Celaque National Park
The Celaque massif is the source of no less than 9 rivers that supply water not only to Gracias Lempira and the smaller communities of Lempira province, but also to El Salvador.
Celaque National Park (Parque Nacional Celaque) was created by the Honduran government in 1987 to stop uncontrolled logging and clearing by small farmers on Honduras’ highest mountain.
Its 270 km² core zone, surrounded by a buffer zone where cultivation is permitted, is the third largest national park in the country. It protects the largest, highest and best preserved cloud forest in Honduras.
Below the altitude of 1600 m, a mixed forest of pine and oak dominates (pine-oak forest), which at higher altitudes changes into a montane mixed forest and finally into cloud forest. Its mossy giant trees, covered with bromeliads and orchids, compete for the few rays of sunlight that are able to penetrate the curtain of fog that is present all year round.
The biodiversity of the National Park includes numerous species of mammals and birds: jaguar, ocelot, coati, raccoon, agouti, collared peccary, tapir and armadillo, as well as several species of warblers, woodpecker, vireo, swallow-tailed kite, white-fronted Amazon, monochrome parakeet, red crossbill, short-crested hornbill and American treecreeper.
The Celaque cloud forest is also home to the rare quetzal, as well as trogons and toucans.
A special place within the fauna is taken by the endemic Bolitoglossa Celaque, a lungless salamander species.
To visit the Celaque National Park, one should stay overnight in Gracias Lempira.