When you think of the beach, you obviously don’t envision cars, hectic people, busy and annoyed commuters and traffic lights on every cross street do you? Exactly. Definitely not saying that all those elements combined are a sin, but c’mon, it can all get too common for anyone’s taste and a change every now or so is perfectly deservable.
Some people enjoy snowy mountains, dreamy forests or maybe just hanging out by a lake. All of those are marvelous options and also magnificent to choose from on any vacation dates. But for now, let’s focus on the heat of the sun, the gentle breeze of the waves, sunscreen, sunglasses and of course, coconuts!
Honduras is a beautiful country located right at the heart of the whole american continent with just over 8 million people in total. Right at the top portion of this tropical and spanish-speaking country, Cayos Cochinos can be found. In a nutshell, Cayos Cochinos, pertaining to the Bay Islands of Honduras and nicknamed “Hog Islands”, is composed of 15 islands (2 major and 13 smaller ones). The Bay Islands are Honduras’ most precious summer gem, with thousands of tourists willing to enjoy them from all over the globe, including celebrities. Roatan, Guanaja, Swan Islands and Utila, are the main islands that give the Bay Islands its significance as paradise spots. Now, regarding Cayos Cochinos, approximately 150 people live in all of these cays which offer beautiful sceneries every day. It has become a widely recognized tourist destination for people who wish to relax in a place that offers one of the most pristine waters you can find in the whole american continent. Since Cayos Cochinos is an archipelago itself, you can manage to go about them by boat with the help of tourist guides which usually have a nice sense of humour. All of them fully equipped with manners that inspire trust.
Here are some factors that will condense what the Cayos Cochinos experience is about.
You can reach the cays with the help of charter services from Sambo Creek, a small town just 10 minutes away from Honduras’ third largest city called La Ceiba in Atlantida department (the equivalent of a state in the U.S.). You can also reach the cays from Utila through dive shops who provide the service, and also from Roatan, the Bay Islands’ biggest locality. Transports are generally offered on a daily basis. Tourist packages are normally available and can include roundtrips, lunch, and the usage of snorkeling gear. Prices vary depending on the point of exit and return; usually not too expensive and honestly, the money is worth the adventure.
What to do
Fun can be experienced in many ways while having the time of your life in Cayos Cochinos. This can be done by swimming, diving, snorkeling and trying all the normal things people do whilst having some enjoyment under the sun. There are no roads in the cays, thus, you won’t be finding cars or bikes to spoil the natural ambient. There is a lighthouse at the peak of Cayo Grande (Large Cay) which can be reached through hiking trails. You can visit garifuna fishing villages which constitute the population of Cayos Cochinos. Lunch can be enjoyed in Chachahuate where you are offered exquisite fried fish with plantain “tajadas” and some coconut tasting rice and beans; too good! Sodas and beer are usually served too. A scientific research center can be found in small cay where you usually get inducted with safety measures and counseling by the experts that guard the cays.
Coral reefs are a major factor in the Bay Islands. The world’s fourth largest Coral reef, the Mesoamerican Coral Reef, with an extension of 943 km runs from Belize all the way to these parts of Honduras. The Coral Reef Fund in the cays is responsible for maintaining restrictions of various types in order to guarantee the protection of the marine park and the pristine waters found throughout. A park entrance fee of about $10 – $20 is charged for the entrance to the park. Other organizations which include the Smithsonian Institute and Operation Wallacea all contribute to ensuring that everything runs nice and smooth regarding wildlife conservation. Also, it is interesting to know that the only pink Boa constrictors in the world are found right here. Commercial fishing, netting and trapping within the marine park are strongly prohibited.
Tourist packages normally run on daily roundtrips that last 6 hours on average, although the Turtle Bay Eco Resort, which is a PADI resort which serves through diving instructors, is available for lodging in the Cayo Grande on any day of the week. The concept of cheap lodging in hammocks and hostel-like huts can be enjoyed in Chachahuate and East End.
All in all, living a new experience like this one is definitely worth the visit. People from all over the world visit Cayos Cochinos not only because of the beautiful pristine waters that will surround you, but because it is altogether a memorable thing to enjoy. Awesome food, great ambient, and nice people to help you on your journey give the whole deal a major plus. So next time you plan a visit to a beach, make it happen in Cayos Cochinos. By the way bring your cameras! You will not want to forget taking pieces of time from this place!
National Geographic writes, “The waters around this collection of coral cays are a marine biologist’s dream: protected by the government, off-limits to commercial divers and fishermen, and busy with creatures that may not yet have names.”
Dr. Mathias Hammer, founder of Biosphere Expedition expresses that, “The Cayos Cochinos reefs are the least disturbed ecosystem in the Bay Islands,”