Of the several balnearios along the Río Lindo, a tributary of the Río Blanco north of Peña Blanca, by far the most popular is the 43-meter-high Pulhapanzak Falls (Cascadas de Pulhapanzak). The falls are located just off the road leaving Peña Blanca to the north, connecting to the San Pedro Sula highway.
To properly admire Pulhapanzak Falls, follow the steps down along the edge of the river to a viewpoint below. The land around this part of the river is private property and is still covered with dense forest, a visually pleasing background for the falls. Those interested in a naturalist explanation can hire a guide for US$5.25.
Warning: The wet, steep paths leading down and around Pulhapanzak Falls are treacherous, especially during rainy weather, requiring great balance and careful footing. People have literally fallen to their deaths here.
A very-sketchy looking zipline (“canopi”) has been set up that zigzags across the river, with one thrilling cross just after the waterfall drop-off (US$16).
A horde of local boys, some of whom speak smatterings of more than three languages, will offer their services to guide visitors to a cave behind Pulhapanzak Falls, where Mayan artifacts are reputed to have been found. The boys will also show you a couple of great places to jump out into the water, if you dare to follow them—they are fearless and extremely sure-footed.
Back up by the gate is a snack bar/restaurant and large open field, in the center of which are a few mounds covering what are thought to be Mayan-era ruins. The owners are happy to have people camp out for a nominal fee, either with a tent on the lawn or in a hammock among the trees. The area is usually packed on weekends and deserted during the week.
Between San Buenaventura and Peña Blanca is the hydroelectric power plant at Cañaveral. In front of the office are two sculptures from the Los Naranjos site, one a headless statue and the other a large dish, which were unearthed during the construction of the Río Blanco canal in 1962. Next to them is an example of one of the turbines used in the power plant.
Getting to Pulhapanzak Falls
To get to Pulhapanzak Falls, take a bus from either Peña Blanca or San Pedro Sula, and get off at San Buenaventura, which is 12.5 kilometers from the San Pedro Sula–Tegucigalpa highway and 10 kilometers from Peña Blanca. From San Buenaventura, walk one kilometer to the signposted turnoff to the falls. If in doubt, ask a local to point the way.
The dirt road dead-ends at a gate, where visitors pay an entrance fee of US$2. Beyond are a parking lot and a few small changing rooms to put on bathing suits. There is a broad pool along the Río Lindo, just above the falls, which is great for a swim—just don’t swim too close to the drop-off! On both sides of the river are plenty of shady places to take a rest.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition