Published: January 29th 2012January 29th 2012
Taking the ferry over to La Ceiba
Over winter break, I took a trip to Copán, Honduras, and Antigua, Guatemala. I was travelling with my friend, her two kids- one 2 years older than me and 1 in middle school, and her other friend. Copán is famous for its amazing Mayan ruins, or the Copán Ruinas. Antigua is known for being an amazing little town that’s surrounded by volcanoes. We did the whole trip using the Hedman Alas bus system, which meant that we took the route of La Ceiba-San Pedro Sula- Copán- Guatemala City- Antigua and then back again, stopping over in Copán. Note: the following blog comes from a day-by-day journal I kept during the trip, just to give you some perspective.
Day 1: We left Roatan early in the morning on the ferry. It was a very calm ferry ride, which was good considering that the ferry is known for making people sea sick, but there was plenty of Dramamine passed around anyway. (I had my Scopalomine patches instead, for those who care.) After getting to the bus station in La Ceiba we had a bit of trouble trying to get our tickets, and ended up delaying the bus. Finally, we got on and
made our way to San Pedro Sula, the first stop on our chain of bus rides.
We arrived in Copán in the early evening, and grabbed some dinner at a local restaurant before crashing in our rooms. It always amazes me how tiring it can be to just sit around on busses all day.
Day 2: We got up early, and after a quick breakfast wandered around the cute town- cobblestone streets filled with Tuk-Tuks, surrounded by mountains covered in lush greenery. We stopped at a museum about the ruins, which was actually a children’s museum but was still quite informative. There were also some amazing views from a tower that was right next to the museum. We then continued on our way to see the ruins themselves. After securing what would turn out to be a quite talkative tour guide, we walked past the macaw-covered trees at the entrance and into the ruins themselves. The area that the ruins covered was massive, with lots of temples, houses, and altars. The Mayans made lots of sacrifices, and different altars had different specialties: some were for animals, like Jaguars, and others were for people- only enemies and slaves though.
The ruins were separated into a few different compounds, each which had a different purpose. One area was more residential, one had a lot of temples, and another contained a lot of different statues and carvings with written history. The latter also had a giant staircase that was covered in carvings and told the history of the Mayans. Apparently this staircase had to be partially reconstructed back in the 70’s (I think) and a group of scholars came and did it, and then about 10 years later other people came and realized they had been wrong and had to re-do it. Now they’re pretty sure that it’s mostly right, but no one can really tell the difference anyway since it’s all in an ancient Mayan language. I could just tell that pictures on multiple blocks matched up.
There were also lots of statues of the past rulers, who all had names like Smoke Jaguar, 18 Rabbit, and Moon Jaguar. The statues not only had carvings of the rulers, but also told a little biography of each one. Thanks to our side trip to the children’s museum, we could recognize the numbers when they were carved on the statues. Granted,
we had no idea what they meant, but still. It was something. A few of the statues were missing noses, and this was apparently due to some Mayan political protest.
After leaving the ruins we got baleadas for lunch in a little marketplace, then wandered around town and shopped/ got drinks. For dinner we got some really delicious street food, and then some equally delicious dessert at ViaVia Café- totally touristy, but really good. On a side note, I got to use more Spanish than I ever do on Roatan, which was kind of fun in an “I-really-wish-I-spoke-more-Spanish” kind of way.
Day 3: We spent the morning wandering around the town. We had a really good breakfast back at ViaVia Café, then spent the rest of the time meandering into the tourist shops and whatnot. We got some snacks for the bus, and then got on the bus around 2PM. We arrived in Antigua at about 9PM, after a mildly traumatic stopover in Guatemala City. Well, it wasn’t actually traumatic at all, unless you were a half-asleep Rachel who was used to the quiet dirt roads of Roatan and suddenly found herself in a huge metropolis which she
thought was Antigua and was way too big and overwhelming. Needless to say, I was quite happy to find out that all I had to do was get onto another bus to escape the city with the towering buildings, chain stores, and 5 lane highways.
The highlight of the bus trip was my first-ever border crossing on the ground, where we had to actually get off the bus, got to immigration, and walk over the border before getting back on the bus. Arriving in Antigua was fairly uneventful, but I was immediately stuck by how quaint and cute the town was, with cobblestone streets and surrounded by volcanoes.
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There are more photos below