Day 1: San Pedro Sula - Cusuco National Park
At the beginning of this tour we drive to Buenos Aires, a coffee growing community in the damping zone of the Cusuco National Park. There we take quarter at the simple but nice Eco Albergue. As we drive up to the national park, we can observe various changes of the vegetation. On the lower parts of the mountains of Cusuco the vegetation consist of pine forest and tropical forest. Around 1,500 m the cloud forest begins. The vegetation in cloud forests has got adapted to the climatic and geographic conditions; for instance bromeliads and orchids are able to take water and sometimes even nutrients from the air. Before dinner we explore the surroundings of our accommodation. Get enchanted by the climate and the silence during the dusk. The birdsongs and the vegetation characterized by ferns and bromeliads make the mystic atmosphere perfect. 2 overnights at Eco Albergue.
Day 2: Cusuco National Park
Today we explore the magnificent biodiversity of the cloud forest. With some luck we may spot a variety of wildlife such as toucans, monkeys, tapirs or the resplendent quetzal. Huge tree ferns - up to 20 m tall, the highest in all Central America - are typical for Cusuco and give the impression of being in a Jurassic world. From March to May one of the typical early morning sounds of Cusuco National Park is the monotonous call of the resplendent Quetzal, the mystic and holy bird of the Aztecs and Mayans. Historic tales explain the bright red breast of the male Quetzal as a symbol of the eternal life of the Mayan warriors, who lost their lives against the Spaniards on the battlefield. The Quetzal came from the gods down to the warriors as they died and saved their souls. The legends of the Aztecs are almost the same, saying that the red chest is the blood from their last king Montezuma, who died during the Spanish conquest. The charm of Cusuco does not only come from the nature, but also from the quiet and harmonic life in the 38 surrounding coffee towns.
Day 3: Cusuco National Park - Cerro Azul Meambar National Park
We break camp after breakfast. Our journey continues through a scenic drive to the Lake Yojoa. The Lago de Yojoa is the only volcanic lake in Honduras and the largest reserve of fresh water available to the country. The Lake Yojoa Basin measures 43,600 hectares and was recognized as a Wetland of Worldwide Interest by the UN through the Ramsar Convention in 2005. 13 different types of wetlands and certain unique ecosystems have been identified within the region. About 800 species of plants grow in this protected area. With so many plant species, it is not surprising that more than 400 species of birds live in or near this area. We drive up to Cerro Azul Meambar where we spend the following 2 nights in the visitors' centre.
Day 4: Cerro Azul Meambar National Park
The core zone of the protected area Cerro Azul Meambar is located at about 1,800 m above sea level. The mountain peaks of this region are typically covered with clouds. These clouds are the product of the high altitude and the resulting cooler temperatures of the mountains. This builds a natural barrier for the hot and humid Caribbean air that is forced to climb the mountains. The air cools down and condenses. The result is clouds, fog and drizzle. The cloud forest at Cerro Azul Meambar National Park serves as a water reservoir that guarantees the constant water supply to the surroundings towns. We explore the different forest types of the national park. The existence of tropical, pine and cloud forests within a small area has led to a fascinating biodiversity and species richness. In the afternoon we hike to an idyllic waterfall where we take a refreshing bath.
Day 5: Cerro Azul Meambar National Park - San Pedro Sula
On our way back to San Pedro Sula we visit the Pulhapanzak waterfall and the archaeological park of Los Naranjos. Pulhapanzak has been an important ceremonial and cultural site for the early Maya. The fresh clear water invites us for a refreshing bath. Although scientists are not sure which indigenous community inhabited the region of Los Naranjos, they tend to believe that it were ancestors of the Lenca. In the afternoon we return to San Pedro Sula.
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