There are a total of 91 protected areas and national parks in Honduras of different varieties, such as Biosphere Reserve, Wildlife Refuge, National Park, etc.. The system is administered by the SINAPH – Sistema Nacional de Areas Protegidas de Honduras, or National System of Protected Areas of Honduras, which is under the management of the ICF – Instituto de Conservacion Forestal www.icf.gob.hn, or Forestry Conservation Institute, which in turn operates under the umbrella of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Honduras. The natural areas under protection in Honduras comprise approximately 36% of the national territory, which is equivalent to around 40, 500 square kilometres. This is actually equivalent to 80% of the total territory of Costa Rica! Honduras has a vast natural heritage, protected by its extremely mountainous geography, and is at least as rich in biodiversity as Costa Rica.
The government of Honduras, unfortunately, does not have an adequate budget to protect these areas, and has therefore signed co management agreements with local NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations) and municipalities to protect and administrate many Honduras National Parks, always under the supervision of the ICF. The results of these co management agreements have been mixed, with some very positive experiences, where the area has been well managed and tourism has been identified as one of the income generating resources for the protection of these areas.
Currently, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a large project that seeks to strengthen the ability of Honduras to protect its National Park System. The project, known as ProParque, has its main headquarters in Tegucigalpa, and is working with ten protected areas, six of which the intention is to help develop tourism, and the other four are for purely conservational efforts. Those earmarked for the development of tourism are the following: Parque Nacional Pico Bonito and Refugio de Vida Silvestre Cuero y Salado in the proximity of La Ceiba; Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas (popularly referred to as Punta Sal National Park) near Tela; Parque Nacional Azul Meambar, located on the north-western shores of Lake Yojoa; Parque Nacional Celaque, which boasts the highest peak in Honduras, near Gracias, in the Western Department of Lempira; and finally Parque Nacional La Tigra, just outside of Tegucigalpa. Not only are all six of these national parks in Honduras co managed by NGOs, they also happen to be in the areas most visited by tourists and have the most developed infrastructure, such as trails and visitors centers, within their grounds.
The vast Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in the Gracias a Dios department, commonly refered to as the Moskito Coast, is managed directly by the ICF, and is the only natural protected area in Honduras that has the status of being a World Heritage Site, which was endowed by the UNESCO. Protected areas selected for a purely ecological and conservation focus are the Sierra de Agalta National Park in Olancho, the Colibri Esmeralda Habitat Management area in Yoro (on the backside of Pico Bonito National Park), the Sandy Bay Marine Park in Roatan, and the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve in Gracias a Dios.
In an effort to provide the most up to date information on the National Parks of Honduras, you will soon find pages within Honduras.com with information on the most outstanding features of each of these areas.
Monumento Nacional Marino Cayos Cochinos
Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texiguat
Parque Nacional Celaque
Refugio de Vida Silvestre El Huisayote
Parque Nacional Trifinio o Montecristo
Parque Nacional Azul Meambar
Parque Nacional Santa Barbara
Parque Nacional La Tigra
Parque Nacional La Muralla
Parque Nacional Sierra de Agalta
Parque Nacional Patuca
Reserva de la Biosphera Rio Platano
Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laguna de Chismuyo
Learn more about Honduras National Parks