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Copán, in the southwest of Honduras, is one of the largest known Mayan sites, and the elaborate sculptures and hieroglyphics make it one of the most interesting. The many stelae (stone pillars) of the Great Plaza feature images of Mayan rulers and gods, with inscriptions commemorating their deeds. Several large pyramids include the Rosalila Temple, once painted bright pink, and the Plaza of the Jaguars, decorated with sumptuous reliefs of the Mayan underworld. The 1,500 glyphs of the Hieroglyphic Stairway form the longest known ancient Mayan text. The gateway to the park is the village of Copán Ruinas, itself a pleasant destination ...

Copán, in the southwest of Honduras, is one of the largest known Mayan sites, and the elaborate sculptures and hieroglyphics make it one of the most interesting. The many stelae (stone pillars) of the Great Plaza feature images of Mayan rulers and gods, with inscriptions commemorating their deeds. Several large pyramids include the Rosalila Temple, once painted bright pink, and the Plaza of the Jaguars, decorated with sumptuous reliefs of the Mayan underworld. The 1,500 glyphs of the Hieroglyphic Stairway form the longest known ancient Mayan text. The gateway to the park is the village of Copán Ruinas, itself a pleasant destination with its cobbled streets and red tile roofs. First-class buses run three times a day from San Pedro Sula, and an airstrip offers a few charter flights. The town has several nice hotels and a children's museum called Casa K'inich. There are many other attractions in the region, including Macaw Mountain Bird Park and the coffee farm Finca Miramundo. Celaque National Park includes a verdant cloud forest surrounding Honduras's highest mountain. The Lenca Trail is a string of quaint colonial villages that offer the finest handicrafts in Honduras.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Charlie Morris for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Pre-Columbian city today known as Copán is a locale in extreme western Honduras, in the Copán Department, near to the Guatemalan border.
  • Language: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
  • Currency: Lempira
  • Research: Wikitravel | Copan
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Get to the park at opening time (8 am). Crowds of day-trippers from cruise ships arrive in late morning.