Who we are

The La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance (LARUMO Alliance) consists of six indigenous communities that have developed ecotourism products and services within the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve.  All of the ecotourism enterprises that are a part of La Ruta Moskitia are 100% community-owned and operated, and therefore all of the financial benefits of La Ruta Moskitia go directly to local communities.

The ecotourism enterprises along La Ruta Moskitia offer lodging, dining, and transportation services – as well as a menu of nature and cultural tour options.  Each enterprises is operated by “ecotourism enterprise groups” made up of 10-20 members that include well-trained operations and financial managers, naturalist guides, boat drivers, cooks and housekeepers.  The enterprise group members earn revenue both from being employed in these various roles, as well by sharing end-of-year profits.

The conservation and community benefits of La Ruta Moskitia are that as local people earn more money from sustainable tourism, they depend less on hunting, over fishing, and extractive land practices such as slash & burn agriculture and cattle grazing.

The formation of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance was supported by Rare (, an international conservation organization whose mission is to protect wild lands of globally significant biodiversity by enabling local people to benefit from their protection.

La Ruta Moskitia has also received support from the United Nations Development Program’s Small Grants Program in Honduras ( to fund the construction of many of the new tourism facilities that now exist in La Moskitia such as ecolodges, cabanas, and dining areas.



Our Commitment to Conservation

The central objective of the La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance is to shift local economies away from unsustainable resource extraction (such as over fishing and hunting) and towards ecotourism, a sustainable source of income that depends upon the preservation of these same natural resources.

Increasing the benefits of ecotourism for communities and diversifying local economies in the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve is critical at this time.

Ten Ways in Which La Ruta Moskitia Supports Conservation

Employing 100% local people in sustainable tourism, reducing their dependency on hunting, over fishing, and other extractive activities.
Developing locally managed projects that address conservation threats in the Reserve.
Dedicating 10% of revenues to support local conservation projects.


Training Nature Guides to help monitor & enforce park regulations.


Using all-natural, local building materials for lodges, cabanas, and dining areas.
Keeping tour groups to 12 people or less, reducing potential environmental impacts and wildlife harassment.
Giving clients a reliable means of donating to local conservation projects.
Managing water/solid waste in an environmentally responsible manner.
Working to establish ecotourism “special use” zones in the Reserve that help to protect critical wildlife habitat.
Increasing the international awareness of the biological importance of the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve.

An expanding population in the region and a growing dependence upon the natural resources for both sustenance as well as additional income has lead to irrevocable impacts to the Reserve’s terrestrial and marine resources.  Rivers and coastal lagoons that provide invaluable flood control and sedimentation capture are suffering under the effects of deforestation caused by more and more agricultural plots or “guamiles” being carved from their shores.  Fresh and saltwater fisheries are being decimated as local fisherman push further up the rivers with their nets, wiping out juvenile populations.

Lobster fishing, the primary source of income for many of La Moskitia’s coastal communities, has experienced an exponential drop in production over the last decade.  The once abundant waters of the Caribbean have suffered the effects of years of over-harvesting throughout the region.  As the lobster have become scarcer, local divers have been pushed to go deeper and deeper (making multiple dives daily down to 150 feet in many cases) with antiquated diving equipment.  These treacherous working conditions have left scores of fathers, brothers, and sons with crippling injuries and in some cases have resulted in their deaths.

The ecotourism enterprises that make up La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance hope to use this same land differently, with vision and long-term benefits in mind.  With its enduring Pech, Miskito, and Garifuna cultures, breath-taking scenery, and nearby forests, the Reserve has the natural and cultural resources needed to pursue ecotourism as a sustainable source of income.  Combined with the emerging tourism trends in Honduras, the support of Rare and UNDP, and the vision of La Ruta Moskitia Ecotourism Alliance - a new path lies ahead.

The Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve

Date of Inscription to List of World Heritage Sites: 1980
Date of Inscription to the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger: 1996

The largest remaining tract of natural forest in Honduras, the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve encompasses over 525,000 hectares (over 2,000 square miles) and was the first World Heritage Site to be designated as such in Central America.  The Reserve encompasses coastal wetlands, expansive pine savannas, humid tropical forests, rivers, and beaches and is home to a myriad of species, including jaguars, monkeys, and manatees as well as over 300 bird species, including parrots, toucans, and the elusive Harpy Eagle.  An estimated 2,000 vascular plants can be found in the reserve and as the region is perhaps the least studied of Honduras, the potential for discovering more is extremely high.  200 amphibian and reptiles species have been observed, and the beaches of the Reserve are critical nesting grounds for four species of endangered sea turtles. 

Click on the image to the right to see a complete list of the over 300 bird species that are found in the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve.

In addition to containing some of Central America’s greatest biodiversity, La Moskitia is also home to four distinct indigenous groups – the Miskito, Pech, Garifuna, and Tawahka tribes – each with their own unique languages, cultures, and traditions.   Many archeological sites also exist within the Reserve’s boundaries. 

What is a Biosphere Site?
A Biosphere Reserve is a unique classification of protected areas designated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in cooperation with the host country as an area dedicated to discovering solutions to long-term environmental problems such as tropical deforestations, desertification, and atmospheric pollution. 

There are over 250 Biosphere Reserve in the world, each serving as a center for monitoring, research, education and training on natural and managed ecosystems.  Biosphere Reserves are places where international, national, and local decision-makers, scientists, managers, and local residents cooperate in model programs for managing land and water to meet human needs while conserving natural processes and biological resources.

Threats to the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve:
At both its 19th and 20th sessions, the World Heritage Committee heard reports of commercial and agricultural intrusions into the site, threatening the World Heritage values for which it had been inscribed. The advancing agricultural frontier at the west side of the Reserve, pushed by small farmers and cattle ranchers, is already reducing the reserve's forest area. The southern and western zones of the Reserve are subject to massive extraction of precious wood such as Caoba (Swietenia macrophylla). Uncontrolled commercial hunting of wild animals is also practiced. The introduction of exotic species is threatening to undermine the complex ecosystem of the Reserve. The absence of any management plan and the fact that there is almost no park staff to manage the 525,100 ha site has compounded the problem.