Friday, February 10, 2012

Honduras: Copán Ruinas

Copán Ruinas is a pretty little town full of clay-tiled roofs, cobblestone streets, and views of the surrounding hills. Unlike many of the places we stayed on this trip, it is a major tourist destination for both international travelers and Hondureños. The relative health of the economy shows, from the size of the houses to the fact that there was a large municipal force of garbage collectors.

Of course, the reason everyone comes to the town of Copán Ruinas is to go to the ruins of Copán. We walked the 2 km from our hotel first thing in the morning.

(Want to know more about what you're looking at here? NOVA has done two excellent documentaries that include Copan, and you can watch them online: Cracking the Mayan Code and Lost King of the Maya.)

The next day we hiked to an overlook over the ruins, and to a tiny archeological site featuring large carved frogs (Los Sapos).

It was nice to come home to a comfy hammock every afternoon at the Hotel Marjenny (room with hot shower and tv, plus use of internet and hammocks: $15/night).

It took us a while to find the entrance to the local market, which is camouflaged as a single vegetable stall. Once we made it inside, we found great pupusas and licuados awaiting us.

The grand finale of our trip was a visit to Macaw Mountain, a bird park on the edge of Copán Ruinas. They take care of birds rescued from the illegal pet trade, injured birds, and birds people just don't want anymore as pets. What a great chance to get close to critters we had been straining to see from afar for the whole trip -- and some we hadn't seen at all.

And then we were done. We were up at 5:30 AM to catch the first bus to San Pedro Sula, and after 2 plane rides and some weather-related delays, we caught the last Metro home. We got to bed late, but with the lack of roosters and motorscooters, it was a very good night's sleep.