La Tigra National Park, also known as Parque Nacional La Tigra in Spanish, is the oldest national park in Honduras. It is named after the female puma, which is called la tigra, and true to its name, there are actually several of the elusive creatures around. Other rare animals that can be spotted with some luck are the iridescent red and green quetzals, ocelots, peccaries, hawks and toucans. The wet cloud forest is the ideal habitat for those animals and the condensed moisture and enveloping clouds allow for a lush vegetation to grow. Bromeliads, ferns, colorful mushrooms, orchids, avocado trees and the great ceibos, the sacred trees of the Mayans, are a common sight.
The park can be explored on eight trails leading through the 240 square kilometer big territory and visitors get to experience the climate as it existed before the spread of the city and heavy logging caused most of the cloud forest in the region to disappear. Today, La Tigra is the largest remaining natural area near Tegucigalpa and covers almost a third of the city’s fresh water consumption. It is not only the most visited national park in the country and a wildlife sanctuary, but is also used to educate about the importance of protecting the environment.
La Tigra National Park is located just a bit north of Tegucigalpa. You can find visitor centers at both the entrances, Jutiapa and El Rosario, with the Jutiapa entrance being closest to the capital. In Tegucigalpa busses leave from Parque Herrera roughly four to five times a day. Bring plenty of mosquito spray and wear long sleeved clothing to ward off the ever present insects.
El Picacho Mountain, located within the relatively new Parque Naciones Unidas El Picacho, is famous for the 65-foot (20-meter) tall statue of Christ the Redeemer at its peak. Visible from almost anywhere in Tegucigalpa, the statue has been watching over the city since it was erected in 1997. An old white-lettered Coca-Cola sign on the side of the hill has led to the nickname “Coca-Cola Christ” among the less religiously inclined residents of the city.
A fairly easy walk to the top brings visitors past a small zoo, but the main reason to make the journey is for the panoramic views of Tegus from the top.
The park entrance is located 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of downtown. The easiest way to get here is by taxi.
Located in the heart of Tegucigalpa’s historical center, the Museum for National Identity summarizes the nation’s historical and cultural identity through its collection of art and artifacts from around Honduras. The exhibits, housed within a nineteenth century hospital that once served as the Palace of Ministries, begin with the geological formation of Honduras and continue through to the present day.
Highlights of the second floor permanent collection include a virtual tour of the Mayan ruins of Copán, shown several times throughout the day. The first floor host temporary exhibitions. While informational within the museum is only presented in Spanish, it’s possible to rent an English audio guide or take a free guided tour in English.
School groups are given free entrance to the museum, so it can get crowded on weekdays. If you’re visiting during a school term, try to plan your visit for Saturday or Sunday.
Address: C. El Telégrafo and Av. Miguel Paz Barahona, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 5pm, closed Mondays