Honduras - About the Country

Honduras is the second-largest Central American Republic after Nicaragua. Bordered by El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua and a narrow coastal Pacific strip, the northern coast is fronted by the Caribbean Sea and the Bay Islands. Inland, much of the country is mountainous and a rough plateau covered with volcanic lava and ash to the south. To the north, there are considerable areas of limestone, whilst most of the known caves are found in the Creteous limestones on the western side of the country.

To the west there are caves in the Río Talgua area, but any entrances on the spectacular high karst of the Moñtanas de Colon are covered by dense jungle.

It was the archaeologists who first explored the caves of Honduras. The caves near the Mayan city of Copán were described by Gordon 1898, whilst much later the Caves of Cuyamel were reported by Healy 1974.

It was not until the 1970s that cavers from the United States and Canada, namely J Barborak, F Bogle, L Cohen, R. Finch, S. Knutson and T Miller. These expeditions have been summarised by Hawkins & McKenzie 1993. After the publication of this important work, Jones 1994 gives an anecdotal account of a British expedition in the department d'Olancho. Sivelli 1994 describes a cave explored in the department of Yoro. Lastly, Sivelli and Degrande 1996 describe some caves explored for the first time in the departments d'Olancho and Gracias a Dios. Since 1994, many scientific articles and popular accounts have been given on the important archaeological discoveries in the Cueva del Río Talgua by the researchers of Honduras Institute for Anthropology and History. Up to this time the fauna of the caves of Honduras was completely unknown. This omission has been remedied by the work of P Strinati and M E Ordoñez 1997.

Language: Spanish, but English is widely spoken, especially in the north.

Text by Tony Oldham (2004). With kind permission.