Even in ruin, the great Maya site of Copán appeared as a masterpiece of antiquity to explorer John Lloyd Stephens in 1839. Today, its rich stone sculptures and intricate hieroglyphs make Copán a feature attraction along "La Ruta Maya". The Copán Association was formed in 1990 to promote and support the proper appreciation, conservation and restoration of Copán and its environmental surroundings. The recently opened, magnificent Museum of Mayan Sculpture will highlight your trip.
Daily, direct bus service on Lineas Galaxia, is now available between Fronteras and Copán. Make your reservations the day before with Atitlan Shuttle (assigned seats, Q40 one way, Q80 round trip) for the 9:30am departure. At 12:45 pm it stops for an hour at Chiquimula where the Chevere Burger House serves, what else, good burgers! Back on the bus, the remainder of the trip over a well maintained dirt road fords many rivers and offers incredible vistas as it winds into the mountains.
Arrival at Florido, the border, is at 4 pm. (Guatemalan immigration costs Q10, Honduran, where you will receive a tourist card is L33). The money changers on either side continue to give better rates than the banks in Copán (L12 for $1.00 U.S.), however many of the businesses in Copán accept quetzals, dollars and credit cards.
The remainder of the trip to your hotel in Copán is by truck (about Q30). "Lady Helen" stayed in the Hotel Camino Maya, across from the central park ($30 U.S. dbl., large rooms, private bath, hot water, cable TV). The hotel was happy to make reservations for 1) English speaking guide Marvin Diaz, ($30 U.S. for the 2-1/2 to 3 hour tour of the ruins, not per person), 2) breakfast at the La Casa de Café, a B&B with a great view just down the road or 3) a truck, Q15, to take you to the border for the 6am sharp Líneas Galaxia bus to Fronteras. Take something to eat and drink. Honduran immigration is usually closed. If open costs L20 to exit with arrival in Fronteras at 12:00 noon.
Breakfast at the Llama del Bosque, an always crowded restaurant a block and a half west of the Central Park, before walking one km. to the Ruinas de Copán.
The entrance fee of $10 for the Ruinas de Copán Archeological Park includes visiting the Las Sepulturas site. This small site is located a mile from the central acropolis. It has been most important in understanding how the Mayan elite lived during the days before the collapse of Copán.
The entrance fee to the new Museum of Mayan Sculpture is L55. Located adjacent to the visitor center (a small restaurant here), the museum houses original pieces of sculpture from Ruinas de Copán. The masterpiece is the replica of the Rosa Lila temple, decorated with stucco and paint to demonstrate how the temples looked during the peak of the Mayan culture, over 1000 years ago.
Entrance fee to the small Copán Museum near the Central Park in town is L20. Well worth a visit, it is open daily except Sundays 8am-12 noon and 1pm-4pm.
Copán has many hotels, restaurant and comedores, something to suit everyone's pocket. One of the best restaurants "Lady Helen" ate at was the atmosphere laden, Los Gauchos, one block south of the Central Park (open 10am-10pm). The happening place at night with happy hour 8-9pm and great music, the Tunkul Bar & Restaurant is 1-1/2 blocks west of central park. Open all day for good food.
Reserve some time for shopping as Copán has many souvenir stores carrying crafts handmade in Honduras. Fine Honduras cigars, leather goods, woven baskets, panama hats, ceramics, jade and wooden handicrafts are among the items offered.
Note: Prices listed were from the trip taken by "Lady Helen" in January of 1997. This is not a good trip to do in a rental car since you cannot take it across the border and there are no secure parking areas available at the border.
November 9, 2012
© 1997-2012 Phillip Landmeier