Outside our thatched bungalow, we hear the jungle slowly awaking with the chirping of birds, shrill cries of cicadas and loud croaking sounds of frogs. Together, they form a synchronized jungle orchestra, their natural symphony echoing throughout the forest that surrounds us. Daylight has yet to arrive and the animals are already wide awake. We slip over the sheets, open the windows and feel the musky and fresh early morning air outside, and prepare for another beautiful day in the jungle.
We’re here to spend the weekend in the Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras, in search of some birding, hiking and boating opportunities away from the crowd. Located on the northern coast of Honduras, Pico Bonito may be just 15 minutes away from the gateway city of La Ceiba yet it’s still quite a stranger to tourism. As the country’s biggest national park, the protected area spans over an area of 564 square kilometers, with many pockets of wilderness that are impenetrable. With one of the highest biodiversity in Central America, the national park sprawls across a multitude of forests – ranging from low-level dry forests to high altitude cloud forest – in the Nombre de Dios mountain range.
This largely unexplored area is home to a myriad of wildlife, ranging from the world famous toucan bird to the Central American aguti, the elusive jaguar and ocelot (a type of big cat). Out of the 750 species of birds that inhabit Honduras, 500 of them are found here in Pico Bonito. New species continue to be found each year. Head naturalist of the Lodge at Pico Bonito, James Adam, even goes so far to call this, “the toucan capital of the world”. Undoubtedly, we’ve made it our mission to catch a glimpse of the toucan bird while we’re here.
Over the short span of a weekend, we’ll be unearthing as much of Pico Bonito as we can from our base, the Lodge at Pico Bonito, a luxury eco-lodge standing at the foothills of Pico Bonito in the midst of the lush, tropical rain forest. A network of hiking trails, as well as two rivers and a series of waterfalls are peppered all over the grounds of the property. We won’t have to travel far to see wildlife or immerse in the natural environment – the lodge is literally in the heart of all the action.
Here are some photos Alberto has snapped so far. But do we complete our mission in the end? Keep reading to find out.
Disclaimer: This trip was made possible by the Lodge at Pico Bonito, but all opinions expressed above are our own.