SEE-HONDURAS

Parks

National Parks in Honduras 

Honduras is fast becoming one of the world's great ecotourism destinations. Sparsely populated, much of Honduras is wilderness, home to fantastic biodiversity. Honduras has more than 700 species of birds including the Harpy eagle, and populations of rare mammals such as jaguars, pumas, ocelots, giant anteaters, tapir and mantled howler monkeys. Honduras has the region's most extensive tracts of cloud forest and the largest remaining area of primary forest.

In fact the Moskitia region is one of the world's few remaining undisturbed true wildernesses, and visiting it is an unforgettable experience for even seasoned ecotourists. The government is laying the groundwork for what will certainly become one of Central America's great national park systems.

Parks and reserves already protect all eight major life zones in the country, yet comprise only about half of the total 25,000 square kilometers earmarked for eventual protection. Although the ecotourism business in Honduras has yet to adopt the sophisticated marketing techniques of other countries in the region, notably Costa Rica, many of the country’s major tour operators are now offering packages to attract the "green" traveler. Here are some of the more accessible national parks and reserves in Honduras:

 

Honduras National Parks

Barbareta Marine National Park, Bay Islands Barbareta Island has a 1,250 acre private Parrot Preserve. This 5 kilometer long island is protected as the Barbareta Marine National Park.
Barbareta is a pristine private island preserve, teeming with wildlife and exotic plants. Sandy beaches and coconut gardens line the coast. It has eight miles of jungle trails, featuring Mayan archaeological sites. This lush tropical island is surrounded by pristine coral reefs, and consists of isolated beaches and virgin rainforest. The island is reached from Roatán by a 20-minute charter flight, or 2-hour boat ride.

 

Capiro-Calentura National Park and Guaimoreto Lagoon Wildlife Refuge


Capiro-Calentura is a large area of tropical forest above Trujillo on the north coast. It features an old semi-paved trail first used by the Spanish that leads to a cave. Access is from a path that leads up from the fabulous Villa Brinkley. The park is administered by the FUCAGUA group which has its office above the cafe in the round building in the center of the town's main plaza
.

Celaque National Park


Has the highest cloud forest in the country, four mountain peaks, pine forest and a big complex of hot springs. There are dormitories, campsites and guides. This park has the highest peak in Honduras and requires a three-day trip to the top. Easiest access is by dirt road (8kms) from Gracias.


Cerro Azul

Is a not easily accessible cloud forest, but the park also protects an area of thermal springs and exciting caves which can be visited without any difficulty. It's located along the north border with Guatemala, 10km north of Florida, Copan.

 Cusuco National Park

is noted for a sizeable population of resplendent quetzals, best viewed during nesting season in April and May. It is located just two hours from San Pedro Sula and is easily accessible all year round with a four wheel drive. Cusuco is managed by the Fundacion Hector Rodrigo Pastor Fasquelle which has an office in San Pedro Sula.



La Muralla


Is a cloud forest famous for its population of quetzals. It has a visitors' center, clearly marked paths and is easily accessible. It is located at la Union, in the heart of the country, 200km north of Tegucigalpa, and boasts one of the best developed park infrastructures in Honduras.

 
La Tigra

Was the first area declared as a national park (in 1980) but has been protected since the early 1950s. It lies just outside Tegucigalpa, is easily accessible and provides dormitories, a visitors' center, guides and good trails.

Montana de Yoro Is a cloud forest 5 miles southeast of Yoro.

 Montecristo - Trifinio Cloud forest 10 miles west of Nueva Ocotepeque. Access is best from El Salvador, but there are paths in Honduras.




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Pico Bonito
is a dense mountain forest, partly impenetrable because of its steep mountain slopes and home to a large number of endangered species. Pico Bonito is easy to see - looming above La Ceiba, but somewhat hard to access. Most difficult climb in Honduras.

Pico Pijol

Cloud forest 20 miles from Morazán. Moderate climb.



Punta Sal tropical forest and mangroves, famous for its population of water birds and continental coral reefs - there is good diving. It is located just outside Tela.



Sierra de Agalta
400 square kms and one of the largest cloud forests in Honduras with spectacular caves and waterfalls. New species have been identified here and it is an important center for ongoing research. There are dormitories and camping facilities, trails and guides. Good news - it can be easily reached by paved road and lies just 2 and a half hours' drive from Tegucigalpa. There are points of access in Juticalpa, San Estaban, Catacamas and Gualaco.







 

The average of annual rain could exceed 2.500 mm in the months of February and March. April, May and September are less rainy, and the rainiest time would be July and December, with more than 400 mm of precipitation. The registered annual average temperature during the same period was of 26.6m centigrade.

The diversity of ecosystems is another one of the characteristics of this biosphere, excelling in, amongst others, coastal beaches and lagoons, marshes, forests of manglar, rivers and brooks, coastal savannahs of pine, ademas of the forests of pine (located in the South part of the reserve), and the humid tropical forests. Wildlife consists of the green iguana, marine and sea turtles, white tail deer, and red deer. Invertebre consist mostly of cuyamel, snail of the sea, and lobsters.

In the last decade, the process of immigration towards the reserve has been increased by farmers and Latino landowners, accelerating the degradation process, mostly in the South part. In the North region of the reserve has the greater presence of ethnic groups (with majority of Misquito communities and garífunas), of which the group of the Misquitos turns out to be most predominant with than 5.000 inhabitants. That is followed by more than 600 Latinos, 550 garífunas, and 110 Pech.

Reserva de Vida Silvestre Laguna Guaimoreto

This wildlife refuge is home to many species of water birds, as well as crocodiles, turtles, white faced monkeys, iguanas, and hundreds of species of fish.

Refuges

Bahia de Chismuyo

Consists of mangroves on the Pacific coast.

Lagunas de Invierno

Located in the south of the country. From the departments of Choluteca and Valle, to about 125 kilometers of the city of Tegucigalpa. It forms part of the Protected Areas that are distributed in the 165 kms of the Pacific coast of Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca.

This winter lagoon forms a series of protected areas. The vegetation predominantly covers the forests with mangles of thorny scrubs mixed with trees of jícaros and noses, guanacastes and ceibos. Very recently it has been identified to contain great extensions of small plants of mangle. A type of mangle "natural Bonsai" was formed by stress caused by the extreme environmental conditions of the zone.

This wildlife refuge is made up of following sub units: Bahía de Chismuyo, Jicarito, Guamerú, Guapinol, La Alemania, las Iguanas, Isla del Tigre, Quebrachal, Punta Condega, Punta Ratón, Teonostal e Isla de Exposición.

Dark sandy beaches, winding channels, estuaries and open sea are some of rather the well represented ecosystems in this protected area, that, due to the importance of its resources, and to the dense population of the zone, becomes an area of multiple interests and therefore, of complex handling.

The outstanding wild life goes, from abundant marine birds to the rich presence of very important marine invertebrates for the economy and regional food supply: ostras, curiles, crabs, shrimps, lobsters and clams. Garrobos and iguanas are typical of this warm zone, which like the marine turtles, place their eggs in the sandy banks.

One of the groups more identified with the administration and conservation of these areas is the Committee for the Defense and Conservation of the Gulf of Fonseca (CODDEFFAGOLF) and the Association of Camaricultores, among others. One of the most outstanding aspects of this region, located in the volcanic strip, is the conical silhouettes of their innumerable small barren islands.

Laguna de Caratasca Caratasca is part of a system of protected lagoons that includes Laguna de Micos (Tela area), Laguna de Guaymoreto (Trujillo), Ibans and Brus Lagunas (part of the Rio Platano Biosphere) and finally Caratasca, which is the largest. Connected to Caratasca is the lovely Tansing Lagoon.

Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge is a large mangrove estuary and one of the most important protection zones for the manatee along the Caribbean coast of Central America. There are several miles of navigable canals and healthy populations of crocodiles and monkeys. An incredible place. Basic accommodation and guided boat tours are available. There is also a beach for swimming. Located just 20km west of La Ceiba, and three hours from San Pedro Sula. An old United Fruit tram takes you from the road to the reserve. The park is administered by FUCSA who have an office in La Ceiba.

 Erapuca

Cloud forest. Heavily deforested.

 Puca

Cloud forest in state of Lempira. Deforested. Certified, approved licensed Realtor

Punta Izopo

Wetlands with high biodiversity.

Texiguat

A cloud forest near Tela. It has high biodiversity in the states of Atlántida and Yoro.

Moskitia

The northern coast of Honduras contains one of the last great tracts of intact primary forest in Central America. This wilderness is one of the few large remnants of the forest that once covered most of the isthmus, forming a biological bridge between the great continents to the north and south.

This is the mysterious region called Moskitia (if you've heard of it at all, you probably know it as the Mosquito Coast), a land where the rivers are roads and you travel around in dugout canoes called pipantes.

Endangered species like the Baird's tapir, Harpys eagle and all give species of jungle cats thrive in the area's three principal biological zones - tropical rainforest, mangrove swamps and pine savannahs.

The area is also dotted with little known archaeological sites and the fabled lost White City of the Maya is said to be hidden somewhere in its dense jungle.

Several Honduran companies do tours to the region, focusing on the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and including contacts with the three main ethnic groups, the Pech, Miskito and Garifuna.





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