Published: September 23rd 2002September 23rd 2002
From Antigua the next stop down on the backpacker trail into Honduras is Copan Ruinas. Copan Ruinas is a small town situated a kilometre from ancient Mayan Ruins. I travelled down to Copan with Ripan, a friend I had made in Antigua. The journey involved a chicken bus from Antigua to Guatemala City at 6.20am, followed by a brief confused spell in Guatemala city where we tried to work out which one of the many bus stations we were at, refused taxis for a walk that was easily made on foot. After positioning ourselves on the Lonely Planet map of Guatemala City, we headed over to the next bus station on the off chance, we were in luck and soon found ourselves headed down to Chiquimula. The worst place to make judgements about any town is the bus station, especially in Central America. Chiquimula was not some were I wanted to spend any time at all. Chiquimula to El Florin was another chicken bus journey.
El Florin is a border town from Guatemala to Honduras. No other reason to stop there, the border crossing between El Florin and Honduras was relatively straightforward and relatively cheap, only 20 Quetzals to leave
Guatemala, and 50 Limperas (about ½ a Quetzal) to enter Honduras. The last leg of the journey was a small minibus to Copan about 3kms into Honduras. The mini bus driver convinced us to check out his hotel, and not stop at the hotel we’d read about in Lonely Planet, mistake. The hotel seemed nice upon initial inspection, but turned out to be a dive, the toilets refused to flush, the buckets that replaced the flush were full of holes, the promised hot water was non-existent, it was on the top of a hill away from the town and to top it all was locked when returning from the bar at 10.30pm. Took a while to rouse any of the surly staff. Fine lock the hotel at a certain time - but tell the guests when they arrive. The Mini-Don Jose, not to be recommended in any guidebook I will ever write.
The ruins themselves were really impressive, set within jungle and hills. Unfortunately my punishing travel schedule only allowed our visit to last 1 hr, the ticket because we had arrived so late would allow us to visit the following day, but I had to get on a 7am bus to San Pedro Sula the following morning. Well I’ll let the photos set the scene here.
Said goodbye to Ripan, and wished him lots of luck… his plans sent him back to Antigua, involving a Central American border crossing with no Spanish.