Mayan Rovine from Copan and Agua Caliente in Honduras

Copan is a delightful village in the north of Honduras not far from Guatemala. The country is actually called Copan Ruins but it is always simply called Copan and is famous for the Mayan ruins which are located just 1 kilometer from the center of the country and which are the first you come across if you travel to Central America starting from Panama.

Here you encounter Mayan culture for the first time and begin to discover the beauty of these mystical places.
Copan Ruinas is a very quiet town and it is pleasant to stay here for a while. Although not far from Guatemala and El Salvador, I admit that you immediately notice that you are in Honduras, in particular thanks to the cowboy hats worn by most of the men and which in my opinion characterize this people a lot.

Copan is a colonial village, small and full of hostels, restaurants and bars. At night you can walk home and I wasn’t afraid for even a moment, which I can’t say about San Pedro Sula which is renowned for theft and poor security.
I really enjoyed staying here for a few days and I recommend everyone to stay there for a while without running away the day after their arrival, it is a town in the mountains and you can relax or dedicate yourself to various activities in contact with nature.
Many travelers generally stop here to visit the ruins and then continue their journey (usually towards Guatemala or the Bay Islands) but in my opinion it is worth staying here for a couple of days and not missing, for example, the thermal waters in the middle of the mountain which are also open at night and are perhaps the most beautiful I have ever seen.

In Copan the activities also go beyond visiting the ruins but you can go horse riding, bird watching, you can also study Spanish in one of the town’s schools or you can organize tours to Mayan villages neighbors or go tubing in the river or visit a coffee plantation. Honduran coffee is very famous.

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How to get to the Mayan ruins of Copan and costs

To get to the Mayan ruins of Copan (entry fee $15) you can walk, since they are just one kilometer away from the town center or you can take a motorbike taxi which costs $0.80. I did it on foot and it was a pleasant walk. We walked along the tree-lined main road and took shelter from the sun which was very strong in May.
The general admission ticket, the $15 one so to speak, includes entry to the main ruins and more The Sepolturas.

The archaeological site is actually small, especially compared to the ruins I saw among Guatemala and the Mexicobut beautiful, compact and well maintained.
The park can be visited in about 2 hours, the pyramids are not very high but what makes the difference here are the sculptures which are not found in all the other Mayan temples in Central America.
Beautiful perfectly inlaid statues that give a great idea of ​​the society of those times and give visitors that mystical and mysterious something.
Unfortunately, the $15 entrance fee does not include the ticket for the Tunnel, an area opened in 1999 which allows you to see a series of pre-existing structures behind the ruins; entry here costs another $15.
Right next to the park entrance there is also a museo. Also in this case the ticket must be paid separately and the cost is $7. Here you can see all the sculptures that were once in the archaeological site.

In my opinion it would be worth paying for one guide (generally they are in Spanish and English, but ask if there is also in Italian). The cost is around $25, doable if you are in a group and a bit expensive if you are alone. At most you can join someone who will certainly be happy to share the costs with you.

These ruins are perhaps less impressive than Tikal, Tulum or Chichen Itza but I liked them a lot thanks to the little crowding and the peaceful nature that surrounds this Mayan site, which I found very well kept, not distracting and magical thanks also to the fauna enlivened by the colors of tropical birds including the legendary red and yellow parrots.

The thermal waters of Agua Caliente

As I was saying, another place in Copan that I really liked are the thermal waters Hot waterwhich I discovered among other things belongs to an Italian.
What better way to end a day spent at the ruins, with 40 degrees in the shade and hours spent climbing up and down temples and ancient buildings, than relaxing in pools with thermal water and covered in mud?
Just 24 kilometers from Copan Ruinas (the town) are these beautiful thermal waters, Hot waterimmersed in the jungle and if you go there when it starts to get dark, definitely romantic.

Getting to Agua Caliente is a great adventure especially if you have your own transport.
The road is not paved but the walk is truly suggestive and you can see the mountains of Honduras which perhaps perfectly matches the image we have of it.
The entrance to the artificial pool is a few dollars but for $10 you can enter the natural park and swim immersed in the jungle vegetation.
My advice is to arrive at sunset and stay there until closing (8pm).
An employee will light some candles for you and will never abandon you (because there are no lights inside the park) but I assure you that after a day walking or discovering the ruins it will be a sort of godsend.
At this site there are also changing cabins and possibly a picnic area.

In Copan you can find tourist agencies who organize tours to Agua Caliente for around $35 but my advice is to go independently. You can take a minibus that leaves from the sports field and costs around $1 or actually go by car if you are lucky like me and my friend who found two bold young men who took us and with whom we had this wonderful experience in the mountains of Honduras.
It is really worth it and I vote it as one of the best attractions in Honduras.

How to get to Copan

Minibuses and pickups to and from Copan leave every 30 minutes for the border of Guatemala from 6am to 6pm.
Warning: if you arrive later (like it happened to me) you have to pay for a pickup or a taxi so you can ask on the bus if anyone needs to get to the El Florido border, usually there is always someone who is making your route and you will recognize them! The minibus costs $1.10. After 10pm there are no taxis from El Florido to Copan so negotiate with a taxi driver at the border between Guatemala and Honduras and have him take you directly to the hostel because otherwise you will have to sleep on the street until the morning.

Tourist agencies Antigua, Lake Atitlan e Guatemala City they organize shuttles to Copan, if you want to make everything easier you can go with them and on balance it seems to me that the cost is more or less the same without having to change vehicles 3 times.

From and for San Pedro Sula the company Casasola Transport it’s probably the best choice. The ticket costs $5.50, the trip takes 3 hours and the bus leaves at 6 and 7 am and at 2 pm.
Alternatively you can take the Rey Express which costs $4.50, same departure times but less reliable than Transportes Casasola.
Hedman Atlas, on the other hand, offers more expensive but much better transport with destinations: San pedro Sula ($14, 3 hours), Tecugigalpa ($22, 7 hours), La Ceiba ($22, 7 hours), Antigua in Guatemala ($41).

If you want to leave at other times you can go to The entrance ($2 for 2 and a quarter hours of travel) and there take a bus towards San Pedro Sula and Santa Rosa de Copan.

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