It was over a hundred degrees in Copan Ruinas with stifling humidity, so why we decided to go to hot springs in the mountains is still a little bit of a mystery to me, but when you are traveling, hot springs always seem like a great idea. Its like getting offered a cold beer, you just can’t say no.
Luna Jaguar Hot Springs
We headed up the scenic dirt road that basically paralleled the Guatemalan border for about an hour to the beautiful and secluded Jaguar Hot Springs. It is hard to describe this place, it has thermal rivers that have been directed into about fifteen different pools in a Mayan themed jungle extravaganza tucked away on the side of a mountain. We arrived late in the afternoon and were the only guests. When it started to get dark one of the guys who worked at the hot springs brought about 100 candles and lit them up all over the hot springs. It felt like a scene from a honeymoon brochure, it also felt slightly awkward, but most of all if felt HOT. It might have been romantic if we were not both dying of heat exhaustion. I was wishing the thermal springs were running with ice water. It was still over a hundred degrees after dark. Brutal. But we had payed the steep entrance fee and were determined to get our moneys worth. We camped for the night at the hot springs and had the loudest jungle night of our trip. The cicadas and frogs were so loud even with ear plugs I could hardly sleep, but I will take loud jungle noise over trucks with squealing air brakes next to the road any day.
Lake Yojoa seems to be on the Honduras backpackers circuit, and they all seem to end up staying at D&D Brewery. We met some great people there from all over the world. We stopped by D&D and realized the only place to camp was in their very small parking lot surrounded by high walls. It was just not a great place for a XP sized rig and there was almost zero privacy and view. Instead we headed up to Finca El Paraiso about five minutes away to camp. This ended up being one of our favorite places to camp so far in Central America. Finca El Paraiso is a coffee farm with miles of established hiking trails through their property, ice cold rivers and pools of cold river water to swim in, a huge fire pit and large beautiful area to camp in. We had the entire place to ourselves and stayed longer than we had planned because it was so relaxing and beautiful. Also, we could go get great micro brews down the road at D&D and a wonderful strong cup of coffee for twenty five cents at the finca and cheap homemade breakfast!
While we were here we went on a fun, challenging hike to the lake through small villages and dense jungle. The kids in Honduras are so adorable, they would run out of the house and scream “Hello” “How are you” in English and then burst into giggles when we passed. Everyone was so friendly that all anxiety about hiking on unestablished trails without a guide around the murder capital of the world just disappeared. I was glad we got to see more rural parts of Honduras and felt so safe and welcome. When we lost the hiking trail people would come out and point the way or let us cross through their cow pasture or banana plantation. My favorite part of Honduras was the people (well and the diving…) and I am glad we got to spend several days exploring the lovely area around Lake Yojoa.