National Parks in Honduras

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, 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.

Waterfalls of the National Parks of Honduras

Unbelievable Falls in Pico Bonito National Park.
Photo: Vicente Murphy

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.


Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge with Pico Bonito National Park in the background

In an effort to provide the most up to date information on the National Parks of Honduras, you will soon find pages within with information on the most outstanding features of each of these areas.

Pico Bonito National Park

Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge

Nombre de Dios National Park

Monumento Nacional Marino Cayos Cochinos

Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas

Punta Izopo National Park

Jardin Botanico Lancetilla

Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texiguat

Parque Nacional Capiro y Calentura

Parque Nacional Cusuco

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

Guaymoreto Lagoon Wildlife Reserve

Learn more about Honduras National Parks

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February 19, 2013 by John Dupuis All rights reserved

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