Copan

Travel Guide Central America Honduras Copan

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Introduction

Copan - 13

Copan - 13

© dontrobus

The ancient Mayan site of Copan was discovered in 1570 by Diego García de Palacio and nowadays functions as one of the most important sites of the Mayan civilization. However, they were not excavated until the 19th century. The ruined citadel and imposing public squares reveal the three main stages of development before the city was abandoned in the early 10th century. As a result of its historical significance it is placed on the Unesco World Heritage List.

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Sights and Activities

Las Copán Ruinas (entry US$15/person) are the highlight of Copán. Although quite extensive, they are not as huge as Tikal in Guatemala or Teotihuacan in Mexico, but there is more sculpture here than any other Pre-Columbian city. The ruins are prized for the carved stellae of ancient rulers, and the well preserved hieryoglyphics including the hieryoglyphic stairway. Also in the archeological park is a marvelous Mayan museum (entry $7/person) with a reconstructed temple and fabulous artifacts. Fans of Maya art or ancient ruins can easily spend two full days between the two main ruins sites and museum. The tunnels are reportedly not worth the extra fee, and are not authentic, having been dug by archaeologists in the 1980s (these tunnels were originally dug for investigation and they show to the visitors the buried parts of older temples since the Mayans built on top of the older structures to make the new ones taller ).

It's recommended to be there when it opens at 8A:00am, as the site gets very hot by mid-day. Hire a guide at the entrance to the ruins for US$25 divided between however many people you can collect. While early arrival may keep you cool, keep in mind they feed the Macaws at 2pm, so if you want up close and personal time with these beautiful birds without having to pay to get in the reserve be there for feeding time.

Besides the ruins, the countryside is attractive. Slow paced local life is quite calm, and farming of corn, beans, coffee, and tobacco is the main vocation.

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Getting There

From La Entrada (which is well connected to other parts of Honduras) there are regular shuttle buses to Copán Ruinas (L40, 1-2hrs).

From San Pedro Sula, several bus companies go to Copán Ruinas, e.g., Hedman Alas or the cheaper Casasola Expresses (L110).

From Antigua Guatemala in Guatemala, there are several daily shuttles which leave in the morning and arrive in Copán Ruinas around six hours later. Most travel agents in Antigua sell tickets for about Q150.

From Guatemala City in Guatemala, take a bus from Centra Norte to Chiquimula (every 10 minutes, Q45, 4hrs). From Chiquimula, take a small bus to the very calm border El Florido (every 10 minutes, Q16, 2hrs with connection in Jocotán.) Across the border, buses go every 20 minutes to Copán Ruinas (L20, 30 minutes.)

From El Salvador, cross the border at El Poy. From there you can get a share taxi to Ocotepeque (L20). There, board a San José bound bus and get off at La Entrada (L90). There you can find a minibus to Copán Ruinas (L40).

There are also direct shuttles between Copán Ruinas and tourist spots in El Salvador (Santa Ana, Suchitoto, San Salvador, El Tunco) which can be booked in Café ViaVia or online at www.gekkotrailsexplorer.com.

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Getting Around

Copán is a small community, so don't worry about mapping sights before you get there. If you are a walker and sure-footed, it is safe to walk the cobblestone streets anywhere in town or walk to the ruins on foot. Streets are reportedly safe after dark, but standard precautions apply.

Mototaxis (Honduran rickshaws) will take you anywhere in town for a small fee (L10 around town, L20 to the Ruins/Macaw Mountain).

The Mayan Ruins are a short walk out of town and a further 20 minutes walk will take you to Las Sepulturas, a wonderfully open section of the ruins that many people fail to visit - don't! There is also a short nature walk at the main ruins that meanders around other smaller ruins.

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Eat

Most places offer a plato tipico de Honduras. This includes beef strips (or sometimes chicken or eggs), beans, fried plantains, tortillas, cabbage and sour cream. Licuados are either water- or milk-based fruit smoothies that for L30 should be enjoyed every day. Local meals run L80-L120.

  • Comedor Mary. The best local restaurant in town for delicious, cheap, clean Honduran food. Great tipicos and pupusas. Unpretentious and authentic.
  • Llama del Bosque. Second only to Comedor Mary for dependable local food. Larger and busier, but an excellent value and good service. The chorizo burrito and fajitas de res are huge and delicious.

La Casa de Todo Restaurant. Great food. Homemade bread, yogurt, organic coffee, etc. one block down from Banco de Occidente.

  • Cafe San Rafael, Ave. Centro America, ☏ +504 2651-4546. 8AM-8PM daily. Excellent coffee and panini sandwiches, but best known for their farmstead hand-made gourmet cheese, available nowhere else in Honduras. L200-500.
  • Restaurant Glifos (inside Hotel Marina Copan), In Hotel Marina Copan, Avenida Centroamérica, across Central Park, ☏ +504 2651-4071. 6:30AM - 9:30PM. Local and international cuisine, the highest quality steaks, pastas, soups, salads, affordable buffet breakfast and delicious desserts. edit
  • Picame. This restaurant is small but excellent, offering a great value for your lempira. The proprietor is Jessica who speaks excellent English. Try the double cheeseburger or enormous breakfast burrito. Caddy-corner from the soccer field, it's an excellent place to get take-out sandwiches for a day at Agua Caliente. edit
  • Kymberly, Annapolis. Barcito- beautiful food, fun atmosphere. I got the jalapeño hummus with homemade bread, and the kebbhes (middle eastern meatballs), two margaritas and a pack of cigarettes for L225. A little more than US$10.
  • Carnitas Nia Lola. A restaurant a little ways off the parque central that offers a wide variety of delicious food and has a good happy hour. Service can be either excellent or quite slow.
  • Asados Copan. A local "steakhouse" that offers the traditional carne asada in a variety of ways (with onions, jalapeño sauce, on a kabob, etc.) The restaurant is located up the hill from Picame, just one block behind the Banco Occidente on a large open-air wood deck. An entree runs L100-200.
  • Don Udo´s, Avenida Mirador (BarrioEl Centro), ☏ +504 6514533. 6AM-10PM. An open restaurant with garden patio and full service menu. The steaks are best known, but there is a large a-la-carte menu with special dishes and snacks.
  • Sol de Copan German Brewery & Restaurant, Barrio Buena Vista Ave El Mirador (Copan Ruinas), ☏ +504 26514758. 14 to 10. Brewery, German beer on tap, German & Honduran cuisine
  • Twisted Tanya's. Run by an expat (Tanya) with a great balcony. 2PM-10PM. Closed on Sunday, Offering a Backpacker special every night, and dishes you would not find anywhere else, Tequila Shrimp, Filet Mignon, curries, and home made pasta's and breads and desserts all made in house.

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Drink

  • Cafe Welchez. truly the best coffee to be had in Copan Ruinas, possibly in all of Honduras. On the corner of the town square, downhill from the Marina Copan. You can go on a coffee tour, just outside of town, to see where and how their coffee is grown and processed.
  • Espresso Americano. The Honduran chain, serving coffee roasted with brown sugar. Best coffee "chain" in Honduras.
  • Cafe San Rafael. serving excellent gourmet coffee, grown from their own farms.
  • La Casa de todo Cafe. in a beautiful tropical garden, they serve fresh roasted Organic Coffee.
  • Twisted Tanya's. Surprisingly well-made cocktails for US$4 or $5. 2-for-1 from 3PM-6PM and drink specials all night, great balcony overlooking the mountains. Beer on tap and good wines.
  • Sol de copan (German brewery & restaurant), Barrio Buena Vista (Copan Ruinas), ☏ +504 26514758. 14 to 10. Very good German food, but the real attraction is the beer - excellently crafted, filtered, and some of the best you'll have, anywhere.

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Sleep

The town of Copán Ruinas has all types of accommodations for all prices ranges. Most places are located within two blocks of Parque Central.

  • Full Monte, ☏ +(504) 2651-4182. In the court yard of Twisted Tanya's and Copan Connections, only one room with DVD, Cable, coffee and huge bathroom! Great location right in town and very safe. US$35/$25 weekly and monthly rates.
  • Hotel Ch'orti, ☏ +504 2651-4694. Funded through CONIMCHH, the indigenous Ch’ortí Maya organization, your stay here will help support Honduras’ indigenous population. The facilities feature clean, private rooms with en suite bathrooms, free high speed wi-fi, hot showers, picturesque mountain views, free cable, and access to purified water. Just a five minute walk from the center of Copán Ruinas, down the block from La Iguana Azul. The rooms could use a fresh coat of paint and are sometimes stuffy, but get the job done. L200 single, L250 double.
  • Hotel San José. The cheapest place in town. The rooms are unattractive but clean with shared (and not so clean) bathrooms. privates for L100 per person.
  • Hotel Marbella (across from Hotel San José). Clean rooms with private bathrooms and fans. Also has more expensive rooms with A/C. L250 for a double with private bathroom.
  • Iguana Azul, Calle Rosalila. An excellent hostel a short walk from el Centro. Dorm beds in small rooms L170, private single US$16 private double L380. Run by an American couple, free purified water and good information on the area. Very quiet at night. Highly recommended!
  • Hotel Graditas Mayas. Located two blocks west from the central park. It offers 15 comfortable rooms. L450 for a double with A/C.
  • Hotel Plaza Copán. Located on the square next to the church, this hotel surrounds a pool/ bar/ atrium area. 20 rooms with private bath, TV and A/C. Single/Double US$50/$60.
  • La Casa de Café, ☏ +504 2651-4620. 10 room B&B in two wings each with private hot water bath, wood paneled ceiling, ceiling fan, writing desk, night table w/ reading lamp and an oversized picture window which looks out onto a great view of the Copán River Valley, the distant mountains and La Casa de Café's own lovely tropical garden. US$45/$55 single/double per night (plus tax).
  • ViaVia Hostel. run by Belgians that offers great sleeping accommodations. They have very good food but can be quite noisy due to the karaoke bar next door. edit
  • Hotel los Jaguares. Small family run hotel on the main plaza with about 10 rooms. Large rooms with TV, AC and private bath with hot water. Fast wifi. Parking. Free purified water. Very pleasant, helpful and friendly staff. (504) 2651 - 4451 or 2651 4075. jaguares@copanhonduras.org or hotellosjaguares@yahoo.com Single/Double US$35/$40 per night.
  • Hotel Marina Copán (Hotel Marina Copán), Across Central Park, Copán Ruinas, ☏ +504 2651-4070, fax: +504 2651-4297, ✉ reservations@hotelmarinacopan.com. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 12:00m. Located in the center of town, a family owned and operated property established in 1945, this hotel is known for its history, nice architecture and good services. It has 49 rooms. from US$95.
  • La Casa Rosada -Bed & Breakfast, ☏ +504 2651-4324. Located two blocks from central park and one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Mayan archeological site. The hotel has 5 rooms. All rooms have private baths with steam showers, dual head showers, bidets, and a selection of natural hand-made soaps and shampoos. Each room has a DVD/CD player, flat screen LCD TVs with cable, a small refrigerator, A/C and ceiling fan, and 100% cotton linens. The place is beautifully decorated and creates a very relaxing atmosphere. Guests are offered a selection of cigars and fine wine.
  • Posada Real de Copán, ☏ +504 2651-4480. Located 2 kilometer (1.2 miles) from Copán Ruinas and Sepulturas. A little far away from town (3 kilometer - 2 miles). Big rooms, private bath with hot water. Restaurant and Pool & Jacuzzi. Free scheduled shuttle service to town and Ruinas/Sepulturas.
  • Terramaya (2 1/2 blks north of Central Park), ☏ +504 2651-4623. Six rooms each with either private full size terrace, private garden or private balcony. Hammock, a/c, ceiling fan, Egyptian cotton linens, lovely handcrafted hardwood furniture, wood beamed ceilings, library, full breakfasts included in rate, massage pavilion, outdoor shower, free wireless internet, internet jack in each guest room, garden, complimentary coffee, tea and iced tea. Spectacular views from guest rooms.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 9:20 on Jul 22, 19 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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