Hiking Tours in Las Marias
The following hiking information and map were originally printed in the “Visitor’s Guide to the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve”, an excellent source of La Moskitia travel information. The small printed guide is available throughout the Reserve, and serves as an excellent “recuerdo” of your visit to La Moskitia. Reproduced with the written consent of the authors: Ethan Macomber, Lauri Boxer-Macomber, and Arden Anderson.
- Pico Dama - Difficult, 3 days, 3 guides, jungle hike - Leaving from Las Marias, travel up river in a pipante for approximately one-two hours until reaching Quebrada Sulawala. From there hike through farmland, as well as primary and secondary rainforest. Although the trip starts out on flat terrain, further into the hike many of the trails turn steep and slippery. Exotic plant and wildlife is plentiful in this region and makes the trip worthwhile. At the top of Pico Dama visitors are rewarded with spectacular views of the entire region.
Pico Baltimore - Intermediate-difficult, 2 days, 2 guides, jungle hike - Trip leaves from the trails behind the COHDEFOR office in Las Marias. The hike passes through primary and secondary rainforest starting and ending on flat terrain. Expect to climb and descend steep trails in the afternoon of day I and the morning of day 2. Great views of lbans Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean await visitors at the top of the mountain. Like the majority of the trips offered into the reserve, this trip passes into the heart of the jungle and provides an excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Cerro de Zapote - Easy-intermediate, I day, I guide, jungle hike - Trip leaves from the trails behind the COHDEFOR office in Las Marias. Hikers travel on the same trail used to access Mt. Baltimore (see description above.) Terrain is relatively flat, with only one steep hill. Plenty of time can be allotted for bird watching, picnicking, and enjoying the forest. Early morning departure is recommended for those who are interested in bird watching.
Walpaulban Sirpi - Intermediate, I day, 3 guides, river trip - Travel up river in a pipante to a destination of mysterious ancient petroglyphs. Along the way take a moderate 1-2 hour hike on a trail running along the Plátano River. Upon arrival take time to study the petroglyphs, swim in the river, have a picnic, and rest on the shore. Look for toucans and parrots during your river journey. Perhaps even spot a monkey or two.
- Walpaulban Tara - Intermediate, 2 days, 3 guides, river trip - Travel up river in a pipante to view two different sets of petroglyphs. Trip description for day one is similar to Walpa TJIban Sirpi. Travelers camp alongside the river and journey out to the second set of petroglyphs on the following day. Additional hiking trips on trails off the Plátano River can sometimes be arranged if time and weather permit.
Cerro Mico - Intermediate, 2 days, 3 guides, jungle hike - Travel up river in a pipante to the mouth of Quebrada Sulawala. Hike alongside the creek (flat terrain) for a few hours and later set up camp. On day two, travel through mixed terrain (some steep ups and downs) to the top of Cerro Mico and back down again. Return to Quebrada Sulawala by following trails along Quebrada Waikauban and the Plátano River. Look for monkeys and other wildlife - there is a reason that this area is called "Monkey Hill."
- Village Trail - Easy, 2-3 hours, on your own or with I guide, riverside village walk mixed with forest - Take the opportunity to learn about the forest within the village of Las Marias. Learn how the local people use local plants and trees for medicine, crafts, and construction. This is the perfect trip for the semi-tired traveler who still wants to put a little activity into their day. No special equipment or shoes are needed. Trail is relatively flat.
Lodging & Dining
Various lodging options exist in Las Marias. All of the small hotels or “hospedajes” are locally owned and managed, and tend to be a bit more rustic than the other destinations along La Ruta Moskitia. With that said, the local families that run the hospedajes are extremely welcoming, very helpful in arranging your tours in Las Marias, and will make every effort to ensure your stay is both comfortable and memorable.
The following is a list of these hospedajes, starting downstream and moving up:
- Hospedaje Tinglas: Located right on the banks of the Rio Plátano.
- Hospedaje Diana: Located right on the banks of the Rio Plátano.
- Hospedaje Justa: Located in the center of Las Marias, near the health center.
- Hospedaje Ovidio: Located in the center of Las Marias, near the old airstrip.
- Hospedaje Luis Eden: Located above Las Marias on the Rio Plátano.
There is no “collectivo” (shared) boat service to/from the community of Las Marias. “Expreso” or direct boat service must be arranged in either Brus Laguna, Belen, or Raista – or directly with boat drivers from Las Marias who can come down and pick you up (although this tends to be more expensive as they need to make two trips). Please see the Getting Around La Moskitia page for more information on boat/transportation costs.
Local hospedajes in Las Marias costs on average $4-5 USD per person per night. Food costs are approximately $2-3 per person per meal. Tour costs vary depending upon group size, but typically range from $10-25 USD per person per tour.