplomatic attempts to persuade the interim government to allow Mr Zelaya to return to office proved futile. Several Latin American countries, including Brazil and Venezuela, said recognising the election would amount to condoning a coup.
President elect Porfirio Lobo says he is determined to normalise foreign ties .The US agreed that Hondurans had the right to elect a President in an election that was scheduled long before the crisis erupted.
While Mr Lobo faces the challenge of bringing Honduras back into the international fold, the country's institutions have taken steps to put the crisis behind them.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court cleared six military commanders of exceeding their authority when they ordered soldiers to expel Mr Zelaya. And the Honduran Congress voted to approve an amnesty for both the military and Mr Zelaya, who had faced charges of treason.
Along with restoring the countries confidence in this new government. It's also a great opportunity to reach out and convey the all important message, that Honduras's Eco and sustainable tourist market is back stronger than ever. Honduras is prepared to meet the ever increasing challenges to grow their toruism infatructure in one of the most beautiful countries in Central America...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Round-Trip Last-Minute Airfares out of TPA for Travel This Weekend

Price Depart Destination/Airline

$132 TPA Chicago, IL (ORD): United

$140 TPA White Plains, NY (HPN): United

$148  TPA  Milwaukee, WI (MKE): United

$156 TPA  Knoxville, TN (TYS): United

$160  TPA Baltimore, MD (BWI): United

$194  TPA Columbus, OH (CMH): United

$198 TPA Charlotte, NC (CLT): US Airways

$202 TPA Louisville, KY (SDF): United

$212 TPA Washington, DC (DCA): United

$214 TPA Pittsburgh, PA (PIT): United

$216 TPA Springfield, MO (SGF): United

$218 TPA Moline, IL (MLI): United

$218 TPA Philadelphia, PA (PHL): US Airways

$222 TPA Des Moines, IA (DSM): United

$222 TPA Wichita, KS (ICT): United

$224 TPA Appleton, WI (ATW): United

$224 TPA Green Bay, WI (GRB): United

$228 TPA Sioux Falls, SD (FSD): United

$228 TPA Washington, DC (IAD): United

$236 TPA Bismarck, ND (BIS): United

$528  TPA Winnipeg, MB, Canada (YWG): United

$564 TPA Saskatoon, SK, Canada (YXE): United

$582 TPA Calgary, AB, Canada (YYC): United

$586 TPA Edmonton, AB, Canada (YEG): United

TPA = Tampa

Check with the airline for booking instructions and the most recent fares:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

David Leadbetter Golf Academy opens in Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Dr. Claudio Silvestri, President and CEO of Premier Resorts & Hotels that manages the resort said. “Golfers can now come to Casa de Campo not only to experience our globally acclaimed courses, but to also receive high quality instruction year around with our fabulous tropical weather.”

For information on the golf academy contact the Golf Director’s office at: 809-523-8115. For hotel reservations or additional information contact: 1-800-877-3643 or