Nombre de Dios National Park is not known for its trails. As a matter of fact, there are many people that have never heard about this national park, which is in Atlantida. The Cangrejal River is the western border of this magnificent park. The area of the park that borders the Cangrejal River has great access. There you will find several great Cangrejal River hotels that are within the Nombre de Dios National Park.
Exploring the Nombre de Dios National Park Trails
Last week I hiked two different Nombre de Dios National Park Trails. One of them is at the Cangrejal River Valley; the other is on the mountains directly behind Sambo Creek. Both are different from each other, and offer a completely different view of the park. A third trail is within the Cacao Lagoon. This last one is actually an elevated wooden walkway that takes you through the mangrove forests and swamps that surround the lagoon. But let’s get back to the trails I had a chance to hike last week in the Nombre de Dios Park.
Sambo Creek Trail in Nombre de Dios National Park
I will begin with the one at Sambo Creek. It is within a property where you can enjoy hot springs and a canopy tour. To tell the truth, you would never imagine what is in the forest away from the roads. The detour that gives you access is about one kilometer past the Sambo Creek entrance. Continue your route towards the east, and you will soon see a sign on the right that marks the entrance to Glenda’s Paradise Thermal Springs. About 100 meters past that sign, also on the mountain side of the road, you will see a sign that says “Canopy Tour”. Take this narrow road up the hill.
You do not need a 4X4 vehicle to get to your destination. Park your car where you see the parking sign and then follow the trail to the thatched roof open office. Alternatively, if you are on a public bus, get off the bus at the entrance and walk up to the parking area.
This office is where you can pay your entrance fee to the hot springs and book your canopy tour. Officially, this is not a trail, but believe me, it offers great hiking in a unique setting. There is a narrow road that leads up the hill to a magnificent view point. The view point is about 240 meters above sea level, approximately 800 feet if you prefer to use that measure. A couple of benches are on site for you to sit and enjoy the view. On a clear day, you can see the Cayos Cochinos islands, as well as the islands of Utila and Roatan. Far below, the Garifuna Village of Sambo Creek is also visible, as is the Palma Real Resort on the beach.
After you get your breath back, follow the trail to the hot spring source. Here you can see and hear the boiling water as it sprouts out of the earth. The zip line tour begins quite close to this point. Although you can take advantage and zip above the canopy top, this post is about the Nombre de Dios National Park Trails and not the La Ceiba zipline canopy tours. The property owners have made a big effort to build a cement trail that leads down a steep ravine. This is the natural route that the water follows as it races down the mountain. Small waterfalls, natural pools hidden in the jungle, and the sound of cascading water will fill your senses.
The hot water joins a cold water creek as it descends, and it is here where some small dams keep the water in natural pools. This is all about running water, and the water spills over the dams and continues its race down the mountain. The pools have different temperatures, and you can choose the one that is ideal for yourself. As you relax in one of the hot water pools, you will want to stay and relax. Your muscles, which worked hard to get you to the top of the trail, will now bask in the soothing natural thermal waters.
I must say that to gain access to this property, you will have to pay for the right to use the hot springs or the canopy. The truth is that both are reasonably priced. The hot springs fee includes a massage and a mud bath. If you take this into consideration, the $35 US dollar per person fee seems quite fair!
After your massage, relax in the pools. There are many different pools, and you are sure to find a quiet, secluded pool where you can relax and soothe your body and soul. Walking this trail is easy, and you cannot get lost. Since it is a downhill hike most of the way, you may want to bring a hiking stick to help you keep some pressure off your knees.
Cangrejal River Trail in Nombre de Dios National Park
The other Nombre de Dios National Park Trail that I hiked is in the Cangrejal River Valley. The trail is within the property where the new Hotel Rio Rafting is. The total hiking time for this trail is between 45 minutes and an hour. This hike will take you up into the mountain, where you will find great bird watching spots. The trail is not for the faint of heart. It has plenty of ups and downs that will keep your heart pumping and your body sweating. You will find many small creeks along the path. I can only imagine that during a good rainstorm there is a lot of water flowing down the face of this mountain. To gain access to this trail, inquire at the Hotel Rio Rafting and you will get a guide and pay the fee.
After a good hike, I can only recommend one sensible thing to do. Head on down to the Cangrejal River that is flowing just below the road and jump in to enjoy a refreshing swim in the crystal clear waters. You will not want to leave!
So now you know where to find the two best Nombre de Dios National Park trails. Enjoy your hiking in the park. Remember that you should always hike in the company of at least another person. You do not want to be alone and slip and sprain an ankle and not be able to get yourself out on your own. Neither one of these trails has good cell phone reception, so do not count on your phone when hiking in the Nombre de Dios National Park trails.