Cayos Cochinos

The Cayos Cochinos or Cochinos Cays are a group of two small islands (Cayo Menor and Cayo Grande) and 13 more small coral cays situated 30 kilometers northeast of La Ceiba on the northern shores of Honduras. Although geographically separate, they belong to the Bay Islands department and are part of Roatán municipality. The population numbered 108 at the 2001 census. The total land area measures about 2 km².

The islands are a Marine Protected Area. The coral reef here is part of the world's second largest coral reef system known as the Meso-American Barrier Reef. There is a scientific research station on Cayo Menor, the smaller of the two main islands in the system.

On a clear day, you can see, and almost touch Cayos Cochinos, the small islands are visible to the east-northeast of La Ceiba. Although from this particular viewpoint, what you see is one island, the reality is that there are two islands as well as a series of smaller keys. Cayos Cochinos is National Marine Park in Honduras and is protected by law. Of the two small islands, Cochino Grande and Cochino Pequeno, only the larger one is inhabited. There is a very nice dive resort, called Plantation Beach Resort located here. On Cochino Pequeño there is a small station of scientists and park rangers, and the park is strictly controlled by them.

The prestigous Smithsonian Institute administers the park as part of a long term study to determine the impact of population on this pristine nature reserve.

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