Pico Bonito National Park is located on the North Coast of Honduras near the Caribbean coastal town of La Ceiba. Pico Bonito is the second largest national park in the country, covering an area of 1073 square kilometers. Its vast size subsequently means that it’s one of the most diverse national parks in the country.
It is famous for the largest peak of the Nombre de Dios mountain range; Pico Bonito itself is 2436 meters high. However the peak is a challenge to climb and few people attempt it as climbing equipment is required and the climb can take up to 10 days. The densely covered land means that much of the park is hard to access. Visitors to the park will find it easier to explore the lower lying regions around the Zacate and Cangrejal Rivers.
The National Park has a selection of different habitats, and the rough terrain subsequently means that Pico Bonito is one of the least explored national parks in Honduras, leaving the park in its natural condition with only a handful of trails. The vegetation commences with tropical rainforest and broad leaf forests. Then after approximately 1200 meters it diversifies to cloud forest. Rainforests have large biomass. Extremes of heat and moisture means that a wide variety of animals and plants thrive in this habitat.
The forest can be divided into different strata, as to the type of life living in that specific zone of the forest. Tropical rainforests have a more diversified environment than any other forest strata in the world. Pico Bonito is home to jaguars, armadillos, wild pigs, tepescuintes, squirrels, monkeys, toucans, white tailed deer, mountain lions, river otters, motmots and many more species. Another highlight of Pico Bonito is that it has areas of lowland dry forest which are scarce in Honduras, making it a great location to observe the more endangered and endemic birds and plants.
The slopes of Pico Bonito are extremely inclined thus forming numerous waterfalls throughout the park. At daybreak you can view the vast mountain range from La Ceiba and try and comprehend what it is that you are about to explore. The numerous trails can be walked independently. One of the routes, the Zacate River Trail, is approximately 1.5 km long and follows the path of the river Zacate. On route there are several swimming holes along the path.
Visitors can relax in the clear waters of the river whilst adventuring through the humid forest. On this particular trail many people are fortunate enough to see keel-billed toucan and perhaps even white-faced monkeys. Many tour operators offer excursions into the park ranging from day trips to overnight journeys. Tours are recommended, as you will have a guide with extensive knowledge of the diverse forest.
The long awaited lodge at Pico Bonito is now open to guests, and is located near the El Pino Village. The Pico Bonito Lodge is positioned amongst a functioning cacao and coffee farm and has great amenities making it well worth a visit. The Lodge has pleasant rooms, a restaurant and outstanding views of the mountains. You will also find additional Eco Lodges in the area, which offer accommodations along the Rio Cangrejal, which borders the edges of Pico Bonito National Park. These lodges also offer rafting, hiking and horse riding tours and are good value for money considering their location, services and professional staff.