Aldea El Pino Km 175, La Ceiba, Honduras
Pico Bonito Lodge is for the birds, literally, with over 300 species of birds spotted in and around the property. Pico Bonito is one of the most luxurious eco lodges in Central America and the first of its kind in Honduras.
Some guests may think that getting to the Lodge at Pico Bonito is not "half the fun" but it is part of the adventure. While Pico Bonito is a luxury hotel, it is also an eco hotel well off the beaten path. You usually arrive at La Ceiba airport via a small prop plane and are picked up in a van for the complimentary 30–minute ride to the lodge, a ride that includes two miles on an unpaved road that feels longer. You'll probably enjoy the complimentary chilled bottled water during the drive. Any qualms you may have about the sagacity of booking Pico Bonito dissipate upon arrival at the Lodge, which is a vision of tropical splendor.
Built in 2000, Pico Bonito is the first luxury ecological destination in Honduras. You are greeted with a tropical drink and invited to sit on the long porch with breathtaking views of the towering peaks of the Nombre de Dios Mountain Range. The hummingbirds collecting nectar from the flowering bushes that line the porch cause a delightful distraction, especially if a crown of clouds hides the mountaintops. You don't have to go far to see a variety of birds: you see dozens of them from the long porch of the main lodge or from the cabanas.
Walkways lead to cabanas built on stilts in the local style that are scattered amidst the cocoa trees. The property is still a working cocoa farm. Rooms are luxuriously basic with mahogany four–poster beds topped with high–end linens and a waiting fluffy white robe. Some accommodations have A/C but the ceiling fans, screened louvered windows, and mosquito nettings are for the true ecologically minded guests. The night sounds in a rainforest are incredible. The property offers a true escape from the modern world, as rooms do not have telephones or TVs. However, guests at Pico Bonito spend most of their time looking at the flora and fauna anyway. To the point, each cabana sports a wide porch with lounge chairs and hammocks perfect for communing with nature––or resting after the nature hikes and adventures that are part of the program. Even though the cabana are relatively close to one another the trees make each accommodation feel like a private retreat.
The draw at Pico Bonito is the rainforest. Bring insect repellant! And rain gear! The abundant birds on the 200–acre property are joined by a wide array of flora and fauna, with more being identified on a regular basis. A short walk from the main entrance is an on–site working butterfly farm that breeds numerous species of colorful tropical butterflies for export to collectors and butterfly houses around the world. A tour is free for guests as is a visit to the property's Serpentarium snake display.
There are guided hikes along the nature trails, an observation tower for optimum bird watching, and trails that lead to beautiful natural waterfalls and rivers. Some of the hikes can be a bit challenging and the guide prices add up. Take the free get–aquatinted property tour first. A swimming pool offers relief from the heat and humidity.
On a clear night the observation tower provides the best nighttime entertainment––stargazing. The friendly, helpful staff will gladly arrange a variety of adventure activities: whitewater rafting on the Cangrejal River, visits to Cuero y Salado Wildlife Sanctuary, diving, snorkeling, or overnight trips to the Mayan ruins in Copan.
The ambiance at Pico Bonito is one of tranquility but those looking for a relaxing massage after a day hike will find a masseuse available in a woven mat building, called a champa.
The Itzama Restaurant offers MesoAmerican Cuisine including the breakfast, which is not always complimentary. Check the variety of packages to see exactly what is included. For an intimate, romantic dining experience guests can arrange to have dinner served on the large wooden viewing platform near the river. Before dinner most guests gather in the Carbunco Bar, adjacent to the restaurant, to relax with a cocktail or a glass of wine. The talk usually revolves around the bird sightings and comparing the day's adventure. A small library has nature–related reference books. Dining out is an option, but not an easy one without one's one vehicle. There are several good restaurants in La Ceiba for those who want a night out on the town.
Pico Bonito is for those who want to commune with nature in a luxury setting with excellent, personalized service. Given the remote location, consider a package which that offers meals and the additional activities you'd want up front.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito donates a portion of its cabana charges to La Fundacion del Parque Nacional Pico Bonito, a not–for–profit organization that preserves and promotes Pico Bonito National Park.
Web Address: www.picobonito.com
Total Number of Rooms: 22
Published rates: $180 to $350
See a video tour of Pico Bonito
Review by Sandra Scott, photos by Timothy Scott.
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