The adventure travel possibilities in the area around La Ceiba are legion, from white-water rafting on the Río Cangrejal to hiking up jungle paths to waterfalls in Parque Nacional Pico Bonito to paddling quiet mangrove canals spotting toucans and howler monkeys at the Cuero y Salado wetland refuge. Travelers can head out to these places on their own or choose from several tour operators based in La Ceiba. The prices quoted are all per person and can vary depending on the number in the group.
Note: Any of the adventure trips offered by these companies, and particularly the rafting trips, have a certain level of danger and should not be taken lightly. They are best done by travelers who are fit and active, and it’s essential to pay close attention to your guides at all times.
Omega Tours (tel. 504/440-0334, www.omegatours.info) is an outfit run by expat German and Swiss rafters who work out of Omega Jungle Lodge in the Río Cangrejal valley, about 10 kilometers upriver from the bridge at La Ceiba. Half-day rafting trips cost US$49 per person, everything included. Hikes with experienced local guides through the dense jungle surrounding the Río Cangrejal to the El Bejuco waterfall cost US$39, horseback riding on the beach costs US$65, and a day trip to the Cacao Lagoon is US$62.
All tours include a night’s accommodation in Omega’s guesthouse or US$10 off lodging in one of its cabins, and a free lunch. Omega Tours is the only operator in La Ceiba with internationally licensed rafting guides, some with more than 10 years of experience rafting around the world, and the only one that rafts the upper part of the Río Cangrejal, with its Class V rapids. Omega consistently earns positive reviews from those who have gone on its tours.
La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras (Colonia El Toronjal, tel. 504/414-5798, www.honduras.com/moskitia, 8 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–noon Sat.) is run by veteran Honduras explorer Jorge Salaverri. Famed for his trips to the Mosquitia jungles, Jorge also offers trips around La Ceiba, such as half-day white-water rafting for US$58, day treks in the jungle-clad flanks of Pico Bonito near the Río Zacate, including a light snack, a guide, and pickup and drop-off, for US$41–58, and tours to Cuero y Salado for US$66–89. La Moskitia Eco-Aventuras also gets high marks from those who have toured with them in the Mosquitia; their excursions around La Ceiba are pricier than those at Garífuna Tours (if you try one, let us know how it is!).
Long established in Tela, Garífuna Tours (Av. San Isidro and 1 Calle, tel. 504/440-3252, www.garifunatours.com) also runs an office in La Ceiba. Rafting trips on the Cangrejal cost US$39 per person, and hikes to the Río Zacate falls in Pico Bonito are US$34 per person; tours of Cuero y Salado are US$49 per person; and full-day trips to the Cayos Cochinos are US$39 per person. There have been some mixed reports about their tours—some readers seem to have received more “guiding” (in terms of naturalist explanations) than others, who felt that the tour didn’t offer much more than transportation. Be sure to ask specific questions about what is included in your tour, so as not to be disappointed.
Tourist Options (www.hondurastouristoptions.com) also offers a number of hiking and exploring tours with bilingual guides, including a city tour for US$14, hiking in Pico Bonito for US$29, or a visit to the Garífuna beach town Sambo Creek and lunch for US$25. Tours in other parts of Honduras can be arranged as well.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition