When planning a trip to Central America, it didn’t come right away to set Honduras on the list. However, when I search on Copan Ruinas seems fair enough to sniff the atmosphere, it reminds me of El Tunco in El Salvador. On this trip, we were visiting four countries in Central America such as; El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, not to mentioned Belize! We feel safer from the three lands than in Belize itself. We’re also aware of the violent crime in the areas. So following the tourist trail was a good idea, no experimentation. Better safe than sorry!
Copan Honduras is underrated, that’s why often skip by travelers. Why? Because they say it is dangerous! No, it is not.
The small town lies on the border from Guatemala; it will be a shame omitted while in the neighborhood.
In Copan itself, there are three banks, but none of the ATM’s are working. We have to change our cash to local currency. The only problem with Copan is transportation. If you want to get out of the country; there is no frequent service. We have to charter a car for 160 US dollars for bringing us back over the border to Guatemala.
How you get there
It was entirely of searching online, and I ran into the shuttle company of GECKO TRAIL EXPLORER. Clicking on the website, I get into their Facebook site, where I’ve helped one of the staff online. There’s only one trip per day to Copan Ruinas; we pre-booked the shuttle two weeks before the trip. For the price of 25 US dollars per person with a free hotel pickup in Antigua Guatemala.
Who would know it
If I knew we could book the transfer in Antigua Guatemala for the same price, we would do it there. Anyhow, I’m panicking, as we have our entire itinerary on this trip with hotel bookings and etcetera, we want to be sure of arriving in Copan the day we want. The shuttle departs Antigua at 4:00 am. A long journey of 6 – 7 hours including border formality. As part of the adventure, I prefer the shuttle with cramp seat than the chicken buses. Both are not a comfortable means of transportation in Central America.
Is Copan worth the visit?
Yes, it is, we were so glad we make a side trip from Guatemala. Copan is a safe town! The local people are friendly, and unlike other countries in Central America, tuk-tuk drivers are honest. We inform earlier for the price of the tuk-tuk ride; the driver didn’t charge us more, precisely the same as our hotel staff said.
Honduras Crossing Border
We were entering through El Florido, well-organized border immigration just 12 kilometers from Copan Ruinas. Our driver pointed us where to go, but there’s only one building, you never miss it. I thought we would be stuck for a long time, same as in El Salvador, but there weren’t a lot of people we’re lucky to get out at the building in five minutes. The migration staff in Honduras has in a good mood and friendly jokers! Unlike in Belize, the immigration officers are rude. What you need is just your passport, must be valid for six months.
Coming from Guatemala, we need the exit stamp; the next booth is the Honduran. For most European passports do not need a visa, you’re allowed to stay 90 days in Honduras. Everyone entering Honduras must take the fingerprint authentication, and a current photo from you made on the migration counter.
You’ll have to pay 75 Lempira. A single country in Central America, we have to pay for immigration. If you don’t have a local currency, they accept Guatemalan Quetzales. The small white slip paper marked as 3$, but the US dollars are not acceptable; if you don’t have the local money, there is an ATM to withdraw cash.
Mayan ruins of Copan
The ruins are the most significant sight in Copan. It didn’t convince me right away, especially if you’ve been to Mexico or Tikal Guatemala. The Mayan ruins of Copan can’t make a resemblance. However, much has been preserved and making it one of the most important archaeological sites.
The entrance fee cost 15$ dollars which I find expensive for what you see inside. However, if you’re interested in history, a guided tour offered at inside.
As the name indicates entirely lies on the mountain. A tuk-tuk cost 40 lempiras per person; the driver will ask if he waits for you. It’s wise to say yes as there’s not much public transport coming that way. He knows exactly how much time you need inside. The entrance fee to the park cost 240 lempiras (8.50€). As a nature reserve park, you’ll see various birds particularly parrots and macaws not only that, you can leisurely walk around. And at the end of your tour inside, they’ll let you hold the birds for photographs. A good souvenir!
Strolling Copan Town
I wouldn’t know what to do if we were staying here for more than a week. I envy those other backpackers which has plenty of time to spare. Some of the people we meet have been going twice in town; they love Copan. Although we only stay one night, we run out of things to do. As we have time before leaving on the next day, we’d like to see this tiny town of Honduras which loved by most visitors. Though the pattern of the center is not entirely flat, cobblestone streets anywhere in the city, but lovely for a stroll. You’ll find small shops and cafe, and see the locals sitting in the park.
Such as any countries in North America, markets are the main thing to see. The street in Copan is meager compared to other markets I’ve seen in other places. Here you’ll find artifacts, silver jewelry, hairpins, hat, and etcetera.
You probably learn already when you visited a market. As most tourists pay more than the local people, always haggle if you buy something.
Where To Stay In Copan
Although it is a small town, there are choices of accommodations in Copan. Maybe not all of them online, but we managed to reserve a room in advance at BERAKAH B&B. If you travel to Copan without a hotel, the shuttle driver will drop you off on the main square in town. Anyway, it is something not to worry though. The town center is pretty small if you don’t mind walking around, you will find a room, depends on the season. We were there in December, and it was quite busy in Copan.
Where To Eat
Surprisingly lots of restaurants in town. However, categorize from budget, mid-range, and splurge price. In general, food and drinks in Honduras are cheaper than the neighboring lands. We started this trip from Cuba, then to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize. Honduras is a lot less expensive from all. In such a small town make visitors difficult choice to find the right place to dine. We have been to Cafe ViaVia, an excellent spot for local food with a big serving, and not expensive.