Three rivers, the Cuero, Salado, and San Juan, feed this massive estuary that is one of the most important natural reserves in Honduras. Since wildlife is abundant, with just a little luck, you will see a decent selection of birds and mammals. There are almost 200 species of birds on record in the reserve, as well as sloths, ocelots, jaguars, otters, howler and white face monkeys, iguanas, caimans, and the elusive West Indian manatee.
Since the reserve is nearly impossible to find on your own, even if you're a seasoned guidebook writer, the best way to explore the canals and mangrove forests is by boat from the visitor center in Salado Barra. Two-hour motorboat tours leave regularly from this visitor center, although some longer tours, on which you have a much better chance of encountering manatees, are also available. Going with a tour operator such as Garífuna Tours or Omega Tours is a much easier way to see the park and far cheaper in most instances; it usually costs L760 to L950 ($40-$50/£20-£25). If you are going on your own, you will have to fork over money for admission plus the entire cost for the boat and guide, rather than splitting it.
Considering wildlife-watching is best done at dawn, you might want to stay the night at the visitor center's dorm lodging, which runs L135 ($7/£3.50), or pitch a tent (L55/$3/£1.50) on the premises of the park. There's a small cafeteria by the visitor center.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Very Highly Recommended 2010
- tel: 504/443-0329
- La Ceiba, Honduras
- 30km (19 miles) west of La Ceiba
- La Ceiba
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