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Sandra Scott Travels: Where Columbus First Stepped Foot On Mainland America

Trujillo beach

Trujillo beach

Last week I asked: Where is the Banana Coast?

Honduras.

Casa 17 is the ultimate getaway.
Casa 17 is the ultimate getaway.

The area around Trujillo, Honduras, is being promoted as the Banana Coast which is much more marketable than the area just to the east called The Mosquito Coast.

However, the name “mosquito’ refers to the Native Americans who lived in the area not the insect of which there are many.

Trujillo is an interesting place.

It is where Christopher Columbus first stepped foot on the mainland of the Americas and where O. Henry hid out while a fugitive from justice.

His book, “Cabbages and Kings,” describes Trujillo in the late 1800s and it has not changed all the much since the book was published in 1904.

Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus

One of the lesser known Trujillo personalities is William Walker, an American who between 1853 and 1860 made several attempts to take over territories in Mexico and Central America.

For a short time he was the self-proclaimed president of The Republic of Sonora in Mexico.

Next he invaded Nicaragua and captured the city of Granada, where he named himself president of Nicaragua in 1856.

He was run out by Costa Rican forces in 1857.

In 1860 he was arrested by the British in Honduras and turned over to Honduran authorities, who tried, convicted and executed him.

The spot where he was executed and his burial site are tourist attractions.

Trujillo beach
Trujillo beach

We have been to Trujillo many times and on our recent trip we were pleased to see that things are finally being spruced up for the expected influx of tourists arriving on cruise ships beginning in October.

The area has had a hard time recovering from the 1998 hurricane.

When we visit Trujillo we stay at a friend’s beautiful house in a gated community high on a hill above Trujillo Bay near the small Garifuna village of Santa Fe.

Casa Alta or Casa 17 is the ultimate getaway.

The three-bedroom house has all the modern conveniences, a pool and a sweeping porch with hammocks.

Ah, the good life away from everything.

One of the shore tours that will be available to cruise people will be a fun experience playing in the natural pools and waterfalls on the Rio Grande River between Trujillo and Santa Fe.

Rio Grande swimming hole
Rio Grande swimming hole

After a refreshing swim guests are then treated to a traditional Garifuna meal of Sopa de Pescado (fish soup) with Muchuca (plantains).

The staff kindly shared the recipes.

Sopa de Pescado

4 cups fish stock (chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted)

2 crushed cloves of Garlic

one diced sweet pepper

salt and other seasonings to taste

1 cubed yucca (or potato)

1 sliced onion

1 cup coconut milk

1 or 2 fish (The Garifuna use red snapper but any fish will do).

breading the fish
breading the fish

1.     To the fish stock add onions, sweet pepper, salt, and any desired spices.  Give it a little kick with jalapeño peppers. Add yucca (or potatoes), sliced onions, and coconut milk. Cook until the yucca is tender.

2.     Cut fish in half, score. Bread with light crumbs.

3.     Fry the fish.

Place fish in a bowl.

Pour the soup over it.

Serve with machuca on the side with a few slices of lemon.

Machuca

2 yellow plantain – peeled and cubed

2 green plantain – peeled and cubed

¼ teaspoon salt

2 Tbs grated coconut

Church in Santa Fe
Church in Santa Fe

1. Boil the plantain with salt until soft.

2. Add coconut. Mash together until similar to mash potatoes. Traditionally it is mashed African style with long wooden pestle in a wooden mortar.

Serve on the side with the fish soup.

Trivia Tease™:  What is a typical Honduran breakfast? Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!