La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Mangroves in Cuero y Salado Preserve Honduras

Rio Maria

For a refreshing short trip, the Rio Maria 8 km from La Ceiba, is a delight. The aldea of Rio Maria is the next one after the Playas de Peru on the main road to Trujillo. This is a hike of about 40 – 45 minutes up into the lush vegetation of the foothills along the river. The reward for the hike up is a series of pools in the river with cool, clear water. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic, or just a nature break. Excellent views of the ocean and Cayos Cochinos are offered along the way.

La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge

Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is located just 33 km from La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast. The area forms a triangle encompassed by the Cuero and Salado rivers, as well as the coast, has an extension of 13,255 hectares, and was designated a protected area in 1986 because of its endangered manatee population, as well as the complex series of saltwater and freshwater wetlands it contains. 15 river basins, originating in the Nombre de Dios mountain range directly influence the refuge, in particular, the Pico Bonito Cloud Forest National Park. Presently the park is managed by an NGO ( non governmental organization ), the Fundacion Cuero y Salado, or “FUCSA”. Scientists and conscientious citizens of La Ceiba were instrumental in the formation of the park, in response to the critical environmental problem of loss of forest to agriculture and livestock.
The park protects about 35 species of animals, including manatees, Jaguar, Jabiru, whiteface and other species of monkeys, as well as alligators and a great diversity of fish species. The area is also rich in bird life, with 198 different species (about 28% of the total bird species found in Honduras). There is also a rich variety of vegetation supporting the animal life, including primary forests, lush mangroves and different types of palm.

La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

“La Ceiba, Honduras – Rafters navigate Rio Cangrejal between giant boulders that are characteristic of the area.”

Cangrejal River Rafting

Some of the best white water rafting in Central America is to be found right here in La Ceiba. The Cangrejal river offers class II, III and IV rapids, all within a short 45 minute drive from downtown La Ceiba. In addition the exciting rapids, the Pico Bonito national park, which features more than 7 different ecosystems because of its changing altitudes, has its eastern border with the river, offering you an insight to the ever so lush green forests of Honduras. Lunch is usually included in the tours, which are guided by expert river rafters with years of experience.

Butterfly and Insect Museum

A new option in La Ceiba, this private museum offers an exhibit of over 11,000 butterflies and other insects from 40 countries, over 9000 are from Honduras! Open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 to 12:00 and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Evenings and Sundays by appointment. Exhibits include butterfly traps, information posters, night collecting set ups and 25 minute videos on insects in both English and Spanish. Located in the Colonia El Sauce, Segunda Etapa, Casa G-12, 3 blocks south of the Hotel La Quinta. Well worth a visit. Entrance fees are Lps. 15.00 per adult, Lps. 10.00 for children. Has air conditioning.

La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical DiscoveryPico Bonito Cloud Forest

Unquestionably one of the most diverse parks in Honduras, Pico Bonito covers an extension of land that goes from sea level to as high as 7,500ft, and in effect boasts the largest change of altitude in Honduras. Named after the mountain that lies just south of La Ceiba, Pico Bonito has become a landmark for La Ceiba.

The Zacate River trail is about 1 ½ miles long. The trail leads you up into the forest following the course of the crystal clear Zacate River. At the end of the trail a spectacular waterfall will reward you. En route, you will find many refreshing and inviting swimming holes. A variety of tropical birds, including the keel billed toucan are easily seen along the trail. With luck, white-faced monkeys might also be seen.
La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical DiscoveryThe Lodge at Pico Bonito, located near the El Pino Village, west of La Ceiba is now in full operation. Sitting within a working cacao and coffee farm; just a few yards from the massive vegetation of Pico Bonito, this new lodge, which is built with a true concern for the environment is actually the first Eco-Lodge in the country, and we hope that others will follow soon. Without doubt, the comfortable rooms, spacious restaurant and meeting rooms, all with ample views of the mountain will become a favorite for traveler’s wishing to experience the Honduran nature. Food at the Lodge is superb! Various hiking trails, a butterfly farm and a serpentarium are located within the grounds of this fine hotel. The trials include bird watching towers and access to a lovely swimming hole in the Coloradito River. The hotel offers its guests a variety of activities, for more information please click here.

La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical DiscoverySambo Creek

An interesting Garifuna community on the beach, about 20 km east of la Ceiba, Sambo Creek gives you an opportunity to get a glimpse of the Garifuna culture and enjoy the beach at the same time. There are two good restaurants right on the beach, one specializing in seafoods, the other with a variety of international foods, with an emphasis in Italian and seafood. La Champa (the seafood specialty restaurant) is located almost in front of the end of the road leading to Sambo Creek. Sambo Creek Restaurant is located about 400 yards to the east (right) of where the main road into town ends at the beach. This restaurant is owned by a US expatriate, with many years of experience as a chef. His Italian – Armenian roots give his food a special touch. The beach at his restaurant is by far the best and you will enjoy not only the food but the surroundings.

Los Chorros

Possibly the favorite swimming spot for the locals, Los Chorros is a small crystalline river with many small falls and natural pools. The first of the pools is usually quite full of people on weekends and holidays. However, if you follow the river upstream, you will find many more pools. The natural surroundings, cleanliness of the water and the tropical foliage will make of your day a very pleasant experience.

Cacao Lagoon

Located approximately 24 km. east of La Ceiba, on the highway that leads to Trujillo. This small oceanside lagoon is totally surrounded by mangrove forests, where a variety of tropical birds can be seen. In addition, there are 8 troops of monkeys that inhabit the area, of which some are howler monkeys and the others are white face monkeys.
The trip into the area is interesting, as the village makes a living from its cacao and sugar cane plantations. Cacao, a rare tropical fruit native to America was used in pre-Columbian times as money, due to the great value that the native Indians gave to it. Today, it is the main ingredient in the manufacturing of chocolate. Within the town you will have the opportunity to see the Cacao bushes, as well as the sugar cane plantations and without doubt, the old, and still in use ox driven sugar mill will fascinate you.

Tropical Butterfly Farm and Gardens

Imagine yourself walking through a rainbow and you’ll find yourself walking through the Butterfly House at the Tropical Butterfly Farm and Gardens, one of La Ceiba’s most popular attractions.
The farm is situated at the base of Pico Bonito National Park in the environs of The Lodge at Pico Bonito, within a working coffee and cacao plantation.
Each visitor receives a guided tour of the breeding facilities where each step in a butterfly life cycle can be observed in detail. One first visits the nursery where the larval host plants are cultivated. The next stop is the Larvae House, where the larvae can be seen feeding and forming pupae. The final stop is the 4,000 sq. ft. Butterfly House, where a myriad of tropical butterflies flutter about. Inside they feed on the flower nectar and fruits, mate and lay eggs.

La Ceiba and Pico Bonito National Park - Travel Guide - Tropical Discovery

Cayos Cochinos or Cochinos Cayes are a group of two small islands situated 30 kilometre northeast of La Ceiba on the northern shores of Honduras.

Cayos Cochinos

On a clear day, you can see, and almost touch Cayos Cochinos, the small islands are visible to the east-northeast of La Ceiba. Although from this particular viewpoint, what you see is one island, the reality is that there are two islands as well as a series of smaller cayes. Cayos Cochinos is National Marine Park in Honduras and is protected by law. Of the two small islands, Cochino Grande and Cochino Pequeno, only the larger one is inhabited. On Cochino Pequeño there is a small station of scientists and park rangers, and the park is strictly controlled by them. The prestigious Smithsonian Institute administers the park as part of a long term study to determine the impact of population on this pristine nature reserve.

Tropical Discovery Tours going to this location: