Tela Tourist Attractions
Tela is a small town with some of the most beautiful beaches on the northern coast. As the home base for the United Fruit Company, owners and producers of the famed Chiquita bananas, Tela has many reminders of their tenancy. Hotel Villas Telamar was once the executives living quarters, and the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens was created by them.
Lancetilla Botanical Gardens
The second largest tropical botanical garden in the world was established in 1926 as an experimental site by the Tela Railroad Company. The park boasts a large variety of plants from the Central American region as well as from other tropical lands. 200 species of tropical birds have made the garden their home, due to the abundance of fruit trees. There is a well marked trail to follow. One path that leads into a the bamboo forest arrives at a pleasant swimming hole in the Lancetilla River.
The Garífuna heritage of Honduras arrived in 1797 when slaves were marooned on Roatán by the British. When brought to the mainland by the Spanish, they mixed with the local Carib Indians. The group has retained much of its ancient culture and beliefs. The most visible contribution that this group has given to modern Honduras is the "Punta" dance. The Museum offers the opportunity to experience colorful artifacts, music, dances and Garífuna cuisine, sampled at the restaurant next to the museum.
All along the Bay of Tela there are several different Garífuna communities, an ethnic group deriving from the intermingling of black slaves and local Carib Indians. From west to east, there are the Rio Tinto, Miami, Tornabe, San Juan, La Ensenada and Triunfo de la Cruz. Amongst these, the most interesting and unique is Miami. Visitors can eat typical foods at all the villages, and learn some of their traditions including the "punta" and "yancunu" dances with their African roots.
Built on a sand bar, the Garífuna village of Miami looks the way Garífuna villages looked in the 1950's with thatched huts and cooking fires out back. Visitors experience life the way these villagers have lived for over two hundred years.
Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas
Formerly known as the Punta Sal National Park, the area supports rare species and diverse eco-systems, from jungle to coral reefs. It is possible to encounter dolphins, monkeys and a large variety of tropical birds.Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas takes its name from the naturalist and park defender murdered here in 1995. The Micos Lagoon has the highest population of birds in the park. Up to 350 different species of birds live within the lagoon surrounded by mangroves.
Punta Izopo Wildlife Refuge
The abundant vegetation of this 11,200ha/28,000ac area irrigated by the Platano and Hicaque rivers, is home to large variety of wildlife, including tropical birds such as parrots and toucans, monkeys, alligators and turtles.The canals within the mangrove forests are accessible to sea kayaks, which permit travelers to silently enter the area without disturbing the birds and other wildlife.This area takes its name from the small Izopo Mountain that dominates the area.
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