Las Cascadas Lodge, an eco-hotel set amidst the rainforests of Honduras, was a breeze to get to. Cayman Airways flies to La Ceiba, Honduras twice a week, and the flight is a mere hour away (complete with complimentary rum punch - booya!). The lodge was a quick 30 minute drive from the airport. I was a little nervous about traveling to Honduras, as the news depicts it as a less than safe destination, but I was assured that the Lodge would arrange for all of our transportation and take very good care of us - which they did. Prior to our arrival, the Lodge emailed us frequently and provided us with details of our upcoming trip. They also informed us that we would be the only guests that week at the lodge and inquired about our food preferences. Now Ev and I don't typically scrimp on vacations but I must say that we've never had access to our own personal chef before! Luckily, I watch a lot of "Below Deck," on Bravo and know exactly how to be a pleasant posh person, as opposed to the asshole posh person who requests sea cucumber ovaries for an all-white themed dinner. So, you know, I told our Chef that we like everything. And we did. We loved everything! As soon as Chef Olvin greeted us at the Lodge, he began pampering us with drinks and food and we ate and drank like Gods for the entire week! From fresh corn tortillas and (gasp!) fresh avocados!!! for breakfast to shrimp and chicken skewers for dinner, we stuffed ourselves silly. Our resort was "all inclusive," so Olvin set up the bar for us, and we mixed rum punches (5 kinds of rum. Why not?) with fresh Hibiscus juice and indulged in evening glassessss (multiple) in the evenings. Magic!
|I love waterfalls!|
The house that we stayed in, the Bejuco Lodge, was simply incredible! One entire wall consisted of screen, with a waterfall a mere hundred feet away (FYI: listening to running water consistently DOES make you pee more!). We had a relaxing lounge area, a beautiful four poster bed, an authentic soaker tub carved out of rock and an outdoor shower space, to rinse off under the moon. The house was staged with fresh flowers, soft pillows, wood-carved furniture, and felt exotic, yet cozy. Just outside our door were trails of various lengths leading up to waterfalls, rope swings, and cascading pools. Picture Swiss Family Robinson, the luxury edition.
|A bath made in heaven|
|morning tea with my book|
Although there were numerous tours to choose from, we opted into two separate tours, including whitewater rafting down the Rio Cangrejal, and a horseback riding tour through villages, orchards, and jungles. Both were awesome! The whitewater rafting was a little more intense than I had realized - although it was class 2-3 rapids, we got our money's worth and flipped our raft on the last set of rapids for the day - a little frightening - but everyone was fine (Evan landed softly on top of me). We also had the chance to cliff jump halfway down the river (Ev jumped, I watched) and float calmly through the rainforest, while watching toucans soar above our heads. The horseback riding tour was super cool, and the horses appeared to be healthy and well cared for. We were able to ride through streams, orchards (and eat fresh lychee and oranges), and through the two villages in the area, one of which was Chef Olvin's home! The kids ran to the road to wave to us and shout, "hola!" as we trotted by. Despite that fact that Honduras is a third world country - evident by small shack-like houses, outdoor plumbing, and pigs and goats roaming freely throughout the village - it was apparent that the villagers took great pride in their community. It was incredibly clean. We didn't see a piece of garbage anywhere! Everyone was so friendly and responsive, as Chef Olvin explained that they rely heavily on tourism, thus welcome all visitors. Other than Evan's ongoing battle with his very stubborn horse who chose to eat constantly then gallop wildly to catch up ("OK. You need to calm down, horse. Calm. The f%$&. Down." hahah!!!), it was very chill, and we covered a lot of ground in 3 hours. There was also canyon repelling, multiple hikes, and zip lining, but Ev and I decided to spend 2 days touring and 1 full day relaxing - I even indulged in a sublime massage at a waterfall's edge. Pure bliss.
|Check out my "fun" face. Oh dear.|
|Proof of flip|
|He's a natural! ;)|
|stopping to pick fruit|
|Cowboy Ev and his lychee|
|This is more my speed.|
I think the best part of the vacation was our "happy hour" time back at Las Cascadas. Because Ev and I were the only guests, we created our very own happy hour at the edge of the waterfall everyday at 4pm. We drank our rum punch and alternated between sunning ourselves on the rock and jumping into the refreshing falls. We read. We laughed. We played, "what does this song remind you of" (when the wifi was working properly), and reminisced about high school, hockey, and Candle Lake Days (Example: "'Fly' by Sugar Ray reminds me of that Raider party, at age 17, when you drank red wine out of a paper bag and puked on the assistant coach's car! Haha). We had a great time. I realize that some people would desperately crave conversation with other guests, but this was exactly what Ev and I needed. We've spent a lot of our quality time in hospitals and orthos' offices - let me tell ya, the waterfall quality time far surpasses "medical" bonding time. It's been one year since my last surgery - the longest surgery-free stretch in 5 years! So we had cause for celebration. And I know I've said this before, but let me reiterate - for the love of God, marry someone you like! A vacation like this would have sucked balls if I hated Evan's face, and I probably wouldn't have let him land on me during the whitewater rafting incident.
|Olvin, our fabulous chef!|
|Lindsay happy hour|
|hahaha! We definitely look the part.|
So my friends, overall, Las Cascadas was the perfect mix of adventure and total relaxation. I highly recommend it, especially to my Cayman friends who want a completely different landscape and perspective, but wish to avoid the inevitable feeling of defeat one experiences when traveling through the soul-crushing Miami airport.