Travel just south of San Pedro Sula and you’ll find Lake Yojoa, the biggest lake in Honduras, awesome camping and hiking in Cerro Azul National Park, and craft beer.
Lake Yojoa (Lago de Yojoa in Spanish) was formed in a volcanic crater and is shaped vaguely like the state of Florida. On the lake shore there’s a small archaeological site where you can walk around the remains of a Lencan city which dates back to 700 BC. There are also hundreds of types of birds and many vacationing Hondurans. But those aren’t the only reasons we went to Lake Yojoa. We also heard there was beer.
D&D Brewery Lodge & Restaurant was opened by Robert Dale, a guy from the US who wanted someplace to get a burger and a beer, so he created one. When we visited D&D a new owner named Bobby had just taken over but the burgers and the brews on tap (made by a Honduran who was trained by Dale) were still going strong. Okay, D&D’s beer isn’t as good or as affordable as the stuff Thomas is making at his Sol de Copán brewery in Copán Ruinas, but it still beats Honduran Salva Vida any day.
D&D also has a pool, a place for your tent, and a range of rooms which were getting a much-needed renovation (new paint, new mattresses, etc) when we were there.
Less than an hour from Lake Yojoa is Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park (Parque Nacional Cerro Azul Meámbar in Spanish). Established in 1987, the park covers 115 square miles (300 square kilometers) ranging in elevation from 1,600 feet to 6,500 feet (500 meters to 2,000 meters) providing habitat for more than 50 species of mammals.
Cerro Azul has benefited from the know how, funding, and management of a Canadian NGO called PANACAM. Unlike most parks in Central America, Cerro Azul has knowledgeable staff members on site, dorm rooms, gorgeous private cabins for rent (800L, about US$42, for a cabin but bargain a bit), and nearly 10 miles (16 kilometers) of marked and maintained trails through different vegetative zones and past waterfalls. There’s even Wi-Fi in the park’s beautiful restaurant.
Cerro Azul also has what just might be the best campsite in all of Honduras. For 100L per person (US$5.25) we set up our tent on a flat surface under a metal roof near clean bathrooms with flush toilets, cold water showers, and functioning sinks. We even had electricity and a pair of aracaris (basically small toucans) perched in a tree near our tent. The only thing missing was an ice cold beer.
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Beers and waterfalls? Sign me up!