Distance: 6 km return Duration of hike: 4 hours Degree of difficulty: Moderate to strenuous.
Some hiking experience recommended. Initial 2 hours is mainly uphill on relatively steep formed vehicle tracks. This is followed by a 15 minute steep scramble to the summit that involves pulling oneself up over limestone rocks using foot and hand-holds. In wet weather this final ascent may also be quite slippery.
A chance to take in all that Montaña Santa Bárbara and Lago Yojoa has to offer in one sitting. Perched atop a limestone outcrop, you will have incredible views out over Lago Yojoa; upwards to the cloud-forest of Parque Nacional de Montaña Santa Barbara; and down over the village of El Dorado and surrounding coffee plantations and farmland.
This adventure commences from the village of El Dorado. Following a hearty traditional breakfast with a local family, we hike or ride on horseback through the picturesque village of El Dorado and surrounding farmlands and coffee plantations.
For the first 1.5 kms the trail is relatively flat, after which we start to climb steadily upwards through fields of coffee, bananas and other assorted crops. Just as you are starting to feel the climb, we'll stop for a coffee and snack in the delightful gardens of La Aguja, and learn a little about the local culture before continuing upwards once more.
As the trail ascends we get our first views over lake Yojoa before we leave the farm roads to take the short but steep climb to the lookout. Here we scramble hand-over-hand through verdant forest – there is always a chance of an Emerald Toucanet or some other exotic birds in this area – until we emerge to the wonderful views from the top.
After taking in the views and refreshments, we descend the way that we came, stopping for lunch with a local family and, depending on the season, you might get to try your hand at coffee picking, before returning to El Dorado.