La Tigra was Honduras’ first national park, and well worth seeing on a day trip from Tegucigalpa. Not only is it home to mammals like pumas, armadillos and agoutis but also to many birds.
With a bit of luck, you can even spot the elusive quetzal. This colourful bird with a long tail plays a central role in Central America’s mythology and is also the national bird of Guatemala.
And even if you don’t find any animals, you will see thick forests, ferns, bromeliads and a wide variety of orchids.
Yet, despite all these unique plants and animals, barely any international visitors come to La Tigra. Most tourists either skip Honduras or stick to Copan and the Bay Islands, as these are the most accessible areas. And with such a low number of visitors, it is difficult to find information online about La Tigra National Park, especially if you don’t speak Spanish.
To help you get off the beaten track and visit this national park, we have put together a guide. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know for your next trip.
Table of Contents
How to visit La Tigra National Park
How to get to La Tigra National Park
You can easily reach La Tigra from Tegucigalpa.
First, you need to make your way to Parque Herrera. This park is only a couple of blocks west of Parque Central, and you can walk here via a pedestrian zone.
On the northern end of Parque Herrera, in front of the Teatro Nacional Manuel Bonilla, you find the buses leaving for La Tigra. The last stop’s official name is Jutiapa, so ask around for buses leaving to that town. People will point you to the right one.
From Monday to Friday, buses leave at 7am, 9:20am and 10:30am. On Saturday and Sunday, the schedule changes and the buses leave at 8am, and 10am.
You will go by chicken bus so even though it’s only around 20km, the ride takes one hour. Expect bumpy roads and lots of stops along the way. Eventually, the bus will turn around, and everyone gets off. This is the final stop, and you need to get out here, too.For visiting La Tigra, it pays off to have a map on your phone that you can use offline. We use maps.me, and we also have a handy
Now all you need to do is to keep walking along the road. It takes about thirty minutes to get to the park entrance.
Inside La Tigra National Park
Once you reach the park entrance, you have to pay an entrance fee of around USD 10, either in dollars or lempiras. Here, you will also receive a map of the park and information on how long it takes to walk each trail.
You also sometimes have the option to hire a guide. Most guides only speak Spanish, and they’re not always available, but if you have the chance to hire one, it’ll be well worth it. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, a local can help you spot animals.
I travelled around South and Central America for a couple of months, and 95% of my wildlife encounters occurred because a guide pointed out the animal to me. Without one, I would have missed out on many sloths, anteaters and monkeys.La Tigra National Park is known for its cloud forest. The trails reach an altitude of up to 2270 metres, which means that the flora and fauna you can find up here are different from those in the lower jungles.
On the map and on signposts around the park, you will find approximate walking times for the trails. Take them as an estimate, but don’t be surprised if you finish your hike much faster.
We started along the main path, took a long break, and then returned along the Cloud Forest path. It took us around three hours, which is way shorter than it should have been according to the signs. And that already included a very long lunch break.
Our path took us uphill, through the forest which changed from dry woods to cloud forest with lots of ferns and moss, and then back again. Unfortunately, the only animal we saw along the way was a gecko – even though I am sure that lots were around and we just didn’t spot them. But as I said, if you want to see animals, it makes sense to ask around if you can hire a guide.
What to bring to La Tigra National Park
The number one item you need to bring into the national park is insect repellent. We had only been walking for five minutes when a swarm of mosquitos came and attacked us.
The other thing you absolutely need to bring is enough water. While there are shops at the park entrance, you cannot find any vendors inside the park. The trails start by going uphill, so you will be sweating, and you need to take enough water to stay hydrated.
Also, consider packing your own snacks. We had a packed lunch that we ate while sitting on a bench in the middle of the forest. It definitely beats the cafeteria near the entrance.
Besides that, we recommend the following items:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Rain poncho (it is the cloud forest, after all)
- Camera (plus spare batteries)
- Light jacket or sweater – La Tigra is higher up than Tegucigalpa, and it can get cold in the shade
Getting back to Tegucigalpa
This is where it gets a little bit tricky. Getting to La Tigra is no problem at all. Going back, however, requires you to find out the bus schedule. Before setting off into the park, make sure to inquire about the last bus back!
For us, it left at half past three, but on some days, it already goes at three. We came out of the national park at around two, so we had plenty of time left.
From the entrance, walk downhill. You will come to the place where the bus dropped you off. Keep going straight until you see a few houses and yellow school busses. This is where the bus will pick you up on the way back.
Unfortunately, for us, no buses left between two and half past three. We spent one and a half hours sitting on a tiny log on the side of the road. My butt still hurts at the thought of it.
Therefore, try to time your visit better. If you have lots of time left, why not go for another short walk through the park?
Besides the long way home, La Tigra was a great national park, and we loved our visit. We highly recommend you to go here, too.
If you’re travelling to Honduras, we have a few more ressources for you that will help you plan your trip. Don’t miss out on Utila, a Caribbean island where you can relax, enjoy the beaches, learn to dive and kayak through mangroves. Or visit Copan Ruinas and then travel onwards to El Salvador.
Check out all of our articles:
- The best things to do in Utila – even if you don’t dive
- How to get from Copan Ruinas to Santa Ana in El Salvador, by using public transport
- Find out how to hike to the top of Volcan Santa Ana in El Salvador
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