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Central America Copán (Honduras)

Copán, together with Calakmul (México) and Tikal (Guatemala) were one of the main centers of power in the Mayan world. The city was founded by a mysterious king and shaman who later on was called „half divine“, Great Sun Lord Quetzal Macaw (Mah K´ina Yax K´uk´ Mo). Most Copán structures date from classic period. The archaeological site, situated near the Guatemala border, is significant above all thanks to the number of its stele and great stone carvings.

Point of interest: Around year 800, the King “Humo Caracol” (Smoking Shell) built a stairway (Temple of the Inscriptions) full of hieroglyphs that described the life of kings and the city of Copán. Time passed and most of the stones with carved messages felt down, not exactly in the same order. The first archeologists that came to Copán did not know to read the glyphs, they picked up the stones and put them where they thought it appropriate… so who knows what the ancient message (and the longest Mayan transcript ever found) says today.

What here: Steles together with Mayan glyphs and stone carving are probably the main attraction. The site has a very good museum where the reconstructed colorful Temple Rosalila could be seen. The original one is still on the site covered by another newer temple, built 5 centuries later. For those not so found of history...look up! The trees at Copán are full of Macaws and they are far away from being shy...have fun.

The city of Copán is a small, calm and beautiful place. Cobbled streets, small houses, colonial church and a pretty square. It is very small, so you can just walk around and the ruins are about 1,5 km walk from the city center. The accommodation offer is very good, many medium size hotels for a very friendly price. The restaurants are managing “tourist” prices, but you can always grab a bite in small local diners or (should you feel adventurous enough) in the food stands at the corner of the main square.

Where to stay: Try La Posada de Belssy, Hotel Clásico Copán or Via Via.
How to get here: Most people are coming either from Guatemala border or San Pedro Sula, a city which serves as transport junction in Honduras. Buses from or to San Pedro Sula take about 3 hours with connections to Ceiba (at the Carebbean coast) or Tegucigalpa (a scary Honduran capital).

If you come from Guatemala, you first have to pay the exit tax (its sum mostly depends on which officer is in charge and what is his mood), then you pay an official Honduran entry fee (3 USD with a receipt). Minibuses that will pick you up at the border and take you to the main square in Copán come every hour (20 lempiras).

To get to the ruins you just walk 1,5 km from the soccer field.