Lake Yojoa is the only natural lake in Honduras. It is also a unique nature destination in Central America. Lake Yojoa sits at approximately 600 meters (2000 feet) above sea level. Surrounded by two National Parks, Lake Yojoa is a birders paradise. Panacam (Parque Nacional Azul Meambar) sits on the eastern side of the lake. Parque Nacional Montaña de Santa Barbara is on the Western side of the Lake.
These two national parks, that have a cloud forest habitat, offer many trails. Bird watching is fantastic around the lake. As I write, only one of them actually has tourism infrastructure: Panacam. The other park, Parque Nacional Montaña de Santa Barbara has limited infrastructure. Together, these two National Parks and the Lake itself are one of the top destinations in Honduras!
Access to Panacam (Parque Nacional Azul Meambar) is easy and can be done in any vehicle. The main access is a detour into the mountain at the community of La Guama. If coming from San Pedro Sula, la Guama is about 1 km past the police station as you first arrive to the lake. If coming from Tegucigalpa, it is about 1 km past the Casa Lenca Hotel. In any case, the detour is well signaled. From the highway, you are about 7 km. from the visitor’s center.
The visitor’s center offers a nice eco-lodge, as well as a restaurant and a network of trails. Trails include a birding platform that is great for bird sightings. You can visit for the day or spend the night. Most hotels around the lake will be happy to help you with instructions and even transfers to Panacam. If you do not have your own set of wheels arrange for a transfer with them!
Getting to Lake Yojoa:
Getting to the lake is very easy. The CA5 highway, which connects San Pedro Sula with Tegucigalpa passes right next to the lake. Most of the restaurants in Lake Yojoa are along the CA5 highway but the hotels are spread out around the lake. In addition to the CA5 highway, there is a road that follows the north shore of the lake. This road leads from La Guama to the town of Pena Blanca, the largest town next to the lake.
Besides the Lake and the National Parks, there are many things to do and see close to Lake Yojoa. Pulhapanzak Waterfalls and Los Naranjos Eco-Archaeological Park are the most outstanding. However one of the few volcanoes in Honduras (extinct) is near the lake. Last, but not least, many beautiful waterfalls and creeks are in the nearby mountains. El Cajon Dam is actually quite near Lake Yojoa, however access is not that easy. To visit you must go to Santa Cruz de Yojoa and follow the road to El Cajon Dam.
For a bit of interesting history and photos, visit Honduyate Marina. They have many historical photos of yesteryear, when there was no highway around the lake. Back then, you needed to take a ferry boat to cross the lake. The road trip from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa was a serious two day adventure!