Copán is one of the most characteristic towns in the country. Located 20 minutes from the Guatemalan border, this small colonial town is known for its Mayan ruins. As in Guatemala, the Mayan people were great and well-known in the first century. Today, it’s not just the Mayan temples that are the city’s attractions. The region around Copán is also central to the coffee plantations that surround it.
Copán is the only place in Honduras where you can find Mayan history and their influences. This archaeological site is home to a number of unique finds and discoveries, including underground passageways and staircase with a secret message that only part of has been deciphered. The Copán ruins are located against the center of the city and can be visited on foot (15 minutes from the central plaza) or by private transport or by mototaxi and are open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. The cost is €13.50 for adults. You pay €6 more for the nearby museum and an additional €13.50 for the tunnels. Guides can be arranged on site.
Macaw Mountain Bird Park
Another cool activity in Copán is the “Macaw Mountain Bird Park. This center takes in tropical birds found in poor condition in homes and elsewhere. Its purpose is to allow them to gain weight and eventually be released back into the wild. A great initiative where the welfare of the animals is paramount. You’ll find Macaws, toucans, parrots and parakeets, among others, as well as lesser-known bird species. The park is open daily from 8am – 4pm and costs L240/€9. The park is located slightly outside the center so a mototaxi/tuctuc is recommended. Discuss an amount in advance, which will be around €2.
In the center of Copán, on the edge of the square, sits café Welchez. At Hotel La Posada Copan, you can request information about a tour of the Welchez coffee plantations. Outside the city, about an hour’s drive away, you can visit the plantation. Not the most inspiring tour, but the walk goes through beautiful territory and you see the different types of coffee beans growing on the plants. Transportation, coffee and lunch is included. The tour goes at 9:00 am or 2:00 pm, takes about 4 hours and costs about €32.50. The downtown café has nice seating overlooking the central square and has a tasty and extensive menu.
Luna Jaguar Hotsprings
If you want to relax for a day while in Copán you can go to the Aguas Calientes or hot springs. Luna Jaguar Spa Resort offers tours and sessions. You can find more information on their website or in their office in Copán center. If you go by private transport, keep in mind that the road leading to it is in poor condition and the journey may take longer than expected.
Some nice restaurants/café/bars in Copán include Viavia restaurant, The tea and chocolate place and Sol de Copán.
If you want to seek out a lesser-known part of Honduras, you can travel to Gracias from Copán or from Tegucigalpa. Gracias is a small authentic town where you encounter the old Honduras. Also, near Gracias you can do one of the largest and longest ziplines in Central America, the Canopy Extremo. It is a very cool zipline where you go over a canyon that is almost 200 meters deep and 600 meters long in some places. You can go with a tour, but you can also very well go that way on your own. It is good to check with your hotel for this, as the zipline operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The canopy costs 760 Limpira/€20 and are open from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. That means the last group will be notified until then and you can no longer be on the waiting list.
You get there by traveling to La Campa and from there you can be picked up to go to the canopy. Hotel Guancascos is run by a Dutch woman and she can also help you further on your way.
How do you get there and back?
Copán is accessible from Tegucigalpa by a direct bus that makes a few stops, including at Lake Yojoa and in San Pedro Sula. You then travel with bus company Hedman Alas and pay about €40 for a ticket. There are also several buses from San Pedro Sula or Gracias that go to Copán.
Coming from Guatemala, Copán is located a few kilometers from the border. So you can also easily take a trip to Honduras, although of course we recommend that you not only visit Copán. Want to know how to easily cross the border and what all you need? Read the article on border crossings from Guatemala to Honduras.