"A pleasant place to stay" Gracias by DWARF-2
Gracias Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 116 photos
Gracias, a small quiet town with a colonial past in the higher part of Western Honduras, lies close to the entrance to the Celaque National Park. This covers the largest area of cloud forest in Central America with the highest peak of the country, Cerro de las Minas, at 2849m amongst others of similar height.
There are a couple of trails through the forest, some cabins near the visitors' centre at 1400m and campsites at 2050m and 2550m - see route description in travelogue. The climb to the top and back, walking first to the park entrance at Villa Verde from Gracias, took me 14 hours yesterday - 24th March 2005.
Today, Good Friday, I watched the traditional Catholic celebrations - the stations of the cross in the morning and an evening procession. There was also a colourful procession last Sunday, Palm Sunday.
It's a good place to visit with the bonus of a walk in the forest, if you like that sort of activity - you don't have to go all the way to the top and that not all in one day.
Honduras is tropical, whereas La Gomera is only just sub-tropical. The southern slopes, at least, of La Gomera are comparatively bare, in the Celaque National Park the slopes are fully forested right up to the top - nearly 3000m. The lower slopes are designated as rain forest, though in this area, probably due to the underlying calciferous rock, the growth is neither so massive, so dense nor so dripping wet and with a fair proportion of conifers. The paths are generally not muddy or overgrown. There are not so many of them, however, and very few are marked. A guide is usually recommended and for some trips a machete. Above rather more than 2000m. there is a change to cloud forest, similar to the higher northern slopes of La Gomera, but with different vegetation. In some regions lower down there are zones of sparse tropical pines, even dry savanna-type areas.
The infrastructure is even less than on La Gomera - in many places, because they can only be reached by paths on foot - none, except the local population, poor but extremely friendly.
Further useful information on Honduras:
www.hondurastips.honduras.com issue a guide twice a year.
www.moon.com - Moon Handbooks Honduras publish "Honduras."
Other attractions in Honduras:
I have heard from a number of people that Copan ruins are worth a visit - not on such a large scale as other Mayan sites, more artistic, peaceful, tranquil, if you're there early.
"Pico Bonito" is similar to "Celaque" close to Gracias, but more of a rain forest = wet jungle. There are a number of fairly good tracks into the lower reaches. Some areas remain to be explored - small areas of the planet not yet reached by mankind. Getting to the start of a track may be a problem - you might need to organise transport.
- Pros:Small quiet town
- Cons:Small quiet town
- In a nutshell:Small quiet town convenient for Celaque National Park
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