La Tigra National Park
La Tigra National Park is close to the capital of Honduras.
Its boundaries are a mere 14km from Tegucigalpa, which is located
in the southern region of the country. La Tigra was initially established
as a reserve in 1952 and then became Honduras’ very first national
park in 1980. The park's boundary covers an area of approximately 23,571
hectares, with parts of La Tigra reaching altitudes of 2270 meters.
Prior to the land being declared a protected area under Honduran law,
large areas were deforested. The mining company in the area constructed
a road through the cloud forest in order to connect Tegucigalpa and
La Rosario. They cut down precious primary cloud forest trees for
use in the mines. Despite the deforestation, La Tigra National Park
still has an abundance of excellent features well worth exploring.
The high altitude of the park means that it is home to many areas
of cloud forest, which is an ideal environment for oak trees to thrive.
Cloud forests are forested areas covering mountaintops and contain
an array of plant life, including lianas, vines, bromeliads, mosses
enthusiastic bird watchers La Tigra National Park is the best opportunity
to see the majority of Central America’s highland endemics in
the cloud forests. The park is also home to arid broadleaf forest
and highland forest. Birders could expect to see quetzals and perhaps
be fortunate enough to spot blue and white mockingbirds, rufous-browed
wrens, wine throated hummingbirds and green breasted mountain gems.
The park is home to a wide selection of mammals including ocelots,
pumas, peccaries, white tailed deer, armadillos, opossums, and agoutis.
In addition to being so close to a major city one of the main reasons
for La Tigra’s popularity is because of its extensive and well-marked
trail system, making the area readily accessible to visitors. The
paths range in difficulty, with some paths being comfortable enough
for families to walk with children, and then others for the more adventurous
hiking explorer. La Tigra has six main trails and all of these can
be managed without a guide, as long as visitors stick to the marked
paths. La Cascada trail is 9.5km long and crosses from one entrance
of the park to the other. On this route visitors can also enjoy a
There are two entrances to the park Jutiapa and El Rosario, Jutiapa
is on the West side of the park and El Rosario is on the East side of the park. Both entrances
have a visitors centre, and people are also able to camp at these
access points, but they do have limited facilities. Jutiapa also has
dormitories available for visitors to stay in. La Tigra National Park
costs US$10 to enter, and people are advised to wear warmer clothing,
as the high altitudes means the climate is cooler in the park, especially
By Lowri Gilbert
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