Fast Facts

  • Location: Western Honduras, 60 kilometers from the border with Guatemala
  • Time to Visit: February through June
  • How to Reach:The main airport serving the Copan area is the San Pedro Sula International Airport. From Guatemala City, you may fly directly to Copan Ruinas. After coming to San Pedro Sula, your best option is to purchase a tour package through one of the Honduran tour operators in San Pedro or taking advantage of direct bus service that operates regularly.
  • Nearest International Airport: San Pedro Sula International Airport
  • Duration of sightseeing: 2 full days

The colorful parrots give the Mayan ruins at Copan its particular charm, bestowing color on an otherwise rather monotonous monochrome of the ancient statues and pyramids that date back to the twilight period of history (5th to 9th century, actually). The past and the present thus unite to make this place a wonderful travel destination. The ruins at Copan, though not as popular as the ones at Chichen Itza or Palenque, yet it has a history and charm of its own.

Copan ruins in western Honduras, formerly known as Oxwitik, are famous for the remains of the Maya kingdom from the Classic era (5th through 9th centuries). The rich stone sculptures and intricate hieroglyphs make Copan or Xukpi as it was known to the Mayan a featured attraction along “La Ruta Maya”. You will learn a lot about the Mayan culture, flourished in the western part of Honduras.

Things to see and do
While exploring the ruins, you will visit a huge complex comprising several plazas and temples built on different levels. The ruins of the ancient city are the best part of Copan. The ruins are valued for their carved stellae of ancient rulers and the well-protected hieroglyphics along with the hieroglyphic stairway. There is a magnificent museum in the archeological park with a renovated temple and wonderful artifacts.

The popular activities available in and around Copan include horseback riding, hiking, canopy zip gliding, fine dining at La Hacienda or a dip in any of the nearby hot springs.

Main highlights of Mayan Ruins of Copan
This marvelous park, located in the Copan Valley, has been a key resource of information regarding the ancient Maya civilization. Copan, referred to as the most artistically advanced of all the Maya cities, declared a World Cultural Heritage site in 1980.

  • The Acropolis
    The acropolis is separated into two big plazas: the west court and the east court.
  • The Ball Court
    Regarded as the social center of the city, the court is undoubtedly the most artistic ball court in Mesoamerica.
  • The Copan Valley Stelae
    Although most of the Mayan tree stones or stelae are situated in the main plaza, a series of stelae are found throughout the valley in strategic locations. All of them were built by Smoke-Imix-God K as part of an attempt to show the power of the Maya kings.
  • The Great Plaza
    It is famous for its stelae and altars, scattered around this immense plaza.
  • The Hieroglyphic Stairway
    Built by ruler number 15 and known as Smoke-Shell, the temple boasts of the longest known text left to us by the ancient Maya civilization.
  • Las Sepulturas Archaeological Site
    You will enjoy a relaxing stroll through its trails, listening to the birds and diverse wildlife.
  • Los Sapos
    The site, located on the hilltops and overlooking the Copan valley, was used by the ancient Maya women to give birth to their offspring.

Related Links : Check out the main landmarks of the Mayan ruins at Copan from this magnificent travel video! For a wonderful overview of a visit to the town of Copan, old and new, click on this link. To read some really exciting travel accounts on visits to the Mayan ruins at Copan, click on this link!

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