. . . are highly recommended. Living with a Honduran family gives students a true picture of the Honduran culture and cuisine while putting into practice the Spanish language. The homes are of modest, working-class people. Your private room should include sheets, a towel, pillow, fan, table, chair, a light, a lock on the door, and a shared bathroom. Remember that you are in Honduras and sometimes water and electricity are not available for a few hours. Usually, if running water is interrupted at your home, the director's house does have water for you to take a shower.
The homestay program includes three modest meals a day. The main meal is in the middle of the day. Remember you are eating what the family eats, no different. You should always have purified water and fresh fruit, but there will be no steak or lobster. Beans rice, tortillas, chicken, and soup are the norm in Honduras.
Please bear in mind that the average Honduran family earns less than US$1,200 a year. Cokes and liquor are not expected to be offered by the family. Laundry service is not included--the family may agree to do it for a price. Otherwise, there are Laundromats available for about US$3.00 per load.
A taxi anywhere in La Ceiba is six Lempiras per person per stop. You will probably share the taxi with other people. If you are not the first person picked up, you probably will not be the first to be dropped off. The price for a taxi can go up to Lps. 8 at night.
You should always agree on the price before getting in. Prices for a one way taxi to the airport can be negotiated for about 50 Lps. per person. If you have a problem, do not argue with the driver. Pay your fare and just walk away if they demand more. Also, memorize the number on the outside of the taxi.
There are buses circling the city. A trip costs about US$ 10 cents, and the stops are mainly in front of supermarkets. Buses to destinations outside La Ceiba can be reached at the central bus station located on Blvd. 15 de Septiembre. Buses to Tela, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and Trujillo leave almost every hour for about 40 to 90 Lps.
Be very careful crossing any street. You have no right of way from anyone. Look both ways twice. You are smarter to walk behind a car at an intersection instead of in front of it. Never assume the driver sees you or will give you the right of way. The same goes for persons on bicycles. The sidewalks, when available, might have potholes. Extreme care must be used when walking at night.
La Ceiba is a friendly town. Crime is a problem mainly at night. Dress casually and do not wear lots of jewelry. As in any city in the world, be careful not to flash large amounts of cash for people to see. We recommend that at night you travel by taxi to and from your destination.
The largest bill in Honduras is 500 Lps. which is about US$ 27.00. Try to always carry small denominations of cash: 1, 5, 10. Giving a taxi driver a 100 bill may cause you a delay because they seldom have change. The more small bills you carry the quicker your transactions will be throughout the city.
One of the best places to exchange money is across from the main park in the middle of the town: Sosa Airlines, which is located on Ave. San Isidro (ask for Martha). They offer the best exchange rate and the matter is done in private. We do not recommend street vendors due to the high visibility of the exchange. You can use the banks as well; no one in the city will accept anything except Lempiras. Try only to exchange the amount you will need for a period of a few days. U.S. Cash will get you a higher exchange rate than traveler's checks.
Hotels, restaurants, large stores, and supermarkets accept credit cards. There is an ATM located on Ave. San Isidro and Calle 10. Also, an agency called Credomatic in front of the Hotel La Ceiba on Ave. San Isidro will let you handle most Visa and Mastercard transactions.
We suggest that no food be eaten directly from any vendor. Any fruits or vegetables must be soaked in water treated with a few drops of chlorine bleach for at least 20 minutes, then rinsed. Food items that must be peeled, i.e. banana, pineapples, mangos, oranges, etc. are safe to eat if you wash and peel them.
When students arrive in La Ceiba, we speak with them and give them a packet with maps, and more personalized information. If you have any needs or questions e-mail me; allow us to help you enjoy your stay at Escuela de Español Pico Bonito.
Con cariño, from your director,
phone: (504) 442-2830