Destinations in Honduras:
Mayan Ruins of Copan
This magnificent park, located in the Copan Valley, has been a major source of information regarding the ancient Maya civilization. Copan has always been referred to as the most artistically advanced and elaborate of all the Maya cities. Copan was declared a World Cultural Heritage site in 1980 by UNESCO and continuous study of the city by archaeologists for over a century make it the most studied city of the Maya.
Although the park itself is enclosed, the legacy of the Maya can be found throughout the valley. The principal attractions are the main park, Las Sepulturas, the museum located in the town, Los Sapos and the stelae surrounding the valley.
The Ball Court
Considered the social center of the city. This court is by far the most artistic ball court in Mesoamerica. Unique to it are the markers on the side walls, resembling macaw heads. The final work done on this ball court goes back to the days of king 18 Rabbit.
The Great Plaza
Famous for its stelae and altars that are scattered around this immense plaza. Most of the stelae that are standing today were erected during the times of the 13th ruler, known as 18 Rabbit, between 711 and 736. Many of the altars have a zoomorphic form.
The Hieroglyphic Stairway
This unique temple holds the longest known text left to us by the ancient Maya civilization. It was erected by ruler number 15, known as Smoke-Shell, and is believed to be a lineage tree recording the ascension and death of all Copan kings from Yax-Kuk-Mo to Smoke-Shell. The five portraits located in the stairway represent five successors to the dynasty. Unfortunately, the glyphs cannot be read because the steps had all fallen out of place. Archaeologists rebuilt the temple, but had no way of knowing where each piece belonged. Today, this magnificent temple has an enormous tarp covering it to protect the steps from further erosion, which has unfortunately already damaged a great part of the glyphs.
The acropolis is divided into two big plazas: The west court and the east court. The west court houses temple 11 and temple 16 with the unique altar Q set at its base.
The Copan Valley Stelae
Although most of the Mayan tree stones or stelae are located in the main plaza, there are a series of stelae that are located throughout the valley in strategic locations. All of them were erected by Smoke-Imix-God K as part of an effort to demonstrate the power of the Maya kings, the power of creation, inherited directly from the Gods that founded the order of the present world. Through them, he made the entire Copan valley his personal portal to the other world.
Las Sepulturas Archaeological Site
This small site has been most important in understanding how the Mayan elite lived during the days before the collapse of Copan. You will enjoy walking through its trails, listening to the birds and wildlife, and being surrounded by the peacefulness of the area.
A very small site located on the hilltops overlooking the Copan valley. Studies suggest that this is an area where the ancient copanecan Maya women would go to give birth to their offspring.
Tours including a visit to Copan, Honduras:
- Tours from Antigua Guatemala to Copan (Honduras), Quirigua & Rio Dulce (2 days & 1 night)
- Visit the Mayan ruins in Copan (Honduras) and Quirigua and the Rio Dulce.
- Guatemala and Honduras by Land and River (10 days)
- Visit Copan (Honduras), spend four days sailing the Rio Dulce on our sailboat Las Sirenas, then continue to Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan and Antigua.
- Maya Guatemala (14 days)
- The grand tour of Guatemala! Visit Antigua, Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, Copan (Honduras), Livingston, Coban, and climb the Pacaya Volcano.
- Maya Guatemala and "The Caribbean Experience" (21 days)
- The grand tour of Guatemala plus seven relaxing days on our sailboat Las Sirenas to the Belize Barrier Reef and Islands.
- More tour packages ...