Los Naranjos

The guidebook touts D&D’s famous blueberry pancakes and for very good reason! A plateful of those washed down with superb Honduran coffee is a wonderful way to start a day in this little piece of tropical paradise. As I hadn’t heard back about going caving, I decided to spend the day exploring a local coffee plantation and gardens, and a nearby eco-archaeological park.   
The US airforce guys I had been chatting to the previous evening were discussing what to do for the day as it had started raining and they decided to visit the coffee plantation as well. They invited me to join them and we wandered up the road together. The three guys were firefighters and there was also a girl who was an air traffic controller. They were part of the US military presence here in Honduras to help combat drug trafficking. I told them about my experiences in Brus Laguna and that I wonder whether anyone was actually doing anything effective in this part of the world, but they assured me that their crew still manages to stop a sizeable amount of narcotics. 

We passed an energetic football match which was part of a mini knock out competition with some sizeable (for these parts) prize money. The entrance to Bio Parque y Finca Cafetalera was just over the road and we managed to drag the man at the gate away from the match to pay our entrance fee and get a map. 

The Parque had amazing gardens which were a riot of tropical colour. Little trails wound through the property; up hills, across streams and through some magnificent forest. We had a very pleasant couple of hours exploring the property. When we left, the football competition was in full swing and a highly vocal crowd was providing support. 

We stopped off at D&D’s for a drink then continued on into the tiny village we were on the outskirts of. I farewelled the others and veered off to visit to the bio-archaeological parque. After walking about 500 m along a dirt road, I found the path leading to a suspension bridge over the river into the Parque. I couldn’t find anyone to pay and the two soldiers on the bridge didn’t stop me, so I continued on. 

Parque Eco-Arqueológico de Los Naranjos has a small pre-classic Lenca archaeological site in one corner and walking trails throughout; including about one kilometre of the dodgiest, termite ridden boardwalk I have ever had the discomfort of traversing. That said, the tropical marsh area the boardwalk crossed over was stunning and well worth the treacherous trek. There were also beautiful vistas of Lago de Yojoa from a viewing platform at one end. 

Back on terra firma, I followed one of the trails to a small museum and the other entrance to the Parque, before returning to follow a different trail to the archeological site. There was a lookout tower nearby which I climbed for a lovely view of the forest. Up top were the two soldiers from the suspension bridge and three young boys who were smoking. I tut tutted and the soldiers laughed at the boy’s discomfort. 

Back over the suspension bridge, I picked up the dirt road back into the village and back to D&Ds. I was then able to sample more of this little microbrewery’s selection of home brew. Apart from the Jurassic mosquitoes, it was a very pleasant evening spent by the fire-pit and chatting to expat locals. 

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