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I learned three very important things on my recent trip to Honduras.
First, termites taste just like black pepper, an amazing discovery I made after sticking my finger in one of those gigantic termite nests you often see in the jungle. The second useful piece of information I learned is that if you want to catch a jaguar on camera, soak a rag with Calvin Klein "Obsession;" it seems they can’t get enough of the scent.
And lastly, you can’t always believe every travel warning you hear. The U.S. Department of State recently issued a security warning about Honduras, insisting that crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country. Furthermore, the city I was flying into, they said, ranks as the most violent city in the world.
All I can say to that is "hogwash." I have never felt safer, met kinder, gentler people or had a more peaceful trip. In fact, I’d pit The Lodge at Pico Bonito, where I stayed, against any five-star property in northern climes. It’s set smack-dab in the middle of the jungle, nearly two miles from a main road and the only "threats" are getting so wrapped up in watching keel-billed toucan nests or so enthralled by the pendulum swing of a motmot tail that you accidentally run into a tree.
Pico Bonito, bordering the national park of the same name, was started by a couple of U.S. entrepreneurs. It was chosen by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ecolodges, belongs to Small Luxury Hotels of the World and, well, let’s just say that Sports Illustrated didn’t shoot one of their swimsuit issues there for nothing.
Lodge at Pico Bonito
Gabriel Cambon, the general manager, is French and a former chef for Fouquet’s on the Champs-Élysées. Before he was at Pico Bonito, he directed food and beverage at Palmilla One and Only. In other words, the food here is spectacular. Many times I had to pinch myself. Is this a dream or am I really in the middle of this rainforest, being serenaded by birds and red-eyed tree frogs, while eating coffee and chile tenderloin medallions? Can it be true that pan-roasted rack of lamb with ratatouille and sautéed haricot vert is on a menu served only steps from ocelots and agoutis and troops of howler monkeys?
Although the food alone is worth the trip to this secluded lodge within swimming and snorkeling distance of Honduras’ Caribbean coast, the biggest draw, the reason its 22 cabins are consistently booked, is Mother Nature herself. Head naturalist James Adams, a refugee from New Jersey, is just as excited about the birds he photographs, the snakes he catches, and the butterflies he observes as he was when he first visited Honduras 13 years ago.
His enthusiasm is contagious. "Honduras has everything Costa Rica has. Actually more. But tourism’s marketing budget is practically non-existent," he says.
Of course, he’s doing his part to promote his adopted country. He speaks regularly to Audubon and other bird-watching groups in North America. He instigated the building of Pico Bonito’s butterfly farm (it breeds more than 40 species of tropical butterflies including the blue morpho), its serpentarium, and iguana house. When I was there, he was excited about the red-eyed tree frogs that have come to mate in the frog pond he and his crew of bilingual guides recently dug.
Lodge at Pico Bonito
The Lodge also offers miles of private trails winding through 100-foot canyons to waterfalls and natural swimming holes, a trio of four-story observation decks overlooking the jungle canopy, and such adventures as white-water rafting and safaris through the protected mangroves.
Located just 15 minutes from La Ceiba, The Lodge at Pico Bonito has 22 cabins, all around 400 square feet with private decks, hammocks, ceiling fans, free Wi-Fi, and native wood and vaulted ceilings.
For more info, contact The Lodge at Pico Bonito.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito
The Lodge at Pico Bonito
Night accommodation rates per single or double occupancy cabin:
Cabin rates are based on single and double occupancy and include breakfast for two, tour of The Lodge’s Butterfly Farm and serpentarium, and access to the loop trail.
Children 11 years and under are free when sharing cabin.
* Prices do not include taxes (19%) and gratuities (10%). Cabins subject to maximum occupancy restrictions.
* Rates are quoted in USD and based on single/double occupancy per night.
* Holiday Season has minimum stay requirements.
Unwind at the only luxury eco-lodge in all of Honduras. This is where the tranquil beauty of the rainforest meets the rich comfort of a boutique hotel.
Ranked as one of the top 50 eco-lodges in the world by National Geographic, the Lodge at Pico Bonito is the epitome of rustic elegance. Tucked within a landscaped stretch of jungle, this is a uniquely beautiful place that keeps you close to nature without sacrificing comfort.
The feeling of splendid isolation
Settle into one of 22 upscale cabins surrounded by lush rainforest. From the rattan furniture and wooden floors to the enticing hammocks on the porch, these accommodations are surprisingly sumptuous. But the glorious feeling of being somewhere remote and special isn’t ruined by cable TV or wireless Internet – you won’t find either of those here.
Sink into a plush, four-poster bed and listen to the sounds of monkeys, cicadas and tropical birds as you unwind. Step onto your private veranda and take in the natural beauty while sipping a cup of local Honduran organic coffee.
Surrounded by a pristine rainforest
The Lodge at Pico Bonito provides one of the most spectacular places to explore the surrounding national park. Follow miles of meandering trails that take you past roaring rivers and stunning waterfalls. Watch for more than 420 species of birds and wildlife, including spider monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars.
Take a refreshing soak in the pool and then savor Mesoamerican cuisine at the Itzama restaurant, where a skilled chef crafts dishes with fresh seafood and locally grown herbs and vegetables.
To find out more about this amazing property, please contact us for a free travel consultation.
¡Bienvenido a tu escape perfecto!
Ubicado a los pies del Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, The Lodge and Spa at Pico Bonito combina a la perfección la naturaleza y la comodidad de lujo. El hotel ecológico de lujo ubicado en la costa caribeña de Honduras cerca de La Ceiba es miembro de Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM. El Lodge ofrece la aventura del aire libre, la belleza de la selva tropical y el servicio personalizado y el lujo de un hotel boutique. Ubicado en la costa caribeña de Honduras, aproximadamente a 15 minutos del Aeropuerto Internacional La Ceiba, The Lodge se encuentra al pie de las magníficas laderas cubiertas de bosques lluviosos del Parque Nacional Pico Bonito.
Is the Lodge at Pico Bonito Closing?Dining room at the Lodge at Pico Bonito
The answer is a categorical no! The Lodge at Pico Bonito is open and there are no plans to close it. So where did all this rumor about the Lodge at Pico Bonito closing come from? Although there were some administrative changes in the management level. This is due to the fact that the Honduran partners bought out their US investors. The lodge originally came to be under a partnership that sought to protect Pico Bonito National Park. The partners saw tourism as a perfect to tool to achieve their goals. And indeed, the Lodge at Pico Bonito quickly earned accolades as the premier eco lodge in Honduras. It soon became the center of a fast growing bird watching tourism industry in Honduras.[themify_hr border_width=″ width=″ color=”light-gray”]
Another rumor that has spread like wildfire is that the president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez bought out the foreign investors. This rumor comes from the fact that president Hernandez recently visited the lodge and met with the Honduran owners. The fact is that no, the president did not invest in the lodge, and the Honduran partners are exactly the same as those who originally invested in the property. The new manager, Jose Enrique Graugnard recently invited us to the Lodge at Pico Bonito to meet the current staff.
Mr. Graugnard himself has been an executive at the Lodge since it opened its doors almost 20 years ago. So, in effect, I already knew him and most of his staff. The Honduran business group that owns the lodge is committed to tourism. They own other properties, including Telamar Resort in Tela and the Hotel Honduras Maya in Tegucigalpa.
Are These Changes at the Lodge at Pico Bonito for the Better?The manicured trails within the Lodge at Pico Bonito
It was great to be back in the lodge, even if it was only for a short couple of hours. It certainly did look like the Lodge at Pico Bonito closing was imminent. I can report that the property is open and looks great, just like it has always. The staff is friendly, and I must say that if there is any change it is for the better! For one, the Lodge has been offering outstanding packages for Hondurans and legal foreign residents living in Honduras. This means that if you are an expat living in Honduras, you can now afford to visit the lodge and experience it to the fullest, spa and all! I recommend that you keep an eye on the Lodge at Pico Bonito web page as well as their Facebook page to stay in tune with their low season promotions.[themify_hr border_width=″ width=″ color=”light-gray”]
/>White board with weekly sightings at the Lodge at Pico Bonito
The wildlife, including birds, reptiles and mammals are still here. They are not going anywhere and are being protected here just as always. A small whiteboard in the lobby has a handwritten note of the different animals sighted in the vicinity. This includes not only those in Pico Bonito National Park, but also at the nearby Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge. Across the lobby from the board you will also see a small sculpture that represents Copan. It is in effect the Copan Prize, which is the highest recognition the is given to innovative tourism related businesses in Honduras. The Lodge at Pico Bonito continues to be a unique lodge and a leader in Honduras tourism industry. It is certainly comforting to no there are no plans to have the Lodge at Pico Bonito closing their doors any time in the near future!
Top 10 Lodges in Honduras you Must Stay in!
Let’s face it. Honduras is off the beaten path. Most travelers avoid it because they perceive Honduras is unsafe for travel. Those who do visit, find that is as safe as anywhere else in the world. But they also find that it is beautiful, unspoiled and best of all, not overrun by tourists. So, if you decide to visit Honduras, you will certainly want to find the top 10 lodges in Honduras you must stay in. This is not necessarily easy this is why we have put together a list of the lodges in Honduras that you should not miss while traveling throughout the country.
Our criteria to select these lodges is simple. We are looking for properties that are small, have a true “sense of place” and where you will be pampered by the owners or managers. We are selecting only one per destination, but that does not mean there are not other lodges in Honduras in that same destination that meet our criteria and are a great option.
Hacienda San Lucas in Copan Ruinas is one of the unique Small Hotels in Honduras.
Hacienda San Lucas is one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras. You simply cannot go wrong here! Authentic, but spartan rooms with a quiet atmosphere. Relax in the expansive gardens and enjoy the view of the Copan Valley. Hidden in the jungle before you, is the magnificent Copan Archaeological Park! Beware, you may even get an unexpected visit from a wild Scarlet Macaw who may want to rest in a nearby tree! Food is out of this world. Best of all, it includes many traditional dishes are still the main staple for the local Maya population. This is property that has been in the same family for over a century. Jose Adan and his wife, Norma are your hosts, and they will go out of their way to make you feel at home.[themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
GraciasHotel Guancascos in Gracias
Gracias has become a popular destination in Honduras. It is a charming colonial town with much history. This is the perfect destination to get a glimpse at the rural life in Honduras. You can also visit some popular hot springs or hike to the peak of Celaque, the highest point in Honduras. One of the first lodges to open their doors in Gracias is the Hotel Guancascos. This is one of my top 10 lodges in Honduras! It is not fancy, but it has a great feeling. It sits on the mountain side next to town, almost between downtown and the San Cristobal Fort. The café – restaurant offers the best view of town while enjoying a great cup of mountain grown coffee or a cold beer. Best of all, Frony, the Dutch owner is a great source of local information. She is usually on premises and is a great host![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
Cangrejal RiverThe grounds at La Villa de Soledad B&B
Just south of La Ceiba, you will find the Cangrejal River. It is a fantastic destination that affords many activities. This is the adventure and nature hub in Honduras. There are several alternative lodges in the area, but my favorite, without doubt is La Villa de Soledad. This Spanish Style hacienda offers 4 private rooms overlooking Pico Bonito National Park. Hammocks are generously set throughout the property and are ideal to relax after a day hiking in the jungle or rafting in the Cangrejal River. If you are looking for unique lodge in Honduras to relax in Nature, this is probably your best bet! Incidentally, the latest Lonely Planet Honduras guide includes La Villa de Soledadas one of the top places to stay in Honduras! If you are looking for one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras and seeking a jungle experience, then La Villa de Soledad is your perfect match!
La CampaHotel Camino Lenca La Campa
This small rural village in the highlands of Western Honduras is one of the most picturesque in all Central America. The community produces rustic clay ceramics and the women wear colorful dresses. The old, colonial church contrasts brightly with the massive cliffs just behind it, creating a surreal setting. Here you can also find the most extreme zip line in Honduras, probably in Central America. Until recently, there were no hotels to stay in the area and you had to overnight in Gracias. But the new Camino Lenca La Campa hotel has changes all of that. A unique setting with a view of the canyon below, with a multilevel swimming pool and comfortable rooms, this is one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras! If you are looking for a place to experience rural Honduras, this is an absolute must![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
UtilaThe Grounds at the Jade Seahorse / Nightland Cabins are a dream come true!
The NightLand Cabins at the Jade Seahorse is a treat that will impress you. This unique lodge is not on the beach, but rather within the town of Utila on the Bay Islands. This must be the most eclectic, original and artsy lodge in Honduras! Each room is different and has its own charm and theme. The rooms are within a nice tropical garden with winding pathways. This property is unique and fun. You can spend hours discovering small details both inside the rooms and in the gardens. The Treetanic Bar is a treehouse bar that is a lot of fun. This is one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras that you must stay in![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
RoatanRoom at Ibagari
A small, intimate lodge right on the beach. Ibagari is a boutique property that you fall in love with. Although technically on West Bay, it is not on the famous West Bay Beach, but rather in a small cove it shares with the nearby Ixbalanque Hotel. This ensures a private beach that is perfect to relax in. Rooms are all individually appointed and the common areas, such as the pool, bar and restaurant are spectacular. If you want a high-end beach lodge with impeccable service, this is a place to consider. Enjoy the beach and tranquility at Ibagari, one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras that you should visit![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
Camp Bay Lodge
Yes, I said that I was going to select only one lodge per destination, and this is the second one in Roatan. The truth is that the East End is so different from the West End in Roatan, that I consider them different destinations. Camp Bay Lodge is on the far eastern end of Roatan. It on a beautiful white sand beach and offers view towards the sister islands of Morat, Barbaretta and Guanaja. Camp Bay Lodge is on the beach and offers the perfect setting for an idyllic beach getaway. Facilities include a yoga porch, pleasant rooms and a full-service restaurant. Activities on site include snorkel, diving and kite boarding. If you are looking for an intimate beach lodge away from the crowds, Camp Bay Lodge is right up your alley![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
La CeibaA relaxing view from the restaurant porch at The Lodge at Pico Bonito
The Lodge at Pico Bonito is one of the best known eco lodges in Honduras. It has been around for about two decades and has rightfully earned a great reputation. In addition to great rooms and comfortable public areas, the Lodge offers outstanding trails into Pico Bonito National Park. Observation towers are ideal for birdwatching, and the Lodge at Pico Bonito offers guided tours within their facilities, as well as to other protected areas, such as Cuero y Salado. This is the only member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World within Honduras and is a gem of a property. I fully recommend a stay at this lovely lodge, which is without doubt, one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras![themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
Lake YojoaSpacious rooms at D&D Brewery Lodge at Lake Yojoa
The D&D Brewery Lodge in El Naranjo, Lake Yojoa es one of those places you must visit. It has become a destination and possibly the most popular lodge in Lake Yojoa and surroundings. At first, it might seem removed and far from everything, but you are within walking distance of several world class attractions. There are coffee estates, kayaking and birdwatching to be done from here. In addition, the management offers a variety of tours to nearby attractions, including PANACAM National Park. The property features different rooms, with the nicest being some small cabins. Take advantage and enjoy the great food served here, and best of all, the beer that is crafted and brewed right there! The overall experience at D&D Brewery lodge makes it one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras.[themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
San Pedro SulaArt is present everywhere in Hotel Casa del Arbol Galerias del Valle.
San Pedro Sula is the most important gateway into Honduras. The airport in this city has more traffic that the one in Tegucigalpa, even though the latter is the capital of Honduras! San Pedro Sula is a bustling metropolis that can be chaotic to the visitor. Yet it is the perfect base from where to discover a variety of nearby destinations, that include Lake Yojoa, Omoa, Tela and even Copan Ruinas. As such, many travelers need to find a hotel where to spend the night in the city. The most charming hotel in town is a small lodge located in a residential area of town. I am talking about the Hotel Casa del Arbol, where you feel at home and pampered by Dorita and Donaldo, the owners who are usually on premises. Because of the attention to detail and outstanding service, Casa del Arbol is one of the top 10 lodges in Honduras you should stay in.[themify_hr color=”light-gray” width=″ border_width=″]
Bar & Grill
You do not have to cook if you want a relaxing vacation with your family, partner or alone. Come to the Rio Vista Bar and Grill and we will prepare great dishes for you as you wish. Grilled and vegetarian selections as well as Tipico Honduran fare. Enjoy some of the best hamburgers and pizza in the valley, great USDA steaks, chicken, fish, shrimp, pork chops and more. If you like fruit juices and soft drinks we have a great selection. World famous cocktails and domestic and imported beers. Relax after a busy day, swim in our infinity pool and enjoy a beverage of choice.
A Stay at The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras - Recipes
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The lovely grounds of the Lodge at Pico Bonito. (Photo by guide John Coons)
We all enjoyed a wonderful New Year's in Honduras at the Lodge at Pico Bonito. We covered a wide range of habitats during our stay starting with our train ride and boat trip on the Cuero y Salado estuary. Waiting to depart on the narrow-gauge railroad we saw a few Spot-breasted Orioles, a pair of Laughing Falcons, Mangrove Cuckoo, and our first Turquoise-browed Motmot. On the boat trip we enjoyed a close study of a Boat-billed Heron, a brilliantly colored Gray-necked Wood-Rail, a handful of kingfishers, a soaring Gray-headed Kite, and a troop of Mantled Howler Monkeys that proved their name when they started vocalizing. Back at the Lodge we had nice views of a Lovely Cotinga from the tower. We were entertained by the local Garifuna traditional dancers for a New Year's Eve celebration at dinner.
New Year's Day 2013 found us birding the lodge grounds and adjacent trails in the morning. A Bright-rumped Attila entertained us before we worked our way into the forest. A couple of mixed-species flocks kept us busy before we zeroed in on a calling Keel-billed Motmot which we ended up seeing right overhead in the forest. We also located a Tody Motmot along the trail before heading back for a great lunch. That afternoon we decided to check out a new spot where we found a plethora of hummingbird feeders with an amazing number of birds visiting. Out of the hundred+ hummingbirds we tallied ten species including a Band-tailed Barbthroat, Scaly-breasted Hummingbird, and many large Violet Sabrewings. It was exhausting to try and keep up with the ultra-caffeinated action of the hummers. A Chestnut-colored Woodpecker and Gartered Trogon added to the excitement here.
With an early start the next morning we were off to the Aguan Valley in the rain shadow of the coastal mountain range. Arriving at the reserve which has been established to protect Honduras' only endemic bird, we walked into the odd cactus and euphorbia thorn forest and were soon rewarded with wonderful looks at an Honduran Emerald, a very local species. Although not one of the most stunning of the hummingbirds, the strange vegetation that it requires makes it quite unique. We saw 4-5 individuals during our short walk. A White-bellied Wren building a nest and a number of White-lored Gnatcatchers were the other specialties of the area. We had a great lunch at a nearby home before heading back to the lodge.
Our last full day found us heading out to the Lancetilla Botanic Gardens near the town of Tela. We were busy along the entrance road to the gardens with Olivaceous Piculets, Black-crowned Tityras, Black-cowled Orioles, and an encouraging number of North American migrants here on the wintering ground. We enjoyed a wonderful seafood lunch on the beach before heading back to the Lodge for another walk around.
I found the people of Honduras to be some of the friendliest I have encountered in the Americas. The staff at the lodge took great care of us and made sure we were comfortable throughout. It was a pleasure to travel with all of you and I look forward to the next time.
KEYS FOR THIS LIST
One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant
Honduras Eco Lodge at Pico Bonito: Dangerously BEAUTIFUL!
The Lodge at Pico Bonito is a Honduras haven for any animal lover. It’s ideally located in the middle of the Honduras jungle and border mountains the locals call “Name of God Mountains”.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito also has miles of private trails winding through 100-foot canyons to waterfalls and natural swimming holes. A trio of four-story observation decks allows visitors to overlook the jungle canopy, and the lodge provides lots of adventures from white water rafting to safaris through the mangroves.
As for those US State Department warnings? All I can say is the only danger I encountered is how dangerously beautiful Honduras truly is! I have never felt more safe, met kinder, gentler people or had a more peaceful trip. In fact, I’d pit the Lodge at Pico Bonito against any five-star property in northern climes. Bordering the national park of the same name, it’s nearly two miles from a main road and the only real “threats” are getting so wrapped up in watching keel-billed toucan nests, or so enthralled by the pendulum swing of a motmot tail, that you accidentally run into a tree!
The Lodge at Pico Bonito was chosen by National Geographic as one of the world’s top ecolodges, and belongs to Small Luxury Hotels of the World. And, well, let’s just say that Sports Illustrated didn’t film the most gorgeous woman in the world here because the backdrop isn’t beautiful – actually Pico Bonito is both stunning in its purity and breathtaking.
A room with a Jungle view – Pico Bonito Lodge
The Lodge’s most popular excursion is its 5-hour trek to “Unbelievable Falls”!
The hike takes you into the Pico Bonito National Park, one of Central America’s most pristine jungles with over 270,000 acres of unexplored rainforest. Seven different ecosystems surround Pico Bonito and it is home to over 420 species of birds as well as jaguars, tapirs, deer, puma, white-faced and spider monkeys.
The unbelievable falls …
The hike’s ultimate destination is Unbelievable Falls, a spectacular double drop waterfall that descends almost 100 feet into a huge and irresistible swimming hole.
At the waterfalls, guests looking for a refreshing dip can scurry up the rocks and swim in a pool between the two drops. This guided Rainforest Hike to Unbelievable Falls is just $30 per person!
Although the organic local grown food alone is worth the trip with the best tasting pineapple and watermelon I have ever tasted! This secluded lodge is within swimming and snorkeling distance of Honduras’ Caribbean coast. The location is the establishments biggest draw, and the reason is the incredible natural wildlife everywhere you look! Visitors are privy to the blue cotingas, basilisk lizards (they run on water and locals call them Jesus lizards), howler monkeys, toucans, crocodiles, green herons and fields of purple water lilies. In other words, Mother Nature herself.
Rarely experienced by tourists, The Lodge at Pico Bonito has developed a unique and educational excursion into rural Honduras, the Rural Village Tour! Guests are accompanied by a member from the La Ceiba-based Adelante Foundation. Honduras is the second poorest country in the West Hemisphere, and The Adelante Foundation provides “micro-credit” loans to poor villagers, mostly women. The program allows for never before access to credit, as well as providing education to women to help pull them and their families out of poverty. The villagers use the money to start their own businesses. Over time many work their way out of poverty.
Rewarding Honduras day with the Adelante women entrepreneurs!
Guests attend an “Assembly” which is where 30 – 50 Adelante borrowers meet to learn new business skills, and important health or nutrition information. Often travelers have an opportunity to stop by one of businesses to discuss the borrower’s stories their life of struggles and opportunities.
Their courage and warmth are inspirational, and you will walk away with the optimistic feeling that poverty can be overcome.
The 22 cabins at Lodge at Pico Bonito have all around 400-square feet with private decks, hammocks, ceiling fans, free Wi-Fi and native wood and vaulted ceilings. For more info, contact The Lodge at Pico Bonito, AP710, La Ceiba, CP31101, Honduras, Central America, www.picobonito.com.
Many organizations, such as Panthera, are helping to support Honduras’ beautiful wildlife. On March 1 st , Panthera’s CEO and jaguar expert Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, and the Minister of Honduras’ National Institute for the Conservation and Development of Forests, Protected Areas and Wildlife (ICF) José Trinidad Suazo Bulnes, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) launching the National Jaguar Conservation Plan and initiating a stronger commitment to conserving jaguars in Honduras and securing the Jaguar Corridor, located in the heart of Central America. Panthera’s scientists recently confirmed that Honduras serves as a crucial link in the Jaguar Corridor, which seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations from Mexico to Argentina to ensure their genetic diversity and future survival.
At the ceremony, after a two-week tour of Panthera’s jaguar conservation projects in Honduras, Dr. Rabinowitz said, “Today’s signing signifies Honduras’ commitment to the jaguar, recognition of the country’s role within the Jaguar Corridor, and a significant step forward in conserving their incredible natural heritage.” Attendees of this historic event included a representative of the office of Honduras’s Vice President Victor Hugo Barnica, and representatives from the United Nations, World Bank, USAID, PROCORREDOR, CATIE, and Proyecto ECOSISTEMAS.
Through this new partnership, Panthera and the Honduran government will strategically shape the development of land in and around the Jaguar Corridor that benefits both the country’s economic growth and the connectivity of the Corridor, including the use of wildlife underpasses and forest protection in areas of agricultural development, like oil palm plantations.
There are so many adorable stray dogs in the country but sadly there is no official animal rescue organization for the country. Helping Hands for Hounds of Honduras (HHHH) is working to help rescue dogs on the streets of of Tegucigalpa – the capital Honduras!
Don’t be afraid to visit one of the most dangerously beautiful places on earth to see animals in the wild!
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Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.
The ultimate guide to Honduras: 10 days itinerary
Slightly spontaneously we decided to hit Honduras during our trip last November and December. We had heard about the superb diving possibilities around the Bay Islands, which was enough reason to take the plunge and to include the country in the Latin American itinerary.
I really loved our time in Honduras. The trip was way more relaxed than I expected it to be plus the things to do over there are just super diverse. Jungle adventures, marine life, friendly locals, Mayan culture, abundant wildlife, gorgeous beaches this country has it all and its citizens really deserve a better future.
Guidebooks won’t do for up-to-date info about Honduras. Personally I looked for bits and pieces online, talked to a lot of other backpackers and expats in Honduras and that’s how I created this itinerary. So I’m gonna smash it online now just to make things a little easier for you!
First things first. I realize that Honduras doesn’t exactly have an immaculate reputation. Diving and crime probably those two words used to be my first association when thinking of Honduras. Figures will show you Honduras is one of Central America’s most dangerous countries after all. And yet, we noticed very little of all of that. Except for the diving superb indeed.
I wouldn’t recommend this country to your niece though. You know the one that is about to start her first backpack journey (I’m only thinking about my own self in here when I was 19), but if you think you’ve passed the ‘rookie-phase’, I’d say go for it. Just plan a tad in advance and have a plan B ready. That never hurts anyway. In La Ceiba I even needed a plan C, when I found out that the hotel I planned to go to (in case I’d miss the boat, which I did) didn’t exist anymore. Suddenly I was dropped at sunset in a city that I didn’t know at all. Not the best situation to start first day in Honduras with.
But anyway, all of these spots below are very well reachable. If you don’t deviate from the main important stops in the country and stick to the transportation I recommend you to go with (next paragraph) I think you’ll be good.
- Copán is super safe. So safe that we in fact were able to walk over there at night. We can’t even do that in Costa Rica.
- La Ceiba was totally different, it felt kind of sketchy and I wasn’t too pleased to stay over there. I was forced to though, since I missed the ferry ride to Roatán, but I wouldn’t recommend this city personally. Especially the suburbs can be dangerous. If you have to stay there book a hotel downtown.
- Regarding San Pedro Sula (at some point known the city was also known as the world’s capital of crime) I can only say the bus station is safe. I drove through the city twice and it seemed quite okay, but obviously that doesn’t say enough. I personally wouldn’t stay there.
- Roatán felt super safe to me
Of course my experiences aren’t a blueprint. This is just how I perceived things, but they might give you an impression nonetheless.
With regard to safety this paragraph might help you out as well.
I personally arrived in Honduras after a very long shuttle drive from Río Dulce in Guatemala to La Ceiba in Honduras. I organised this via Rooney Shuttle Service. Although I wasn’t too pleased about the speed of the ride (I waited for hours that day, both during the early morning pick-up and later on the day when they were switching shuttles), in general I would recommend this shuttle service as it felt safe to me. And that’s something pleasant too, when in Honduras. Better late than sorry.
From La Ceiba to Copán we again arranged the drive via Rooney. We had a super nice driver this time and he telling us all about his previous life in the States and the situation in Honduras. Perhaps this conversation was one of the best insights we got during our stay in Honduras.
Regarding Roatán: you’re able to reach the island either via boat or via plane. From La Ceiba I took the ferry ($33,- USD, it goes twice a day check the schedule in here) to Roatán.
The ferry ride to the island was very choppy. Two staff members were handing out plastic bags and after I couple of minutes I realised what they were for…
My husband on the other hand arrived by airplane. From Central America you can fly from both El Salvador and San Pedro Sula to the island. And if you come from the east from both the USA and Canada you might even be able to fly directly to the island. What a luxury!
Regarding leaving Honduras: we both took a flight from Guatemala City. But note that getting there from Copán took us 7 hours (instead of the 5 we were told). Another option we were considering was the airport of San Pedro Sula.
5 days on the island of Roatán for a chilled stay + beach bumming + excellent diving + great food
2 days in Omega Lodge along Río Cangrejal in the Pico Bonito park for adrenaline adventures + jungle vibes
3 days in Copán Ruinas for Mayan culture + spa relaxation + chocolate indulgement
3 days on the island of Utila for an extra change to see that whaleshark
3 days along the Lago de Yojoa in the D&D Brewery for kayaking + hiking + cave dwelling
Itinerary in detail:
5 days: Roatán
Excellent diving & stunning sunsets – the island of Roatán in front of the coast of Honduras was a winner for sure in my book.
Roatán isn’t the only island you can visit from La Ceiba. Utila, Guanaja and Cayos Cochinos attract visitors too. All four of them are basically like the quintessential tropical dream.
Since we only had a couple of days we knew we couldn’t see them all and we had to make a choice which one we would visit. Both Guanaja and Cayos Cochinos are difficult to reach. These islands don’t have regular shuttle services. I’m aware that because of this, staying at one of these islands can be very attractive. But you also have to bring in a LOT of dough, not only to reach the islands but also to stay there, plus you’re very dependent on the efforts of others.
So our choice was narrowed down to Roatán and Utila.
Utila is known as a party island, attracting a lot of early twenty backpackers. This has to do with the fact that Utila is also the cheapest island to stay at. Roatán attracts a far more midrange crowd than Utila, and unfortunately has less budget options. The island’s accommodation mostly comes in the form of luxury resort packages, but there are some good budget options and even better we’ve found them for you!
Both Roatán and Utila are known as superb diving destinations. It was the main reason why we wanted to visit these islands, plus doing a fair share or ‘hammocking’. Because I really wanted to chill and not being disturbed by late night vomiting vibes, ánd because one of us had to fly to the Bay Islands and Roatán has the best airport, we decided visit Roatán first and see if we would later make it to Utila as well. But we liked Roatán and its laid-back vibe so much that we decided to stay over there for the rest of the time!
Where to stay on Roatán?
Nearly all backpackers that visit Roatán find their temporary home in West End, where most of the budget options are found.
If you’re looking for a private budget cabin then I’d absolutely recommend Hotel Chillies. Note that I’m not getting paid or anything to write this down. I just really liked the property, especially its location directly along the shores and its lovely jungle garden ↓
I you want to book a dorm spot, room or cabin as well in here, try to contact Michele (the owner of Hotel Chillies) directly via Facebook. We stayed for four nights in here and paid $36,- USD per night for a private cabin with a warm shower.
The cabin had a lovely porch with a hammock, a lot of (humming)birds that kept us company during the day and during the night we were surprised by a cute (and very noisy) armadillo!
The only thing I disliked about the cabin was the bathroom: it didn’t have a door! Just a curtain. Not the best idea if you’re looking for a romantic getaway…
What to do on Roatán?
2 days: Rafting + jungle adventures @ Río Cangrejal near Pico Bonito
After our ultimate chill-out-beach-bum-hammock-style kind of stay on the island of Roatán, we were absolutely ready for some adventure time on Honduras mainland.
Luckily for us, quite close to La Ceiba there’s this giant and slightly under-appreciated national park of Pico Bonito (meaning in English: ‘pretty little point’). It takes an hour on a bumpy road to get from La Ceiba to this wilderness, which is home to loads of monkeys, birds, reptiles and even some jaguars.
While being on Roatán we were advised by several expats to stay at the Omega Lodge, an eco-lodge located along the Río Cangrejal in between both Pico Bonito and the park of Nombre de Dios (“Name of god”).
The lodge is run by a couple from Germany, Udo and Sylvia, who already came to the area some 25 years ago. Udo was a member of the national German rafting team and always on the lookout for great rapids. He found his ultimate river paradise in Honduras and decided not only to offer whitewash rafting tours in the area, but also to built a lodge from scratch to hosts his rafting visitors. And the couple has been expanding their property with cabins ever since.
Fresh food, a lush environment, awesome canopying and rafting, some jungle trails and playful dogs this place had it all in my opinion! Our stay in here was absolutely superb and a nice addition to our days on the beach. Read more about our rafting adventure and stay at Omega Lodge!Pico Bonito, Omega Lodge, La Ceiba, Honduras Pico Bonito, Omega Lodge, La Ceiba, Honduras Pico Bonito, Omega Lodge, La Ceiba, Honduras
Note that from La Ceiba it takes a full day to reach the next location from La Ceiba.
3 days: Copán Ruinas
Meet the cosiest town of Honduras: Copán! We stayed there for a couple of days on our way from La Ceiba in Honduras to Antigua in Guatemala and I have to say it’s difficult not to fall in love with the cobblestoned streets of Copán. The nearby crumbling Mayan ruins dot the outskirts of the city and clearly point to the cultural past as well.
The vibe in Copán is entirely different compared to the rest of Honduras (or at least, the parts that I’ve seen). Copán feels much more Guatemalan and considering that is almost next to the border Guatemalan-Honduran border that ain’t a surprise. It’s basically like they have cut of a little part out of Antigua and put it on a hill in a lush mountainous environment.
Most folks come here just to see the famous Maya ruins, but there’s a lot of other fun stuff to do in Copán. If you want to see and do all of the things below, try to linger a little longer at least three days I’d say. Otherwise two would be the bare minimum. Or one if you just want to see the ruins and get out after that.
Where to stay in Copán?
There are quite some downtown budget options. We checked out Hotel Via Via (for just $10,- USD per private room with private bathroom!!), which looked great. However, since it’s located next to the only club in town I wouldn’t advise you to go there in the weekend. Even earplugs won’t help you in here.
We stayed at the nearby Iguana Azul (private room for $19,- USD, shared bathroom. Dorms are available as well), which was basic but very decent and had a laid-back backpackers vibe. The great thing about this hotel is the next doors breakfast area, which is set in a very laid-back and lush garden. ↓
Extend that itinerary!
If I had another 6 days I would have stayed 3 more days on the island of Utila (or perhaps more days on Roatán since I loved it so much…) just to include even more dives.
Another location I would absolutely would have visited is the Lago de Yojoa! I heard a lot of nice stories from other backpackers about this lake and especially about the ho(s)tel B&B Brewery. Apparently the lake is great for hiking, to do a coffee tour, a bit of kayaking and cave-dwelling. I’m sure a stay over here would make a trip to Honduras even more diverse!
Family Holiday Jungle Safari Offered by The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Eco-Lodge in Honduras
Spot Vibrant Toucans, Sleek Jaguars, and Elusive Hummingbirds
Let your kids discover their inner explorer on an exciting and educational family adventure through the pristine Honduran rainforest this holiday season. For the first time ever, the highly-acclaimed Lodge at Pico Bonito, perched at the base of Pico Bonito National Park, will be offering a Family Holiday Jungle Safari complete with a guided-scavenger hunt that is sure to provide your children with jungle book thrills.
Uncover spellbinding rock formations, marvel at jaw-dropping waterfalls and catch glimpses of elusive jaguars, keel-billed toucans, vibrant contingas and endangered emerald hummingbirds on the ultimate bonding vacation.
From guided night hikes to exhilarating white water rafting, your children will revel in the natural wonders of the unexplored rainforest with the added excitement of an inspiring, learning competition.
Family Holiday Jungle Safari
From November 1, 2012 through January 5, 2013, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will offer the groundbreaking Family Holiday Jungle Safari – a six-day, five-night package and naturalist scavenger hunt with a grand prize the entire family can enjoy.
• Scavenger Hunt – During daily hikes led by expert instructors, your entire family will learn about everything from the native birds and endangered species to flora and fauna and geological rock formations. Following the hikes, you will embark on a scavenger hunt with your “Pico Bonito Scavenger Hunt” booklet in hand – checking off various bird species, reptiles, flora and fauna that your guide confirms you spot.
At the completion of the offering period, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will award the family with the most confirmed sightings 20% off a stay at the property between April 1 and December 20, 2013.
• Family Picnic at the Unbelievable Falls –Savor sightings of pumas, jaguars, spider monkeys and over 420 species of birds on an educational trek culminating at a spectacular double-drop waterfall. Take a refreshing dip in the sites irresistible swimming hole before enjoying a family picnic at the base of the unforgettable natural wonder.
• Early Morning Trip to the Observation Tower – Awaken with the jungle and experience a cacophony of sounds as hundreds of exotic bird species herald the start of a new day. On your guided hike you will discover Pico Bonito’s secret spots that make the property a paradise for birders. The journey culminates in a trip to the property’s three multi-story observation towers where your family can take in the jungles astounding scenery from above.
• Night Hike to Spot Reptiles – Search for nocturnal reptiles and amphibians guided by flashlight and the experienced eyes of your guide on an excursion that is sure to bring your children’s adventure fantasies to life.
• Whitewater Rafting – Enjoy a day of family bonding as you paddle away on an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip down the Rio Cangrejal, a world-class whitewater destination.