Aerial view of Cayos Cochinos
A lovely set of two small islands and 11 cays, Cayos Cochinos, also referred to as the Hog Cays, are a true Caribbean paradise. Politically the islands belong to the department of the Bay Islands, however, they are closer and easier to get to from La Ceiba that they are from Roatan. The smaller of the two islands, known as Cochino Pequeño is under the management of a local NGO called Fundacion Cayos Cochinos, www.cayoscochinos.org which is in charge of the management of the protected marine park. Their offices are located in La Ceiba on the Corner of Boulevard Cangrejal and Avenida Victor Hugo in the Naranjal district of town. They have a small park station with facilities for scientists that continuously visit the park and monitor the balance of this delicate ecosystem. All visitors to the park must pay a $10 US entrance fee to the park.
There are two regularly inhabited villages on Cayos Cochinos, one of the them is East End, which is a permanent outpost of the Garifuna people that live in the community of Sambo Creek, close to La Ceiba, the other is Chachahuate, a lovely primitive looking community on the cay of the same name, whose inhabitants are from Nueva Armenia, Jutiapa.
Tourists arriving at Chachahuate Cay
There is one very nice, first class dive resort on the islands, Turtle Bay Dive Resort, (www.turtlebayecoresort.com) which operates as an all inclusive property specializing in diving. This is the only fully licensed hotel in the Cays, however there are some private residences on the cays that can be rented. In addition, there is a basic community owned lodge called Cabañas Luru Beya in the community of East End that offers a dorm style cabins and good food service. http://cayoscochinoshonduras.webs.com/hospedaje.htm
The last, more basic option is the community rooms at Chachahuate, these are extremely basic, plus remember, there is no running water on this cay, so don’t expect even the more basic of comforts!
A view of Playa Argentina at Cayos Cochinos
Getting to Cayos Cochinos is relatively easy from La Ceiba. There are regular boats travelling between Sambo Creek and Armenia to the Hog Cays. In addition, the Turtle Bay Resort offers transportation for their own guests in their modern boats. Finally, there is a tour operator that has an operation out of Sambo Creek that offers daily tours to the Cayos Cochinos. Tourist Options has an outpost at Sambo Creek called the Turicentro Sambo Creek that offers tours departing every morning at 8:00 a.m. and return around 3:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.touristoptions.com or call (504) 2443 4075. Currently a tour to Cayos Cochinos with Tourist Options costs $39.00 US and includes the entrance fees to the park. Keep in mind that the sea tends to get rough in the afternoon, so as a general rule the boats always depart early in the morning from the coast to the islands, and the return is usually scheduled not later that 2 p.m.
Learn more about Honduras National Parks