Tiny Chachauate Cay is home to the only permanent settlement in the Cayos Cochinos. The Garífuna village has no running water or electricity, and the only bathrooms are in communal outhouses. The thatched houses are home to just a few dozen families who eke out a living from fishing and tourism. There are a couple of small eateries serving fried fish and plantains, plus a few craft stands set up informally when a tour boat arrives. Locals rent out their homes to visitors for around L100 per night.
The mountainous Cayo Grande is home to several good hiking trails through the lush jungle, beginning right at Plantation Beach resort and running to the highest points of the island -- from where, on a clear day, you can see 30km (19 miles) in every direction. At the highest point, at 140m (459 ft.), there is a small lighthouse.
The turquoise waters and unspoiled coral reef around the Cayos Cochinos are an ideal spot for underwater exploring, so much so that many prefer diving and snorkeling here to the Bay Islands. There are more than 60 dive sites scattered around the reserve, and many others that have yet to be named. Within the walls, drifts, small wrecks, and sea mounds, you'll find sponges, grunts, sea fans, sea whips, grouper, lobsters, sea urchins, and parrotfish. Less common are manta rays, bottlenose dolphins, whale sharks, and hawksbill turtles. Most dive resorts in the Bay Islands will lead day trips here, but the only dive operation based in the Cayos Cochinos is at the Plantation Beach Resort.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.