Copan Ruinas is not exactly a huge tourist town. There are some ruins there (some pretty famous ones actually) and a few hostels and hotels play host to the small stream of tourists who take the time to get to this decently remote town. Getting in and out is not too difficult, but many visitors to Central America skip it in favor of larger, and more conveniently located Mayan sites.
According at a brief Google search I just did there are a few attractions in Copan Ruins besides the ruins, but if I am being honest, we didn’t look into any of them.
So what did we do with three nights in this small, out of the way town?
The ruins near Copan are the main draw to this part of Honduras. They are much smaller than other complexes in this part of the world, so you may or may not find that they are worth the trip, but if you are into Mayan culture, then the intricately carved stones are an absolute “can’t miss”.
Read about specifics of our morning visiting the ruins here.
Wanting a break from dorm life, we had booked three nights in a private room at Iguana Azul Hostel. Our room was bright and beautiful and the hostel seemed really nice. Unfortunately, we ended up in a double-booked room and after one night the owner asked if we would move to the B&B next door (which he also owned). We did end up having to pay a bit more, but our room at La Casa de Café was beautiful and the extra money paid for a private bathroom with HOT water, a REAL MATRESS (!!!), a hammock and a delicious breakfast. I would stay there again in a heartbeat.
We thoroughly enjoyed our warm showers, endless supply of tea and coffee, soft bed, and kind American host, who had ironically gone to the same college we did (Go Buffs!). The change of venue was a major contributor to the deep relaxation we were able to achieve in Copan. Eat, shower, read, nap, repeat.
Almost every meal we ate in Copan involved tortilla, meat and cabbage in various arrangements. The street tacos came covered in uncooked cabbage. So did the grilled meat kebabs. So did the taquitos (which were advertised as tacos). Generally the food in Copan was not inspiring, so after a few disappointing meals we asked the cook at our hotel where we should go for our final dinner. She suggested Llama del Bosque, which is only moderately rated on Trip Advisor, but it ended up being one of our favorite meals of the entire trip.
Because we were spending a bit extra on accommodation we decided to save a bit of money by sharing a couple appetizers. We got a heaping bowl of fresh guacamole (there seriously must have been AT LEAST two avocados worth of green, smushy goodness), and a local dish called “anafre”, which was a chorizo based dish with cheese served in a piping hot bowl with tortilla chips. I cannot even describe how savory and delicious the anafre was. I would go back to Copan just to eat that artery-clogging dish again.
We also went Twisted Tanya’s for overpriced margaritas, but we did not order any food there. However, if you are craving a restaurant experience similar to one you would have in yuppie-ville America, then look no further. Just make sure to bring three or four times as much money for food as you have been spending everywhere else in Central America.
So what did we do in Copan other than visit the ruins, sleep, and eat? Basically nothing.
We did wander around town a bit, mostly while trying to figure out how we were going to get to Utila (which is surprisingly difficult), and we thoroughly enjoyed walking around a totally non-touristy town. There were a few other white faces here and there, but mostly we saw locals, going about the business just as they would if we didn’t exist at all.
I am sure some of the other activities in Copan Ruinas are amazing, but I just don’t know anything about them. What I do know is that Copan Ruinas is a perfect place to slow down a bit, catch up on work or sleep, and relax.
Dollars and Sense
Copan ruins- $15
Hotel- We paid $75 for three nights in Copan, one at Iguana Azul in a private room and two at La Casa de Café. I am not sure how that broke down per night.
Food at Llama de Bosque- $9 (huge bowl of guac and anafre)
TIP: Try to be coming from/ going to central Honduras (like Tegucigalpa) or central Guatemala (like Antigua) for easiest transport options.