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Central America

How To Visit The Mayan Ruins In Honduras

Copán Ruinas, located in western Honduras near the border with Guatemala, is one of the most important and well-preserved Mayan archaeological sites. Known for its intricately carved stelae, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and impressive temples, Copán offers a rich cultural experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to visit the Copán Ruinas.

Getting to Copán Ruinas

From San Pedro Sula

San Pedro Sula is the closest major city with an international airport (Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport).

  1. By Bus:
  • Direct Bus: Several companies, such as Hedman Alas and Casasola Express, offer direct buses from San Pedro Sula to Copán Ruinas. The journey takes about 3-4 hours.
  • Cost: Approximately $15-25 USD one way.
  1. By Car:
  • Rental Car: Renting a car provides flexibility. The drive is about 180 kilometers (112 miles) and takes around 3 hours via CA-4 highway.

From Guatemala

  • From Antigua or Guatemala City: You can take a shuttle or bus service to Copán Ruinas. The trip from Guatemala City takes about 6-8 hours, depending on border crossing time.


Copán Ruinas has a variety of accommodations ranging from budget hostels to mid-range hotels and boutique lodges. Popular options include:

  • Hotel Marina Copán
  • Terramaya Boutique Hotel
  • Hotel Camino Maya

Entrance Fees and Hours

  • Entrance Fee: Approximately $15 USD for the main archaeological site. Additional fees may apply for the museum, tunnels, and other attractions within the site.
  • Opening Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM daily.

Guided Tours

Hiring a guide is highly recommended to fully appreciate the historical and cultural significance of the ruins. Guides can be hired at the entrance or through tour operators in the town. Prices typically range from $25-50 USD per group.

The Archaeological Site


  1. The Great Plaza:
  • Known for its large collection of stelae and altars, each intricately carved with images of rulers and inscriptions.
  1. Acropolis:
  • A complex of pyramids, plazas, and palaces. Notable structures include Temple 11 and Temple 16.
  1. Hieroglyphic Stairway:
  • The longest known Mayan text inscribed on 63 steps, detailing the history of Copán’s rulers.
  1. Ball Court:
  • One of the best-preserved ball courts in the Mayan world, used for the Mesoamerican ballgame.
  1. Tunnels:
  • Explore the Rosalila and Los Jaguares tunnels for an additional fee, revealing the layers of construction beneath the visible structures.

What to Bring

  1. Comfortable Clothing: Light, breathable fabrics suitable for warm weather.
  2. Hiking Shoes: Sturdy shoes for walking on uneven terrain.
  3. Sun Protection: Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  4. Insect Repellent: The site is in a jungle setting with mosquitoes.
  5. Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and energized during your visit.
  6. Camera: Capture the stunning ruins and carvings.

Additional Activities in Copán Ruinas

  1. Sculpture Museum:
  • Located within the archaeological site, this museum houses many original sculptures and replicas, including a full-scale replica of the Rosalila Temple.
  1. Macaw Mountain Bird Park:
  • A sanctuary for rescued and endangered birds. Visitors can learn about and interact with various species of macaws, parrots, and toucans.
  1. Copán Town:
  • Explore the charming town of Copán Ruinas, with its cobblestone streets, local markets, and vibrant cafes.
  1. Luna Jaguar Spa Resort:
  • Relax in natural hot springs located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Copán Ruinas.

Practical Tips

  1. Early Visit: Arrive early to avoid the heat and crowds.
  2. Local Currency: Bring enough Honduran lempiras for entrance fees and local purchases. Some places accept USD, but it’s not guaranteed.
  3. Respect the Site: Follow all guidelines, stay on marked paths, and do not climb on the structures unless explicitly allowed.


Visiting the Copán Ruinas offers a deep dive into Mayan history and culture, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. With its well-preserved ruins and rich historical significance, Copán is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the ancient Mayan civilization. Proper preparation and respect for the site will ensure a rewarding and memorable experience.



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