You might not know it, but Honduras is the most mountainous country in Central America. This does not mean that Honduras has the highest peaks in Central America. As a general rule, the highest peaks in the region are volcanoes. Honduras has no active volcanoes. As a matter of fact, it is the only country in Central America that does not have active volcanoes!
Three of the Highest Peaks in Honduras That you can Climb.
The highest peaks in Honduras are densely forested. Most of them have a cloud forest vegetation on the top. This means that they are often covered with fog, which limits visibility. The highest peaks in Honduras are the Cerro de las Minas or Celaque in Western Honduras. Santa Barbara in Central Honduras is the second highest peak. Pico Bonito in the Caribbean Coast is also in the top 5. You can plan a hike to the top of any of these peaks, but you will not be able to do it one day.
Celaque, the Undisputed Highest Peak in Honduras.
Celaque, or Cerro de las Minas has an altitude of 2,870 meters above sea level. This is equal to 9416 feet above sea level. Celaque is part of a National Park and Biosphere Reserve, and its easiest access if via the City of Gracias. There are also trails on the opposite side via the Lenca Village of Belen Gualcho. To climb Celaque, you should plan on spending the night at one of the hotels in Gracias and start your hike early in the morning. The best place to do so would be at the Hotel Casa Celaque. This hotel is within the National Park at around 1400 meters altitude.
There is a trail that will lead you to the top of the Celaque. It will pass through a campsite where you should plan on spending the night. From there you make the last effort to the reach the summit the next day. You will need at least two days to get to the summit and get back, and many trekkers take 3 days for the round trip. This is a steep hike, which many adventurers refer to more as climb than a hike!
A word of caution on Celaque. This area that is sparsely populated. Many hikers have gotten lost in Celaque, and some have never been found. I recommend hiring a guide for the trip. Another important thing to do is to let the staff at your hotel know that you intend to climb Celaque and expect to be back in a couple of days. This way, they can set up a search and rescue operation if you do not show up in due time! With the proper precautions, a hike to the summit of Celaque is a great adventure that you will enjoy!
Montaña de Santa Barbara, A Sentinel Overlooking Lake Yojoa
The second highest peak in Honduras, Montaña de Santa Barbara is home to the Santa Barbara National Park. This is coffee growing territory on the north side of Lake Yojoa. Because of the many coffee farms, there are plenty of roads that will help you get close to the summit. The summit has an altitude of 2777 meters above sea level (9110 feet) . It is easier to get to the summit of this peak from the City of Santa Barbara. This is West of San Pedro Sula and there are plenty of buses going daily each way between both cities.
Pico Bonito, A Beacon on the Caribbean Sea
Without doubt, the most difficult climb in Honduras is Pico Bonito. This peak towers over the Caribbean and stretches up to 2435 meters above sea level. This is just shy of 8000 feet above sea level! This is the biggest change of elevation in Honduras as you start the climb at sea level! Furthermore, the slopes are steep, and there are many ravines where creeks flow at full speed towards the Caribbean Sea.
There have been several expeditions to the summit of Pico Bonito. Believe me, this is not a trek that you want to do on your own! There is an outfitter in La Ceiba that specializes in Adventure Travel. La Moskitia Ecoaventuras has organized several expeditions to the peak. This can be week long adventure! If you are lucky and have a clear day when you are at the summit, you will see out to the Caribbean and the Bay Islands of Honduras. You need to be fit to attempt this trek. You will be hiking into a territory where the Jaguar is king. Pico Bonito is in the heart of Pico Bonito National Park.
It is best to plan your trek to the summit of Pico Bonito in the dry season. One of the biggest hazards of this adventure is swollen creeks after a heavy rain storm. Small creeks will rise rapidly with a good storm. You may have to sit down and wait for the water level to decrease before you can cross the creek to continue your trail.
As you can see, the highest peaks in Honduras offer magnificent opportunities for mountain climbers. Best of all, because of our tropical location and relatively low peaks, you will not need to carry cold weather gear. The Honduras mountains are spectacular and offer many adventures. Even if you do not plan to climb them, enjoy their beauty and majestic forests! Happy travels in Honduras!