Monumento Nacional El Boquerón

The 4,000 hectares (9,884 acres) of primary and secondary forests in this fine protected area hide within them two river canyons, one mountain, and several small farming communities. The park is the site of Olancho's original Spanish settlement, San Jorge de Olancho, until what locals claim was a volcanic eruption -- though it was more likely a mudslide, as a volcano is nowhere in sight. This a great place to come for day hikes from either Catacamas or Juticalpa.

The entrance to El Boquerón is on the highway between Juticalpa and Catacamas, where the road crosses the Río Olancho at a small farming community also named El Boquerón. From here, trails follow one large loop, beginning by following the river north through the forest, past a few lush swimming holes, and into the canyon. The farther into the canyon you get, you will notice the trees and plants begin to become more tropical and the air more moist. The path crosses the river and moves uphill to the community of La Avispa. Total time so far is 3 hours.

From here, you can ask around for directions to the Caves of Tepezcuintle, about 30 minutes away, turn back to the highway, or continue the loop uphill to the beautiful and rarely visited cloud forest that surrounds the 1,433m (4,701-ft.) peak of Cerro Agua Buena. More rewarding is to camp on this trail in order to be there in the early morning, when the toucans and quetzals are more likely to be seen. The trail continues downhill to the tiny village of El Bambú, from where it is a 45-minute hike along a dirt path back to the highway.

You can arrange for guided hikes (L120-L150 per day) here by visiting the Turisol office (tel. 504/2988-4666) at the Hotel Honduras in Juticalpa or by asking around in the town of El Boquerón for informal guides.

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.