Resorts

THE LODGE AT PICO BONITO


Dawn over Pico Bonito in northern Honduras (Image by Inger Vandyke)

Just a short hop by plane or ferry from the spectacular Bay Islands of Roatan, mainland Honduras is a country filled with contrasts.  From soaring peaks clad in mystical cloud forests, to otherworldly cacti woods that are home to Central America’s rarest hummingbird, the Honduran Emerald, Honduras’ spectacular wild rivers and jungles can only be likened to Costa Rica before tourism struck.  

Culturally Honduras enjoys a mix of western, Hispanic, Mayan Indian and Garifuna societies that are fascinating to explore and photograph.

The north coast of Honduras is lined with palm fringed beaches and dotted with tiny fishing villages.  Many wild rivers that cascade from the fringing mountain ranges, terminate in pristine estuaries that are home to manatees, bats and a huge amount of birds.

At the headwaters of those rivers, rainforests teem with life including green iguanas, anole lizards, birds, butterflies and amphibians.  

THE LODGE AT PICO BONITO

Nestled in rainforest at the base of one of northern Honduras’ highest peaks, the Lodge at Pico Bonito is a haven of crisp white linen, luxury and subtle, yet discerning hospitality.

Built largely from native timbers and stone, the Lodge has a series of well constructed bungalows, each with its own balcony, that are connected to the main restaurant and reception by well lit gravel paths.  

The Lodge manager, James Adams, believes in fostering an ethos of conservation, education and sensitivity towards the land that the Lodge occupies.  He is a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic manager who is always happy to share wildlife sightings, let you know where to find certain creatures and help you identify critters you might have seen on your walk.  His passion for the wildlife of the Lodge translates into it being a sanctuary for many animals that are quite tame like Agoutis and Hummingbirds.  During his tenure James has constructed some fantastic towers that you can climb to get a view over the rainforest canopy, established a network of well marked walking trails, overseen the establishment of a butterfly farm and serpentarium, constructed specific ponds to encourage frog communities and set up an infrared cloth to study the rainforest insects of the area.  The biodiversity of the Lodge’s grounds alone is outstanding.

James has also has also trained a number of resident wildlife experts who offer fantastic guided walks in the rainforest or take you on a night spotting trip looking for snakes and owls.

If going with a guide isn’t your thing, the Lodge’s reception has walking maps where you can hike to one of the pristine rivers flowing down either side of the Lodge’s grounds and swim in gin clear waterfalls or river pools.

From the Lodge you can do a number of excellent excursions including:

  • A river cruise at a local manatee refuge
  • White water rafting
  • A visit to the local Garifuna village of Mambo Beach
  • Search for Central America’s rarest bird, the Honduran Emerald
  • Birdwatching
  • Spotlighting for owls, potoos and other nocturnal animals
  • Rural village tours
  • A visit to the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
  • Frog and insect spotting

THE MANATEE REFUGE AT CUERO Y SALADO 

Where on earth can you actually go wildlife spotting from a train?  Oddly the Cuero Y Salado Manatee Refuge, a stunning estuarine system that runs inland from the coast near La Ceiba, is only accessible by a tiny train ride on a narrow gauge track.  On the way, if you see something interesting, your guide can shout “Stop!” and the train driver will stop long enough for you to photograph birds, flowers, people or scenery.

Arriving at the refuge, a visitor information centre has a number of interesting displays of wildlife and outlines some of the research that has been done in the area.  

From there, you take tiny motorized boats along a river that is lined with huge trees.  The guides are excellent wildlife spotters who can show you colonies of Proboscis Bats, Howler Monkeys, Green Iguanas, tropical flowers and a vast array of birds including herons, jacanas, storks and swamp hens.  If you are a keen photographer, the guide will cut the engine, approach an animal from the right angle and quietly so you can get the best possible shot.

You might also see the occasional fisherman paddling his way upstream catching small fish to feed his family.

SAMBO CREEK – HOME OF THE GARIFUNA PEOPLE

A short drive away from the Lodge At Pico Bonito, Sambo Creek is a quaint and colourful Garifuna fishing village on the north coast of Honduras.  

The Garifuna are descendants of West African, Central African, Carib and Arawak peoples who have their own language and unique culture.  In Honduras the Garifuna people speak their own dialect of Arawakan mixed with words from both English and French.  

The coastline of Sambo Creek is decorated by brightly coloured fishing boats and the locals will happily show you their catch.

Fresh from the boat to the table, local Sambo Creek restaurants serve excellent seafood including outstanding ceviche, a raw fish dish that is a local specialty.  If you are feeling very adventurous you can wash your sumptuous seafood lunch down with “gifiti”, the local garifuna liquor.  

SEARCHING FOR EMERALDS

Central America’s rarest bird, the Honduran Emerald, lives in an otherworldly stretch of cactus forest in a rain shadow of the mountains behind the Lodge at Pico Bonito.  It is a tiny Hummingbird that is restricted to only a few specific locations which are demarked by its main food source, the nectar of one species of cactus.

It is virtually impossible to see Honduran Emeralds in the wild without a guide or special permission to access their refuge.  It also involves a very early morning start!

The Lodge at Pico Bonito can arrange a specially guided trip to see Honduran Emeralds in the cactus forests of the Aguan Valley. 

WATERFALLS

The Lodge has a wonderful swimming pool that is a short walk from its restaurant.  If you prefer to swim in a wild river, however, you will find some sensational swimming holes in the local rivers.  Mermaid Pool is about a forty minute hike from the Lodge and is a wonderful place to cool off from the jungle heat.  The water is so clear and refreshing that you almost feel like you’ve dipped in nature’s spa.  When you swim, keep an eye out for beautiful tiny fish swimming near your feet.  They are testimony to the cleanliness of these rivers that are fed by the mountains high above.

FROGS!!!!

It’s official.  Honduras has some of the cutest frogs on earth!  When James noticed the occasional visitng frog at the Lodge, he commissioned a special pool to be built in the hope that it would attract more frogs to the area.  After it was built, and within four months of the pool being filled, it was teeming with frogs.  The pool is only five minutes walk from the restaurant and on a starry night, in a jungle clearing, it is possible to be serenaded by a minimum of four different frog species on the pool’s verges.  Guides can tell you how to differentiate the various frog species from their calls to each other. 

The pool has been so successful at the Lodge that another has been recently built to assist in the conservation of frog habitat in the area. 

NOCTURNAL INSECTS

For entomology lovers the Lodge has an infra-red screen that is illuminated each night to attract insects.  It is worth the walk to inspect this screen just to see the variety of lacewings, moths, grasshoppers and flying ants that are attracted to it.

The Lodge at Pico Bonito is a very carefully considered wildlife experience in Honduras.  It is not only a photographer’s dream location, it literally has something for anyone interested in the natural world.

GETTING THERE

Daily flights operate between Roatan and La Ceiba where a local driver will meet you and transfer you to the Lodge.  Direct flights also operate between La Ceiba and Grand Cayman.

Price: Please contact us for a quote to extend your stay at Roatan or Grand Cayman with a stay at the Lodge at Pico Bonito.

Packages are available but stays can be of any length.

Air Travel: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with your holiday from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to make a stop-over or two, make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.


Pristine rivers flank either side of the Lodge At Pico Bonito and they spill into magnificent swimming holes Image by Inger Vandyke)


A pretty Honduran child rides the train to Cuero Y Salado (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Striped Owl Image by Inger Vandyke)


Tiny anole lizards can be seen doing courtship displays in the Lodge's gardens (Image by Inger Vandyke)


The Lodge at Pico Bonito showcases some of the most spectacular wildlife Honduras has to offer (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Stunning Blue Morpho butterflies flutter around the Lodge's grounds (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Ornamental bananas adorn the Lodge's gardens (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Red-eyed Tree Frogs are a highlight of the Lodge (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Agoutis wander freely in the gardens (Image by Inger Vandyke)


The north coast of Honduras is lined with coconut palms and hammocks (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Colourful hammocks and hats for sale (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Fish is caught fresh each day at Mambo Beach (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Friendly locals abound in Honduras (Image by Inger Vandyke)


The rare Honduran Emerald lives in the cactus forests of the Aguan Valley in a rain shadow behind Pico Bonito (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Tiny proboscis bats hanging in formation actually look like a rainforest vine from afar (Image by Inger Vandyke)


The stunning estuarine area of Cuero Y Salado is home to an amazing variety of creatures including Manatees (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Proboscis bats are a highlight of Cuero Y Salado (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Jacanas are amongst the many waterbirds in Cuero Y Salado (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Garifuna girl at Mambo Beach (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Hummingbirds like the Violet-crowned Sabrewing visit the feeders each day at the Lodge (Image by Inger Vandyke)


Lit paths through the forest guide you from your bungalow to the restaurant (Image by Inger Vandyke)


The staff at the Lodge's restaurant are outstanding (Image by Inger Vandyke)

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