Just a couple of bumpy, hot and dusty hours from San Pedro Sula you can arrive on the football pitch of Buenos Aires, the centre of village life in most Central American villages.
Buenos Aires is the first village you reach in the Merendon Mountains, a cool, misty range covered with primary and secondary growth cloudforest. The village smells of woodsmoke, hot corn and sweet coffee. Stock up in the local shops, and try Waldina's famous fried chicken at the Tucan.
The village boasts spectacular views over the valley and a lovely, very basic eco lodge, where you will wake up to the sounds of bird song and coffee pickers singing on their way to work and little else.
From here, arrange a guided tour of Cusuco National Park. On the way up to the park (a steep climb) you will most likely be invited in for a strong, painfully sweet cup of local coffee.
Quite suddenly, the pine forest gives way to giant ferns. Here are toucans, tapirs, jaguars and howler monkeys. You can swim in (some) waterfalls, and spot orchids and hummingbirds.
Here you are a world away from both the humid bustle of San Pedro Sula and also from the Central American tourist trail. You are immersed in everyday latin american village life and the cool, silent word of a spectacular cloudforest that sees surprisingly few visitors a year.
Hitch a ride on a local truck from Cofradía (they leave the main square almost every day at around 2pm). When in Buenos Aires, stay in the eco-lodge. the local Patronato head (Miguel Mejia) can give you information on how to visit the park and get yourself a local guide. Basic facilities are available at the base camp, from which you can explore the forest (take a guide!)
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