Located in the western part of Honduras, Copan was home to a great Mayan Civilization which developed and flourished across 325,000 square kilometers covering parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador. The Copan Ruins offer a step up and away from tourist traps and busy cities. Its cool mountain climate (average year round temperature is a downright springlike 78F), colonial architecture and friendly citizens make this one of the Maya region’s most pleasant places to visit. Its strategic location makes the Ruins an excellent base for day trips to the surrounding area which abounds in ecotourism, nature tourism and adventure possibilities.
Archaeologists have collected a treasure trove of information about the ancient Mayans in the Copan Valley during a century of research which continues today. Known as one of the most artistically advanced and elaborate of all Mayan cities, Copan was declared a World Heritage Site in 1980 by UNESCO. The magnificent site called “Las Sepulturas” can also be visited along with the main site. Visitors are welcome at two excellent collections of antiquities in the town-based Museum of Archaeology and the Museum of Maya Sculpture adjacent to the main site. There is also a wonderful Maya Childrens Museum in the village center (casa K inich), admission is free.
Visitors always enjoy their stay in the nearby colonial town of Copan Ruinas with its narrow, cobblestones streets. With plenty of craft and souvenir shops on hand, travelers can relax and experience the rich, deep Mayan world. Visitors to the ruins can walk right up to the inscribed stone pillars called “stela” carved more than 1,000 years ago. The Eastern and Western Courts, the hieroglyphic staircase and the ball court are all must-see destinations within the main archeological site.