Today was my first day which didn’t involve lots of long distance travelling and I managed to fit in a lot of activities, despite not getting much sleep last night due to my assigned room mate being a VERY loud snorer. Luckily I brought some silicone ear plugs with me in case I went swimming so I’ll dig those out of my bag ready for tonight.
I met up with the girls ready to head into town fairly early. First stop the casa del todos which is a shop / laundry / Internet cafe / restaurant all in one. I needed to get some laundry done as we had been recommended by our guide not to use the ones at our next destination. After some negotiation I managed to persuade them to have my laundry done early, rather than at 6pm, so that I could pick it up after visiting the ruins. Then it was back into town for breakfast and a quick souvenir shop before making our way to the ruins.
The easiest way to get to the Mayan Ruins outside Copan is to take one of the tuk-tuk taxis from near Parque Central as there are usually a few around and it’s fairly cheap. Just tell them you want to go to the ruins and they’ll even come back to pick you up at a specified time (I recommend having a couple of hours at the ruins but you could easily spend longer if you want to visit the tunnels and take time looking at everything).
We decided that since there were 9 of us it would be best to hire a guide to give us a tour – entry to the ruins is $15 per person and the guide was $25 split between the 9 of us. Our guide, Mauricio, was fluent in English and very knowledgeable about the ruins. During our visit, which probably lasted 90 minutes, we were shown the petroglyph staircase, ball court, statues, temples and many other features and given detailed information and history about them all. During our visit we also saw some wild parrots and a few other animals. The site is small compared so some other sites in the Mayan world such as Tikal and Chechen Itza but if you’re here then it’s worth a visit.
After returning to town I grabbed a snack for lunch before running a few errands – taking photos from the lookout above the town, picking up a few more souvenirs, sending postcards and picking up my laundry before heading back into town to meet up with the others for our journey up to Macaw Mountain. The price we paid included the Tuk Tuk up to Macaw Mountain and the entrance to what was a really nice bird park. They have all sorts of birds including Hawks, Parrots, Owls, Toucans and even one at that says “hola” to you when you enter. They have an interactive centre at the end of the recommended walking route which allows you to get up and close with some parrots, as you can see.
Mena managed to organise things so that we could fit in the ruins, Macaw Mountain and the Hot Springs all in one day. We decided to be collected from Macaw Mountain and then do the hot springs in the early evening as they were along the same mountain road anyway. However I wouldn’t recommend doing the hot springs as late as we did as it was dark by the time we arrived, and that caused a few problems.
Our guides for the evening told us to leave all of our bags, shoes, torches, towels etc at the bottom and just walk up with them but this was a mistake. We needed to take flip-flops and torches as when it was time to descend back down the hill to the car park we couldn’t see anything and it was a case of feeling our way down the mountain – luckily a couple of people remembered the way. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was still light, if we had torches, or if the guides didn’t have to take one of the others back down to the car park before we all finished due to a few problems – taking the torch with him. I have new respect for people that have to survive in the jungle after getting lost. The hot springs themselves were refreshing and worth a visit if you’re into the area, during the day, and they’re your sort of thing.
When we got down to the car park there was enough time to get changed before a nice BBQ that the guides had put on for us – kebabs, cheese, beans, salad, bread and tortillas. There was just enough time to stuff ourselves before getting back to the hotel. Let’s hope I get some more sleep tonight despite the snoring as we need to be up at 545 ready to meet at 630 for the bus to our next destination.