The “Mosquito Coast” a “Little Amazon” in Central America

The Mosquito Coast is Like a “Little Amazon” in Central America!

The Mosquito Coast is a large geographic area in Central America. Most people get totally turned off by the name, and never even read about this land. Little do they imagine how much they are missing out on!

You see the name is actually the Miskito Coast. It has nothing to do with mosquitoes, although granted, as in many tropical places; you will certainly encounter a fair share of insects. The Miskito Coast is shared by Honduras and Nicaragua. It is home to the largest tract of tropical jungles in the Northern hemisphere of the Americas. It is actually like a “Little Amazon”. So where, you will ask, did this horrible “Mosquito Coast” name come from?

Mosquito Coast
A typical village in the Moskitia. Photo taken at Barra Patuca, a Miskito village at the mouth of the Patuca River.

There are several different ethnic groups that live in the area. The most important of them are the Miskito Indians. These were always fierce fighters and never accepted the Spanish Colonial rule. The Brits, who where perennial enemies of the Spaniards seized on the opportunity and made friends with the Miskitos. The British established a Protectorate and named the Miskito Coast. The British were actually present there until around 1860, when they turned the land over to the governments of Honduras and Nicaragua in two separate treaties. (The Treaty of Comayagua and the Treaty of Managua)

The Miskito Coast, known locally as La Moskitia is a remote area with little institutional presence. This area is sparsely populated. On the Honduran side you can only get to it via maritime transportation or by air. Most of area is under protection under different national parks. The most famous is the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve, which has the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Other parks within the Moskitia are the Patuca National Park, The Tawahka Antropological Reserve and even part of the Sierra de Agalta National Park.

Best way to explore the “Mosquito Coast”

Although there is much to explore in the Miskito Coast, facilties are quite limited. Logistics can be a nightmare, and the cost of everything is much higher than in the rest of the country. Because of this, you should plan your trip to the Miskito coast carefully. The best way to get to know the area is of course, with the locals. There is a great tour operator that is owned by Jorge Salaverri, who was born and grew up in the Moskitia.

the Mosquito Coast
Navigating down the Rio Platano in the heart of the Biosphere Reserve

Jorge not only knows the area, he speaks and understands the Miskito way of life. He is also fluent in English and the local Miskito language. This means that you can arrange a trip with him and have no unplanned surprises. The company’s name is La Moskitia Ecoaventuras. The company  has its headquarters in La Ceiba, which is the gateway to La Moskitia. Jorge can offer you a prepackaged tour, a jungle expedition down the Rio Platano or a tailor made tour.

Because he has a variety of friends and family living in both sides of La Moskitia, he is a wealth of information. He is a man with many resources and will gladly help you arrange and tailor your trip to La Moskitia.

There has been a lot of press about the The Mosquito Coast in the last year or so. Rumors about a lost white city in the jungle have been around for decades, even centuries. It evokes a perfect setting for an “Indiana Jones” expedition into the unknown. National Geographic has recently sponsored an expedition. The Honduran Institute of Anthropology has secured. The Honduran military establishment are guarding the area where this lost city lies.

Mosquito Coast
These Petroglyphs on the Rio Platano are proof enough of Ancient Civilizations that flourished here!

Some archaeologists still cast a doubt about this great “White City” in the jungle. One thing is certain: there is plenty of proof that ancient civilizations lived here. It is the perfect spot for a unique expedition that will quench your thirst for adventure. La Moskitia Ecoaventuras has coordinated logistics for many different expeditions. If you want the adventure of a lifetime, you should consider exploring the “Mosquito Coast” and the lost civilizations that once thrived there.

I will soon be off on the 10 day Rio Platano expedition with La Moskitia Ecoaventuras. The trip begins in the headwaters of the Rio Platano, near the city of Catacamas in Olancho. It will end over a week later in the coastal city of Palacios in the Miskito Coast. Anyone up for joining me on this adventure.