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The Lodge At Pico Bonito – The Perfect Combination of Luxury and Eco-Sensitivity


During our recent travels in Honduras we were blessed to be guests at The Lodge at Pico Bonito.  Buried inside a stretch of jungle that is never likely to be cleared, the Lodge was not only a haven of tranquility, well marked trails and crisp white linen, it was one of the very few places of its calibre that honoured a fantastic conservation and eco tourism ethos.

This is largely due to the passion and commitment of the resident manager, James Adams, who not only has fostered a fantastic service concept (you only needed to half glance at one of the staff and your wishes were attended to instantly), he has retained a true love of the reserve where the  Lodge is located, its river systems and the creatures that call it home.


Built largely of timber and stone, the first glimpse of the Lodge appealed to me instantly.  As the child of a building designer who worked so much with these materials, it was like stepping back into my childhood world.  Filled with Heliconias and ginger flowers, I was reminded so much of my teenage years growing up in north Queensland where many of these plants were either shared with Central America or vice versa.  My teenage years were a colour-filled tropical world where weekends were spent tyre rafting rivers like Mossman Gorge.



In contrast to the many things that I recognised while I wandered around the Lodge, I was stunned to see little Agoutis wandering around the grounds.  In other areas we had seen them on this trip, they were so incredibly shy but at the Lodge they walk around fearlessly, largely due to the fact they will never be persecuted here.


Careful consideration has been taken to offer the varying natural interests of the guests.  It is quite easy to go owl spotting in the grounds or on the fringes of the nearby fruit plantation.

There is also a specifically designed insect attracting screen which sees some otherworldly insect delights emerge out of the forest, attracted by its light.


We investigated it on our walk back from their specifically established frog pool.  In Australia we get a species of frog called a Red-eyed Tree Frog but it doesn’t have the same fire engine red eyes of its cousins in Central America.  I had long wanted to see these in the wild so I was enthralled to hear that the Lodge saw them regularly.  We were shown to a pool that night and serenaded.  The calls of four resident frog species echoed in our ears.  It was amazing to hear so many individuals calling to each other.  Using our spotlight we found them hiding between heliconia leaves, clinging to branches or sleeping on fern fronds.  It was wonderful to find so many when really I’d only expected to see one or two.


From my own personal experiences of exploring new and old world jungles, the forests of Honduras were a lot more alive with creatures than I expected them to be.  Particularly at the Lodge where very few things threaten their existence.  It teems with a magnificent variety of birds including Toucans.


and fantastic reptiles like Basilisk Lizards.


I watched creatures from these two worlds collide while I was there.  One of the Lodge’s resident hummingbirds wasn’t very pleased with a lizard who had taken up residence on his turf!


Most of these wonderful encounters took place at the edge of the Lodge’s restaurant or just a few metres from our cabin.

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Possibly the most memorable highlight of our stay (apart from the wonderful hospitality) was the release of a Striped Owl back into the wild.  One morning as we ate breakfast, James approached us to advise that he’d been walking in town the previous night when he came across a group of teenage boys who had caught an owl.  Approaching them, James asked to see the bird and as soon as they showed it to him, he confiscated it from their captivity.  Somehow they had managed to catch this little charismatic owl and if James hadn’t rescued it, one could only guess what its future may have been.  I pondered whether they might have caught it as a chick and hand reared it but James assured us that this bird was definitely wild.

He took it back to the Lodge and kept it overnight.  Thankfully it drank some of the water he offered which is always a good sign.  He also left it with two mice which had been eaten by daylight.  This owl was definitely not long out of the wild.

In keeping with a prohibition of catching any wild creature in Honduras, James took this little Striped Owl back to the Lodge and informed a select few guests who were into birds that he planned to release it.  He then invited us to come along to see it being released.

A small group of us met James in the lobby where he walked out with a sealed, yet well ventilated cardboard box.  We could hear this little creature scuttling around inside which was also another good sign.

After a small walk through the Lodge grounds, we ended up at the edge of the plantation.  Mark suggested this might be a good place as it replicates the sort of habitat that a Striped Owl would occupy in the wild.  James carefully put the box on the ground.


where he gently removed one of the most beautiful little owls I’ve ever seen.


who curiously peered at the small group assembled around it.


After we had all taken a few pics, James gently released it where it flew into a nearby tree.


A very relieved little creature.  Then something completely lovely happened.  As it sat in the tree looking back at us it began to get ready to take off when it actually, inadvertently winked at us.


Perhaps this was our thank you as we said goodbye?  I hope this little guy flourishes in the jungle around the Lodge and avoids any recapture.

Watching this entire act transpire was mesmerising.  Above everything it was so wonderful to see a person like James, who not only knew what he was looking at when he confiscated this owl, but he had the courage to act and do so when so many people would have just ignored the plight of this animal.

It is acts like these that would make us return to the Lodge at Pico Bonito time and time again.  We both plan to send our future guests to the Lodge and someday, just hopefully, we will return too.

3 thoughts on “The Lodge At Pico Bonito – The Perfect Combination of Luxury and Eco-Sensitivity

  1. Tom Thomson says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful article Inger. I will be back at Pico in three weeks for the third time. James is a good man. We will have him put on a slideshow for some local impoverished children to teach them about conservation of their natural world.

  2. Lynn DeBusk says:

    Inger, I took the liberty of reading your blog on James Adam’s link – I have tears in my eyes looking at the beautiful pictures of Pico Bonito, seeing James and that beautiful owl. James had posted on Facebook twice about the owl and its eventual release – what a beautiful owl too. I was a guest at Pico Bonito the end of January, 2013 for approximately 1 week. Your pictures brought back such fond memories. The frog pond was just being built when I was there – so we weren’t able to enjoy the diversity of amphibians – I want to thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures and story. If I might forward this blog to my friends who traveled with me I would appreciate being able to do so. I love Honduras, it’s a country in transition and with people like James around it’s heading in the right direction.

  3. Inger says:

    Hi Tom! What a wonderful idea! I see that James has already been converting some of the local kids and they have taken to watching what goes on in the trees. Children will be the key to conserving Honduras.

    Lynn, it’s a pleasure and I’d love you to share my blog about this tremendously special place! I’d feel honoured! Thank you!

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