Nombre de Dios National Park is one of the youngest National parks in Honduras. The National Congress of Honduras declared it a park in the year 2000. The park gets it name from the majestic Nombre de Dios Mountain Range that runs parallel to the Caribbean Sea along the north coast of Honduras. It is within the department of Atlantida, and has a total extension of 26757 hectares. To the North, it borders the Caribbean Sea and to the south it borders with the department of Yoro. On the east it borders with the Papaloteca River and to the West with the Cangrejal River. The Cangrejal River separates Pico Bonito National Park from Nombre de Dios National Park.
The geography of the park is rather rugged. Altitudes range from sea level along the coast to an altitude over 5,500 feet ( 1650 meters) above sea level. The park is accessible to tourists, with the Cangrejal River Valley being the main access point. There are many different things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park. Alternatives include visiting Garifuna Villages. There you can mingle with the friendly Garifuna people. Their culture is registered as intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. The park is managed by the Fundacion Parque Nacional Nombre de Dios (FUPNAND) that has its headquarters in La Ceiba.
Things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park
If you are looking for nature, there are several trails into the park. Some of these are accessible from Garifuna Village of Sambo Creek. Most you can access from the Cangrejal River Valley. Besides hiking, you can enjoy some outstanding adventure activities. These include a zip line canopy tour on the mountains behind Sambo Creek. You can also enjoy World Class white water rafting on the Cangrejal River. There you will find class III and IV rapids as you navigate around some huge house size boulders that serve as obstacles along the river. Finally, you can hike up the mountains to some secluded pristine waterfalls. Then rappel down their face to the lovely swimming holes below and get a taste of canyoning!
If you prefer a more relaxing and serene experience, try kayaking in the Cacao Lagoon. This small body of water is a lovely estuary lagoon surrounded by a dense mangrove forest. Kayak through mangrove canals and listen to the ferocious Howler monkeys high up in the treetops, warning you to stay away. You may also see the more friendly and curious capuchin or white face monkeys as they check you out. Other local fauna includes alligators, crocodiles and turtles. Of course, a variety of marine birds that call the Cacao Lagoon their home. This is a great spot for birdwatching!
Believe it or not, there is some lovely hot springs within the park. They are hiding behind the dense jungle foliage of Nombre de Dios National Park. Facilities to these hot springs are tastefully done. Wooden decks allow easy access to natural pools. There you can relax and enjoy the peaceful nature that surrounds you. Alternatives here include a mud bath, as well as a relaxing massage in the jungle.
Where to Stay in Nombre de Dios National Park
If you wish to spend the night within Nombre de Dios National Park, you will find several alternatives. Without doubt, La Villa de Soledad is your best option. It’s award winning bed and breakfast in the Cangrejal River Valley. Here you will enjoy personalized service by the owners and hosts, Soledad and John. They will go out of their way to make your stay memorable. The boutique bed and breakfast will allow you relax in nature. It also offers direct access to trails and adventure activities along the Cangrejal River Valley. For other hotels in the Cangrejal River Valley check our section on Cangrejal River Hotels.
Another option to overnight within Nombre de Dios National Park is to do so at Sambo Creek. There are several hotels east of La Ceiba that are actually within the park area. Most of these are on the beach, so although you will not get a jungle atmosphere, you will have access to the beach. For a rain forest setting, stay at the Cangrejal River Valley.
Nombre de Dios National Park is home to diverse wildlife. This is home to jaguars, ocelots and pumas if you are curious about wild felines. It is also home to two different species of monkeys; howler and capuchin. The largest mammal that lives within the park is the tapir, also known as peccary. Most of the mammals are shy to humans, and hard to see. Camera traps set within the park have shed light about a healthy population of wild animals within Nombre de Dios National Park.
If you are staying in the Bay Islands of Honduras, there are times when you can see the Honduran mainland from the islands. As a general rule, from Roatan, you are facing into Nombre de Dios National Park. If you are in Utila, you would be looking at Pico Bonito National Park. Last, if you are in Guanaja, you face the Capiro y Calentura National Park, that is behind Trujillo.