There are many different things to do in Lake Yojoa and surroundings. It is without doubt one of the most diverse destinations in Central America. Being tucked between two national Parks, Panacam (Parque Nacional Azul Meambar) and Panasab (Parque Nacional Santa Barbara) make it ideal for nature. In addition, being on the main highway between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula means that it is very easy to get to! Best of all, there are many different hotels in Lake Yojoa that offer diverse accommodations, fitting just about any travel budget you can imagine. For these, and many other reasons, Lake Yojoa is considered one of the top 5 destinations in Honduras!
This is without doubt the most famous waterfall in Honduras. There are rumors that it inspired Walt Disney when he made the cartoon film titled “The Jungle Book”. Pulhapanzak is very close to Lake Yojoa. To get there, take the highway that leads from the community of La Guama towards Peña Blanca. Continue past the Cañaveral hydroelectric facility and you will soon see a detour towards the town of Buenavista, then simply follow the signs or ask. The road is paved all along. There is a entrance fee of xxx lempiras into the property to enjoy the falls and facilities.
Pulhapanzak offers several activities within. They have the most scenic zip line in Honduras, offering awesome views of falls. If you prefer a more hands-on adventure, ask for the tour behind the waterfall! This will take you between the curtain of water and the cliff behind it! For a fantastic night, book a room at the cabins and enjoy an outdoor fire during the evening. A visit to Pulhapanzak falls is it itself worth the trip to Lake Yojoa. I recommend that you take the time to visit this magnificent natural attraction. It is one of the top things to do in Lake Yojoa!
This is the largest limestone cave system that you can visit in Honduras. It is just off CA5 highway a short drive south from Lake. Access to the several caverns is easy via cement walkaways and stairs. The access is clearly marked next to the road. There is a nominal entrance fee and I always suggest hiring a local guide. This is a great way to cooperate with local economy and give the people in the community a chance to make a living. The entrance fee goes to maintaining the walkways as well as paying for the electricity to light the paths and the limestone formations within the caverns.
The local guides like to tell the story of a bounty of $300,000 USA dollars that was reputedly hidden in the caverns by William Hahnemann. He hijacked an Eastern Airlines aircraft and collected a ransom. I hate to spoil the thrill, but the FBI found the ransom money years ago and returned it to Eastern Airlines, so don´t spend too much time looking for it!
Panacam National Park Hike
This national park is one of the most visited and has some great trails and birdwatching towers. A complete visitors center is open within the park and even offers lodging and restaurant facilities. You can visit the park for a day or spend the night. Trails are well marked, and no guide is necessary, however, hiring a local guide will help you spot wildlife that you would otherwise miss. Entrance to PANACAM visitors center is via the village of La Guama. Perhaps the best spot to find information and arrange for transportation is via your hotel or visiting the Centro Turistico La Naturaleza next the CA5 highway, opposite side of the lake.
Lake Yojoa is blessed with some of the best birdwatching in Central America. There are different areas where you can enjoy this activity. Perhaps the best are within the trails that lead from the Panacam Visitors Center. Another great option is at Los Naranjos Eco Archaeological park. There are several trails within the park that provide great birdwatching. As always, you will spot more bird species if you hire a local specialized guide. There are several different guides, and although not all of them speak English, they do know the English names of the different birds. For some serious bird watching, you might want to hire Robert Gallardo. He is the author of the first book on birds from Honduras and lives in the Lake Yojoa area. You can also ask for a guide at the hotel where you are staying. They will be happy to provide you with information to hire a good local guide.
There are few places in Honduras where you can do some sailing, and Lake Yojoa is one of them! Honduyate Marina offers different sailboats that you can rent. They are right on the road, on the CA5 highway and you can not miss them. If you prefer a motor boar ride, they can also arrange it in one of the old ferry boats that once moved passengers across the lake. Richard and Liliana are fully bilingual and great hosts. They also have one of the nicer lodging facilities next to the lake.
Los Naranjos Eco-Archaeological Park
This is one of the few archaeological parks in Honduras that is open to the public. Others are the Site at Copan Ruinas, El Puente, also in Copan and the Talgua Caves in Olancho. El Naranjo is a Lenca site, and although quite extensive, it is not halfway as impressive as the Maya Sites in Copan. However, it offers a unique combination of eco and archaeological experience that you will enjoy. The Lenca people are the largest ethnic group in Honduras. Archaeologist believe that the Lenca co-existed with the Maya in Copan Ruinas and were the artists that produced the magnificent stelaes in Copan.
Visit a Coffee Estate
The area around Lake Yojoa is coffee growing country. There are many different coffee estates in the area that you can visit. Learn about coffee, and the process that turns it into what you buy back home. If you are lucky and visiting during the harvest season, you will learn a lot. Perhaps you can even pitch in and pick some coffee cherries! Perhaps the most accessible of these estates is the Bio Parque Paradise. They are in the village of Los Naranjos, and even have their own lodging facilities. They are also right next to the D&D Brewery. This means you can enjoy two different activities without need for any transportation!
Visit the Micro Brewery
The first and oldest microbrewery in Honduras is D&D Brewery. They are a destination within itself. Taste a variety of beer brews. If you prefer nonalcoholic beverages, then you will enjoy their carbonated drinks, which vary from season to season. The brewery also offers lodging facilities and is a great hub for activities in the area. Bobby, the owner and his staff are generous when it comes to providing information. They will also go out of their way to help you arrange tours. They offer several unique tours that you should try out. These includes hikes into the parks, as well as bird watching. They will even provide private transportation to other destinations in Honduras!
Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle-Boarding
The lakes tranquil waters offer an ideal setting for these activities. Kayaking offers the perfect setting to enjoy birdwatching, especially when you are looking for species that live in wetlands. The man-made canal that flows out the lake is a forested area that is ideal for this activity. Water is calm and bird life is abundant. There are several different outfits that offer this service. Your hotel will be happy to put you in contact with them. Paddle Boarding is also an option here!
Waterfall Trail Hike to El Cacao Waterfall
One of the most popular tours at the D&D Brewery is a hike to a lovely waterfall. The El Cacao Waterfall is a full day hike to a stunning waterfall. You will enjoy a refreshing dip into the cool waters at the natural pool at the foot of the fall. The hike will take you on a jungle trail, through two small villages and some coffee plantations. You will see two smaller waterfalls before you arrive to your destination: El Cacao Waterfall. There is a four-person minimum to book this tour, which is offered by D&D Brewery. Enjoy your hike!
There are several other adventure activities available in the area. These include a visit to the Hot Springs in the nearby town of Zacapa. For those that are interested for some spelunking, try a tour to the nearby Venecia Caverns, where you will hike, wade and swim in the underwater river to reach some magnificent limestone caverns were few have been there before. Perhaps rappelling down a cliff is more like your cup of tea. Lizandro May, a local adventure tour guide and photographer offers several interesting alternatives. If you want to follow up on these activities, try contacting him directly. His local phone is (504) 8781-4544. You can also use Whats-app to reach him at that number.