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Copan, Honduras: Mayan Ruins

Copan Honduras Mayan RuinsWith all we have heard about political unrest and the lack of safety in Honduras, we were not sure if it was a country we were going to visit on this trip.

After lots of research, Jonathan and I decided that it would be very safe for us to travel to Copan.

Copan is one of the safest places in Honduras, and it is really easy to get to without passing through any of the “bad” areas.

We had also heard that it is best to visit the ruins at Copan before visiting Tikal, Guatemala. (Something about visiting Copan being anti-climactic after seeing Tikal.) So, we found a shuttle between Guatemala City and Copan.

We left our hotel at 4:30am (yep, AM) to walk (yes…we walked through Guatemala City) the 6 blocks (see – not far) to where the shuttle would pick us up.

After about 5 hours in the shuttle (more on shuttles later), and a very easy border crossing (where, sadly, we received no stamps, just a little slip of paper) we were in Honduras.

We checked into our hotel (Casa de la Cafe) which was recommended to us by the owners of Hotel Terrasol in Granada, Nicaragua. Cid brought us iced tea (which normally I don´t like very much, but tasted very good on a hot morning in Honduras).

From there it was only a short walk to the ruins. Cid, from Hotel Casa de Cafe, gave us a map and really good directions for the walk, and some suggestions for great local eateries for lunch.

For some reason, Jonathan and I didn´t think about bringing enough cash to pay the entrance fee (US$ 15 per person). Luckily, they accept cards at the visitor´s center.

The ruins at Copan were our first experience with Mayan Ruins. They were amazing! We took a short trail, and came out with a view of a temple.
Copan Honduras Mayan Ruins
It was really tall, and there were people on the top. You can climb the ruins? That´s crazy. We had to do that.

I asked Els, whom we had met while crossing the border into Honduras, to take a picture of Jonathan and I. When I asked if she would like one, she said “Of this one? No.”


(Els said earlier she had recently been to Tikal).

It must be a good thing that we visited Copan’s ruins first, rather than Tikal.

It´s very difficult to convey the magnitude of this place. We tried to take pictures to show how big everything is, but it doesn’t really show it.
Hieroglyph Staircase at Copan Honduras Mayan Ruins
Copan ruins is one of those places where you walk and walk and think that you are at the end, but then you turn a corner, and there´s a whole lot more.

Yeah, Copan is kinda’ like the energizer bunny.

I loved the way that the fields were cleared and open (which I realized while at Tikal later). It was easier to see and appreciate the whole area, and how it might have looked in the height of its civilization.
Hieroglyph Staircase at Copan Honduras Mayan Ruins
Jonathan and I really took our time. Our museum mode kicked in. If you don´t know this about Jonathan and I yet, we´re the people who take F.O.R.E.V.E.R. to go through museums, because we like to see everything.

At one point we had to just sit down. No, not from all the walking. We just wanted to sit and appreciate what we were seeing.

It´s difficult as well to convey the feelings that come with seeing something like the Mayan ruins.

It goes something like this:
How did they do that?
Where did they get all those rocks?
How did people who were only 4´ – 4´6″ tall, climb stairs that are not easy for me to climb when I have at least 18 inches on them?
What was it like to live here?

Well, we didn’t get a guided tour, and we wish we would have.

I don’t really feel like I know a lot about the place.

On the other hand, is it really possible to understand what went on 1300 years ago?

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