Lake Yojoa and Los Naranjos, Honduras
Lake Yojoa, situated in western Honduras, is the largest natural lake of the country, and surrounded with mountains covered with protected rainforests. The lake and the untouched nature around it has previously drawn in mostly just bird-watchers, but is now getting more and more popular. Activities in the area include, in addition to bird-watching tours for example trekking in national parks, kayaking and visiting small archaeological sites and coffee plantations.
The famous backpacker destination of the area is in the small village of Los Naranjos, situated near the northern shore of the lake. Los Naranjos is s a cute small village in the middle of nature, along a bumpy dirt road. The village can be reached either by your own wheels or using public transportation – you can either book a ticket to a comfy air-conditioned coach bus, or choose the local way and use chicken buses and collectivo vans. We naturally chose the latter, and squeezed ourselves into a small van, together with bunch of locals. The journey from San Pedro Sula lasted a bit over 2 hours, and the last part of it was unbelievably bumpy, but still fun.
D&D Brewery & Lodge
In Los Naranjos, the American-owned D&D Brewery, Lodge and Restaurant is the place to be for most of the visitors, and also we settled in this beautiful resort for a couple of days. This guesthouse, built in a tropical forest, consists of an open-air restaurant, private cabins, private rooms and shared dorm rooms, and as the name implies, there is a small brewery on the site. D&D brewery makes some tasty craft beers to be enjoyed together with their excellent meals, or around a campfire together with other travelers from around the world. This place also offers information and tours to surrounding places of interest.
Los Naranjos Ecological and Archaeological Park
We had reserved only a couple of days for Lago de Yojoa, and had some bad luck with the weather. On the first full day we headed to the nearby Los Naranjos Ecological and Archaeological Park, which is very close to the village itself. There are several kilometers of nature trails in the park, part of them along raised boardwalks (that were under renovation at the time of our visit).
There are some Lencan ruins, mostly covered under the forest, and a small museum with exhibitions of the history of the area and Lencan culture and life.
Entrance fee to the park, including the museum, are 6 USD for foreigners, or equivalent amount of Lempiras. Exploring the park was a nice walk in tropical environment, but nothing spectacular really and hardly worth the price, unless you are very interested in the archaeological side of the park or want to utilize the bird-watching towers of the park. For just walking around, consider the paths near the shores or the lake and the canal, outside the park area. See pictures from the park in the gallery.
On the second day we had planned to rent kayaks and head to explore the lake itself, but we unfortunately needed to skip that since it was pouring rain the whole day. It’s also a shame that we didn’t have chance to go and explore one of the national parks up on the mountains above the lake – I’m sure that it would have been a great adventure! Having said that, we still enjoyed our short time in Los Naranjos and Yojoa Lake, and can recommend this destination in Honduras, if you are interested in beautiful nature and exploring destinations out of the beaten path.