Palacios has undergone a major transformation in the last few years. The mixed Ladino and Miskito town—the second largest town in La Mosquitía, after Puerto Lempira—was for decades the main entryway into the region. Planes brought passengers to the local landing strip in this former British settlement (whose historic cemetery still remains), and motorized canoes raced travelers across the Bacalar Laguna and deep into the Río Plátano rain forest.
Travel to the town has dropped significantly since the runway shut down indefinitely a couple of years back. Boats across the lagoon in Batalla now make the same trips to Raista/Belén and the Río Plátano, effectively limiting the need to transit through Palacios. On top of that, South American drug smugglers are discretely operating their trade routes in the area.
But the town shouldn't be wiped off the map just yet. For travelers in organized groups, Palacios is still a gateway to fascinating wildlife excursions and rugged jungle hikes. Caimans, sloths, howler monkeys, and spotted margay cats hang around the lagoon, and indigenous Miskito residents can arrange cultural exchanges with guests eager for immersion.