Seven Days / Six Nights (Land) ::
Overland In / Overland Out – Any Day Departure

Day One – Overland to La Moskitia / Raista Ecolodge

The trip at a Glance:
Day One »
Overland into La Moskitia / Raista Ecolodge
Day Two »
Yamari Savannah Cabanas / Crocodile Spotting
Day Three »
Boat Ride to Las Marias / Traditional Miskito Home Visit
Day Four » Las Marias / River Trip to Petroglyphs
Day Five » Las Marias / Rainforest Hike
Day Six » Boat Ride to Belen / Miskito Cultural Evening
Day Seven » Overland out of La Moskitia
Your adventure begins with an overland route that involves a series of bus connections from Trujillo to the isolated community of Iriona (approximately 6-7 hours, depending on weather). In Iriona, you board a small boat that will take you to Palacios, your first stop in the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve, the largest tract of rainforest north of the Amazon.

From Palacios you will board a “collectivo” or shared boat to your first destination, the Miskito community of Raista. In Raista you will spend the evening in the friendly and beautiful family-owned ecolodge of the Bodden family – one of the first local families to become involved with ecotourism in the Reserve – where the matriarch of the family, Doña Elma, will fix you the best home-cooked meal in the entire Caribbean.

Day Two – Yamari Savannah Cabanas / Crocodile spotting tour

Day two begins with a two-hour boat ride to the community of Brus Laguna. Here, you will begin a 45-minute boat ride that will take you through a series of small creeks and lagoons, and into the heart of the Great Pine Savannah. The Yamari Savannah Cabañas sit on the shore of a small translucent river and offer great swimming holes, cool breezes, and some of the best bird watching in the region.

Following a relaxing afternoon and a hearty dinner, you will get back in your pipante after dark to glide through some of the larger canals in search of caiman and crocodiles, a sky full of stars looming overhead. Visiting their dens along the river bank and using spotting lights, you will look for the red reflection of their eyes as they quietly rise to the water’s surface.

Day Three - Boat ride to Las Marias / Traditional Miskito Home Visit

Continuing on from Brus Laguna, you will travel up the mighty Río Plátano by pipante to the community of Las Marias. Considered the main ecotourism destination in La Moskitia, Las Marias has a unique cultural heritage in that it is the home to the Reserve’s smallest ethic group, the Pech Indians. A one-time nomadic tribe, the Pech have settled into a more permanent existence in Las Marias. While traveling upriver, expect to see a variety of wildlife including parrots, toucans, river turtles, and even an occasional crocodile.

En route to Las Marias you will stop at the home of a local Miskito family who have a small farm along the banks of the Rio Plátano. Stretch your legs, take a swim, and have lunch as you learn about some of the traditional agricultural techniques used by indigenous communities to raise casaba, beans, corn, and a variety of fruit.

Day Four - Las Marias / River trip to Petroglyphs

Day four includes a truly unique experience. First, you will climb into a small “cayuco” canoe to be paddled and poled further upstream from Las Marias by local nature guides. Each minute takes you deeper and deeper into the heart of La Moskitia, and on either side of you primary rainforest rises up from the river valley. Following a short hike along a well-maintained jungle trail, the guides will bring you to the Walpaulban Sirpi petroglyph site, located directly on the Rio Plátano. The petroglyph is known to date back approximately 1000 years, although its origin remains a mystery. Take a swim in the cool waters of the Rio Plátano, and warm up under the sun as you ponder the mystery of the ancient rock art.

Day Five - Las Marias / Rainforest hike

Day five in Las Marias includes an invigorating hike through the surrounding rainforest with spectacular views of nearby Damas Peak and the Baltimore mountain range. During the tour a local nature guide will lead you through Las Marias’ towering rainforest, and show you traditional and medicinal uses of plants, point out birds, orchids and giant hardwoods, and share with you stories of growing up in this amazing natural area.

Day Six - Down the Rio Plátano / Belen Beach cabanas/Miskito Cultural evening

Day six takes you back down the Río Plátano to the Miskito community of Belen and the Pawanka Beach Cabanas. One of most beautiful lodging options in La Moskitia, three palm-thatched cabanas sit just ten meters from the Caribbean, cooled by the gentle ocean breezes. Belen also has a lovely dining area, which is located on the edge of a small fresh water lagoon and serves as a great spot for early evening bird watching.

Following a walking tour of the friendly Miskito communities that are located along the coast, you will return to the cabanas along an endless beach as the sun sets over the Caribbean. Back in Belen the community will build a large beach bonfire for dinner. While you eat, a local women’s group will present a cultural evening of traditional Miskito songs and dancing, passed down from generation to generation.

Day Seven -Overland out of La Moskitia

An early morning boat ride from Belen will take you back to the community of Palacios, where you will board a boat back to Iriona. Your bus ride from Iriona easily allows you to reach either Trujillo or La Ceiba this same day.

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