La Tigra National Park, also known as Parque Nacional La Tigra in Spanish, is the oldest national park in Honduras. It is named after the female puma, which is called la tigra, and true to its name, there are actually several of the elusive creatures around. Other rare animals that can be spotted with some luck are the iridescent red and green quetzals, ocelots, peccaries, hawks and toucans. The wet cloud forest is the ideal habitat for those animals and the condensed moisture and enveloping clouds allow for a lush vegetation to grow. Bromeliads, ferns, colorful mushrooms, orchids, avocado trees and the great ceibos, the sacred trees of the Mayans, are a common sight.
The park can be explored on eight trails leading through the 240 square kilometer big territory and visitors get to experience the climate as it existed before the spread of the city and heavy logging caused most of the cloud forest in the region to disappear. Today, La Tigra is the largest remaining natural area near Tegucigalpa and covers almost a third of the city’s fresh water consumption. It is not only the most visited national park in the country and a wildlife sanctuary, but is also used to educate about the importance of protecting the environment.
La Tigra National Park is located just a bit north of Tegucigalpa. You can find visitor centers at both the entrances, Jutiapa and El Rosario, with the Jutiapa entrance being closest to the capital. In Tegucigalpa busses leave from Parque Herrera roughly four to five times a day. Bring plenty of mosquito spray and wear long sleeved clothing to ward off the ever present insects.