From Honduras, through la Moskitia to Nicaragua on a budget

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La Moskitia (sometimes written Mosquitia) is a nice jungle forest at the north east of Honduras and part in Niguragua. There is not a lot of information written down in the guidebooks like Lonely planet or the Footprint about La Moskitia. That´s why we wrote down some information to get you through La Moskitia from the Honduras to Niguragua. It´s based on our trip of about 3 weeks through this area in July 2005. Prices in Honduras are in Lempira, current  rates: 1$=18L, 1 Euro=23L. Prices in Nicaragua are in Cordobas (1$=16C, 1E=20C).  But prices can change quickly due to changes in fuelprices.

In short
We did the route beneath in 3 weeks, from Tocoa (Honduras) to Matagalpa (Nicaragua). It costed 760 USD (625 EUR) in total for 2 persons, making 18 USD (15EUR) per person per day. So not that expensive as you might think, even with one part per plane (from Ahuas to Puerto Lempira) to enjoy the view! To see our photos, click on the name of the place and you´ll be directed to our photoalbum of that place.

Preperations
Not everything is available in La Moskitia so you these are the things you have to arrange before you go.

  • Drinking water. Take water with you only for 1 day. Every town we´ve been had drinking water. We took with us some purification drops to be sure if the water came from a pump or container. In the places Raista, Brus Laguna, Puerto Lempira, Waspan and Puerto Cabeza bottled water was available.
  • Food. Everywhere available, but basic (rice, beans, platanos, sometimes fish, meat, cheese and eggs). Shops will sell only basic products (soap, pasta, pasta sause), so if you want to eat something else you have to bring it with you .
  • Repellent and mosquitonet. We didn´t encounter shops who sold repellent so bring enough. Some hospedajes have mosquitonets but to be sure bring your own.
  • Camera batteries. Most places don´t have electricity so charging them is difficult.
  • Plastic bags. You travel mostly in small boats. To avoid that your luggage gets wet (and yourself) bring enough big plastic bags with you.
  • Time. Take enough. Sometimes a boat leaves not today but the next day. Having enough time saves money.
  • Hospedajes. Almost every village has (basic) accommodation (bed, latrine, plastic bucket for a shower)
  • Money. Only Puerto Lempira and Puerto Cabeza have a bank where you can collect money with your visa card. Take enough and also in small amounts. 500L bills are hard to cash, and sometimes a 20L bill is already too much… Trujillo also has a bank where there is an ATM (max amount is 2000L). Tip: if you want to collect a large amount of money its cheaper to go inside the bank. In Puerto Lempira you can also change dollars for lempiras. In Leimus, last place in Honduras the commedor next to the river changes lempiras for cordobas, not very good rate. Also a lot of places in Nicaragua accept US dollars.
  • Transport. Almost all transport goes with small boats, called pipantes. All prices are per person unless otherwise noted.
  • Transport view on the road to batallaPickups leave Tocoa in the morning heading for La Mosquitia. Stay in Tocoa or Trujillo so you can be on time for the pickup to Batalla. We were there at 7:00 AM and could choose between different pickups. Also because of the competition the price dropped from 300L to 250L. Notice that sitting inside the pickup is more expensive than at the back. Back is more fun but dustier and wetter (rain). Take enough water, food and sunscreen with you, We stopped at a comedor, don´t know if it always will stop there, so ask the driver if you have to take food with you, what you can buy in shops near where the pickups are. Tocoa – La Batalla takes 5 hours.
  • Transport Pipantes (boats) to Palacios (20L), Plaplaya (60L) and Raista(130L).
  • Places to stay Hospedaje Sedy, boatman will show you the way to her place. Double 100L.
  • Places to eat Comedor Sedy each meal 40L.
  • Things to do At Sedy you can ask about the night search for turtles and there nests (7 PM till midnight). There is no price but a donation is highly appreciated.
  • Transport pipante to Raista 60L per person. Its also possible to walk to other villages along the beach to Ibans, Cocobilla and futher on.
  • Places to stay and eat Ethelinda y Kelin double 100L and there is also another hospedaje. Also there are several comedores.
  • Transport 1 hour walk from Raista, or take a pipante
The place to get to Las Marias.
  • Places to stay Eddy Boden contactperson for transport to Las Marias, if he doesn´t have any space left his sister has, 160L double
  • Places to eat Elmas kitchen 45L for a meal
  • Transport pipante Plaplaya 60L, Raista – Las Marias-Raista 2700L per pipante, Raista – Las Marias – Brus Laguna 4000L per pipante, Raista – Brus Laguna 1200L per pipante. Its also possible to walk 2 hours along the beach to Brus Platano and from there take an colectivo to Brus Laguna 150L.
They have a cooperation and roulate with guides for the tours. A coordinator will come to you the night before and ask which tours you want to do.
  • Places to stay and eat We stayed in the hospedaje close to the river, good beds with mosquitonets, very small rooms, 30 cm between the beds, big windows so lots of air comes through. We think it depends on the boatmen where you will sleep, so maybe he will take you to another hospedaje or maybe they also have a roulating system just like with the guides. Hospedaje also has comedor 45L per meal
  • Things to do Every hospedaje has an list of the tours available. We did the petroglyphs tour 900L for 4 persons plus 100L for the coordinatior. Tip: take some small souvenirs from your country with you, it´s nice to give to the guides. Think about a pen, stickers etc.
  • Transport see also Raista. Raista – Las Marias takes 5 to 6 hours, Las Marias – Brus Laguna also 5 to 6 hours. Loneley Planet also says its possible to walk to Las Marias.
Brus Laguna
People told us it was a smelly place. We had a lot of rain, so no smell at all.
  • Places to stay and eat Two hotels, one near the river double 150L shared bathroom with heaps of mosquitos. The other hotel looks more upgrade, also has a good restaurant, 170L for 2 dinners 1 coke and 1 beer. RARE, an organization who help the locals with ecotourism are building cabañas close to Brus Laguna. For information ask Eddy Boden in Raista.
  • Transport Collectivo to Ahuas is via Barra Patuca, to Barra Patuca is 350L, further to Ahuas unknown. Express to Ahuas 3500 per boat. Ahuas per plane is 600L pp. Also possible to fly to La Ceiba, Wampusirpi, Puerto Lempira. We just waited for the collectivo until another ride came by. If you want to go, go to the boats tell where you want to go. Ask the prices and if its to expensive just tell them that if there are more people you´re interested and they should come and collect you. We were lucky, a super fast boat came by going to Krausirpi (even further upriver Rio Patuca then Wampusirpi) and we got a free lift. A local just hanged around for another boat and came warning us. We gave him a small amount for his service, 40L.
  • Places to stay and eat We stayed in Casa de medicos, they also prepared a dinner for us. There were no cost but a donation is highly appreciated. The doctors are from Cuba and one of them gave his room. We gave 150L for the room and 100L for the dinner.
  • Transport Boats go to Wampusirpi and more upstream Palastina. Prices we don´t know because we got the lift for free! We heard that there is a bus from Palastina to the capital Tegucigalpa and takes 8 hours.
  • Places to stay and eat The catholic church mission post has beds available, dorm style, 35L. There is a kitchen which we could use for the cost of gas. Also there´s a comedor available. The cost of gas were a bit expensive, 200L for 5 nights of cooking.
  • Things to buy Simón Maybeth Cooper from the Kawa Bukaya cooperation sells 1 libra of pure cacao, 50L, no chemicals are used during growth and production, so you can make your own hot chocolate drink or chocolate spread.
  • Transport Hard to get an collectivo, and its not sure when one leaves. Collectivos leave early in the morning so ask the day before if it will leave the next day and at what time. Expect to wait a long time, ask a lot of questions and be patient. Collectivo Ahuas 200L pp. An expresso will cost 250L pp. Boat needs 5 hours. Plane to Ahuas costs 600L. Also worth mentioning, if you go with the boat to Ahuas you need to walk for 1 hour to the hospedages and airport.
  • Places to stay and eat Hospedaje Mi Estrella upper rooms (100L) cheaper, airier, mattress thin and bed very short 1.80m! Dinner costs 30L.
  • Transport River is 1 hour walk from the hotels and airport. Puerto Lempira pickup to the river 300L per pickup, also possible to walk 2 hours from there a boat (2 hours) 300L. Near the river is a house and the lady will let you sleep on her balcony for 30L. Plane (20 min) 560L, tax 5L and if you have more than 30 libra of luggage you also have to pay extra. We had to pay 77L extra.
In our fotoalbum of Puerto Lempira there´s also a map of the city
  • Places to stay see guidebooks. We stayed in Hotel Samiritan, not in the guidebooks, 300L double with fan and tv. Small rooms, during the nights there were power failure and without a fan and with small windows the rooms are hot and stuffy.
  • Places to eat During the night on the street connecting to the pier a lot of people sell food. Also good restaurant Ahuni see map Shrimps 100L, chop suey vegetarian 60L
  • Transport Pickup Leimus (5 to 6 hours) 200L. Doesn´t leave every day. Ask the immigration officer, which knows if a pickup leaves, what time and where you have to be.
  • Money Bank next to the park changes dollars in lempiras also possible to get money with your visa card. Immigration officer also knows a shop where you can change lempiras to cordobas. Also in Leimus a possibility to change Lempiras to Cordobas.
  • Passport exit stamp The migration officer knows if there is a pickup and will stamp your passport  accordingly. In Leimus there is also an immigration officer but we heard that he´s not there all the time so to be safe get you exit stamp in Puerto Lempira.
  • Internet There are 2 internetplaces 40L per hour, one located under hotel Gran Hotel Flores other in a container painted internet on the side, see map. Tip check the rate for Lempiras – Cordobas – Dolars here so you know that when you change money if the exchange rate is a good one you´re getting.
It’s a nice hilly road, sometimes very muddy but it looked good to bike. After about 70 km you enter an military post and another 10 km further there is a nice river coming from a spring (drinking water) where you can pitch a tent.
During the weekend there are not a lot of pipantes, so if you can plan your crossing during the week.
  • Places to stay and eat If you get stuck here there is basic accommodation. If there are no pipantes going to Waspan, but try to get to Waspan, accommodation there is a lot better.
  • Transport see also Puerto Lempira, pipante to waspan 80 cordobas (1 to 1.5 hours), also payable with US dollars
Make sure to get the correct time, with us there was a lot of confusion in every town the time
was different so ask the time in every place to be sure.
  • Places to stay There are more hotels, we stayed in the more upgrade Hotel El Pilote, 250 cordobas very clean with aircon, tel 2518689. We had a power failure so aircon was not a lot of use. The owner Irma knows a lot about the aera, she started with promoting eco tourism in the Nicaraguan Moskitia. She knows a lot of the culture and where to stay along the Rio Coco.
  • Places to eat Wandering along the town you see a lot of comedores next to churches, good, filling cheap food. Irma can also prepare food.
  • Transport Puerto Cabeza, at 6 and 7 in the morning a bus 100 cordobas, 5 hours, long and bumpy.
  • Places to stay and eat see the guidebooks, we stayed at hotel Pérez, 150 cordobas with shared toilet and bathroom. They also have a kitchen you can use for 25 cordobas.
  • Money. Bus from Puerto Cabeza to ManaguaThere is a bank where you can collect money (cordobas and US dollars) with visa, commission 6US, mastercard not accepted.
  • Transport possible to fly to capital Managua and Bluefields. Also there is a bus (250 cordobas, 16 hours, leaves 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM) to Managua. We took the 9:00 AM one and wanted to go to Matagalpa. For that you have to get out and spend the night at Rio Blanco (arrived at 23:00). Its also possible to stop in towns along the way. Sasha (arrives at 1:00 PM) has a hospedaje, La Rosita, mining bigger town, probably has hospedaje (arrives at 2:30 PM), Siuna bigger town, here is a dinner break (arrives 5:00 PM), Rio Blanco bigger town(arrives at 11:00 PM).
  • Places to stay Hotel Nicarao, 150 cordobas with fan and tv own bathroom. There are more hotels.
  • Transport Bus to Matagalpa 6:15 AM but there are more busses. Takes 3 hours to get to Matagalpa.

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