Copán is an archaeological site of the Maya civilization located in the Copán Department of western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala. It was the capital city of a major Classic period kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries AD. A charming travel destination, with a variety of hotels, restaurants, bars and souvenir shops with services catering to everything from the budget traveler looking for a hostel, to upscale travelers that require deluxe accommodations. Copan offers the most elaborate high relief sculptures in the Mayan World, with two world class archaeological museums. The Copan Valley is famous for bird watching opportunities, and boasts the most complete aviary varieties of native macaws, toucans and parrots within Honduras and Central America. The Copan Archaeological site is the most studied Mayan archaeological site in the world, and offers a complete picture of how the Mayans lived.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season along the Caribbean coast lasts from February to June which is generally the best time to visit, with the coolest time of the year being the months from November to February.
Top Places to Visit in Copan
1. Copan Archaeological Park
The Copan Archaeological Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980. This alone makes a visit to the ruins of Copan a must. Check our section on archaeology in this page to get full information on all of your options regarding the Mayan site of Copan and surroundings!
2. Macaw Mountain Bird Park
Located just a couple of kilometers outside of town, Macaw Mountain is a destination on its own and warrants a trip to Copan just to see it. It is a perfect place to visit, alone or with your family. The tranquility of the park, which is set in ravine next a mountain creek, is truly sublime. If you add the fact that there are many different tropical birds native to Honduras that thrive in this park its truly a dream come true. The birds are all happy and healthy, with trees and vegetation within their very large cages. Best of all is an ongoing project to repopulate the Copan Valley with scarlet macaws. Whatever you do in Copan, do not miss this beautiful park! The park also offers a nice restaurant bar on premises, so you can plan on having lunch in the park.
3. Coffee Estates
Coffee has become one of the main export staples in Honduras. Because of the altitude where it is grows, as well as because most of it grows in shade, the quality of Honduran coffee has a reputation as a truly great coffee. There are many different coffee estates or “coffee fincas” that you can visit during your stay in Copan. Those that have the best tour organized are Café Welchez and Finca El Cisne. Either one of them will allow you enjoy a day in the Honduran countryside learning about coffee.
4. Tea and Chocolate Place
This unique place offers a window to the relationship that the Ancient Maya had with Cacao. You will also receive and introduction at the different local medicinal teas that are part of the traditional Maya culture. Many are still used today by the Shaman’s to cure people from different illnesses! The Tea and Chocolate Place is open only in the afternoons. It is the La Tejera neighborhood and you will get to see more of Copan Ruinas.
5. Luna Jaguar Hot Springs
Locals love visiting the nearby hot springs. They are about 28 km out of town heading north, past the Sesesmil Village up the mountains. En route you will find some pleasant rural restaurants, as well as many small coffee farms. The hot springs offer two very different settings. First a popular “balneario” or swimming facility with large concrete pools next to a creek. Across a hanging bridge, you will find the Luna Jaguar Spa facilities. Here you can indulge in various spa activities, all around the natural hot springs. There is a higher fee to gain access to the Luna Jaguar Spa, but the facility is well worth it. Enjoy the natural setting and some great massages. Of course, you cannot miss the natural hot water springs!
Zip line Canopy Tour in Copan
The Zip line canopy tour in Copan Ruinas is actually part of a larger conglomerate that offers zip line canopy tours throughout Honduras. The facilities in Copan Ruinas are only a couple of kilometers outside of town, in direction to the community of Sesesmil and the near hot springs. It is right across the entrance to the Macaw Mountain Bird Park. The facility offers a total of 16 different cables that will provide a fun trip from tree top to tree top through fairly long cables. The adventure ends just across the road from Macaw Mountain. This makes it easy to combine both activities in one morning or afternoon. If you are in need of some adrenaline pumping through your blood, then this is one of the top things to do in Copan that you should not miss!