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Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Travel Guide Central America Honduras Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

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Introduction

This important Unesco World Heritage Site is located in the northwest of Honduras, which mainly contains uninhabited areas. The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is one of the few remains of a tropical rainforest in Central America and has a high biodiversity with abundant and varied plant and wildlife. Besides its natural significance, there are over 2000 indigenous people who live here and have preserved their traditional way of life in piece with the surrouding pristine nature. It one of the best places to experience the fauna and unique species of animals in Central America.

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Opening Hours

February to July are the best months to enjoy a tour of Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. Avoid the months from November to January as it is the rainy season.

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Cost

There is no park entrancefee. In Las Marias the head guide asks for a voluntary donation.

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Sights and Activities

Petroglyphs can be seen in the upper reaches of the Río Plátano. Archeologists suspect a hidden town somewhere around this place in the jungle.

The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is the home of unique wild life such as toucans, monkeys, parrots, rare butterflies, and sea turtles. Terrain includes jungle, forest, and beach land. Some communities even offer tours of archeological sites! Travellers also get to see how indigenous residents live their everyday lives.

There is so much to do in the Biosphere Reserve! Tours through the indigenous communities of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance allow travellers to view beautiful natural environments. Travellers have the opportunity to engage in authentic cultural exchanges with the indigenous communities of Belen, Raista, Brus Laguna, Yamari Savannah Cabanas, Plaplaya, Batalla, Les Marias. These cultural activities include storytelling, dancing, drumming, singing, and craft making. Travellers can also kayak, swim, hike, and canoe to explore the land and waters of the biosphere.

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Getting There

Boat services depart with great infrequency from La Ceiba and Trujillo. These are cargo barges that makes stops along the coast to sell mechandise to local stores. Ask at the docks.

By land from La Ceiba

First off, you have to get on a chicken bus bound for Tocoa that leaves early in the morning from the bus station in La Ceiba. In Tocoa, there are pickups leaving every morning around 9:00am. They gather across the street from the market place by the bus station. All of them will try to sell you a ride in their own pickup, but don't let anyone grab you bag until you have negotiated a fair price. Prices for the 5-6 hours very bumpy pickup ride vary between 300 and 500 lempiras, depending on negotiating skills, luck and if you get to ride inside the car or up back with the merchandice (it will be loaded bad). Car robberies are common on this route, make sure to hide credit cards and camera memory sticks as well as your passport in case of bad luck. The pickup trucks stop in Batalla, which is just across a narrow strait of water from Palacios. From here, you can get a collectivo-boat to take you where you would want to go. Don't pay anymore than 200 lempiras to get to Belen or Raista.

To Las Marias

"Collectivo" Once you are in the Belen-area you can ask around for the next boat heading to Las Marias. With bad luck you might have to wait up to 4 days, but usually there leaves a motorised canoe at least 3 or 4 times a week. The one way "collectivo"-price here should be no more than 800 max, 500 is the common price. It is a bit more expensive to go upriver than down. Making the reverse jurney should cost between 300 and 500 lempiras. Use your negotiating skills without being too rude. It is only fair they charge outsiders a bit more than locals that pay even less than the prices stated here.

"Expresso" If you are short on time and have the money to spend, it might be worth considering hiring a private boat. This will cost between 3000 and 4,500 lempiras, is roundfare, and usually includes the 2 or 3 overnight stays that the driver has to do in Las Marias. Most boats can take 4 people.

By Air

Regular takeoffs from La Ceiba, in small aircraft. Palacios near the park has a small airstrip. From there you can enter the park by boat or on foot. The airstrip in Las Marias is too short to be used for anything else than emergencies. Both Belen and Puerto Lempira also have airstrips.

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Getting Around

Inside the reserve there are no roads and all transport is done by boat. The local boats are called "Pipante" and are hollow tree trunks sometimes motorised by outboard engines. They are a more pricey form of trasport than the inboard engine alternative called "tuck-tuck". For some travels you don't even need a motor.

Quad wheelers and motorcycles trafficate the beaches.

It is also possible to fly.

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Eat

In the Great Pine Savannah, home to the Yamari Savannah Cabanas and the Bus Laguna, travelers enjoy fresh seafood dinners. Other areas allow tourists to watch how their meals are being made such as the Batalla community where traditional ‘casaba’ bread is made.

In a lot of these communities one should expect a staple diet of yucca, rice, beans and platones with very little variation. It might be a good idea to bring some spicy sauce from the city.

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Drink

Travellers can access alcoholic drinks in most communities. One should however be a bit self conscious about how much one drinks and where and when. Alcoholism here is by far the major social problem, and locals have a tendency to mimic the behaviour of visitors. In the village of Las Marias drinking doesn't, as of yet, pose as big a problem as along the costal communities. Let's try to keep it that way. Think twice before consuming alcohol, and if you to, try to set a responsible example.

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Sleep

In the small town of Las Marias it is possible to stay with the indigenous people.

Most of the host communities are part of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance, which provides lodging for travelers. Lodging is typically in the form of small cabanas with comfortable single beds or larger ecolodges. Showers and flush toilets are available at all locations.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 8:39 on Feb 13, 18 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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