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Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve

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The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve Read full Wikipedia artikel is in Honduras.

Understand

History

Landscape

Flora and fauna

Climate


From before christmas until June is the dry season. Less mosquitoes and hotter.

Get in

By boat

Boat services depart with great infrequency from La Ceiba and Trujillo. These are cargo barges that makes stops along the coast to sell mechandise to local stores. Ask at the docs.

By land from La Ceiba

First off you have to get on a chickenbuss bound for Tocoa that leaves early in the morning from the busstation in La Ceiba. In Tocoa there are pickups leaving every morning around 9. They gather across the streat from the marketplace by the busstation. All of them till try to sell you a ride in their own pickup, but dont let anyone grab you bag untill you have negotiated a fair price. Prices for the 5-6hour very bumpy pickupride vary between 300 and 500 lempiras, depending on negotiating skills, luck and if you get to ride inside the car or up back with the merchandice (it will be loaded bad). Car robberies are common on this route, make sure to hide creditcards and camera memorysticks as well as your passport in case of bad luck.

The pickuptrucks stop in Batalla, which is just across a narrow strait of water from Palacios. From here you can get a "collectivo"-boat to take you where you would want to go. Dont pay anymore than 200 lempiras to get to Belen or Raista.

To Las Marias

"Collectivo" Once you are in the Belen-area you can ask around for the next boat heading to Las Marias. With bad luck you might have to wait up to 4 days, but usually there leaves a motorized canoe at least 3 or 4 times a week. The one way "collectivo"-price here should be no more than 800 max, 500 is the common price. It is a bit more expensive to go upriver than down. Making the reverse jurney should cost between 300 and 500 lempiras. Use your negotiating skills without beeing too rude. It is only fair they charge outsiders a bit more than locals that pay even less than the prices stated here.

"Expresso" If you are short on time and have the money to spend, it might be worth considering hiring you private boat. This will cost between 3000 and 4500 lempiras, is a roundfare, and usually includes the 2 or 3 overnight stays that the driver has to do in Las Marias. Most boats can take 4 people.

By air

Regular takeoffs from La Ceiba, in small aircraft. Palacios near the park has a small airstrip. From there you can enter the park by boat or on foot. The airstrip in Las Marias is too short to be used for anything else than emergencies. Both Belen and Puerto Lempira also have airstrips.

Fees/Permits

There is no park entrancefee. In Las Marias the head guide asks for a voluntary donation.

Get around

Inside the reserve there are no roads and all transport is done by boat. The local boats are called "Pipante" and are hollow treetrunks sometimes motorized by outboard engines. They are a more pricy form of trasport than the inboard engine alternative called "tuck-tuck". For some travels you dont even need a motor.

Quad wheelers and motorcycles traficate the beaches.

It is also possible to fly.

See

Petroglyphs can be seen in the upper reaches of the Río Plátano. Archeologists suspect a hidden town somewhere around this place in the jungle.

The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is the home of unique wild life such as toucans, monkeys, parrots, rare butterflies, and sea turtles. Terrain includes jungle, forest, and beach land. Some communities even offer tours of archeological sites! Travelers also get to see how indigenous residents live their every day lives.

Do

There is so much to do in the Biosphere Reserve! Tours through the indigenous communities of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance allow travelers to view beautiful natural environments. Travelers have the opportunity to engage in authentic cultural exchanges with the indigenous communities of Belen, Raista, Brus Laguna, Yamari Savannah Cabanas, Plaplaya, Batalla, Les Marias. These cultural activities include storytelling, dancing, drumming, singing, and craft making. Travelers can also kayak, swim, hike, and canoe to explore the land and waters of the biosphere.

  • La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance, info@larutamoskitia.com, (Honduras) +504.406-6782, [1]. A collection of six indigenous communities that provide ecotourism products and services within the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. All of the ecotourism enterprises that are a part of La Ruta Moskitia are 100% community-owned and operated, and therefore all of the financial benefits of La Ruta Moskitia go directly to local communities. This organization distributes packaged tours within the Biosphere Reserve including transportation to the reserve, lodging, food, drink, tours through the indigenous communities, and hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor opportunities! Awards and recognition of The La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance includes the World Travel and Tourism Council's Tourism for Tomorrow "Investor in People" award in 2008, the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award "Best Park or Protected Area" in 2007, and the Conde Nast Traveler's coveted Green List in 2006. Also, La Ruta Moskitia was recognized as one of National Geographic Adventures "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth." and recommended by Lonely Planet and Outside Magazine. Prices range anywhere from $425 - $1,125.
  • Pico Dama.. Difficult (but not for the fit). Leaving from Las Marias. travel up river in a apipante for one two hours before reaching Quebrada Suawala. From there you hike towards the peak that as you get closer, the road turns a bit slippery and steep. Sleeping is in permanent cottages along the way. Costs about 3000(?) Lempiras.


For the independant traveller

As an independant traveler one will be sought out be the "sacaguias", the head guide upon arriving in Las Marias. He charges a one time organizing fee of 100 lempiras. They have a rotating guide system so that everyone in the village can take their turn at making a days living as a guide, usually they will want to send 3 guides for most overnight adventures. The prices here are fixed and there is no use negotiating or trying to be accompanied by less guides. Try not to circumvent the head guide, as that is the way the whole community has decided to organize things and trying to arrange other deals would create conflict withing the community.

Tours offered from Las Marias

Pico Dama

Also ask for Agua Muerta or Sendero Lomriz.

Buy

Gold prices in Las Marias averge 200 lempiras per gram of rivergold. That is about half the normal price fetched in cities. Be aware however that the supply is steady but a bit slow - and dont expect to be able to buy great quantities at once. One riverminer fetches on average 1 gram on 2-3 days of good work.


Eat

In the Great Pine Savannah, home to the Yamari Savannah Cabanas and the Bus Laguna, travelers enjoy fresh seafood dinners. Other areas allow tourists to watch how their meals are being made such as the Batalla community where traditional ‘casaba’ bread is made.

In a lot of these communities one should expect a staple diet of yucca, rice, beans and platones with very little variation. It might be a good idea to bring some spicy sauce from the city.


Drink

Travelers can access alcoholic drinks in most communities. One should however be a bit self consious about how much one drinks and where and when. Alkoholism here is by far the major social problem, and locals have a tendency to mimic the behavour of visitors. In the village of Las Marias drinking doesnt, as of yet, pose as big a problem as along the costal comunities. Lets try to keep it that way. Think twice before consuming alcohol, and if you do - try to set a responsible example.

Sleep

Las Marias


In the small town of Las Marias it is possible to stay with the indigenous people.

Most of the host communities are part of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance, which provides lodging for travelers. Lodging is typically in the form of small cabanas with comfortable single beds or larger ecolodges. Showers and flush toilets are available at all locations.


  • Hospedaje de Tinglas. One of the first hospedajes along the river as one aproaches Las Marias. Meals avaliable (70lempiras). 100 lempiras per night. Don Tinglas has a radio, and make frequent trips to the coast, that tend to be a bit more pricey than other providers (about 800 lempiras one way).
  • Hospedaje de Ovidio. In the center of Las Marias, several rooms. Meals avaliable.
  • Hospedaje de Justa. Centrally located. Dormitory style. Meals avaliable.
  • Hospedaje de Bernardo. 4 hours up the river from Las Marias, and one of the very last houses before the great jungle begins. 100 lempiras a night. 70 lempiras per meal. They make great homegrown hot chockolate and coffe. A Pech family that doest speak Moskito, which is rare. Good spanish skills though.
  • Hospedaje Los Angeles, Don Luis. A well kept place in the middle of Las Marias with a small flowergarden. It is the towns cheapest, costing only 60 or 70 and meals 50-60 lempiras. Don Luis takes great interest in his guests and likes to converse on temas regarding indigenous rights and cultural differences. But as is common around here very little, or no english is spoken.

Camping

In Las Marias it is hard work to try to convince the head guide that one would rather camp out during excursions. Permanent lodges are placed along the standard hiking routes. It might be arranged to live in a tent las marias, but the hospedajes there are cheap anyway. And it is important that the local community feels that is gains economically from tourism.

Backcountry

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