Update to Jeannette Kawas National Park After the Fire
This past weekend, a group of persons set fire to the heart of Jeannette Kawas National Park. The raging fire burned over 400 hectares, equivalent to about 1000 acres, of pristine tropical forests. It took the effort of the Honduran Air Force, the Honduras Army, the Tela Firemen and most of the population of Tela to extinguish the fire. The success was made possible thanks to the support and direct actions by the United States Bravo Task Force based at the Soto Cano Air Force base near Comayagua, who pitched in with a total of 4 helicopters, and a large contingent of persons who worked day and night for over 5 days.
Although the result is tragic, and we hope the culprits are found, put before a trial and sentenced, the good news is that no human lives were lost. It will take years to quantify the damages caused to the eco system.
On the bright side, we can categorically state that the most visited natural attraction in Tela is completely unaffected and open to the public. I refer to the Punta Sal Peninsula, which is part of the Jeannette Kawas National Park. The damage to the park is deep inside, and there are no visible signs of it from the coast line, which you follow on the boat trip from the beaches in Tela to Punta Sal. In addition, for those looking to visit the Garifuna Village of Miami, access is normal and there is no damage to be seen neither from the access road nor from the Los Micos Lagoon, which is also one of the main tourist attractions for the Jeannette Kawas National Park.
From a visitor’s point of view, Tela, and the Punta Sal National Park continue to be a very attractive part of Destination Atlantida and can be enjoyed to the fullest.
I hope you find this update to Jeannette Kawas National Park useful and that can proceed to continue your plans of visiting Tela and Jeannette Kawas National Park. As a matter of fact, if you are interested in helping restore the damaged area of the park; one good way to do so is by visiting Tela and buying a tour to the park. When you do so with one of the official tour operators, you are paying an entrance fee that goes to the park administration, and the funds will be extremely handy in the wake of efforts to restore the damage and keep invaders out of the park.
La Villa de Soledad B&B is happy to be associated to the new Honduras Travel Blog. This new site, which is the result of over 23 years of traveling around Honduras and being part of the tourism private sector in the country is yet one more effort to change the image of Honduras abroad and educate the potential traveler so that they can feel more secure and at ease when planning a trip and visiting Honduras!
This blog is meant to have a full, regularly updated section about the different destinations in the country, highlighting the different things to do, the unique National Parks to visit, as well as tips about where to stay, where to eat and how to be a better traveler within Honduras and Central America.
Honduras travel will also have regular travel posts, which will make up the blog, and share the experiences of someone who has traveled extensively throughout Central America. If you love Honduras, and feel that potential travelers are not getting a fair image of the country, pitch in, Honduras and the different tourism service entrepreneurs need all the help they can get!
Initially, Honduras Travel is offering information on the three most important and popular destinations in Honduras: Atlantida, with its hubs in the Cangrejal River, La Ceiba and Tela; The Bay Islands, including Guanaja, Roatan and Utila, and Copan, which includes Copan Ruinas and Santa Rosa de Copan. They will be expanding this initial limited information progressively, and are confident that they will soon become “The Travel Blog for Honduras”, with updated travel info on all of Honduras .
We are happy to share this breaking news with you, and invite you to visit the Honduras Travel web page and send Honduras Travel your comments and suggestions, as well as sharing the tips with your friends. They now have a facebook page as well as a twitter (@hondurastravel) account which you can follow. Surely Honduras Travel will become an important tool to market Honduras!
The North Coast of Honduras was never really conquered or controlled by the Spanish Conquistadors. The lack of a dense local population, as well as the hot and humid climate, kept the conquerors at bay. It was actually easier to run into a British buccaneer ship along the coast than it was to find a Spanish galleon sailing the waters off the Caribbean coast of Honduras. The Brits actually established a protectorate in the eastern part of Honduras and northern part of Nicaragua, which was called the Moskito Coast; the name comes from the ethnic group: the Miskito Indians, with whom they formed a loose alliance to fight off any attempts by the Spaniards to establish themselves in the area. The only Spanish outpost along the eastern Caribbean coast of Honduras during colonial times was the city of Trujillo, and this was attacked, ransacked and burnt by the buccaneers on multiple occasions, despite the fortress of Santa Barbara that sits on top of a hill to defend the city.
As such, La Ceiba was not established as a village until around 1872. By 1877, President Marco Aurelio Soto declared it a municipality, and in 1902 it became the capital of the department of Atlantida. One interesting fact about La Ceiba is its name, which coincides with that of the huge Mayan mythological tree: the Ceiba. It happens to be that the first people to establish themselves in the city did so on the beach under a huge Ceiba tree that generously provided its shade to these early settlers.
One of the most interesting facts of history about La Ceiba is that the city became one of the most progressive cities in Honduras thanks to the government land concessions given to the Vacaro Brothers Company, which eventually became the Standard Fruit Company, owner of the Dole trademark. During the time the city grew, and it was easier for the locals to travel to New Orleans on the different steamships that regularly traveled the route to take the banana and fruit production to the north than it was to travel to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Some of today’s most important enterprises and companies in Honduras where actually born in La Ceiba under the umbrella of the Standard Fruit Company. Great examples about the above are the Cerveceria Hondureña, (the Honduran Brewery) which was born in La Ceiba in 1916. Another great example was the Banco Atlantida, the first private bank in Honduras, which was established in 1915. The original headquarters of this bank still operates to this day in a lovely art deco style building that sits proudly on the corner of Avenida San Isidro and First Street, just a block away from the old dock where all the commerce took place.
Today, La Ceiba is no longer a big port city exporting bananas and other tropical fruits. The main ports on the Caribbean coast of Honduras are Puerto Cortes, to the west and Puerto Castilla to the east. The city has slowly begun a transition from a port and agricultural power house to an important tourist hub. As part of Atlantida, a destination that includes both La Ceiba and Tela, the city is in the process of reinventing itself. One of the most significant examples about La Ceiba managing this transition can be seen in the totally renovated “Muelle y Malecon Turistico Reynaldo Canales” or in English Reynaldo Canales boardwalk and dock, which is meant to transform an old abandoned part of the City of La Ceiba into a park and recreational area for the enjoyment of locals and tourists alike.
Perhaps the most outstanding feature about La Ceiba as a tourist destination is the diversity of protected areas and national parks around its environs. If you add the endless options for adventure activities, which include white water rafting, zip line canopy tours, waterfall descents by way of rappelling…. And many others, you have an outstanding eco tourism and adventure destination!
La Ceiba offers many advantages to the traveler, but perhaps the most important of all is safety. The local communities look after the tourists that visit the National Parks and participate in the different activities available. Another nice thing to know about La Ceiba is the fact that it has the highest percentage of bilingual population in Central America! This means that you can always find someone to help you in your language if you need any assistance!
Now that you know all about La Ceiba, you are surely ready to plan your vacation. I fully recommend checking out the visit Atlantida web page for information. Another great source of information is the visit La Ceiba web page. Last, but not least, feel free to read through our blog, you will find useful and important information there. If you don’t, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will be more than happy to help you out with your questions and suggesting activities depending on your interests.
One of the best ways to get to know all about La Ceiba is by staying with the locals. we invite you to consider staying at the award wining La Villa de Soledad B&B. We will be happy to sit down with you and share our knowledge about La Ceiba and surroundings!
Planning to visit Atlantida on your next vacations?
The brand new visit Atlantida app for IOS and Android operating systems is now available for free at the Google play store and the Apple store. This visit Atlantida app is designed to give you all the tools you need to plan your next vacation to Atlantida. To download this app to your android smart phone, follow this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hr.apps.n206984407
But why visit Atlantida? Well, for one it is the most complete destination in Honduras, and possibly all of Central America! Atlantida offers outstanding alternatives for traditional beach and sun vacations, with two distinct hubs to choose from: Tela and La Ceiba. It is also an extremely complete eco tourism and nature destination, with a total of 8 national parks or protected areas to choose from, with 7 of these offering a variety of tourism services, each unique and particular that will fit into your interests: from hiking in the rain forests to kayaking through mangrove canals, diving in pristine coral barrier reefs or riding in a century old railroad track on a funky banana train, the variety is almost endless! If you are interested in adventure, then maneuvering through the white waters of the Cangrejal River, mountain biking in a remote location or horseback riding through the jungles of Nombre de Dios and Pico Bonito National Parks.
The visit Atlantida mobile phone app also offers a complete list of hotels and lodges in Atlantida where you can stay, as well as restaurants and eateries and tour operators that you can use to arrange your package if you choose to do so through a professional tour operator.
A list of places to see and activities to do complete this new app that also allows a lot of interaction, such as setting you profile, checking into hotels and even writing reviews and comments regarding the establishment you visited or the attraction you visited and activities you enjoyed.
For a more complete resource, the visit Atlantida web site also offers a complete source of information, both in English and Spanish.
Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad, a perfect match?
After years of exploring Honduras, in search for new unique experiences for the traveler in this part of the World, I am still astonished by what I find! I was exploring the Los Micos Lagoon this weekend when I came across Los Olingos, located deep in the shores of this large lagoon. My immediate thoughts were that these two unique resorts were a perfect match! When trying to come up with the way to describe how Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad can complement each other, I recalled the old song that Frank Sinatra used to sing: love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage…. Truly, Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad go together beautifully, and offer the perfect combination of an eco adventure or an eco relaxed trip to Atlantida, “Central Americas’ Caribbean Heart”.
Getting to Los Olingos is an experience in itself: First you must get to the Garifuna village of Miami, located in the Bay of Tela, on a narrow sandbar between Los Micos Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. This is the most authentic Garifuna Village on mainland Central America, and is itself, worth a visit to get more acquainted with the Garifuna culture, which has been awarded the status of Intangible Human Heritage by the UNESCO! At the entrance to Miami, I came across a nice dock next to a shaded deck, where I was greeted by the friendly staff of Los Olingos, who after introcing themselves, led us to our boat to commence the last part of the journey to Los Olingos, a 20 minute boat ride through mangrove canals and across the huge Los Micos Lagoon.
At Los Olingos we were greeted by friendly staff who immediately offered us a glass of chilled coconut water, that had just been taken from their plentiful coconut plantation. Truly a delightful welcome. The complex consists of several historical wooden homes that were built a century ago a were part of the executive residences for the Tela Railroad Company management. The homes where purchased in Tela, and then carefully taken apart and rebuilt, completely refurbished, in their current location. Extensive porches, fine wooden details and lots of cross ventilation, you will feel like transported to time when life was much more relaxed and when nature still surrounded the communities in the world.
Los Olingos gets its name from the howler monkeys that inhabit in the adjacent forests to the property. These loud critters emit intimidating sounds, but are actually harmless and stay away from humans. For a trip to Los Olingos you should plan on at least 3 nights, to enjoy visiting Miami and Punta Sal, exploring the mangrove forests and canals, do some bird-watching or get to know the adjacent community of Agua Blanca and its friendly people. You can also of course simply relax in a hammock and enjoy the cool breeze blowing across the lagoon…
Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad are the perfect match, they both offer a relaxing setting, but in very different environments. They are located about 2 hours away from each-other, and while at the first you will enjoy the mangrove forests, in the second you can enjoy hiking in the rain-forests of Pico Bonito National Park. In Los Olingos you will enjoy some leisurely paddling through mangrove canals and at La Villa de Soledad you will have the opportunity to experience the best white water in Honduras, possibly in Central America and the Caribbean. The sounds of nature are magnificent at both Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad, but they are very different between each other! For the perfect nature and adventure vacation in Atlantida, plan on a week, and spend three nights each at Los Olingos and La Villa de Soledad, located on the Cangrejal River Valley.
Atlantida is the new and upcoming destination in Central America!
1. Atlantida Honduras is the Gateway to the Bay Islands
Yes the Bay Islands of Honduras are famous, and there is a reason why they are: Lovely, still quite pristine, with beautiful white sand beaches, magnificent coral reefs, picturesque native towns, and friendly English speaking people. Although Roatan has its own international airport, most people prefer traveling to La Ceiba, the capital of Atlantida and then take the 1 ½ hour state of the art ferry trip to Roatan. This way, they get to see more of the country and its beautiful nature and friendly people.
The Garifuna Culture has been declared Intangible World Heritage. The heroic fight that this unlikely culture fought against the European Conquerors’ is a truly interesting part of History that is known to few. Not only did they maintain their freedom, they have also retained their own language and traditions over the centuries. 95% of the Garifunas call Honduras their home, and many of them live in Atlantida Honduras. The Garifunas are friendly people who live off the sea, and therefore all of their villages are on the Caribbean Coast of Central America. Come and interact with this unique culture, and visit their communities in Atlantida.
3. The highest peak on the Atlantic Coast in the North American Continent
The Nombre de Dios Mountains rise sharply from sea level to a maximum altitude of over 8000 feet above sea level. The highest peak is Pico Bonito, located almost behind the City of La Ceiba. This triangular shaped peak has become an icon for the city, and is home to Pico Bonito National Park. Pico Bonito is the highest peak on the Atlantic Coast of all of North and Central America. This natural barrier provides outstanding protection to some of the most pristine National Parks in Central America.
4. The highest percentage of protected areas in all of Central America!
Atlantida Honduras offers 4 national parks, two wildlife refuges, one marine monument and a Botanical garden; in total 8 protected areas where you will find a huge diversity of eco systems, providing a variety of options for the eco tourist. Great hiking, outstanding birding, World class white water rafting, fantastic snorkeling are but a few of the options available. What else could you ask for in a eco destination?
5. The best beaches on the Atlantic coast / Caribbean Sea in Central America
There are two main hubs in Atlantida Honduras, Tela and La Ceiba. Tela is famous in Central America for its beautiful beaches. The Bay of Tela has many miles of beaches, including the most beautiful white sand beaches in Central America. La Ceiba is not famous for its beaches, however the community of El Porvenir, adjacent to Tela offers great beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. If you are a beach lover, Atlantida will not disappoint you! Without much pretense, I can assure you that the best beaches in mainland Central America are to be found in Atlantida Honduras.
6. The best nightlife in Honduras
La Ceiba has an outstanding reputation as the best night life destination in Honduras. It has a lot to do with the great clubs and disco’s that are located right on the beach and offer music to dance to till the wee hours of the morning. If you are dancer, or a night owl, come to La Ceiba and enjoy some of the best night life in Central America.
Just like Tela is famous for its beaches, La Ceiba has the magnificent Cangrejal River which offers World class white water rafting . This is one of the best rivers in Central America to raft in! It is easy to get to, it offers great, challenging technical rapids, incredibly clear water, and an amazing scenery as you paddle to maneuver through huge, building size boulders on the river bed. Atlantida Honduras offers the best white water rafting in Honduras and quite possibly, the best white water rafting in Central America and the Caribbean!
8. Outstanding diving
Atlantida Central Honduras offers World Class diving! Despite the fact that it is not well known for its diving, Atlantida offers World Class diving. Both Tela and La Ceiba have great diving options. The “Capiro” reef located a few kilometers off the shores of the Tela Bay is the best preserved reef in all of the Central America Caribbean Coast. If you are in La Ceiba, easy access from Sambo Creek to the Hog Cays (Cayos Cochinos) will set you in one of the most pristine reefs in the Caribbean. Diving is absolutely spectacular. Best of all, there are few divers in the reefs, so these are still very much pristine and your to explore!
Atlantida, up to now, has been a relatively unknown destination. This means that it does not receive many visitors, and although this is not good news for the business owners, it is great news for the tourists who do visit Tela, La Ceiba or both! The National Parks, the different activities available and the many attractions are beautiful and un-crowded. If you are like I am, and dislike being in crowded places and avoid being caught in tourist traps, then Atlantida is perfect for you! Come to Atlantida and enjoy nature like its meant to be: un-crowded and pristine. Atlantida is often overlooked by travelers who on their way to the Bay Islands of Honduras actually pass right through it and actually skip it completely! What a mistake! Take note that the one week of the year when this is not true is during Easter Week, known locally as Semana Santa. During this week
10. Atlantida Honduras is easy to get around in.
One of the great advantages of Atlantida Honduras as a tourist destination is that there are so many different things to do and it is easy to get around. There is great bus service between Tela and La Ceiba, and there taxis are plentiful and affordable. In addition, there are two daily departures from La Ceiba to both Utila and Roatan, and the airport in La Ceiba offers direct not stop flights to all three of the islands plus San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. The highway between Tela and La Ceiba is in great condition, so you can rest assured you will find it easy to get around. Another fact that will it easier to get around in Atlantida is the fact that Atlantida has the highest percentage of bilingual English Spanish people in all of Honduras. This means that communicating in English will be relatively easy during your vacations in Atlantida Honduras.
Now that you are aware of the top ten reasons to visit Atlantida Central Honduras, start planning your trip. Make sure you do not miss out on the Cangrejal River. Here you will find outstanding lodging options, such as La Villa de Soledad. Come and enjoy the best vacations ever with us in Atlantida Honduras!
Central America has long carved a niche in the ecotourism market. As a matter of fact, the term, ecotourism was coined in Central America. Today, there are many different destinations looking to get a piece of the action, and although Costa Rica is the leader without doubt, it is not necessarily the best option. Honduras has a magnificent selection of ecotourism options, and without doubt, Atlantida, the best ecotourism destination in Central America, has all of the ingredients for a perfect ecotourism vacation.
Atlantida, the best ecotourism destination in Central America offers 8 protected areas that are all close to each other. These National Parks and wildlife refuges are not only easy accessible and offered by tour operators, they are also very diverse between each other and are available at a fraction of what you would pay in Costa Rica!
For example, Atlantida, the best ecotourism destination in Central America offers World Class white water rafting on the Cangrejal River. Best of all is the fact that the put in at the river is only 45 minutes away from the airport, ferry terminal or any hotel in the city! If you prefer, you can even stay at a hotel within the Cangrejal River Valley and therefore simply walk to the put in! Such is the case at La Villa de Soledad B&B, a lovely boutique bed and breakfast and jungle eco lodge that is located on the Cangrejal River and within walking distance to the trails in Pico Bonito National Park. For a complete list of your options in the Cangrejal River Valley, visit www.cangrejalriver.com
Atlantida also offers outstanding reefs at the Cayos Cochinos Marine Monument, located just a few miles off the shore from Sambo Creek. There are daily tours departing to these magnificent kays, and you can either take a day tour or even spend a night in this pristine Caribbean Paradise.
Tela, the other large community that offers access to the protected areas in Atlantida offers lovely beaches, great Garifuna communities plus the opportunity to visit the second largest tropical botanical garden in the World: Lancetilla Gardens. There is also a magnificent reef that was recently discovered in the Bay of Tela that provides for outstanding diving in a very pristine location. Atlantida, the best ecotourism destination in Central America offers much more than you will see elsewhere! Best of all, it is affordable and not overrun by tourists! Come and visit Atlantida and see for yourself all that this destination has to offer!
Did you know that diving in Atlantida is not only possible but absolutely great?
Diving in Atlantida? The majority of tourists that visit the Bay Islands of Honduras have one big reason to go there: diving! Utila has become famous worldwide due to the fact that it is considered the most affordable destination in the World to get certified as a diver; in other words there is no less expensive destination to get your certification as a diver! Roatan is not far behind in prices, especially in the West End area, where there are many different dive shops that are competing for your business, usually by dropping their prices! If you are just looking to get certified, then the Islands are certainly your best option, however, if you are a serious diver, looking for unique reefs, then you should probably look a bit further, and you will find that Atlantida could be a great spot to do some different, unique diving!
Diving in Atlantida offers two distinct products, one at each end of the department. Within the Bay of Tela, a reef was recently discovered that has gotten raving reviews. Nobody knew it was there, so it had not been fished, dived, or had boats full of tourists throwing their anchors into the reef so that hordes of tourists or divers could explore the reef… The reef, which has been called Capiro Reef, offers the best reef off mainland Honduras, it is teeming with life, and is just a short boat ride from the town of Tela. There are a couple of operators that provide service here, the easiest one to get in touch with is the Tela Dive Center. Their headquarters are located within the Hotel Marsol, which is on the main entrance to Tela, a couple of blocks before the beach. (www.teladivecenter.com)
In the La Ceiba area, the diving takes place in Cayos Cochinos. To get to Cayos Cochinos, known in English as the Hog Cays, you must go to Sambo Creek. One of the tour operators that provides regular tour service to Cayos Cochinos is Tourist Options, they are located at the Turicentro Sambo Creek which is right on the beach at Sambo Creek. Cayos Cochinos is considered part of the Meso American Barrier Reef, which is the most biodiverse reef in the World! Cayos is so absolutely unique that the Smithsonian institute actually partnered in conducting investigations on the reef several years ago! There is even a boutique dive resort in Cayos Cochinos that offers diving packages to travelers who are serious about diving. The Turtle Bay Eco Resort is located on the bigger of the two islands and has all inclusive (rooms, meals and diving) packages. (www.turtlebayecoresort.com ). So now you know the different options for diving in Atlantida!