Sambo Creek, Gateway to Cayos Cochinos

Sambo Creek is a Garifuna Village that is within the environs of the Municipality of La Ceiba. It is also within the buffer zone of Nombre de Dios National Park. As is the case with all the Garifuna communities in Honduras, it is right on the coast. Sambo Creek offers a window to Garifuna traditions, as well as to some outstanding gastronomy and even some hotel options. But above all, the community is best known as the gateway to Cayos Cochinos. This is because most tours departing to this insular paradise do so from here.

Sambo Creek

Garifuna fishing dory at beach in Sambo Creek. Photo: Courtesy of Rico Besserdich

There are many other things to do and see while in Sambo Creek. For one, you will be in a community that has a unique culture that has the status of Heritage of Humanity. There are also hot springs, canopy tours and the Cacao Lagoon. There are several beachfront restaurants where you can enjoy the traditional Garifuna cuisine and fresh seafood. From the beach, you can clearly see the outline of Cayos Cochinos. Although this archipelago consists of two small islands and 13 tiny white sand cays, from afar it appears to be one island. If you look at it with a bit of imagination, you will see it has the form of an alligator or crocodile. I am sure that if Walt Disney productions would have seen this feature, they would have filmed Peter Pan right here. Poor Captain Hook would have been terrified of visiting the island!

La Ceiba´s National Parks

Elevated trail over the swamp and mangrove forest at Cacao Lagoon, Nombre de Dios National Park

The biggest celebration in town takes place in June. This is a great opportunity to get up and close to learn more about the Garifuna traditions and culture. It is also a good time to visit the restaurants and taste their food. Most of the celebrations take place at night, so you may consider staying the night in Sambo Creek and not have to drive back to La Ceiba after dark. The best options are just outside the city, on the east bank of the creek that flows next to the town. Without doubt, your best option is Hotel Villa Helens. The owner, Helen, is a friendly soul and offers a full-service restaurant and bar. As for lodging, they have a variety of options, including traditional hotel rooms as well as some cabins that are ideal for groups and families.

Sambo Creek

Sambo Creek beach at Kabasa Restaurant. Photo: Courtesy Héctor Santos

Just next to Helens you will find the Hotel Canadien. Unfortunately, it is rather run down, but still open and right on the beach. If you plan to visit Cayos Cochinos and then go to the hot springs and enjoy the Sambo Creek Canopy Tour, as well as visit the Cacao Lagoon, you should consider spending the night in Sambo Creek. Nearby you will also find the World Famous USHA Village, a wellness center that was founded by the late Dr. Sebi.