La Tigra National Park
The Parque Nacional La Tigra is the oldest in the country.
The 23571-hectare area was designated as a protected area as early as 1952 and declared a national park in 1980. Its core zone covers just under a third of the total area.
However, the nature conservation measures came too late for part of the primary cloud forest.
The mining company of the nearby El Rosario mine, active at the turn of the 20th century, had a road cut across the ridge to Tegucigalpa, thus exposing the forest to the exploitation of its precious timber through logging.
Today, El Rosario is a collection of early last century buildings, some dilapidated, some well preserved, clinging to a steep hillside.
The former hospital of the mine houses the visitor center of the national park including a small exhibition on the local flora and fauna. The entrance fee is paid here and the visitor receives a map of the park.
Despite the fatal effects of the mine, the forest in La Tigra National Park has developed again over the decades into a healthy cloud forest. This is drier than other cloud forests in the country and provides good opportunities to observe bird species that are difficult to see elsewhere. These species include the blue and white mockingbird, the rufous-browed wren, the garnet-throated and wine-throated hummingbird species, and the Mayan and Aztec bird of the gods, the quetzal.
La Tigra National Park has a well-developed trail system, so you can easily hike on your own without risk of getting lost.
The best view is from the Hondutel radio towers on a ridge above the road. Caution is advised when exploring the partially still open tunnels of the former mine. In any case, you should wear warm and rainproof clothing as well as hiking shoes with good grip and take enough drinking water with you.