Honduras often gets a bad rap due to the menacingly high crime rate in it’s bigger cities. Because of this many people skip over it altogether which is a crying shame. We spent a month exploring this rich and diverse country and had a fantastic time (with no major issues). First stop on the list was the charming small town of Copan. Here’s our short Copan Travel Guide for Backpackers.
Just 10km over the border from Guatemala, Copan is usually the first stop for travellers entering the country from the east. It’s a great backpacker destination with cheap accommodation and plenty of activities. The locals are welcoming and friendly, but we were advised by our hostel not to wander around after dark.
What to do?
Copan Ruins – The biggest draw card for a visit to the town, these stunningly well preserved Mayan Ruins were some of our favourites of the region. The kings had names like Smoke Jaguar and 88 Rabbit which sound pretty bad ass. Not only that but some of the etched faces into the tall petroglyph’s (statues) are still remarkably visible to this day. It’s a huge site and well worth the $15 USD entrance fee.
Macaw Mountain – a short tuk tuk ride from town, Macaw Mountain is an expansive rescue sanctuary with a huge array of amazing parrots and toucans. You can wander the beautiful grounds with spacious aviaries, lake bridges and deep swimming holes. There’s even an area where you can have your photo taken if you’re brave enough! Entrance is L220, Tuk Tuk from Copan L20.
Horse Riding – Saddle up and hit the trails, Copan has amazing countryside tracks which are perfect for exploring via horseback. We spent an afternoon trotting through the hills, visiting local communities and exploring a little known Mayan site hidden deep in the jungle. Our guides were a local father and son team with intricate local knowledge and some cracking tales about Honduras life in general. We booked through hostel Via Via – $10 USD for 3 hours riding.
Where to stay – Budget Accommodation?
Via Via – Awesome backpacker hostel with comfy clean rooms, travel agency and a great on-site restaurant serving a mix of western and traditional Honduran dishes to boot.
Hotel Brisas de Copan– Cheap as they come basic backpacker option right next to the centre of town. Clean and well maintained hostel. Just make sure your room isn’t near the water boiler which seems to pipe up loudly from 5am. Address: 000111, Av Copán,
Comedor y Pupuseria Mary – This is where we discovered baleadas for the first time. A flour tortilla folded and filled with mashed beans and other fillings. These will become your staple diet in Honduras as they’re so cheap and ubiquitous. At Marys you can have these stuffed with avocados, eggs, cheese and more. Stuff yourself silly for under $2. Despite my expression, it was really very tasty.. Address: Contiguo a Ixchel Cafe, Av Sesesmil, Copán Ruinas, Honduras
Street Food – From 6pm a variety of stalls set up for the night and start cooking some of the best smelling food ever. There’s an array of dishes on offer from deep filled tacos to the aforementioned baleadas. There was also hog roast and a myriad of chicken and beef skewers served with a kind of tortilla. Nothing on offer seemed to cost more than $2. We had an enormous succulent chicken skewer with salad in tortilla, smothered in picante hot sauce.
Where to Drink?
Twisted Tanya’s – Lively backpacker oriented bar looking over the main square. Come here for the late afternoon happy hour and watch the bustle below to a Guns and Roses soundtrack.
Sol De Copan – A real German craft brewery pub in Honduras may sound too good to be true but we kid you not. For 60L (around $3USD) you can try a huge steiner of owner Thomas’s award winning ale. Heaven if you’ve been drinking the local brew for a while. Settle down with some bar snacks, a game of chess and forget where you are for an afternoon. When we visited the delicious red ale was on tap which I can’t recommend highly enough.