Souvenirs With a Unique Jungle Creativity
Honduras is not particularly known for its handicrafts. It is easier to find artifacts manufactured by hand in Guatemala or El Salvador than those made in Honduras. Yet there are some unique souvenirs and handicrafts that you can find in Honduras. Today I will mention a group of women who produce a variety of embroidered products. These include cushions, bed spreads, purses, etc. Their themes are usually related to birds and animals you would find in a tropical rain forest.
Their workshop is in the Cangrejal River Valley, and just getting there is an adventure in itself! They operate out of nice location across the river from the Cangrejal River Road. There is a small bed and breakfast there: La Canasta Eco Lodge. The group of women who work there do so under the umbrella of Cooperativa Juan Pablo II. They are within the Nombre de Dios National Park, and this is one of the reasons that their products all relate to a tropical rainforest. Their surrounding is ideal for some authentic Jungle Creativity.
The Cooperativa Juan Pablo II, a Destination in Itself!
The Cooperativa Juan Carlos II and La Canasta Eco Lodge are just before the community of El Pital. This is approximately 17 km from La Ceiba on the Cangrejal River Road. A small, rather non descript sign marks the point where you can park your car and cross the river. This is where the adventure begins! To cross the river you will board a rickety “Canasta” or basket. It has a capacity for up to four persons. This basket hangs on a steel cable that stretches across the river canyon. The Cangrejal River flows a good two to three hundred feet below! A rudimentary mechanism allows you to pull yourself towards the opposite side of the canyon. You can book a room or a tour through Reservaciones La Ceiba, a local community based operator. A percentage of their profits is reinvested in the community!
The “canasta” is usually on the far side of the Canyon. This means that you will need to call the attention of the people that work at the cooperative. Once they see you, they will send someone across to pick you up. The ride across will take less than 5 minutes, but may seem an eternity if you are afraid of heights! The good news is that the person that comes across to pick you up will do all the hard work with the hand operated mechanism to get you across!
Once you are on the opposite side of the river, you can tour the workshop where they produce the embroidered handicrafts. The leader of this women’s cooperative is Dona Rosario Lobo. She is a community leader and very much committed to the success of this cooperative. If you have something that you would like to have custom made, talk to her. She will probably make it just for you! Make sure you bring cash with you, as they do not accept credit card payments.
Nombre de Dios National Park
Are interesting in hiking trails into Nombre de Dios National Park? Or perhaps you would like to interact with the local community? If so, this is a great opportunity. The La Canasta Eco Lodge is one of the 10 small hotels in the Cangrejal River Valley. They are one of two that are community owned. The facilities are clean, and food is available to their guests. You can contact the cooperative and La Canasta Eco Lodge via their web page. Please allow some time for them to respond. They are off the electric grid and their internet access is limited.
Perhaps you do not have time to visit the cooperative, but want to see and buy some of their products. If this is the case, stop by the Souvenir El Buen Amigo. They are in Barrio El Iman, in downtown La Ceiba. All taxi drivers know where they are. Just tell them they are across the street from the Old Expatriates Bar and Grill.