When people think of a Caribbean vacation,
pictures of beach bars and hammocks dance in their heads. Make no mistake, this is part of the charm of a Caribbean vacation, but if you think outside the box, you can find something more. My wife and I have been vacationing in the Caribbean for a few years, but last year we decided to try one of the Caribbean’s unknown gems, Honduras.
Honduras offers something that many other Caribbean travel destinations don’t offer. It has pristine beaches, palm trees and, of course, hammocks, but it also has the advantages of a Central American landscape. Trujillo Bay is a completely underrated place on the north coast of Honduras, very close to the most famous bay islands of Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja.
One of the best of them is the Capiro and Calentura National Park, which is located behind the mountains that seem to flank the Trujillo Bay region. The park is protected, which is fantastic and does not happen enough when the countries are in an upward spiral. You need a guide, but I recommend an official because the park is very far away!
We decided to empty the car early enough and hike as much as possible.
Capiro and Calentura are a haven for wildlife. But they don’t stay if you drive in a vehicle that misses the mark! Macaws and howler monkeys (known as micos) are plentiful here. The distance you can reach really depends on the depth of the park. There are poaching problems in Honduras, even in protected areas, so monkeys should be a little suspicious of humans!
You quickly feel surrounded by lush tropical vegetation that looks more Amazonian than the Caribbean. The flora is amazing, I’ve never been to the rainforest and I was blown away. The highlight for me was (almost) contact with a big cat. The guide said it was a panther, but I’m not sure, it quickly reminded me that I was no longer in Kansas!
We were able to cool off from our hike in a series of really beautiful waterfalls that follow the Rio Negro line at the top of the mountain. It has revived us for the last step to the summit of Calentura – it’s worth it. The view is exceptional, the coast stretches for miles and the Bay Islands seem incredibly clear from up there. We had to rest before going back down, but who can complain after this experience? So when you think about your Caribbean vacation. Think outside the box and get more than just a beach.
We stayed in one of the nice hotels in Trujillo called Banana Beach,
which is about 40 minutes from downtown. Although advertised as a hotel, it offers much more than a collection of rooms. Instead of a single main building, the property is divided into small, isolated bungalows that can be rented per room, or, as we did, lock, store, and hold. The resort has beautiful beaches, a friendly beach bar and interesting locals who have made the Caribbean experience so famous. But it can also be used as a base to explore some of the region’s Central American aspects. Vacation.