September 12, 2015 juanpaz

Life in San Pedro

Ian Stuart, Lonely Planet Author(left). Juan Paz (right)

Ian Stuart, Lonely Planet Author(left). Juan Paz (right)

Living in the most dangerous city in the world.

As a teenager, I Remember riding my bike with my father, walking in the streets, visiting my friends and the feeling of freedom. My grandmother used to talk about the days that houses had no walls, big gates and sharp barbed wire. Those days Honduras was governed by military dictadors, supported by USA government to fight with communist coming from Nicaragua,  Cuba and the soviet union.  

My country has a history of corruption that dates before or independence from Spain. Liders posted by the spanish crown stoled from their own system. They didn’t appreciate the obligatory taxes imposed by the European kings.

Growing up like a teenager I decided to focus in my training to enter the Honduran police Academy. Some people call it hell in earth.  Nobody liked the idea of becoming a police in Honduras.

Unfortunately we are the center of America, this makes us the highway for drugs coming from the south going up to the north. 

I was offered an illegal AK 47 for 300$ by some friends that had connections in the border with Nicaragua.  I didn’t accepted but if it was easy for a young Honduran from a middle class family to have an automatic war weapon it was easier for a young gang member to have 10 of those.  

By the age of 22 I was working as an independent tour guide taking foreigners to exotic destinations. I felt like a bodyguard+tour guide, always aware of the situation. 

tedx san pedro sula honduras juan carlos paz junglexpedition

Juan Paz @ TEDX

Now I own a gym and sometimes it feels like a fortress. 2 meter tall wall, barbed wire, 8 security cameras, 24/7 armed guard with a reaction patrol team in stand by. We follow security measures without even knowing, it became a life style.  Just like a gazelle aware of Lions in the African dessert. We are located in a high end zone of the city with big houses and mansions with parks. So my recommendation is not to visit the wrong side of San Pedro. 

We grow up learning to watch out in street lights, not to walk with cellphones and watching our backs all day and all night.

Most of my friends live by this code but I never followed this life of fear. We run everyday multiple times to train, we hike, explore and have so much fun. San Pedro has this summer vacation feeling and tons of routes to enjoy. Three coastal cities to the north, a lake to the south, Mayan Ruins to the west, Carribean Islands to the east and hundreds of non-touristy mountains.

Fortunately I feel happy with my life, owning a gym and training members becomes a joy. Travelling to hike, row or bike is a blessing few people get to appreciate.

San pedro sula, Honduras.