La Mosquitia, Facts for Budget Travellers into the
Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Please note that these facts reflect only a what I noticed during my journey through the area. Although it is the truth, it is far from the whole truth.

A map of Honduras.
Detailed map of La Mosquitia, covering Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve.

How to get there
The first question is how to get into the region. The deluxe traveller takes the airplane. Isleña Airlines can take you from La Ceiba or Trujillo, to Palacios and Brus Laguna. You can also fly to other destinations within La Mosquitia. A cheaper way is to go by boat, although it might mean that you have to wait for several days to find someone going in your direction. Boats are likely to leave from Limón, Trujillo or Puerto Castilla. The third way is to go by bus or 'carro'. They go from Tocoa, some 70 km southwest of Trujillo, to Sangrelaya. It is a long and arduous journey, yet an interesting and cheap way to get there.

Places to sleep
herrera.jpg Judging from what I heard from people along the coast, there seems to be a place where you can stay overnight in almost all the villages. Just ask when you arrive.
Palacios has two hotels; Cocobila has several places to sleep, the Isleña agent in the center being one; at the eastern end of Belén there were two places; Kury had one, ask for profesor Sisto; and in Las Marias there is at least one place, ask for Doña Herrera.
I was also told that I could stay the night in Sangrelaya. Two travellers told that they had slept in Tocamacho. And someone said I could stay in Ibans, in case I'd go there.

No restaurants or other places to eat. However, all the places where I stayed overnight did also prepare meals for very moderate prices. Note, however, that this means eating lots of rice and beans. They complement this with food like platanos, eggs, bread or the odd pieces of chicken, meat or fish.
I noticed 'pulperias', small shops, in Palacios, Cocobila, Las Marias and Rio Plátano. I assume there are more pulperias in other villages (not tiny Kury, though). These shops are where you can buy the most basic stuff. Just don't expect too much.
Bring your own chemicals or other means for water purification.

Travelling along the coast
Carros can take you between Punta de Piedra and Sangrelaya. There were also carros going beyond Sangrelaya, but I don't know how far they went.
cocobila.jpg Tuk-tuks and lanchas ply the waters between Palacios and Cocobila/Belén/Payabila. Some go through the channels all the way to the village of Rio Plátano (also known as Barra Plátano). Best time to catch a ride is in the early morning. If nothing else works, you can always ask people for transport in canoes or boats. Prices go up but you're likely to get where you want.
Your feet are another great means for getting around. Walking between Sangrelaya and Palacios (actually to Batalla) is a long and rather tough trip. Calculate with at least three hours (probably four to five, if you don't want to rush). Hiking along the narrow strip of land which encloses Laguna Ibans, on the other hand, is a nice experience. Several villages to pass, not too far apart. It was more or less a half hours walk, at a medium to brisk pace, between each of the villages of Cocabila, Belén, Nuevo Jerusalem and Kury. Somewhat longer from Kury to Rio Plátano.
N.B. Sundays are very quiet. Not good for travelling. Plan on taking a rest for the day.

Travelling upriver to Las Marias
Las Marias is a large village with houses spread over a vast area, on both sides of the river. Las Marias was, until some 12-15 years ago, named Baltiltuk. Today, the name survives in Quebrada Baltiltuk which discharges its water into the river just above the village.

Lanchas can be chartered to take you from the coast up to the village of Las Marias.
Profesor Sisto in Kury arranges such trips. So does people in Rio Plátano (and probably in several of the other villages). They normally quoted prices for a three-day trip, with an extra charge for each additional day, presumably to cover food and accomodation for the boat's captain. Prices for a three day trip was Lp. 1100-1200 for the boat. Each extra day costs Lp. 50-150. Going upriver takes 4-7 hours, coming down is somewhat faster.
From two locals I asked (a grown up and a small boy) I heard that travelling from Rio Plátano to Las Marias ought to cost Lp. 100-200. I can not confirm this, but it might be correct if travelling in a collective tuk-tuk (with increased likelihood of some extra hours on hard seats).

Excursions from Las Marias
Excursions from Las Marias include:

A guide costs:

For forest hikes, you need one guide for every fifth tourist.
A pipante can carry two tourists and requires three guides to paddle/punt.
The local eco-tourism organization will help you plan your excursions and provide you with guides.

A summary of costs for my week in the area are as follows:
Transport, except belowLp. 240
Lancha, Kury-Las Marias and backLp. 1100
Flying, Palacios-Trujillo o/wLp. 430:50
AccomodationLp. 239
FoodLp. 375
Guides and excurionsLp. 330
OtherLp. 10
The sum is Lp. 2724:50 which is close to US$ 210, or US$ 30/day. With somebody to share the cost of the lancha, the price would have come down quite a bit.
Exchange rate in June, 97: US$1 = Lp.13,07

Information in Trujillo
For (hopefully) up-to-date information about La Mosquitia and getting there, check with:

Spanish schools in Trujillo
Although it has nothing to do with La Mosquitia, it might be worth noting that there are two companies running spanish schools in Trujillo. Don't remember any names (but one of them also operated in Copán).
Prices were said to be around US$150/week. This includes accomodation, where you stay with a local family, 3 meals a day, and 4-6 hours of spanish studies each day, five days a week.

Other information:
HondurasTips is a magazine available at hotels, restaurants and other "touristic" locations in Honduras. It provides detailed and up-to-date information on many interesting locations all around the country. I found the information very useful, being a good complement to my travel guide (LP). Read more, or order your own copy before you go, at:

The only other source of information I've found on the net is Derek Parent's homepage, where he maintains information on La Mosquitia. Take a closer look at:

© 1997 by Lars Fälting
Last updated 30 Aug 1997
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