Sometimes, the idea of hiking in the jungle can be just a bit overwhelming! We are not only afraid of what we might encounter, but also unsure of whether our physical condition is up to par for the endeavor! Most of the Trails in Pico Bonito National Park are very demanding. Certainly not a task for all of us! The good news is that the Guaruma Trail in Pico Bonito is a very easy and smooth trail. Not only do you not need to be in shape, it is great for older persons and families with young kids. The trail was built by Guaruma, a local, grassroots organization that has its headquarters in Las Mangas. They work to educate the local children with emphasis in the environment. Some have gotten together and become entrepreneurs. They own and operate Cangrejal Tours and offer guided tours to different trails including El Olvido Trail and the Guaruma Trail.
The starting point for this tour is the Guaruma offices in Las Mangas. They share the property where Cabañas del Bosque, a community owned lodge operates out of. From there, they walk towards the old “Bailey” bridge over the Cangrejal River. Incidentally, during the high waters created by Hurricane Mitch back in 1998, the river took this bridge out! Just imagine how high the water was! Views from the bridge are stunning and it is easy to understand why the Cangrejal River was named one of the 30 top Marvels of Honduras! A plaque commemorating that award stands just next to the entrance to the Las Mangas Bridge. From there, it is easy to understand why the Cangrejal River was awarded that distinction!
The Guaruma Trail in Pico Bonito begins just past the opposite bank of the river, on the right side of the road. There is a parking area as well as a sign that shows where the trail starts. This is the trail the inhabitants of the community known as La Muralla use to get to their home. After a short walk, you will come upon a small crystal-clear water creek. The creek is known as La Muralla Creek, and you will need to cross it to continue your hike. This is where the adventure begins! Do not fear, you do not need to wade across the creek. There is a small swing or hanging bridge that will help you cross the creek! The bridge is not particularly long or high, but it is an adventurous experience, especially if you have never used one before!
Once you are across the creek, you will find a junction. To the left is the trail that the inhabitants of La Muralla use to come and go to their community. The second option is the Guaruma Trail in Pico Bonito. The trail gets its name from the Guaruma tree, a native, very resilient tree that is one of the first to grow in a deforested area. It is not particularly pretty, as a matter of fact, I find it quite ugly and primitive looking! However, when young it is toxic to cattle, so cattle leave it alone. Once it grows, it develops a symbiotic relationship with insects, in particular ants. They establish themselves within the main trunk. The tree has an ugly looking fruit / flower that is one of the favorite foods for the keel billed toucans! So even if the tree is ugly, it attracts lovely birds!
The hike on the Guaruma Trail in Pico Bonito will take about one hour. It is a very easy, flat trail, which makes it easy to hike. On the return trip, you will be following the La Muralla Creek. This creek is offers lovely natural swimming holes and you will probably not resist the temptation to jump in the creek and cool off after your hike. If this hike sounds like it is perfect for you, feel free to get in touch with Cangrejal Tours or Reservaciones La Ceiba, which is the marketing arm for LARECOTURH, the network of the tourism communities of Honduras. They will be more that happy to help you arrange for a tour on the Guaruma Trail in Pico Bonito!
Once you are back in Las Mangas, you may find yourself hungry. Consider having a bite at Cabañas del Bosque or at El Encanto de Doña Lidia in Las Mangas. You will be happy you decided to take this easy trail into Pico Bonito National Park! Make sure you call ahead and make your reservations! Happy hiking in Pico Bonito! Pico Bonito National Park is one of several protected areas in Atlantida.