Visit the Famous Pico Bonito National Park in La Ceiba!
Pico Bonito National Park is the most famous National Park in Honduras. There is a reason for this. It is one of the largest parks in the Honduras National Park System. It is also the one of the most visible parks. It gets its name from the beautiful triangular shaped peak that towers over the City of La Ceiba. It can be clearly seen from the lovely Bay Islands of Honduras, specifically from Utila, Roatan and Cayos Cochinos.
The park is the most bio-diverse in Honduras, and probably of all of Central America. Its territory starts at sea level with a tropical rain forest vegetation. Then it transitions towards a tropical cloud forest with the change of altitude. Finally in turns into a pine forest and a very dry tropical forest in the backside. With altitudes that vary from sea level to 8000 feet at its peak, there are many different climates within this park.
There are several ways to get to enjoy Pico Bonito. The best gateway is the city of La Ceiba, capital of Atlantida. You can however make a day trip to Pico Bonito is you are in Tela and even if you are in the Bay Islands. This is possible since the ferry service from the islands arrives early in the morning to La Ceiba and departs in the late afternoon.
There are three different accesses you can use to enter the park. Perhaps the most scenic, and certainly the one closest to the ferry terminal is the Cangrejal River Valley. The Cangrejal River is a natural boundary on the eastern end of the park. The visitor’s center is only 9 km from the CA13 highway and approximately 15 km from the ferry terminal. The short, scenic ride will bring you to the visitor’s center. There you will enter the park by crossing the river over a fascinating swing bridge. Make sure you bring your camera, the bridge is much to the like of those that you saw in the Indiana Jones movies!
There is a network of trails once in the park. You can choose between a one hour La Roca loop trail and a 3 hour round trip El Mapache trail hike to the beautiful El Bejuco Falls. You can see these falls from the road. After the hike, you can grab a bite at the nearby Restaurante La Jungla, located in the Omega Tours complex before heading back into town. If you have time and like the rain forest, you should plan on staying a couple of nights and enjoying the many different activities available in this part of Pico Bonito National Park. I fully recommend La Villa de Soledad B&B, a lovely, award winning boutique bed and breakfast with very friendly hosts.
Another access to Pico Bonito National Park is via the Lodge at Pico Bonito. Entrance is through the community of El Pino, on the western side of La Ceiba. The Lodge at Pico Bonito offers tours through their private trails. They also have fantastic accommodations you can stay in if you are looking for s deluxe jungle setting.
Last but not least is the Rio Zacate trail, which is also in the community of El Pino. This was the original trail into Pico Bonito National Park. However it has not been as well maintained and the facilities in the area are quite limited. The steep trail leads up the mountain and the final destination is the beautiful El Zacate Waterfall.