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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Honduras: Pico Bonito Lodge, Lago de Yojoa, and La Tigra

Tour Information

Note: The information presented below has been extracted from our formal General Information for this tour.  It covers topics we feel potential registrants may wish to consider before booking space.    The complete General Information for this tour will be sent to all tour registrants and of course supplemental information, if needed, is available from the WINGS office.

ENTERING HONDURAS: Honduran authorities require a valid passport good for six months after the date of entry and with at least one blank page for an entry stamp. Visas are not required for U.S. and Canadian citizens but you must show proof of return or onward travel. Citizens of other countries may need a visa and should check their nearest Honduran embassy. If required by the embassy or visa-granting entity, WINGS can provide a letter for you to use regarding your participation in the tour. 

Tourist cards are required and are obtained upon entry at the border custom or from your airline. 

It is always a good idea to take photocopies of your passport and air ticket with you when traveling abroad. They can prove invaluable in helping you get replacements if your original documents are lost or stolen. You should pack the photocopies separately from the originals. 

LEAVING HONDURAS: A departure tax is due at the airport in San Pedro Sula upon departure, although it is often included in the price of your ticket. In 2016 this fee was about USD$40.00. U.S. citizens must have a valid passport to re-enter the United States. 

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/honduras.html , and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Honduras at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ho.html

INTRODUCTORY MEETING: Flights from the US typically arrive in Tegucigalpa in the afternoon or evening. We will have an introductory meeting over dinner at our hotel near the entrance to La Tigra National Park. This informal meeting gives the leader the opportunity to introduce everyone to each other and to let you know generally what to expect on the trip – pace of the tour, daily routine, etc. If you choose to arrive a day early, please ask us to arrange an extra night’s lodging for you at our hotel, or at one closer to the airport where we can pick you up at. 

Note: If everyone arrives before noon as has happened some years, we’ll have our introductory meeting over lunch and begin birding in La Tigre ational Park. 

PACE OF THE TOUR:  This tour is not overly strenuous with the exception of one or two hikes at Pico Bonito, one at La Tigra, and possibly one at Panacam. At Pico Bonito one hike is moderately strenuous and the other, if we do it, involves crossing a stream followed by a steep uphill section. The walk during the full day at La Tigra National Park involves a fairly steep hike of a little more than a mile, but the walk is cool and shaded and we allow all morning for it. Most days will begin with breakfast at about 5-5.30:00 am, once at 4 am or slightly earlier to allow early enough arrival for good birding. All of our walks will be at a slow pace with opportunities to pause for a rest, but you should still be in good physical condition to participate in all activities; there is, however, usually the option of sitting out one or more of the hikes, and afternoons can often be spent relaxing at the lodges. On one morning we will be departing Pico Bonito well before dawn for our trip to the Aguan Valley, with breakfast along the way. Throughout we will have sit-down midday meals in a hotel or restaurant, followed by more relaxed birding in the afternoon and dinner.

On the strenuous hikes at La Tigra and Pico Bonito, sturdy footwear is essential and a walking stick will be very helpful.  These walks require a good degree of fitness.

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/honduras . 

Malaria:  Malaria exists in rural areas below 5000’ elevation. This may include areas we visit on day trips from Pico Bonito. You should discuss with your doctor the best preventive measures to take. Anti-malarial drugs effective in Central America include Primaquine, Atovaquone/proguanil, chloroquine, doxycycline and mefloquine. Using insect repellent and wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent mosquito bites is also effective as a preventive measure. 

Yellow Fever:  Yellow fever is not a disease risk in Honduras, but travelers arriving from a country where yellow fever is present must present proof of a current vaccination. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous:  Biting insects and arachnids are typically scarce in the mountains, although mosquitoes and biting gnats can be locally numerous inside the forest at any elevation. Mosquitoes can be numerous in the lowlands, especially at Lancitilla Botanical Gardens. Long sleeves, long pants and perhaps a head net will ward off most of them. Careful application of repellent provides good protection, and the leader will advise you when it will be necessary. In general, a repellent should contain 30% of the active ingredient diethyltoluamide (DEET). Care must be taken as DEET can be corrosive to optics coatings and older rubber-armoring on binoculars and scopes. Camping supply stores and outfitters carry some reasonably effective alternatives which contain natural products and aren’t corrosive.

Products containing tick- and chigger-repelling chemicals are particularly effective. Camping supply stores sell such a product containing permethrin 0.5%. This non-staining, odorless chemical is non-toxic to humans and protective on clothing through several launderings (it must be applied to your clothing a day or two before the tour starts). 

The sun can be surprisingly strong, making a hat a necessity at most sites and sunglasses useful. 

You should bring adequate supplies of all prescription and special medications, as they are not likely to be conveniently available in the areas this tour visits. Some travelers to Honduras experience digestive upsets; consult with your physician about the need to bring with you anything beyond over-the-counter diarrhea medication and drink only bottled water and other beverages during your visit. 

CLIMATE: Rain showers are always possible, especially near the coast and at Panacam Lodge.  At La Tigra National Park the lows should be in the 50s and highs in the 70s.  Elsewhere it will be warmer.  A sweater, light jacket and possibly light gloves will probably add to your comfort at La Tigra. 

Weather in the Honduran lowlands (Pico Bonito and other nearby locations) during the tour is likely to be somewhat warm with temperatures ranging from the 60s or low 70’s in early morning to the 80s or even low 90’s in the afternoon. Rain showers are possible at any time and the air is constantly heavy with humidity, so light, quick-drying clothing is recommended. Even in April northern fronts (nortes) arrive with cooler temperatures, wind  and steady rain.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Our hotel in Pico Bonito is said to be one of the most luxurious in the Neotropics. Each room contains a fan and air conditioning and private bathroom facilities. There is a beautiful pool on the grounds for swimming. At Pico there is Wi-Fi in rooms only if you have a laptop; smaller (weaker) devices do not work in rooms but do so in the restaurant area. The lodge at Panacam has inviting dining and living rooms and comfortable porches for watching the forest below. There are fans in the rooms. There is Wi-Fi in the restaurant area only. The rooms at the hotel near the entrance to La Tigra National Park are standard mid-range hotel rooms. Wi-Fi is available in the rooms.

FOOD: The food in Honduras is of excellent quality; indeed it is almost of gourmet quality at Pico Bonito.  Our hotel breakfasts generally consist of eggs, bread, fruit, yogurt, fried plantains, black beans, fresh juice and coffee or tea (decaffeinated coffee is not widely available). Midday meals and dinners usually feature chicken or beef or fish plus tortillas, black beans or pasta. WINGS tours are all-inclusive and no refunds can be issued for any missed tour meals. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary needs should bring appropriate foods with them. Tour meal times are approximate. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: Transportation during the tour is by air-conditioned minibus with a professional driver. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles.

Updated: 20 July 2016