The Cangrejal River is one of the most scenic rivers in Central America. Located in the municipality of La Ceiba, its watershed is within the Nombre de Dios mountain range, with most of it having a protected area status due to being part of Pico Bonito or Nombre de Dios National Park.
The highest peak in this mountain range is Pico Bonito, which has an altitude of 2,584 meters above sea level (8,478 ft). This mountain range rises so abruptly from sea level, that the peak of Pico Bonito is only 20 km from the Caribbean Coast of Honduras!!! This rugged geographic terrain creates many small rivers and creeks that tumble from the altitudes to the Caribbean coast in a few kilometres, creating lovely, breathtaking waterfalls and turbulent currents that rush towards the sea. The largest, and most magnificent of these rivers is the Cangrejal River, which flows into the Atlantic and divides the city of La Ceiba in two.
The River is formed approximately 25 km. (15 miles) from its mouth on the Caribbean Sea, when three small rivers merge to form the mighty Cangrejal. The Rio Viejo, Rio Blanco and Rio Yaruca all join within 300 feet, and immediately plunge into a deep canyon. From this point, the River drops from 870 feet to sea level in only 25 km (15 miles), making it one of the steepest rivers in Central America. The Cangrejal River gets its name from the crabs that once were abundant at the mouth of the river. Its crystal clear waters, huge boulders, and the dense jungle along its banks provides for unique, world class scenery that is difficult to find elsewhere.
Because of the lush tropical vegetation that is part of the national parks, the bird watching in the area is absolutely outstanding. Keel Billed Toucans, Colored Aracaris, Turquoise Browed Motmots, Montezuma Oropendolas and a variety of hummingbirds are all easily seen from the comfort of your hammock on the porch of your room!
Although mammals are harder to see, ocelots, jaguars, giant anteaters, white faced monkeys, porcupines, armadillos, guatuzas and nutrias have all been spotted within the territory encompassed by these two National Parks in the vicinity of the Cangrejal River.
There is a set of hiking trails into the Pico Bonito National Park that can be accessed from the Cangrejal River through the Visitor’s Center that is located at km 8.5, just before La Villa de Soledad. The longest hiking trail there will take you to the El Bejuco waterfall, a good three hour round trip hike.