Reserva Biológica El Chile
A modest reserve of pine and cloud forest atop a broad mountain bordering the departments of Francisco Morazán and El Paraíso, Reserva Biológica El Chile covers 61 square kilometers. Much of the forest on the lower flanks of the mountain has long since disappeared and turned into coffee plantations, but good-sized patches of intact cloud forest can still be found in the highest part of the park, a plateau ringed with several peaks of around 2,100 meters. The highest point in the park is Pico de Navaja (2,180 meters).
Transport into El Chile is not easy. Hikers can get to the reserve from either the north or the south, though the northern route is usually a bit quicker. Catch any Juticalpa bus as far as Guaimaca, a large town about an hour from Tegucigalpa set in a broad farming valley. From Guaimaca, a side road in relatively good condition heads south into the hills to the village of San Marcos, an hour or so by pickup truck. In San Marcos is a small visitors center with information about the park, and guides can be hired for trips of varying length into the forest and to nearby waterfalls. A half-day trip costs around US$5, more for a full day.
It’s also possible to visit the south side of El Chile by driving or catching a bus (from Mercado Jacaleapa in Tegucigalpa) to Teupasenti, a large coffee town with several hotels and restaurants located about 25 kilometers north of the highway to Danlí. From Teupasenti, catch a ride on a pickup 2.5 hours up to the village of El Chile, on the side of the mountain of the same name, and ask around for guides into the forest. Reportedly, a lake is tucked into a high valley on the south side of the reserve.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition