By Jennifer Harpez
Do you like to take the road less traveled? If so, make your next
trip to Honduras. As James D. Gollin proclaims in his book, Adventures
in Nature, Honduras has more extensive rain forests and cloud
forests than Costa Rica,
Mayan ruins comparable to those of Guatemela, better beaches than
Nicaragua, a more peaceful political climate than El Salvador, safer
cities than those of Panama, and the greatest undeveloped wilderness
area in all of Central America.
Honduras is the most mountainous country in Central America, and
at 112,492 square kilometers is the 2nd largest country in Central
America. The average altitude is 1,000 feet above sea level. The
highest peak is in Celaque
National Park at 9,275 feet. The volcanic backbone in Honduras
separates the coastal ecosystems of the Pacific and Caribbean oceans.
40% of Honduras is rain forest and there are 509 miles of extraordinary
beaches the best, they say, in Central America; white on
the Caribbean side, and black on the Pacific coast. May through
September is the rainy season. Youll still get wet from September
through February, just not drenched, necessarily. Beware of hurricanes
in late summer through November, and bring a jacket for the evenings
in December and January.
Environmental tourism is a priority in Honduras. The people and
the land of Honduras are fortunate. They did not get the influx
of resort developers before they had the time to understand the
importance of ecological and cultural preservation. There are opportunities
for the people of Honduras to use standard means of sustaining their
economy raising cattle on once pristine forestland or selling
timber that currently hugs the virgin rain forest. Instead, many
environmental leaders believe in the value of tourism as an integral
part of preservation of the land and culture, and actively promote
and support tourism programs in Honduras that create environmental
awareness in Honduras, as well as economic development.
Adventure in Honduras is not hard to come by. Spectacular waterfalls
originating from the cloud forests pour into raging rivers and subsequently
make for tremendous whitewater rafting and kayaking. The Cangrejal
River was the kayak-pioneering river in Honduras. Today, the Rios
Cangrejal is the most rafted river in Honduras.
National Parks in Honduras include Parque Nacional Montana de Comayagua.
The park is a cloud forest and wildlife haven, located near the
colonial town of Comayagua. The wildlife is reminiscent of Costa
Ricas wildlife and includes quetzals, toucans, white-faced
monkeys, and sloths. ECOSIMCO, the non-governmental body that works
at protection of and within the park, provides information on visiting
Parque Nacional Santa Barbara is a threatened park located just
outside of the city of Santa Barbara. A mountain range separates
Santa Barbara and Lake Yojoa within the park. Forests are being
cleared here due to the fact that landless campesinos are obtaining
land within the park. Deforestation continues to threaten the habitats
here. Nevertheless, travelers can attempt a hike to the mountain
summit. With the help of a guide, adventurers can trek from Santa
Barbara over the summit to the Lake.
A near perfect diving experience awaits Tropical Adventures
scuba diving enthusiasts. Amongst the warm, clear waters divers
are sure to encounter multicolored fish of all shapes and sizes,
as well as gorgeous corals and sponges. The reefs are abundant off
of the coast and continue to provide divers a magical experience.
Although seemingly indestructible, the reefs in such places as Bay
Island are under threat of ecological damage. Organizations such
as Reefkeeper International based out of Florida are directly involved
in conserving these reefs. All organizations involved encourage
divers not to stop diving, but to keep hands, and feet, off of the
Roatan is the most developed of the islands of Honduras. Although
Roatan is somewhat modern, with a mall, movie theatre and nightlife,
visitors are not far away from some fantastic soft adventure activities.
Barbareta Marine National Park, on the eastern tip of Roatan, offers
rain forest and mangrove exploration. Tropical Adventures
Honduras outfitter Tropical
Beach Resort offers water taxi Eco-tours, scuba diving, and
deep-sea fishing. Owner, Jean Christenson describes a popular activity,
The Pirate Hunt Island tour and Diving Tour is a favorite
trip. There are still many sights on the Island where the pirates
stayed. We can still see these spots, and can recognize where their
cannons stood, plus much more. We have actually have found pirate
bottles dating back about 300 years ago.
What about the more remote areas of Honduras, you might ask? In
Valle de Angeles travelers can venture up amongst the tops of the
forest on a canopy tour. Becky Wearns, of Honduras This Week, describes
her experience on this gutsy adventure, The tour itself is
made up of a series of different velocity lines and as your confidence
builds you are encouraged to experiment with different stunts. Releasing
your hand from the rope and bringing your knees up leaves you hanging
upside down, blood rushing to your head as you tear through the
trees watching the sky spin above you. To take this to a nauseating
next level the more adventurous, or crazy, of us paired up with
instructor to hang completely upside down as they swing you to and
fro from your ankles whilst careening to the next platform at break-neck
Volunteering in Honduras is readily available and can offer travelers
a more rewarding encounter with the people of the country. There
are several organizations that can provide this opportunity. Here
are a few:
Coral Cay Conservation, Roatan
Paramedics For Children, Copan
Conservation Project Utila, Iguana, Utila
Cofradias Bilingual School, Cofradia
Theres so much to do and see in Honduras. Dont hesitate
to contact Tropical Adventures outfitter, Tropical
Beach Resort, in Roatan, Bay Islands Honduras to learn more
about this unique country, and to begin planning your trip.
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