What languages are spoken in La Moskitia?
Spanish is spoken throughout La Moskitia, although as a second language for many indigenous community members who also speak Miskito, Pech, Tawahka, and Garifuna languages. Interestingly enough, about 20% of the words in the Miskito language have roots in the English language (dating back to their early contact with English explorers). For this reason you will hear words that sound familiar such as “dory” (Miskito for “boat”) and “pine” (Miskito for “fine”).
Do I need my passport to travel in La Moskitia?
We do not recommend you bring any important travel documents, such as passports, with you to La Moskitia. You do not need them for any reason, and they can only get wet or lost.
What do I need to bring to La Moskitia?
The following is a list of important items that any traveler should have with them during an adventure in La Moskitia. If you are traveling at any of the destinations along La Ruta Moskitia, you have no need for any special items (i.e. mosquito nets, sleeping bags, tents, etc.) other than what is included on this list:
- Sun block
- Mosquito Repellent / Mosquito Coils
- Wide-brimmed Hat
- Bathing suit
- Light long-sleeved shirt / pants
- Sandals/footwear that can get wet
- Shoes/light-weight boots for walking/hiking
- Film, batteries
- Water bottle that can be refilled at the hospedajes
- Book, reading material
- Ziploc plastic bag for wallet/valuables
- One large garbage bag for backpack during wet boat rides
- An umbrella if you are sensitive to the sun
- Any important medicines/medications
- All money in cash (Lempiras)
- A healthy sense of adventure!
Are there phones in La Moskitia?
In some communities along La Ruta Moskitia you will find fixed phone lines. These communities include Iriona, Palacios, Batalla, Belen, and Brus Laguna. You will need to ask around for the community phone, and you will pay for your call by the minute. In addition, some communities can use their VHF radios to make phone calls in case of emergencies. Check with the owner/manager wherever you are staying to see if this is an option for you.
Should I bring something special for the local communities?
Although La Moskitia is one of the poorest regions of Honduras, La Ruta Moskitia discourages travelers from giving away things such as candy, money, pencils, etc. to local residents, especially to children. This creates an expectation that anyone will give them something if they just ask, and can lead to resentment if they don’t get anything. You can help support local communities by hiring them as guides, boat drivers, and other tourism services – or contributing to their locally managed conservation projects.
What is the best time of year to go to La Moskitia…what is the weather like?
Whether it’s the turtle nesting season, the conservation festival in Brus Laguna, or mango season when fruit seems to fall from the sky - nearly every month of the year offers a good reason to visit La Moskitia! Throughout the year daytime temperatures range from 80º-100º Fahrenheit, while nighttime temperatures range from 70º-80º Fahrenheit. The driest months of the year (February to May and again from August to November) make travel through the region quite a bit easier. The rainy season typically runs from November to early January and during these months winter storm fronts can make both overland travel as well as boat trips difficult. Keep in mind La Moskitia is a tropical ecosystem, and one can expect some rain almost year round…so be sure to pack a good raincoat! It is always best to check in with us at [email protected] for travel updates if you plan on visiting during the rainy season.
Can I plan my own trip to La Moskitia?
Of course you can. If you are an independent traveler who likes to choose your own adventure, then La Moskitia is still a destination for you! This website has been designed as an information source for exactly this purpose, and we recommend you visit both the individual Destinations pages as well as explore the information on Getting There, Around, & Away that can also be found on this website. If you decide that you would rather leave the travel-planning up to us, then feel free to look over our Package Tours or just Contact Us.
Is there an entrance fee to visit the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve?
Currently, there is no entrance fee to visit the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve. We do recommend however that you do consider making donations to any one of the local conservation and community development projects you may come across during your visit to La Moskitia.
Can I buy indigenous “artesania” (arts & crafts) in La Moskitia?
Absolutely! Las Marias has a variety of beautiful hand-made natural arts & crafts such as bracelets, bags, wood-carvings and much much more available for purchase. And if you feel like adding a La Ruta Moskitia baseball cap or t-shirt to your personal collection, they are available in most of the communities you will visit as well.
How do local people feel about having their picture taken?
Local community members hold no social taboos against having their picture taken. With that said, no one likes their privacy invaded, so we recommend that you ALWAYS ask local residents before you take their picture (this is particularly important when taking pictures of children). Kids in La Moskitia generally love to pose for shots though, and will be overwhelmed with giggles of joy if they can see a digital image of themselves afterwards.
Very few families in La Moskitia have photos of themselves, and they cherish these images, so if you have a particularly good shot of a family you stayed with or a guide you met, feel free to send the picture and the recipient’s information to: [email protected] and we’ll be sure to get it to them!
Why is it so expensive to travel in La Moskitia?
The main reason is because the costs of boat transportation can be relatively high. Currently gas cost approximately $5 USD per gallon in the local communities, and has been steadily increasing over the last few years. In addition, the cost of plane travel to La Moskitia has also been rising steadily over the last few years for these same reasons.
I really want to visit La Moskitia, how can I make it cheaper!?!?
Don’t worry…we’ll get you there! The following are some suggestions that can drastically reduce the cost of visiting La Moskitia:
- Invite All Of Your Friends: The prices of our Package Tours drop drastically as you add other passengers, so get a group of 3-4 friends together, and you will be amazed at how much cheaper the trip can be.
- Join An Existing Trip: La Ruta Moskitia has trips leaving nearly every week, so if you are a single traveler just Contact Us and let us know what you are interested in and we will try and fit you into an existing trip departure. This is also a great way to meet fellow adventurers!
- Join Us on an Overland Adventure: Our Land-based Itineraries greatly reduce the cost of visiting La Moskitia by eliminating the airfare and replacing it with a day of bus/boat connections which will only cost you approximately $25 from Trujillo, each way.
- Use Collectivo Boat Service: If you are planning your own trip and are in less of a rush this cheaper boat transportation (which is available along the coast, but not up to Las Marias) will save you a few bucks. More information on boat travel in La Moskitia can be found in the Getting There, Around, & Away section.
What money can I use in La Moskitia? Do they accept credit cards?
Local communities in La Moskitia accept Honduran Lempiras, and due to the isolation of the region rarely have the ability to change bills larger than 100 Lempira notes. Hotels, restaurants, and other tourism service providers in La Moskitia do not have the ability to exchange US Dollars or Euros. No businesses along La Ruta Moskitia accept credit cards.
Are there banks/ATMs in La Moskitia?
There are no banks or cash machines in any of the communities you will visit in La Moskitia, nor is there anything in terms of these financial services available once you leave La Ceiba or Trujillo.
Should I bargain with people in La Moskitia?
Bargaining is a common practice throughout Central America, and although you may engage in some of it during a visit to La Moskitia, prices for most tourism products/services are relatively fixed (i.e. non-negotiable). For example, all of the prices listed on this website for the overland trip from Trujillo, collectivo boat service in La Moskitia, lodging, and food are fixed rates. If you have a group of people for an expresso (private) boat trip, you may end up bargaining a bit with the driver to decide on a price that works best for everyone.
What about tipping in La Moskitia?
Tips along La Ruta Moskitia are never expected, but always appreciated! In general, we feel that an appropriate tip may range from Lps. 30-60 per day for each community member who may have led you on a fantastic tour, cooked a superb dinner, or somehow exceeded your expectations. Tinki pali!
Is it safe to travel in La Moskitia?
Yes! The communities that you will encounter in La Moskitia are some of friendliest and safest places you will visit in all of Central America. In general, community members are welcoming to outsiders, relatively spiritual and reserved, and will go out of their way to help you if you are need.
With that said, there are certain precautions you should take in La Moskitia, much as you would in any place you may visit during your travels in Latin America.
- If possible, always lock your personal belongings in the places you are staying. La Moskitia is one of the poorer regions in the country, and some people (particularly kids) in La Moskitia, much like most of the world, cannot resist temptation if given the opportunity.
- Visitors to La Moskitia should always travel in groups and/or with a local guide when taking long hikes along beaches, through rainforests, between villages, and most certainly after dark.
- Women should take extra precaution when traveling in La Moskitia, and note the fact that local women rarely travel alone.
- Crime in La Moskitia is often the result of drug/alcohol abuse, therefore it’s best to simply avoid cantinas/bars and drinking with local residents, especially in the evening. Drunks have a habit of zeroing in on visitors, so give them a wide berth, a smile with a quick “adios”, and simply walk away.
Is there Malaria/Dengue in La Moskitia, and do I need to take preventative medication?
Yes, there is both Malaria and Dengue (both mosquito transmitted diseases) in La Moskitia. Now, how you want to reduce your risk of contracting either Malaria or Dengue is more of a personal decision. Most doctors would recommend that you research the various anti-malarial medications and choose one for your visit. La Ruta Moskitia recommends an anti-malarial called "Malarone" which is bit more expensive, and does require a prescription, but you only need to take the daily dosage (a single pill) for two days prior to your arrival, daily during your visit, and for a week afterward as well. Most importantly, Malarone doesn't have any of the nasty side affects (unsettling dreams, sleeplessness) that is associated with some anti-malarials. As always, best to consult your physician and/or the Center for Disease Control website (www.cdc.gov).
Now, whether you choose to take anti-malarial medication or not – prevention is always the best medicine. Be sure to bring plenty of bug repellent, always use your mosquito net at night (present in all La Ruta Moskitia ecolodges/cabanas), and make sure you have light pants and long-sleeved shirts.
Are the mosquitoes really bad in La Moskitia? Is that where the region gets its name?
Actually, the mosquitoes in La Moskitia are no worse than any other location along Honduras’ north coast. Now, during certain months of the year there can be periods where they are more bothersome, but it’s simply not that frequent. Like anywhere else, they tend to come out in the early evenings, but the near constant wind that blows along La Moskitia’s Caribbean coast and the cooler temperatures of the rainforest highlands tend to keep mosquitoes away.
La Moskitia does not get its name from an abundance of mosquitoes or other insects!Rather, it is generally accepted that the name is a derivation of the word “musket”. Early English explorers actually armed the Miskito Indians with muskets (a long-barreled firearm) when they first arrived as a strategy to help them conquer other indigenous groups in the region and maintain control over La Moskitia’s coastline.
Are there medical facilities in La Moskitia?
Yes. There are small health centers that can handle basic medical needs in nearly every village in La Moskitia. There is a small hospital in Palacios, and one is also under construction in Brus Laguna. The nearest hospital with comprehensive services is located in La Ceiba. Due to its relative isolation, it is very important that you bring any/all medications that you may need during your visit to La Moskitia.
Are there police/local authorities in La Moskitia?
Police posts can be found in Palacios, Batalla, Ibans, Rio Plátano, and Brus Laguna. Travelers who are threatened, robbed, or harassed in any way should report the problem immediately to any of the managers along La Ruta Moskitia and/or the mayor of the town where the incident took place, which will help prevent the problem from arising again.
Is it safe to swim in La Moskitia?
Yes! It is said that kids in La Moskitia learn to swim before they learn to walk. Although you can often see as many as 20-30 caiman and crocodiles during a nighttime spotting tour, there has never been a reported attack of these beautiful reptiles on a human being in La Moskitia. They are nocturnal animals that won’t bother you during the day, they don’t share the aggressive tendencies of some of their brethren around the world, and they don’t tend to grow that large in La Moskitia. As far as the ocean goes, we recommend that you simply swim in water no deeper than where you can touch bottom – mainly because the nearest lifeguard on duty is about 300 miles away!
Some of the information included here was originally printed in the “Visitor’s Guide to the Rio Plátano Biosphere Reserve”, an excellent source of La Moskitia travel information. The small printed guide is available throughout the Reserve, and serves as an excellent “recuerdo” of your visit to La Moskitia. Reproduced with the written consent of the authors: Ethan Macomber, Lauri Boxer-Macomber, and Arden Anderson.