By Alexandra Kastleman
The luscious tropical agriculture surrounds you on your ride down the bumpy road leading to the Pico Bonito Lodge. The sounds of the rocks bouncing against the tires remind you that you are far from the concrete jungle of New York City and deep into a blissful tropical one. Since it is early morning, the clouds are heavy as they sit atop the mountains that fill the National Park inhabited by the many species of birds, bugs and animals. By the time the sun burns off the fog, a strong visual takes into effect, as you look deep into the superlative jungle forests.
Upon arriving at the oasis, otherwise known as Pico Bonito Lodge, a friendly host greets you; “Bienvenido” she beams behind her reception desk. You instantly feel welcomed upon arriving, as if the staff has been waiting for your arrival. The tropical air smells fresh and full of life. If growth and greenery had a scent, this would be the source. As you walk to your cabin, you are entertained by the sound of orchestrated birds singing an ensemble of sweet, cheerful notes. Although it sounds like there are about fifteen birds pitching in on the performance, you can only spot six through the dense greenery. We are told by another friendly guest that you can spot the remaining birds on one of the many hikes Pico Bonito has to offer. After showing interest, we were instantly informed about the eight ecosystems, home to nearly 800 species of birds, within Pico Bonito’s Lodge and National Park proximities.
Pico Bonito’s cabins are bundled against the jungle canopy range. They are made of stone and wood, authentic to the Honduran culture. There are twenty-two cabins, with about six rooms per cabin. Each cabin, with louvered wood and screen windows, has an overhead fan and air conditioning if requested. A landscaped pool sits amidst the lodging grounds for those who wish to lounge. Common areas within the resort include: a butterfly farm, iguana farm, serpentarium, the restaurant, and four story observation decks.
The restaurant at the lodge provides their guests with an excellent dining experience. The authentic room, modeled with Honduran pine, is enclosed with screens to keep the bugs out while welcoming in the night breeze. The menu includes an exotic array of Central American food choices with an American flare to accommodate their guests eating preferences. The food is always full of flavor and spice; the Filet de Mero dish is highly recommended. Since fresh seafood is brought from the Caribbean Sea (only twenty miles from the resort) to the lodge daily, you always want to keep an eye out for those options on the menu. The dining room’s ambience sets a warm tone for pleasurable dining as you look out into the tropical gardens.
During summer, the temperatures average at 90°F during the day and a comfortable 75° F at night. The winter months present a warm 80° F during the day and a refreshingly 65° F throughout the evening. The climate is humid, but comfortable for a tropical standard. Although the days are sunny for the most part, on a typical day the rain will fall for about 20-30 minutes before the sun takes comes out once again. This is what gives Pico Bonito such vivacious wildlife for both plants and creatures.
The lodge is not only accommodating to their guests, but also appealing for the hundreds of species of animals, bugs, and birds who love to visit the fruit trees around the lodge. When you indulge in an exciting hike through the rainforest foliage, you’ll see the wildlife has fully grown to the extent where trees, plants, and flowers wrap around each other as if the forest has tangled itself up. You’ll notice the branches, flora and fauna mesh together as you get deeper into the rainforest. The monstrous size of plants will have you reassess your standards on what the typical tree or plant size should be.
On the skirts of Pico Bonito’s lodge, is a loop trail. It is intended for guests to hike independently or with family members and friends. However, if one does not wish to explore the jungle, you may choose to request a tour guide. The beauty of the excursion pours in when you come across one of the waterfalls or swimming holes along the way. One of the infamous trails leads up the Rio Coloradito. This narrow and steep river pours into the jungle-clad abyss, which provides swimmers with a unique swimming hole. The water is the perfect temperature for a break in the middle of a warm hike through the trails.
Another enchanting hike will lead you to Unbelievable Falls, also known as the ultimate destination upon hiking through the National Park. This particular waterfall is a double drop waterfall that spills for one hudred feet before it reaches the glimmering hole. Typically, these holes are not too crowded given the various other activities intended for Pico Bonito’s guests. Of course, the resort provides guidance to participate in additional adventures such as whitewater rafting along Rio Cangrejal, a twenty-mile river perfectly suited for everyone from first-timers to experienced kayak enthusiasts. Snorkeling ten miles off the shores of La Ceiba will land you on the world’s second largest barrier reef.
Pico Bonito Lodge is a true getaway for those who wish to escape into the deep forests of Central America. The level of comfort achieved from the convenience of the nearby activities, accommodating staff and savory meals will please your body and mind. Experience it for yourself, you won’t leave disappointed!