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Copán was one of the great centers of Maya civilization over a thousand years ago. The beautiful ruins have some of the most impressive pre-Columbian art anywhere. Near the ruins is the modern town of nearly the same name - Copán Ruinas, with clean hotels and other facilities for visitors. Due to their proximity, both locations are covered by this article. The ruins are quite substantial and a major tourist attraction in western Honduras. While less visited than the better known tourist attraction ruins like Chichen Itza, many people find them even more interesting. Copán is in a fertile river valley and nestled among rolling hills, at an elevation so it is not so very hot as some of the Central American rainforest sites. (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Copan

Las Copán Ruinas (entry $15/person) are the highlight of Copán. Although quite extensive, they are not as huge as Tikal in Guatemala or Teotihuacan in Mexico, but there is more sculpture here than any other Pre-Columbian city. The ruins are prized for the carved stellae of ancient rulers, and the well preserved hieryoglyphics including the hieryoglyphic stairway. Also in the archeological park is a marvelous Mayan museum (entry $7/person) with a reconstructed temple and fabulous artifacts. Fans of Maya art or ancient ruins can easily spend two full days between the two main ruins sites and museu. The tunnels are reportedly not worth the extra fee, and are not authentic, having been dug by archaeologists in the 1980s (these tunnels were originally dug for investigation and they show to the visitors the buried parts of older temples since the Mayans built on top of the older structures to make the new ones taller ). In July 2011 it was possible to visit the Sepulturas on the next day without purchasing a second ticket although the main ticket office may not tell you this.

It's recommended to be there when it opens at 8AM, as the site gets very hot by mid-day. Hire a guide at the entrance to the ruins for $25 divided between however many people you can collect. Cesar (30s, good accented English) and Antonio (60s, few teeth, excellent English) are recommended if they're around.

Besides the ruins, the countryside is attractive. Slow paced local life is quite calm, and farming of corn, beans, coffee, and tobacco is the main vocation.

Copan Ruins

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About Copan


  • Luna Jaguar Aguas Termales. is a natural hot springs spa under an hour's drive (25km) from Copán Ruinas. Several man-made pools of differing temperatures mimic Mayan structures and are fed by the hot springs. A variety of adventure tour companies will take you there for $15/person plus $60/group, which is outrageous considering the alternatives. For cheaper transportation, pickups and minibuses congregate at the soccer field (right before the bridge on the way to the ruins). Gather a group together, and you might negotiate a pickup for $50. They may be willing to wait up to 3 hours for you. Even better, be patient, and a (tiny) seat in a minibus is only L35 each way. To get back to town, start walking, and a minibus will pass before long. The drive is very scenic, so enjoy it! One can easily spend the whole day at Luna Jaguar, but bring your own food. Massages available. entry $10/person.
  • Macaw Mountain. is an excellent bird sanctuary a short (L20/person) mototaxi ride from el Centro. The price may seem steep, but the sanctuary is commendable for its beautiful location, free tours in English, swimming hole, and obviously healthy, well cared-for birds. As of January 2011, the birds that are being rehabilitated are brought out for holding at 3PM. The ticket is valid for 3 days, so come back and swim for free. entry $10/person.
  • Centro de Mariposas. is a butterfly sanctuary located just outside town. entry L120/person.
  • Canopy/zip line. Copán has one of the world's longest zip lines, including one about 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) long. ~$35/person.
  • Horseback Rides. can take you to La Pintada, a Maya Chorti village, and to Los Sapos, which is a small ruin not included in the archaeological park. La Pintada is interesting but overrated, while Los Sapos, though very small, is fascinating with a good guide. It's a 10 minute walk down to the river where you can swim for free. $12-15/person for 3hrs.

  • Casa K'inich Children's Museum, Fuerte Cabañas (Straight up the hill past the Marina Hotel turn right into Fuerte Cabañas.),  504 2651 4105. 8-12 1-5 Tuesday through Sunday. The Casa K'inich Children's Museum (Museo Escolar) is a unique museum that was opened in 2002. To celebrate its tenth anniversary for 2012 the museum has been updated and new exhibits and interactive displays have been added. This museum is in three languages (English, Spanish, and Maya Chorti) and is the only children's museum of its kind situated at close proximity to a Maya Ruin. The museum's totally interactive exhibits will help the visitor (adults and children alike) understand the glyphs at the ruins, what happened to the Maya, and shows how the Maya built their buildings along with a description of the famous Maya ballgame among many other subjects. Not to be missed the museum only takes an hour or two to visit and the location has a beautiful view of the Copan Valley. Groups are welcome and student groups can call for and appointment or even have food set up during their visit. Ask for Londin Velasquez the museum's dynamic director. $1 for adults children always free.


There are numerous community-building projects in and around Copán Ruinas. One site to check out is Mayatan Bilingual School, a locally-founded independent, non-profit school that educates local children in Spanish and English. The school relies on foreign volunteers to teach its English language courses (Pre-K through high school), and it always welcomes visitors. Mayatan is located on the path to the Macaw Mountain bird park, about 1.5km from the center of town, or a L15 (75¢) taxi ride. Contact Tommy for more information.


Most places offer a plato tipico de Honduras. This includes beef strips (or sometimes chicken or eggs), beans, fried plantains, tortillas, cabbage and sour cream. Licuados are either water- or milk-based fruit smoothies that for L30 should be enjoyed every day. Local meals run L80-L120.

  • Restaurant Glifos (...inside Hotel Marina Copan), In Hotel Marina Copan, Avenida Centroamérica, across Central Park,  +504 2651-4071. 6:30am - 9:30pm. Local and international cuisine, the highest quality steaks, pastas, soups, salads, affordable buffet breakfast and delicious desserts.
  • Cafe Via Via - The restaurant/bar in the ViaVia hostel offers great food and standard drinks.
  • Picame - This restaurant is small but excellent, offering a great value for your lempira. The proprietor is Jessica who speaks excellent English. Try the double cheeseburger or ENORMOUS breakfast burrito. Caddy-corner from the soccer field, it's an excellent place to get take-out sandwiches for a day at Agua Caliente.
  • Comedor Mary - The best local restaurant in town for delicious, cheap, clean Honduran food. Great tipicos and pupusas. Unpretentious and authentic.
  • Carnitas Nia Lola - A restaurant a little ways off the parque central that offers a wide variety of delicious food and has a good happy hour. Service can be either excellent or quite slow.
  • La Casa de Todo Restaurant - Great food! Homemade bread, yogurt, organic coffee and much more one block down from Banco de Occidente.
  • Llama del Bosque - Second only to Comedor Mary for dependable local food. Larger and busier, but an excellent value and good service. The chorizo burrito and fajitas de res are huge and delicious.
  • Twisted Tanya's - Run by an expat (Tanya) with a great balcony. 2PM-10PM. Closed on Sunday, Offering a Backpacker special every night, and dishes you would not find anywhere else, Tequila Shrimp, Filet Mignon, curries, and home made pasta's and breads and desserts all made in house.
  • Asados Copan - A local "steakhouse" that offers the traditional carne asada in a variety of ways (with onions, jalapeno sauce, on a kabob, etc.) The restaurant is located up the hill from Picame, just one block behind the Banco Occidente on a large open-air wood deck. An entree runs between 100 and 200 lempiras.
  • Don Udo´s, Avenida Mirador (BarrioEl Centro),  6514533. 6AM-10PM. An open restaurant with garden patio and full service menu. The steaks are best known, but there is a large a-la-carte menu with special dishes and snacks.
  • Kymberly, Annapolis. Barcito- beautiful food, fun atmosphere. I got the jalapeño hummus with homemade bread, and the kebbhes (middle eastern meatballs), two margaritas and a pack of cigarettes for L225. A little more than $10.
  • Sol de Copan German Brewery & Restaurant, Barrio Buena Vista Ave El Mirador (Copan Ruinas),  26514758. 14 to 10. Brewery, German Beer on tap, German & Honduran Kitchen
  • Cafe San Rafael. Excellent coffee and panini sandwiches, but best known for their farmstead hand-made gourmet cheese, available nowhere else in Honduras. Not to be missed.
  • Copan Association Gift Shop, Ruinas de Copan (Located on the left inside the Visitors Center at the Archaeological Park),  2651 4628. 8 a.m. til 4 p.m. every day. This shop has a really good variety of gifts, tshirts and souvenirs from the Copan area. Located inside the Visitor's Center of the Ruins of Copan they also sell water and soft drinks.


  • Cafe Welchez - truly the best coffee to be had in Copan Ruinas, possibly in all of Honduras. On the corner of the town square, downhill from the Marina Copan. You can go on a coffee tour, just outside of town, to see where and how their coffee is grown and processed.
  • Espresso Americano - The Honduran chain, serving coffee roasted with brown sugar. Best coffee "chain" in Honduras
  • Cafe San Rafael - serving excellent gourmet coffee, grown from their own farms
  • La Casa de todo Cafe - in beautiful tropical garden... serve fresh roasted Organic Coffee
  • Twisted Tanya's - Surprisingly well-made cocktails for $4 or $5. 2-for-1 from 3PM-6PM and drink specials all night, great balcony overlooking the mountains. Beer on tap and good wines.
  • sol de copan (German brewery & restaurant), Barrio Buena Vista (Copan Ruinas),  26514758. 14 to 10. Very good German food, but the real attraction is the beer - excellently crafted, filtered, and some of the best you'll have, anywhere.


There is an unimpressive market near el Centro. On Sundays, fruit vendors line el Centro with their pickup trucks.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Copán Ruinas on Wikivoyage.