I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not versed in the world of eco-resorts, but if lush, green surroundings and easy access to low-impact outdoorsy activities are requirements, then The Lodge at Pico Bonito is surely on its way to meeting the definition.
Located about 10 minutes by vehicle from La Ceiba, Honduras, The Lodge is set on 400 acres back from the main road, beneath the towering Pico Bonito. It consists of several individual cabins, tucked into the rainforest and surrounded by brilliantly colored, tropical flowers. Miles of hiking trails lead into the forest of Pico Bonito National Park, and a few observation towers and swimming holes throughout the rainforest offer an opportunity for birdwatching (with more than 300 species of birds on the property, visitors are sure to spot something).
The cabins are spacious but rustic. There were fresh flowers in my room (though the butterfly display on the wall was disintegrating). I could hear the rain and birds right beyond my doors, and the high ceilings helped keep the air circulating despite the humidity. People get married at The Lodge at Pico Bonito, and I can understand why. The backdrop is stunning … exactly what I would picture in a secluded and romantic lodge.
Despite its beauty, there are a few setbacks to The Lodge at Pico Bonito. The first is its location. Guests at the lodge can hike the basic loop trail and visit the on-site butterfly farm and serpentarium, but unless you’d like to kick back and relax, there’s only so much to do at The Lodge before you have to hire a car to get off the property or pay for other activities on The Lodge’s property. An on-site concierge can help visitors set up other guided hikes, mountain bike rentals and visits in town, but it’s going to cost you to get there.
There is a restaurant on the property as well, and the food is fresh and delicious. I enjoyed a dinner of conch soup and sauteed shrimp with garlic, which was filling and flavorful. The breakfasts are huge, and the juice is fresh-squeezed. Breakfast is included in cabin rental, but lunch and dinner run at $15 and $30 an adult respectively, and without any other options anywhere near The Lodge, it can be pricey to eat here.
The owners of The Lodge at Pico Bonito have done an admirable job of preserving the wilderness which protects more than 420 species of mammals, birds and amphibians, and I have no doubt that these species will continue to thrive for many generations to come. I do, however, have a concern with a few other choices The Lodge makes, which don’t seem to position it in quite an eco-friendly manner.
First, upon arriving at The Lodge at Pico Bonito, we had to make our way to our cabins. The pathways were lit by solar-powered lights, however, our cabin lights were switched on for our convenience. I would have much rather had to grapple in the dark for a few minutes or with a flashlight to find the light switch than know that the lights had been on for some unknown length of time.
Also, on our first night at The Lodge, a tarantula made itself at home on a rafter of my cabin. The critter itself didn’t bother me; this is an eco-lodge after all. What concerned me, though, was, when I went to get help to remove the spider from my cabin, the woman who came to assist me sprayed nearly a can of bug spray on the thing before smashing it with her shoe. The (chemically filled) spray lingered in the air the entire time I was at The Lodge, which, coincidentally, was sprayed right above the sink area … and my toothbrush.
As a first timer at an eco-lodge, I was intrigued by The Lodge at Pico Bonito. The concept is appealing, and the landscape really is stunning, but the lodge’s location and the extra fees incurred as a result of the location are worrisome. And until The Lodge trades in the cans of bug spray for something a little more Earth friendly, I’m not sure I’d stay here again.
My stay at The Lodge at Pico Bonito was paid for by the Honduras Institute of Tourism, but all opinions are my own.