Visiting El Triunfo Beach in Tela, Honduras
After an interesting chicken bus ride I arrive to Tela, looking for a nice time at the beach. Once I hop off the bus I take a taxi to the beach. I ask driver for the best beach in Tela and he quickly responds, “the best beach in Tela is not in Tela”. It is in El Triunfo. Maybe he wanted to squeeze more money out of my pocket, or maybe he was giving me an honest recommendation. I decide to trust him and pay 100 lempiras to go to El Triunfo, instead of the typical 25 lempiras to Tela.
El Triunfo beach is long and isolated. It is hidden behind what seems like a poor community full of dirt streets, unfinished houses, wooden shacks, and locally made fishing boats.
The beach is practically empty; only a few locals are here enjoying their typical Saturday evening. The beach is nice, but being alone gets tiring after a while.
After relaxing and enjoying the beach almost to myself, I decide to leave earlier than expected. There’s just one detail… how will I return? I came in a taxi, and there are clearly no taxis here to go back.
Oops, my mistake.
Walking back to Tela is out of the question. The scorching sun and heat will fry me in no time, especially since I have no water with me and I have no idea in which direction to go. So, after thinking it for a while, I decide to walk back, but along the beach. There’s a nice breeze, gorgeous views, and walking on the sand fells good and soothing.
According to the cab driver, I need to be in Tela before 4:00pm in order to take the bus back to San Pedro Sula.
I estimate that what was a 15-minute cab ride will be an hour walk back to Tela. Or so I thought. After walking for 20 minutes along the beach, I see a rock formation at the edge of the water. A nice spot to sit, enjoy, take pictures, fool around, and rest.
After a while I’m joined by Jose and Andres, who are also walking along the beach on the same direction.
I ask them how long it will take to reach Tela. Andres answers, “a bit more than an hour, at a slow pace”. Hmm, I can walk at a faster pace, so I can make it in less time.
What he failed to say is that what I thought was just a small group of rocks, is actually the start of the rugged, rocky edge that spans for most of the rest of the walk. I’m wearing flip flops and carrying a backpack and daypack. NOT good. This is what he means with “at a slow pace”.
They decide to continue and I follow with them. It’s nice not to do this on my own, especially since this area is completely isolated.
After crossing maybe a quarter of a mile of rocks with water pounding right at the edge, Jose and Andres decide to not continue and return to El Triunfo.
Um, what should I do? Return with them and hope for a taxi to drop by, or continue in my own?
I look forward and all I see are rocks and ocean. No signs of Tela beach. In my mind, I am already past the point of no return, so I decide to continue on my own.
Corner after corner I hope to see a sign of beach, civilization, whatever… other than rocks… But nothing yet.
After maybe a mile or so, I see the first sign of what appears to be a beach at the distance. Uff, at least I’m going in the right direction.
I continue hopping, climbing, sliding, and crawling between rocks.
Finally I reach to the beach. I had never been so happy to see so much sand under my feet. I take off the flip-flops and walk barefoot along the water to give my feet a nice break. I continue walking since I want to make sure I catch one of the chicken buses back to San Pedro Sula.
The beach is full of people, music, kiosks, and shacks. This is definitely Tela.
Or so I thought.
I ask around, just to make sure. Turns out I’m in La Ensenada.
Ugh. Where is Tela?
It is nowhere in sight.
Here I try my luck taking a taxi since this place is full of people. My feet are killing me, I’m hungry, sun burned, and tired. Still, taking a taki turns out to be no easy task here. Like in El Triunfo, I have to wait in the street for one to pass by.
Half an hour passes, I’m still waiting. Then… Taxi!!.
I rush to it, hop in, and make it to the main street just in time to catch the bus. Photo finish.
I sit in the chicken bus feeling exhausted but happy for having this unusual and unexpected beach experience. In no time my exhaustion takes over me and I fall asleep without even noticing.