Nombre de Dios National Park is one of the newer parks in Honduras. It is within the Nombre de Dios Mountains and an extension of Pico Bonito National Park. Because of this, there is an overlay between the things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park and the things to do in Pico Bonito National Park.
There are many great places to stay in when you visit Nombre de Dios National Park. The Cangrejal River Valley offers many different hotels in the area. The same can be said for beachfront hotels in the Corozal, Sambo Creek and Roma beach areas. You can find these last ones listed in our hotels east of La Ceiba page!
Adventurous Things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park
As for things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park, I will start with the fantastic white-water rafting in the Cangrejal River. There is a total of 4 white water outfitters in the valley. You can enjoy a full day of fun and adventure at the river with this activity. The Cangrejal River is the border that separates these two national parks. You can enjoy some World Class white water rafting here. There are class III, IV and V rapids in this river.
For those who are not up to the adventure of rafting, but want to enjoy the river, try some “River Hiking”. This activity consists of swimming, hiking, climbing and jumping. You swim across the river, hike up the river bank to a big boulder. Climb the border and jump back into the river. The rafting outfitters can arrange this tour for you.
Enjoying Nature in Nombre de Dios National Park
There are some great trails in Nombre de Dios National Park. Perhaps the best is within the Hotel Rio grounds. This is demanding trail that leads you up into the mountains of the Nombre de Dios National Park. Although the trails in Nombre de Dios are not as popular as those in Pico Bonito, they provide a similar experience, but with fewer people!
Horse back riding in the jungle is another unique activity available in Nombre de Dios National Park. Omega Tours offers daily horseback riding tours into the park. They have well fed healthy horses and take you up along the road and then into a private farm within the park. Enjoy a great picnic next to a crystal-clear creek where you can jump in a refresh yourself. The number of horses is limited, and therefore reservations are highly recommended!
The Cacao Lagoon is a small body of water that is a few kilometers east of La Ceiba. This area is ideal for a kayaking tour through the tranquil waters. The lagoon is surrounded by a dense mangrove forest that is home to diverse wildlife. You will have much fun seeing the two different species of monkeys that inhabit the area. The howler monkeys will howl loud to make you leave. They are more territorial and aggressive than the capuchin monkeys. With luck, you will see both species on the treetops as you kayak in the mangrove canals. Of course, a variety of marine birds are all over the place, so it is also a great spot to enjoy birdwatching.
There are two different ways to enjoy the cacao lagoon. The first, and my favorite is to paddle yourself on a sit on top kayak. This option gives you more freedom to explore the nooks and crannies in the mangrove canals. But then of course, you are more limited with your camera and the possibility of sharing the experience. The second is to get on a dugout canoe with a guide and let him decide where you are going and what you will see. This is probably more comfortable for older persons. It is also ideal for families with small children. You can still get a paddle and help your guide paddle along. This second option is much better if you are birdwatching with your binoculars. Even more so if you have your fancy camera equipment and want to get up close to the wildlife.
One of my favorite things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park is a visit to the hot springs. These are hidden within the forest on the mountain behind the Garifuna Community of Sambo Creek. They are clean, and blend beautifully with the natural surroundings. A series of small dams make ideal pools to relax in. The higher you are in up the mountain, the warmer the water is. The facilities include a cement and rock trail to give you access to the different natural pools. They also include some “massage huts” where you can enjoy a great relaxing massage. Heck, there is even an option to get a mud bath to cleanse your skin!
If relaxing in the hot springs seems a bit boring to you, try the zip line canopy tour on premises! A total of 13 cables wait for you to have the time of your life. The longest cable is a mile long! Imagine flying through the rain forest for a complete mile! Facilities include all the required safety equipment, such as harnesses and helmets. Of course, professional bilingual guides are there to provide you will all the security instructions and guide you through the experience.
Nombre de Dios National Park is full of sparkling waterfalls. These are hidden behind the tropical rain forests of the park. There is no better way of getting up close to these falls that to do some good ole fashioned canyoneering. The folks at Las Cascadas Lodge offer a fantastic tour that will take you the mountains. There you will don your equipment and descend, with the help of ropes and harnesses, down the face of the waterfall. Talk about and exhilarating experience! The falls vary between 20 and 30 feet high, and with all the required safety, you will descend to the pools and the bottom of the falls. This is the only place in Honduras where to my knowledge you can practice this activity!
Cultural Things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park
As you can see, there are many things to things to do in Nombre de Dios National Park. But there is one last activity that you can enjoy without all the excitement required for some of the above activities. There is a total of three Garifuna Communities located within Nombre de Dios National Park. Two of them, Corozal and Sambo Creek are very close to La Ceiba and easy to get to. Take a trip to them and experience this unique culture. Enjoy a great meal next to the Caribbean while you do so. Both communities offer great restaurants with seafood and Garifuna cuisine. The third community is Nueva Armenia. This is harder to get to and less developed, but more authentic. Access is via Jutiapa, East of La Ceiba.