Tick tock, tuk tuk time

6 May

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

~ Margo Channing (All About Eve)

The first time I travelled outside of Tegucigalpa I was surprised to find the streets full of tuk tuks. While you could be forgiven for thinking we’d suddenly travelled through a worm hole to India, this wasn’t the case.

Copan mototaxi

It turns out that motorised rickshaws, called motaxis here, are the most popular form of public transport outside of the major cities. They’re a cheap way of getting around, and also a bit of a novelty for tourists, so their popularity is understandable.

The majority are red-hued but you’ll come across green, yellow and black mototaxis too. Once I even saw a metallic gold one. I wish I had had my camera with me that day. Pimp my Tuk Tuk could be MTV’s next hit program.

As you might imagine, on asphalt they’re a reasonably smooth ride, but on the cobblestone streets often found in Honduran rural towns and villages it’s a whole other story.

When watching the short video I filmed in Copan, you’ll soon see that a mototaxi trip can be a teeth-rattling experience.

This weekend we travelled to the island of Amapala in the south of Honduras to eat lobster for lunch. (Hey, it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.) After lunch we took a mototaxi tour of the island. There were four of us, so three sat in the back and I perched up front with the driver.

It was a bit of a precarious position as there was no real seat for me to sit on, just a small metal ledge, but by gripping onto the roof struts for dear life I was able to stay on board. It’s not uncommon to see, five, six, seven or even eight passengers crammed into a mototaxi like a red can of sardines.

Halfway through our driver needed to fill up, so we stopped at the equivalent of the local gas station. This was a simple white cement building, from which emerged an old man with a juice bottle full of fuel.

Our driver pulled out a plastic tube with a coke bottle funnel attached and they proceeded to fill up the spare tank (aka soft drink bottle) and the mototaxi itself.

Hondurans are nothing if not ingenious.

I must admit that despite the fact they’re a slow, noisy and bumpy form of transportation I have a big soft spot for mototaxis. I’ll miss seeing them puttering along the streets when I return home.

Riding in style: mototaxi at Amapala

Riding in style: mototaxi at Amapala


One Response to “Tick tock, tuk tuk time”


  1. One year later… | Honduran hiatus - June 11, 2013

    […] …explored ancient Mayan ruins …written press releases for UNICEF …toured a volcanic island in a mototaxi …nearly sparked an diplomatic incident while playing paintball …visited families living in […]

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