The beautiful little town of Copán Ruinas, simply called Copán, is a pleasent, traveller oriented town in western Honduras. Sloping cobblestone streets, white adobe buildings with red-tile roofs and an attractive colonial church give it a highly atmospheric, tranquil air. It seems that most travelers stop here just for the ruins, but that’s a mistake: Copán’s collection of excellent restaurants and bars, beautiful attractions in the surrounding countryside and friendly population are all reasons to linger just that little bit longer.
The alarm clock (iPhone) was set for 4am but with a long journey ahead of me, including a border crossing, I was apprehensive and did not sleep well at all. By 3am I was wide awake – despite that cheeky glass of Merlot, which I had enjoyed the previous evening.
As a ‘traveller’ you rarely know from one day to the next who you are going to meet. Sometimes you can go for days on your own then all of a sudden you bump into some amazing people. So it was to be the case over the next 10-days.
The shuttle bus arrived at my hotel (La Ermita) at precisely 04:30. Already on board were a young couple who looked to be ‘westerners’. I bid them ‘Buenos Dias’, and took the seat behind them. It wasn’t long before we were engaged in deep conversation. The micro bus slowly filled up with other passengers as it bumped and weaved it’s way through the deserted cobble stoned streets of early morning Antigua.
Ola (originally from Poland) and Mike (from the UK) now live in New Zealand. They both come from humble backgrounds but have excelled in their respective fields. For example, Mike was born into a working class family with little prospect of going to university. However with grit and determination he worked his way through education and is now a professor at one of the leading universities in Christchurch. Ola’s story is equally humbling.
The journey from Antigua to Copán took 6-hours including the border crossing. However with such great company it flew by. We all checked into Hotel Mary, a cheap but clean little number where we met Deeana – a delightful and friendly lady from Australia. The four of us spent the next three days together enjoying the hospitality and places of interest in, and around, Copán.
Macaw Mountain is a beautifully landscaped bird sanctuary and breeding center about 3km northeast of Copán. The setting is lovely, with a well defined trail leading through a thickly forested valley and over a gurgling river. The resident flock of rescued, abandoned and endangered birds here includes five kinds of macaw, parrots, toucans, grey hawks and great-horned owls. Some birds are allowed out of their cages at feeding time, squawking and interacting with visitors – check out the photo below!
Copán Archaelogical Site: One of the most important of all Maya civilizations lived, prospered then mysteriously crumbled around the Copán archaeological site. During the Classic period (AD 250–900), the city at Copán Ruinas culturally dominated the region. The architecture is not as grand as Tikal’s but the city produced remarkable sculptures and hieroglyphics. The ruins are a pleasant 1km stroll outside of Copán. We booked a guide (Micheal) who spoke excellent English and gave us an incredibly interesting 3-hour tour.
Next stage: Utila Cuys, scuba diving, and two chicas from the USA.