See the authentic and natural side of Honduras as few others ever do by joining TWP Tour’s 2018 Work Tour to El Socorro, a small town in the Central Highlands located near the Montecillos Biological Reserve and Mountain Range.
Honduran conservationists and TWP staff will be your guides to local culture, remote birding, as well as community-based conservation and sustainable agricultural efforts carried out by our partners in El Socorro.
We will spend 10 days exploring cloud forest agroecosystems, birding hotspots, and experiencing local culture along the Central Highlands.
Cost: $1,850 (Cost includes meals, lodging, in-country transportation, park fees, and guiding. Does not include cost of airfare to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.)
Length: 10 days
Lodging: Unique rural lodging at a rustic agricultural education center near the cloud forest, and a local brewery with beautiful views.
Weather: Variable, hot and humid (80s) to rainy (40s).
Difficulty: Program involves travel in rural Central America, stays in rustic lodges, and moderate to difficult hiking.
This is a sample itinerary. Subject to change up until one month before departure.
Travel to Honduras and rendezvous with the TWP Tours team at the Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport in San Pedro Sula, and enjoy a group dinner and orientation to Honduras at the Center for Education in Sustainable Agriculture (CEASO) where we will spend a lot of time throughout the trip.
Wake up and have a breakfast full of fresh, local food at the hotel and take a shuttle directly to the Center for Education in Sustainable Agriculture (CEASO) family farm and lodge in El Socorro. Take part in a half-day tour and demonstration of the CEASO farm and school, and learn about their bird-friendly agricultural practices. In the afternoon, we will tour the watershed area that feeds the town of El Socorro. Water scarcity is a major problem for the town surrounding CEASO, as normal tap water flows only once every 10-12 days. Return to CEASO for a group debrief and dinner before getting a good night’s sleep.
Time to work! In the morning, we will tackle some ferrocemento construction, ecologically-built tanks that are used for rainwater storage and harvesting. As the town members and rural campesinos look for appropriate technologies to survive the water crisis, these methods have proven quite useful. CEASO is a leader in this type of technology, construction, and implementation. We’ll work throughout the day building a new ferrrocemento tank.
Our work continues, but today we’ll focus on the installation of clean cookstoves! After a hearty breakfast, we will break into teams and accompany local community leaders to a few pre-selected homes to construct an improved “rocket” cookstove for a family using local materials. These stoves reduce indoor air pollution, protect bird habitat by reducing wood fuel consumption, and withstand heavy seasonal winds that can make cooking difficult here. We’ll conclude this activity in the early afternoon and then head into Siguatepeque in the afternoon for some locally produced ice cream and sweets from the Mennonite store.
After breakfast, we will visit the community of El Achiote and take a tour of the school garden project and visit the local community leader, Don Daniel’s farm. After breaking for a delicious farm-to-table lunch at Don Daniel’s, we will continue our journey up to the main CEASO project community of San Jose de Pane, on the buffer zone of the Montecillos Range and Biological Reserve. Here, we will meet the team at Project New Life and some of the local community leaders before touring the grounds and checking out some of CEASO’s projects. In the evening, we’ll prep for tomorrow’s bird monitoring activities. After debriefing the day and sharing a delicious dinner, we will sleep at Project New Life in San Jose de Pane.
An early wakeup and breakfast will be followed by a hike into the Montecillos Biological Reserve where we will begin our bird monitoring activities with local ornithologists! We’ll conduct baseline bird surveys in the cloud forest and adjacent agroecosystems while also learning about the challenges of agroforestry and crop diversification in a zone that is dominated by coffee production. Maintaining diverse agroecosystems and forest fragments is critical for wildlife that live near Montecillos. Eat a typical Honduran lunch on the Montecillos trail, and head back to Pane for a mid-day siesta. In the late afternoon, we’ll learn about the pine beetle plague that has impacted the surrounding community and tour the affected areas.
In the morning, we will conduct a second day of bird surveys in the cloud forest and agroecosystems. Together we’ll search for the rare Golden-cheeked Warbler (an endangered species!) and other migrating birds. Today we’ll have the opportunity to assist community leaders with their ongoing projects, including tree planting, and various tree nursery management tasks. After lunch, we will depart Pane and make our way back towards El Socorro. En route, we’ll stop at a Mennonite farm with a fully-diversified agricultural and agroforestry system in place before stopping for dinner at a local roadside diner between Siguatepeque and El Socorro that has the most famous organic strawberry juice in all of Honduras! After dinner, we’ll return to CEASO for a good night’s sleep.
Today we’ll return to our activities at CEASO, and expand our projects here by taking part in some hands-on tree planting led by nursery director, Gerardo. We’ll discuss the strategic importance of management, agroforestry, and conservation in campesino communities and how to slow the pace of the advance of the agricultural frontier through crop diversification. We’ll close the day with a discussion about CEASO’s operations to date, and our expedition thus far before departing in the morning.
After an early morning departure, we will visit the tremendous beauty of Pulapanzak Falls, North of Lago Yojoa, an incredible bird watching opportunity! From there we will travel to the spectacular paradise that is the D&D Brewery and enjoy a delicious lunch. After a fine meal, we will hike to a beautiful natural spring (birding opportunities abound!). We’ll stay overnight at the D&D brewery, where we’ll have dinner and a final debrief of our trip.
After a final breakfast of fresh blueberry pancakes (picked from the mountains above the brewery!), we will depart or the San Pedro Sula Airport to coordinate drop-offs, confirm departures, and say our goodbyes.
Or contact Gemara Gifford at email@example.com or call (970) 484-3678