Introducing La Moskitia
The Moskitia, that vast part of Honduras you see on maps with very few roads, is one of the region's last frontiers of untamed wilderness. Huge expanses are virtually untouched jungle, and when combined with magnificent wetland and savannah habitats it's no wonder Moskitia is often dubbed Central America's Amazon. In many ways the description is apt, for both are under threat from loggers, cattle ranchers and land-hungry campesinos (farmers)
Manatees, tapirs and jaguars all still thrive here – they have learnt to be circumspect around man, and they may not be easy to spot. Crocodiles can be seen in the waters, while the birdlife including macaws and fish eagles is outstanding.
Culturally, the Moskitia is unique. Historically, its people allied themselves with the British against the Spanish, and many people today still claim an English heritage. Tegucigalpa only really started to attempt to control the region from the 1950s. There are five different ethnic groups, with isolated pockets of Pech and Tawahka in the interior, as well as Mískito, Garífuna and ladino populations.
A visit to the region is not for the faint-hearted. Access is tough (unless you fly in) and conditions are rustic at best. Sadly, drug smugglers are here in force and there's a noticeably dodgy vibe in some towns.
Sensibly, many travelers visit the Moskitia as part of a tour. The Moskitia's isolation is such that prices are noticeably higher than elsewhere – expect to up your normal budget considerably if you're traveling independently.
And yet when you're gliding down a pristine jungle-lined river in a dugout canoe, past thatch-and-mud houses with squabbling toucans overhead and crocs in the shallows, there's simply nowhere else like it in Honduras.