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“Worth the trip!”
Review of Villas Pico Bonito

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Villas Pico Bonito
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Reviewed August 29, 2010

VILLA PICO BONITO
Next time, we’ll spend more time at this wonderful spot. We squeezed in a night at Pico Bonito at the end of our trip, and both my daughter and I wished we had planned for at least one more day there. The setting is incredibly beautiful. Richard and Ana have built a lovely respite there with several cottages dotting the landscaped property overlooking the river.

We were met at the La Ceiba airport by Ralph Bodden, a driver who lived in the US but has moved back to Honduras. He took us on the half-hour trek up the mountain to Villas Pico Bonito where we were greeted by Richard, a Brit who has lived all over the world. He entertained us while we waited for lunch to be prepared to order telling us about his adventures Spain, Chile, Australia, China, the UK and the US. As in other small inns we visited in Honduras, getting to know the owner was one of the best parts of our trip.

Our room, the Jungle Lodge, was huge with 2 large beds, comfortable chairs around a coffee table, a big wardrobe and a kitchenette complete with a small refrigerator, microwave, fresh water, dishes and other utensils. The bathroom was a good size and came with plenty of plush towels (and there were more towels for use at the pool or in the river). No air conditioning but there were 6 fans that kept the room very pleasant (and at night, we actually turned them down or off because it was chilly). We didn’t cook at all, but it would have been easy to prepare a meal or two there, and I understand the other cottages have even larger kitchens and more space. This was the biggest and best equipped room we stayed in while in Honduras.

The property is stunning. Our lodge overlooked the river. The patio had a table and chairs. There was a fountain in front with a large ceiba tree and an amazing view of the waterfall high in the mountains directly in front of us. On the grounds, there are beautiful stone paths, luscious flowers and plants, a fresh water pool, bridges and an infinity pool with chaises and tables around it. Unfortunately, it rained much of the time we were there, so we didn’t have the chance to enjoy the pools. We did hike up the road a short distance to the entrance to the national park. When we arrived there, we discovered there is a entrance fee (just 20 lempiras), and we didn’t have any cash with us. But the guard let us pass through anyway. We crossed a hanging bridge over the river, a bit scary if you’re afraid of heights, but fabulous views in both directions of the rushing river, the boulders, the rapids, the jungle and the mountains rising on either side. On the other end of the bridge, we found two trails, both slippery and muddy, so we retraced our steps back across the bridge.

We were asked to order dinner in advance so they could prepare for us. We had the Caribbean fish with garlic and a large salad plus baked potato and bread, shared everything and it was more than enough. All the food is local, and while the fish was delicious, I’d love to try the steak or pork chops. We had to order breakfast the night before as well, not a big deal, just meant choosing between pancakes and baleadas. Breakfast came with fresh fruit, juice and coffee and was included with the room.

We wanted to go white water rafting, and Richard suggested the outfitters just up the road at Jungle River Lodge. Our guides, Angel and his colleagues, were professional and entertaining. We felt safe and had a great time for $40 each. Included was a training session making us practice different strokes and a rescue. The river was too high to raft above the lodge, so they gave us two runs down river including a few class III and IV rapids. In between, we got a treat of fresh watermelon, pineapple and cantaloupe.

I wish we’d had time for more hiking, especially up to the waterfall, and more time to simply enjoy Villas Pico Bonito. We had considered splurging on the very expensive lodge on the other side of the mountain, but I’m glad we decided on Villas Pico Bonito. It was charming and beautiful. I’d recommend it to anyone.

One note: I wish our photos were better, they just don't do justice to this lovely spot!

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank KMc-NM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 25, 2010

I cannot say enough about the experience you will have if you make arrangements to stay at Pico Bonitos villas. The physical surroundings are truly stunning, The resort itself is large and meandering ,with grounds that will literally take your breath away, They are luxuriant and exotic.
,On the grounds you will find bouganvillea, coral hibiscus, red hibiscus, angels trumpet, spider lillies, birds of paradise, cheinille plants, massive groves of ten foot gingers, dripping drooping heliconias, roses, orchids.,poinsettas, bananas, coconuts... and this is just a sample..... all with lovely handmade stone walkways and bridges that you can explore it, while tiny and massive orange, flourescent blue, yellow and white butterlies float by..massive bees work and hummingbirdsthe size of robins dip into flowers with huge curved breaks, ..as toucans and ibis and oropendola cruise by....The proerty is littered l with outdoor streams and waterholes, has two lovely pools of tilapia and tortugas, all beautifully cared for and lovingly kept up.
This is all tucked between velvety green peaks with a gorgeous river tumbling by marked with black rocks the size of volkswagons and houses and across from a truly stunning roaring regal mesmerizing waterfall.
Within walking distance are two rafting companies, two grill style restaurants, a charming village with friendly locals, an exciting walking suspension bridge, rainforest walking trails in a protected national forest, a. yoga retreat with daily sessions, and a canopy zip line.

But it is the villas themselves that are truly inspiring, They range in style, content, and age,some thatched, but all are set in the rainforest with gorgeous views. We recommend staying in one with a river view or pool view. . It is truly amazing to see the fireworks nightly as the fireflies flit... and listening to the nightly roar of the frogs crickets and night noises..
Some of the villas have lovelly wooden floors, walls and doors, with gorgeous light fixtures and finishing materials, they are comodious, comfortable and spotlessly clean, and they have beautiful and charming local artistic touches........a minature perfectly formed wooden canoe on the deck table, gorgeous handmade coverlets and curtains and wallhangings featuring local birds, animals and scenes, all made made by a locals you will meet while staying at the resort.
What really makes this resort special is the hosts, who are unfailingly pleasant, helpful and tolerant. Richard brought over books in our interest areas, let us watch a local documentary movie at his house, offered us rides into town, gave us a ride to dinner, gave us his computer to use endlessly.. in short was incredibly generous, interesting, thoughtful and fun... Anna is gracious and elegant, she has a well behaved six year old, Mildred, and there is a local dog who is immense and adorable ,named Lucy.
The other staff who work here are responsiIve, helpful, and thoughtful

I think i may have had the best day in my entire life here yesterday. If you never leave the property you will be totally charmed and endlessly entertained. The swimming pool is an architectual digest quality infinty pool, overlooking a blooming jacaranda tree in full violet bloom.
I have travelled extensively and this is the best place i have ever been in my life. . .

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ComoxLib
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tripletango, PR guy at Villas Pico Bonito, responded to this reviewResponded August 26, 2010

Thanks Libby and Nelson.
Ana and I really appreciate all the kind words. You and other reviewers have all been so kind in their comments. Just encourages us to try harder to keep our guests happy!
Kind regards
Richard and Ana

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Reviewed August 24, 2010

My boyfriend and I chose Villas Pico Bonito (aka Cangrejal River Lodge) based on the wonderful reviews on TripAdvisor, and we were not disappointed. This place is fabulous in every way. At an amazing value, we were able to book a beautiful private lodge in the breathtaking Cangrejal River Valley, our very own space with a kitchen and huge balcony. Richard and Ana took care of absolutely everything, from picking us up at the bus station, loaning us their personal computer, organizing activities, to opening the bar early for a before-hours Bloody Mary! I cannot recommend Villas Pico Bonito enough. It is by far the nicest place to stay in the area, at such a reasonable rate. The location can't be beat, any activities you could imagine are within walking distance...hiking, rafting, zip-line, swimming, horseback riding, yoga... The grounds were stunning, and our lodge felt extremely private with a spectacular view of El Bejuco Waterfall. The pool and palapa area looked like an island dream, both were wonderful gathering spaces for a home cooked meal and freshly made Sangria. We were so sad to have to say goodbye after an amazing 6 days, but we are already planning a return trip, this time with a group of friends!

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank KG310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 26, 2010

Our stay at Villas Pico Bonito (aka Congregal River Lodge) was wonderful. We stayed for 5 nights, following a previous 2 weeks on the Bay Islands. Before we reserved with Villas Pico Bonito, we read the reviews online and looked closely at the pictures they'd posted to Flickr. Although the property looked nice online, when we arrived we saw that the pictures did not do the property justice. It is breathtaking. The pathways have all been made of cemented river rock and have incorporated many of the natural features so that the property blends into the natural surroundings, rather than being an eye-sore on the landscape. And the gardens are spectacular. Due to a booking conflict that made our desired room unavailable, Richard (the owner) automatically upgraded our reservation from the jungle lodge to el bejuco - a full-sized 1-bedroom apartment. I thought that upgrading us was a very classy thing to do (rather than simply ask us to move to an otherwise equivalent room - which we would have happily done). The el bejuco apartment is large, clean, and spacious with great attention to detail - much swankier than we are used to! Richard and Ana are very attentive to their guests without being intrusive or cloying. When making the reservations, Richard was responsive to emails and his replies were always friendly, pertinent, and helpful. When we arrived, Ana greeted us at the municipal ferry dock (despite the fact that it was raining) and got us settled in our room. Richard made phone calls to arrange for us to do whitewater rafting, kayaking, and mountain-biking with Omega Tours (which was a GREAT operation that we recommend highly), and hiking. The fact that Richard offered to make these arrangements meant that we didn't waste any of our precious 5 days trying to figure out how to arrange these activities for ourselves. The staff on-site were equally friendly and helpful (esp. Oskar – thanks for lugging our bags and all those bottles of water!!). We felt very welcome. There are no shops within walking distance of the property and the restaurant on-site is closed on Monday and Tuesday. If you stay at the Villas, you might want to stop for groceries in LaCeiba before you arrive at the property and/or be prepared to walk up the road to eat at Jungle River Lodge or Omega. As an aside, during our stay Richard went “above and beyond” by allowing us to accompany him into LaCeiba so that we could visit an ATM and buy groceries. The property has a great view of el bejuco waterfall and is well situated for lots of activities. It is only a 10 minute walk to one of the entrances to Pico Bonito National park where, for a $7USD entrance fee per person, you can access the loop trail up to el Bejuco waterfall (the same waterfall that can be viewed from the Villas). The Jungle River Lodge which runs rafting tours is about a 3-minute walk away from the villas; however, the excellent reviews for Omega led us to seek out tours with them instead. Omega is located a 20-minute walk away from the Villas; Omega picked us up at the Villas each morning and we chose to walk back at the end of the day. Although we only had 5 nights at the Villas Pico Bonito, we felt like we got to do and see a lot because our great hosts enabled us to use our time to the fullest. If you plan to visit the Rio Congregal, be sure to stay with Richard and Ana at Villas Pico Bonito. You will have an excellent experience at a very reasonable rate.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank IntentToTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2010

We stayed here for 3 nights during our tour of Honduras. We drove from Copan to Pico Bonito ourselves. We did have a time finding the Villas. We had a general idea of the location, but didnt see any signs to reassure us of the directions. Once we found Villas, what a great spot overlooking the river. I would suggest that you purchase any grocery items in La Cebia prior to driving up that rocky road. We made the mistake of not doing that and had to go back into town for supplies, as two of the three days the restaurant was closed. (just our luck!)
The house was great! Beautiful wood floors and wood work thru out. Nice porch overlooking the river. The Villa grounds are beautiful and you can see a lot of effort is put into the grounds. The groundskeeper (Orlando) was very helpful and patient with my poor Spanish. He was able to assist when needed.
One other item- the Jungle RIver Lodge is just up the road from here. Great spot for adventure tours.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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Thank roberma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tripletango, Owner at Villas Pico Bonito, responded to this reviewResponded July 27, 2010

My thanks to our guest for the useful comments. We will note on our web site that the restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday. We close so the staff can get some rest and be with their families. Our Lodges have full kitchens and there are two restaurants close by that are open 7 days a week, one a five minute walk from here. The rocky road is indeed a third world item. The City talks about improvements and we keep our fingers crossed that it will be graded a little more often!

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Reviewed June 30, 2010

We stayed in the villa named "El Bejuco" and it was everything we hoped for. The rooms (it's like an apartment) were very clean and beautifully decorated. The property is manicured to perfection, and the staff is very friendly (and patient with my attempts to speak Spanish). I have nothing but great things to say about the food, the pool, the resident dog Lucy, and the views. This might be the best place I have ever stayed anywhere.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank wahoo7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2010

Villas Pico Bonito (Cangrejal River Lodge) was by far our favorite thing about Honduras. The grounds and views are absolutely gorgeous, the pool was wonderful after a day of hiking the nearby National Park trails and the lodging was top notch. What made it all the more special was the wonderful hospitality from Richard and his staff (and his dog and cat!) They really went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our stay, arranging tours, preparing great meals, loaning us books, providing a lift here and there, etc. If you are going to the La Ceiba area, I encourage you to spend a few days in this beautiful, natural part of Honduras, it was the best part of our whole trip! You feel like you are in the middle of the wilds, yet it's just a short drive from the city. For the price of an average motel room back home, you can stay in a big, new apartment in the lush jungle with a view of the river and waterfall! We didn't even miss having A/C because of all the ceiling fans and screened windows and the cool breezes from the mountains and water. The apartments are very private, but Richard and his staff are just a short walk away if you need something. We checked out the other lodging nearby, but this is by far the best location and rooms. You can always easily walk to the big backpacker lodges to access tours or eat at Omega's good restaurant if you want a change of scene. But this is THE place to stay!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Zooteach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Villas Pico Bonito

Address: Km 7.5 Carretera de Yaruca | Rio Cangrejal, La Ceiba, Honduras
Phone Number:
Location: Honduras > Atlantida Department > La Ceiba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 19 Specialty Lodging in La Ceiba
Price Range: $52 - $123 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Villas Pico Bonito 3*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Villas Pico Bonito, Jungle Eco-Resort situated on the most beautiful part of the Rio Cangrejal, in the awesome Pico Bonito National Park, with spectacular vistas of jungle covered cliffs, opposite the largest waterfall on the river, El Bejuco. Villas Pico Bonito offers self catered homes with full kitchens, nicely appointed rooms and comfortable beds. In addition we have the Hidden Paradise restaurant for your convenience if you wish. Welcome to our Eco Lodge in the jungle. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villas Pico Bonito Hotel La Ceiba
Villas Pico Bonito Honduras/La Ceiba

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