There are several entrances into Pico Bonito and a few different ways to see the park; fortunately, access is getting easier. The most common entry point and closest to La Ceiba is through the Lodge at Pico Bonito. In the past, you had to be a guest to access their trails; however, guided tours (L570 per person) are available for non-guests and include lunch at the lodge. Their private trails have the best infrastructure and contain several bird-watching towers, well-marked stone paths, and a swimming hole on the Coloradito River. You must make reservations in advance with the lodge.
In the town of El Pino, 19km (12 miles) west of La Ceiba, next door to the lodge and just past the Quebrada Seca Bridge, there is another entrance, which most tour operators in La Ceiba use. Here, you will find the 2.4km (1.5-mile) Zacate River Trail, which passes a few nice swimming holes and ends at the Cascada Zacate. The El Pino Tourist Committee (tel. 504/3386-9878) arranges guided hikes on the trail for L500 per person, including the L120 park admission fee. Alternatively, just hop on any Tela- or San Pedro Sula-bound bus and ask to be let off at El Pino.
On the Río Cangrejal side of the park, a trail entrance is near the town of Las Mangas. There is just one main trail that shouldn't take more than 2 to 3 hours each way. It begins with a hanging bridge over the river and extends to the 60m (197-ft.) Cascada El Bejuco, as well as a couple of smaller waterfalls.
The nonprofit community organization Guaruma (tel. 504/2406-6782; www.guaruma.org) gives two different guided hikes in the park, led by trained young locals: the 2-hour (L60 per person) Guaruma trail and the 4-hour (L120 per person) La Muralla trail. Reservations should be made a few days in advance. Jungle River Tours (tel. 504/2440-1268) and Omega Tours (tel. 504/2440-0334) also run guided hikes here that include a free night at their lodges.
The Río Cangrejal, cutting its way right through Pico Bonito National Park, offers some of the best whitewater rafting and kayaking anywhere in Central America. Plus, it is only 45 minutes from La Ceiba. The river is populated by Class II-V rapids, which pass through lush green forests, beside waterfalls, and over -- sometimes into -- massive granite boulders. Trips begin with a short hike to the drop-in site and last 2 1/2 to 7 hours, depending on the sections of the river you sign up for.
Nearly every tour operator in La Ceiba does some kind of rafting or kayaking trip on the Río Cangrejal. Prices are significantly cheaper than a rafting trip in North America or Europe, ranging from L665 to L1,140. Jungle River Tours (tel. 504/2440-1268; www.jungleriverlodge.com) and Omega Tours (tel. 504/2440-0334) throw in free nights in their lodges with their tour, while Garífuna Tours (tel. 504/2440-3252; www.garifunatours.com) offers package deals that combine rafting trips with other activities around La Ceiba. All trips with these operators include lunch, transport to/from La Ceiba, experienced guides, and quality safety equipment.
There are now two zip-line canopy tours near La Ceiba, in which participants are strapped to a long metal line and propelled by gravity at high speeds from platform to platform over the jungle. The tours are the closest the average person can get to swinging on a vine like Tarzan through the jungle. Jungle River Tours (tel. 504/2440-1268; www.jungleriverlodge.com) offers a tour that runs over the Río Cangrejal in Pico Bonito National Park. The exhilarating 2 1/2- to 3-hour excursion unfolds over a total of eight high wires, the longest being 201m (659 ft.). The trip costs L665 and includes a free night at the Jungle River Lodge, but not transport (that runs an additional L40-L150).
Omega Tours (tel. 504/2440-0334) has several different horseback-riding trips that explore trails and villages in the buffer zone of the National Park. One leads to the village of La Colorada, a petroglyph rock, and/or the small Maya ruins of Chibcha. All trips (L760-L1,425) include a free night in their lodge.
A yoga teacher for almost 40 years, New Jersey native Wendy Green has Ashtanga yoga classes open to the public at her riverside studio, Casa Verde (no phone; www.wendygreenyoga.com) beside Villas Pico Bonito on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7am (L200 suggested donation).
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.