Chichen Itza
Gebel Berkal

World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve encompasses both mountainous and lowland tropical rainforest, full of diverse wildlife and plant life.

Endangered animals like the Giant Anteater, Ocelot and Jaguar can be found here.

The Reserve is located on the Río Plátano in the La Mosquitia region on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Miskito and Paya Indians still live in the forests. They are responsible for stone inscriptions and petroglyphs.

Map of Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Robert Hyman usa - 24-Jul-11

Paradise in Peril Film Description

The Río Platáno Biosphere Reserve, Honduras – home to the highest level of tropical biodiversity in Central America, homeland of the Pech and Miskito Indians, and keeper of hundreds of unexplored archeological sites – is in danger. Non-indians are invading the Reserve from all sides, poaching endangered wildlife and fish, slashing and burning ancient forests to sow pastures, and forcing indigenous inhabitants off their ancestral lands. Paradise in Peril follows an expedition organized to document the destruction of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and collect testimony from the native peoples who rely on the Río Platáno for survival. Fewer than 400 individuals have ever completed this strenuous expedition from the rivers headwaters to the Miskito coast of Honduras.

Please go to or to see this short documentary. Note: this film was shot in High Definition and should be watched on a computer with a high speed connection for best results. You may also see a short clip on You Tube at

Thanks, Robert E. Hyman

Robert Hyman Washington, DC USA - 30-Mar-11

I have just returned from my second complete descent of the Rio Platano from the headwaters to the coast. This time i brought along a great cinematographer to capture on film what is really going on in this remote and beautiful place. We are going to produce some footage that shows the uncontrolled invasion of the reserve by settlers and cattle ranchers. Poaching of animals and clear cutting the forest is having a dramatic effect on the local population that is being threatened off their traditional lands.

Robert The Explorer

Robert Hyman Washington, DC USA - 16-Jan-11

Hi everyone, I did a 10 day complete raft descent of the Rio Platano in April of 2010 with a guided group. I am a world explorer and this supposedly protected Biosphere Reserve is an amazing experience to say the least! However, to our dismay we witnessed and found evidence of uncontrolled encroachment! Illegal fishing camps harvesting and salting thousands of fish to be taken out bu horse to be sold. Clear cutting slash and burn of flat areas for cattle and remains of animals killed poachers. Our group of concerned scientists and conservationists is trying to bring attention to this "Paradise in Peril". We are advocating for more protection of this wonderful place. Thanks for the forum to reach out. Robert

Jakey United States - 16-Dec-10

The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve has become my favorite natural (and one of my favorite cultural) areas in all of Central America, surpassing that of more known countries, in particular Costa Rica.

The deep parts of the reserve are amazing untouched, and even where there are larger groups of indigenous people, there hasn't been too much deforestation. The wildlife was amazing (I saw 2 tapir, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, tree anteaters, white-faced monkeys, an ocelot, jaguarundi, crocodiles and caimans, several snakes and lizards, insects, and encountered several fresh jaguar tracks).

The indigenous culture (Miskito, Pech, and Garifuna) is also amazing. It's expensive to explore the reserve, but it's a priceless experience.

Share your experiences!

Have you been to Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve? Add your own review!

Community Rating

Community Rating 4.00. Based on 1 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve

Unesco ID: 196

Inscribed: 1982 In Danger

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   8   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2011 - In Danger threatened by illegal activities
  • 2007 - Removed from Danger list Significant progress
  • 1996 - In Danger agricultural intrusion and the implementation of land reform programmes
  • 1982 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve


The site has 23 connections.




  • Turtles and tortoises: Habitat of green turtle, loggerhead turtle and leatherback turtle
  • Rainforests
  • Oxbow lakes: "This reserve protects nearly the entire watershed of the 100km long Platano River, as well as major portions of the Paulaya, Guampu and Sicre Rivers. The rugged mountainous headwaters region, encompassing 75% of the reserve, is flanked by the Platano River and rises to Punta Piedra (1,326m). The river basin drains an area of some 130,000ha and meanders considerably in the lowland region, marooning several ox-bow lakes. "
  • Critically endangered fauna species: Leatherback Sea Turtle - "Recent estimates of global nesting populations are that 26,000 to 43,000 females nest annually, which is a dramatic decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980"
  • Tapirs: Baird's tapir
  • Sloths: brown-throated sloth
  • Anteaters: giant anteater, silky anteater, northern tamandua
  • Biological Corridor: Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Link
  • Jaguar habitat


Human Activity


  • Holocene: The Mesoamerican tropical rainforest evolved after the last glaciation in the Late Pleistocene. Link



7 community members have visited Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve.