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Central America Group Travel

The Best Things to Do in Copán Ruinas

Last updated on November 19th, 2023 at 04:54 pm

Copán Ruinas is a small town in western Honduras not far from the border with Guatemala.

Typically regarded as the gateway for tourists wishing to visit the nearby Mayan ruins, Copán Ruinas offers more than an opportunity to channel your inner Indiana Jones! Even if, like me and many others visiting by group tour, your stay is short, there’s enough to fill your time and get a flavour for the place.

Paved with cobblestones and home to many colourful buildings, Copán Ruinas is an attractive town and a lovely introduction to Honduras.

Here is my list of the best things to do during your stay in Copán Ruinas:

Visit the Mayan Ruins of Copán

It goes without saying that visiting the Mayan ruins is a must do.

Once a thriving city, the site was discovered in 1576 after it had been abandoned in the 9th century. It’s been the subject of archeological exploration since the 19th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.

The ruins are located about 1km from Copán Ruinas and are easily accessed either on foot or by tuk tuk.

For those planning to visit, do read my post on what to see and do at this amazing site.

The Mayan ruins in Copán are a must see when visiting Copán Ruinas

Relax in Parque Central (Central Park)

Like most Central American towns, Copán Ruinas is built around a central square which is flanked at one end by local government offices and at the other by the Catholic Church Parroquia San Jose Obrero. Don’t forget to look up – in the trees you will see nesting boxes for the local scarlet macaws.

Visit Local Hot Springs

Travelling is often tiring and what better way to relax than in some hot springs! Fortunately, the Luna Jaguar Hot Springs are only about a 45 minute drive from Copán Ruinas. Inspired by Mayan architecture, the hot springs feature pools of differing temperatures and massages.

There’s an entrance fee of US$15 for adults and US$5 for children aged 5 to 11. Under 5s are free. These fees do not include transportation costs.

Explore the Town….by Tuk Tuk!

The cobbled streets, colourful buildings and terracotta roofs are lovely…..however many of the streets are pretty steep so racing around them in a tuk tuk not only makes sense but is also great fun!

Wander Amongst the Local Markets

In addition to the usual array of stores selling touristy souvenirs, Copán Ruinas has various street markets. A wander through these is a great way to see and meet the locals and get some fresh fruit!

Fresh fruit at the market in Copan, Honduras

Eat and Drink!

Despite its small size, Copán Ruinas has a number of lovely places to eat and drink. Among them are Cafe Welchez, located next to Parque Central, which offers a yummy array of coffee and food (including breakfast to go!) and ViaVia which serves a great mix of local and international cuisine.

If you have several days to spend in Copán Ruinas you may want to consider visiting Macaw Mountain, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for more than 30 species of birds including the scarlet macaw. The latter can, however, also be seen at the Mayan Ruins of Copán.

As a gateway to one of Central America’s most important Mayan archeological sites, Copán Ruinas offers visitors an array of activities to experience.

Have you visited Copán Ruinas? If you’re planning to, be sure to check my Resources page here.

Disclaimer – Visitor information was correct at the time of writing but do check before visiting.

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