Located between the departments of Cortes and Comayagua, Cerro Azul Meambar National Park, also referred to as PANACAM (Parque Nacional Azul Meambar), towers above the lovely blue waters of Lake Yojoa.
Panacam is actually one of two different parks that surround the lake, the other is the Santa Barbara National Park, which is crowned by the Montaña de Santa Barbara, the second highest peak in Honduras at 2,744 meters above sea level (approximately 9,844 feet).
Cerro Azul has a maximum altitude of 2.047 meters above sea level (approximately 6560 feet). Cerro Azul Meambar National Park is located between the two largest bodies of fresh water in Honduras; to its west lies lovely, natural Lake Yojoa, and to the east, the lake created by the Francisco Morazan hydroelectric dam, the largest in Central America.
The park is co managed by Projecto Aldea Global Honduras, (http://www.paghonduras.org/pagprograms/environment.html) a United States based NGO that has invested heavily in the area in an effort to protect the park, and at the same time, improve the quality of life of the inhabitants in the area. They have built a small lodge, named Panacam Lodge that is quite easy to get to.
If you are coming from San Pedro Sula in the direction of Tegucigalpa, keep an eye out as soon as you physically see the lake from the highway, you will soon come up to a small roadside community called “La Guama”. Here you will find a clearly marked sign indicating the route towards Panacam Lodge on the left hand side of the road.
Coming from Tegucigalpa, you will have to keep an eye out for the community; both the La Guama and Panacam road signs are clearly visible, but will be on your right if headed towards San Pedro Sula. From the main highway, there is only a short 6 km, or about 4 ½ miles to the Lodge, and you can drive any kind of a car on the road, which is not paved, but well kept.
From the Lodge at Cerro Azul Meambar National Park you will enjoy a spectacular view of Lake Yojoa on a clear day. The Lodge offers internet service to its guests, however the cellular phone signal is very weak and usually it is hard to get any kind of a signal from there. There are several trails leading into the park that start at the Lodge, so if you are planning to visit the park, the option of staying at the Lodge is worth considering.
Aldea Global also has a roadside restaurant next to the lake (actually on the opposite side of the road from the lake). The restaurant, called La Naturaleza, offers both buffet and a la cart menu service, has good clean bathrooms, a swimming pool and a small museum with information on the Lenca Culture, which is native to this area of Honduras.
For more information regarding Parque Nacional Azul Meambar or its facilities, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (504) 9865-9082
Because of its proximity to Lake Yojoa, it is but a short trip from any hotel in the lake to the Panacam Lodge where the trails begin, perhaps between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the hotel you are staying in. I would recommend La Posada del Lago at Honduyate Marina (www.honduyatemarina.com ) as the best option. Here the joint family, owners and managers of the hotel and marina will provide you with a wealth of information. Another good option that is close by is the Cortijo del Lago.