A brand new Ponant: itinerary in Honduras co-constructed with local communities

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To design a unique travel itinerary in Honduras, a Central American country that is still confidential, the PONANT teams set out to scout to meet the various local communities. Among the objectives: to forge lasting ties.

“In just 8 days, this itinerary is incredibly rich. Undoubtedly the most varied we offer in the tropics”, explains José Sarica, Director of the PONANT Expedition experience. On the program: meetings with several local communities “proud of their culture and with a fervent desire to share it” – the Caracolès at Bonacca the Cay on the island of Guanaja, or the Garifunas of the islet Chachahuate within the archipelago of Cayos Cochinos.

To develop this travel experience, José Sarica, accompanied by Commander Yannick Simon, went on a scouting trip to Honduras s. True to the Explore to Inspire philosophy, the team aimed to build itineraries and activities in collaboration with local communities, while minimizing distances to reduce the environmental impact of travel. Unlike neighboring countries, Honduras has little tourist infrastructure. Cayos Cochinos, La Ceiba or Cuero y Salado do not host any cruise ships so far. Resolutely pioneering, the work undertaken with local players will inspire all tourism players in the region.

Build lasting ties with local communities

In Guanaja, the team met young people committed to promoting the Caracolès culture. PONANT offered them the opportunity to become guides for the company and designed a tailor-made training program for them.

On the island of Cayo Chachauate, the local community has expressed its drinking water supply needs and the PONANT Foundation is working to establish a partnership. It also supports the communities of Cuero y Salado where the schools are dilapidated and sorely lacking in school supplies.

“Passengers are going to experience what we experienced in location scouting: they are going to be amazed by the seabed, nature… I think they are not expecting such a beautiful, moving trip, and that they will be nourished through the human encounters that they will have”testifies José Sarica.

An immersive experience in lush and unspoiled nature

“It’s one of the most comprehensive itineraries we offer. There are seabeds with preserved coral, beaches with crystal clear waters and incredible mangroves, which give the impression of being in the Amazon with parrots, toucans, howler monkeys, but also alligators! »still marvels the Director of Expedition Experience.

The team first went to the archipelago of Islas de la Bahía, in the heart of the second largest coral reef in the world, before pushing their curiosity on Guanaja, a paradise island with many treasures, still very little known to this day, where PONANT was the first company to go. Another striking discovery, the meeting with the Caracolès people on the tiny island called Bonacca, the Cay which they like to call ” the Venice of Caribbean. »

José Sarica and Yannick Simon were also warmly welcomed in La Ceiba, a port town with typical architecture, tourist capital of Honduras. In the background, the Pico Bonito rises to 2,435m above sea level, while the Cangrejal River borders the east of the city.

A few kilometers to the west, the Cuero y Salado nature reserve is home to an exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine fauna that can be observed in its natural environment, with the real feeling of being in the heart of nature. ‘Amazon. An unusual ride is offered there aboard burras, motorized vehicles used when transporting bananas on rails dating from the 1900s.

“Belize and Honduras: unsuspected encounters and nature”

Belize City – Belize City, aboard the Dumont d’Urville. 5 departures, from November 14 to December 12, 2023, 8 days – 7 nights.

From €3,590 – Discover the trip

Catherine Mills Avatar