Copan ruins in Honduras

Everytime time someone asks me about what places I recommend to visit in Honduras, I always say that there are a lot of options, depending on what the person likes. For some reason most people like the ocean, beaches and related stuff. However, I always recommend Copan, which is an archaelogical mayan site located in the west part of Honduras, very near to the Guatemalan border.

Many people say that if you ever come to Honduras and you don´t go to Copan Ruins, it's like you never came at all. Well, that may be a pretty drastic statement, but the thing is that Copan is really worth the visit.

Copan is an ancient mayan city located in the Department of Copan. In order to get there you have to drive from San Pedro Sula for about 2.5 to 3 hours. The mayans were very artistic, but in Copan they really mastered all about mayan art. The architecture in every single structure, temple, sculpture is just the best you can see in the whole Maya world. This is absolutely true. There are several other mayan ruins in Guatemala and Mexico, some of them are bigger than Copan and more impressive in size and dimensions. But if we´re talking about artistic work, there is no comparison, Copan is by far the best expression of mayan art. Anybody who knows a little bit about the Maya culture is aware of this fact.

People and experts who know about ancient cultures and archaeological sites, have made some comparisons in order to have some perspective of how things are, they say that Athens in Greece is representative to the culture in the Old World as Copan is representative of the culture in the New World. That´s one of the reasons why Copan was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1980.

To make a visit into the mayan ruins in Copan you need at least one day. It's a good idea to begin the tour early in the morning, and definitely is a very good idea to hire a guide that can explain to you the meaning of everything you will see as long as you walk through the diferent places. The guide will explain to you that there are five main areas of interest inside Copan Ruins:

The Acropolis
The Tunnels
The Ball Court
The Hieroglyphic Stairway
The Great Plaza

This post is not intended to explain every single detail of what you will see in Copan, we are only giving you some basic highlights. However we can´t help to mention that the Hieroglyphic Stairway is the most famous of all Copan monuments, it has 63 steps where you will see several thousands of glyphs telling the story of the royal house of Copan and the Mayan culture. In the whole mayan world the longest glyphs text is the one in this stairway. Unfortunately over the centuries some glyphs have fallen apart, so the whole story about the mayas has not been figured out yet.

If you ever come to Honduras it would be a good idea to include Copan in your trip plans, the visit is really worth it. If you go there you definitely won´t regret it.


  1. Where did you find the image of the hieroglyphic stairway? Can you provide your source?

  2. Your map is not accurately scaled.