Cayos Cochinos is a Piece of Caribbean Paradise Just Next to La Ceiba
Also known as the Hog Cays, Cayos Cochinos is a small archipelago lying just off the coast of La Ceiba. Consisting of two small islands and 13 tiny sand cays, the whole group of islands is under a protected status. The smaller of the two islands is used exclusively as a center for scientific investigation; the larger one has a small Garifuna Community, known as East End. There is also a small dive resort that goes by the name of Turtle Bay Harbour Eco Resort. Other than that, there are a few private homes on this island. Most of the small cays are private. However three of them belong to Garifuna communities. They are fishing outposts for different Garifuna Communities from the mainland. Of these, the most outstanding one is Cayo Chachauate. This cay belongs to the Garifuna Community of Nueva Armenia.
Cayo Chachahuate offers a view into times past, when the Garifuna people had just arrived in Honduras. The community still lives on the beaches and builds their homes out of wood and thatched palms. Today several hundred people live on Chachahuate. Many of them have stopped fishing as a way of living and turned to tourism. You will thoroughly enjoy the picturesque town, its friendly people and the tasty food. It is easy to understand why the Cayos Cochinos Marine Monument is the most visited national park in La Ceiba.
Getting to Cayos Cochinos is relatively easy. Travel to the community of Sambo Creek, located about 12 miles east of La Ceiba, on CA13 in the direction of Trujillo. From there, you can take a boat that will take about 45 minutes to travel across the channel to this lovely and quite pristine set of islands with some of the best preserved reefs in the planet! Keep in mind that the ocean gets rougher as the day progresses. Because of this, boats depart as early as possible, and plan their return to the mainland between two and three in the afternoon. Tourist Options a local tour operator based in La Ceiba offers daily tours departing from Sambo Creek at 8:00 a.m. They also offer pick up service from your hotel in La Ceiba.
Another alternative is to book through Reservaciones La Ceiba, a community owned operator that works directly with the local communities. Either one is a good alternative to have a truly memorable day in the Cayos Cochinos, where you will have a chance to snorkel the reefs, visit a Garifuna Community, eat local food and walk through the forests of the island in search of the native pink boa. For your trip, make sure that you bring a hat, your camera and plenty of sun block. A tip, most people spread the sun block on their backs, stomach, face and front of legs, but always forget the backside of your legs. Make sure you cover them up to, as the sun will burn you to a crisp while you are snorkeling!