Near the Honduran border with Guatemala, the charming city of Copan offers visitors an idyllic location to explore the region’s history. Mayan ruins remain the central draw for tourists, but the small city that has grown alongside those ruins offers even more reasons to visit.
Mayan Ruins of Copan
Throughout Central America, Mayan ruins dot the countryside and offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history. The Mayan Ruins of Copan is an extensive site boasting impressive building ruins and intensive research into the lives of local residents. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, Copan Ruinas is a destination unto itself.
Although smaller than other Mayan sites in the area, especially Tikal in Guatemala and Teotihuacan in Mexico, Copan offers beautiful sculptures and artistry not seen elsewhere. The Mayan Ruins of Copan are especially noteworthy for their detailed hieroglyphic staircase.
The museum at the site of the ruins provides an in-depth view of life in Copan for its Mayan residents. It is well worth visiting to better understand the layout of the ancient site and its importance for Mayan civilization.
Visit Copan Ruinas
The town of Copan Ruinas has grown alongside the ancient site that now lies in ruins. The town is a charming mountain city built around the traditional town square, with residential and commercial streets stemming outward into the mountainsides. Cobblestone streets lined with traditional homes provide a welcoming community for travelers.
From a variety of accommodation options to a plethora of delicious restaurants and cafes, Copan Ruinas isn’t an overblown tourist destination, but it certainly offers everything you might want or need.
Many backpackers include Copan Ruinas in an itinerary between Antigua, Guatemala, and La Ceiba or the Bay Islands. A six-hour bus runs between Antigua and Copan regularly.
FAQ for Visiting Copan Ruinas
Keep in mind that Copan Ruinas is a mountain town, making it much cooler than many other areas of Honduras. If you head straight from the Bay Islands to Copan, be sure to pack extra warm clothes for nighttime in the mountains!
Copan is accessible by bus from San Pedro Sula (and other connections from SPS) or from Antigua or El Florido in Guatemala. There is also a domestic airport in Copan, offering connections with La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa, and Roatan.
Outside of Copan, another popular site to visit is Macaw Mountain. This bird sanctuary provides protection for a variety of tropical birds, offering visitors the opportunity to interact with some residents and to enjoy walking around the beautiful grounds.
Other attractions nearby include a mountainside hot springs and plenty of opportunities for horseback riding tours. Take a look at our other links for services in Copan here.