Alarm set for 430am. Another day waking up at an ungodly hour. It wasn’t until 450am we actually surfaced then it was a usual rush to get ready and check we hadn’t forgotten anything. Carlos was already waiting for us. I handed the car in then we packed into the taxi. It took about fifteen minutes to get to the bus terminal. Today we would be travelling with Hedman Alas. We left our bags outside and went to check in. They couldn’t find our tickets at first and then Nathan’s name was spelt wrong. Eventually it got sorted and we got our luggage tagged before waiting to board the bus.
Tickets were handed over and checked against our passports again as well as a photo taken of us. We did get a free bottle of water though. This bus had more legroom than Tica Bus and the seats were bigger. Our bags also fit in the overhead compartment which they don’t on Tica Bus. Time to catch some z’s. We had to swap buses in San Pedro Sula, not that we had any idea what we were doing so thankfully whenever anyone said ‘Copán’ we said yes and they pointed us in the right direction.
We got on the bus again and this time they walked through with drinks and crisps. Don’t get that on the Tica Bus! They also started playing Night at the Museum and Coach Carter, in English! Utterly spoilt with this bus company. As always, a journey that was meant to take 7 hours, actually took 9. After arriving at Hedman Alas in Copán, we grabbed our bags and walked out. Straight onto a Tuk-Tuk.It would be 50 lempira to our hostel, ‘Iguana Azul,’ or ‘the blue iguana.’ We got in and my god these guys are crazy. How on Earth they don’t tip over is beyond me. It wasn’t that far to our hostel and in hindsight we probably could have walked. Copán is very hilly. These Tuk-Tuks race around without a care in the world and I still don’t know how we didn’t roll backwards down the hills. Finally our feet touched the ground. I handed over 100 lempira and only got thirty back. The cheeky shit actually ripped us off. No wonder he got in his tuk tuk and raced off. Unbelievable. Anyway, we went in and there was a note on the door to our room. This hostel has won loads of awards so we were hoping it would be good. A private room was $19 a night so only worked out $2 more expensive for two nights than two dorm beds! All of the information is in English too and it’s run by Howard, an American. We dumped our stuff then set off to explore.
Copán is beautiful. It reminded us of Flores. Our hostel was only a short walk from the town which houses supermarkets, souvenir shops, pharmacies, Central Park, four museums, restaurants and churches. The streets are cobbled, the pavement narrow, the houses colourful.Parque CentralThe town again is very grid like but it was quite easy to take wrong turns as some of it looks quite similar.We wanted to find somewhere for lunch. Locating somewhere, ‘twisted tanyas’ was easy, trying to get up to the second floor, impossible. In the end we went for somewhere else. Carnitas Nia Lola. A really quirky restaurant that served delicious food.The waitresses carried beer on their heads and they had Christmas lights. Loved it. We spent about two hours there eating and drinking. The food was cheap and so we’re the drinks. There was so much meat on the kebab. Once we’d eaten they gave us banana and watermelon with chocolate sauce for free! Delicioso!! We casually walked back towards the hostel and decided to stop next door for a drink. The view was beautiful.They had hammocks to chill on and we sat there until it was dark. I was able to practice my Spanish too…”Un cerveza y una vino tinto por favor.” Go me! It was a delightful place to sit and watch the world. The downside was I got eaten alive. I ended up with 11 massive itchy mozzie bites on my right leg. Not so fun. We hadn’t any plans while we were here so no alarms were set. The showers at the hostel are outside. Well in a cubicle outside with hot running water. Me being the idiot I am ended up skipping and smacking my back on the ledge. That topped with itchy bites made for a very uncomfortable night.
Wednesday we were going to visit the ruins. Whilst not as huge as Tikal, they were still impressive. We stopped at ‘Jim’s place’ for a pizza before walking to the ruins. It is incredibly safe in Copán. We walked everywhere, including along the main road to the ruins. It was hot and ended up feeling further than the 1.2 miles it was. Still, we walked in and headed to the ticket office. It cost 690 lempira to enter just the park. Tickets collected we headed to the ruins. As we walked through, we saw lots of macaws, making a hell of a racket!I don’t like birds, but these were pretty cool. They have a protected status and there are about 20 in the park, although there seemed more. There were so many of them as we walked the path towards the ruins. Copán was the dominating Mayan site between 250-900AD. Archaeologists date back inhabitants to as early as 1200BC where craft and trade thrived. Copán was ruled by King K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ in AD426. As you enter the park to the left are stelae and altars with a pyramid infront.This area is known as The Great Plaza. Most of the stelae are from 613-738AD and are so intricately carved with all manner of things depicted. This was the ball court, thought to be the second biggest in Central America. The Mayans were to keep a hard rubber ball in the air using their thighs and hips, not their hands. Copán is probably most known for the spectacular Hieroglyphic Stairway, the work of 18 Rabbit, one of the greatest patron of arts in the Mayan world. The 63 steps are all engraved with hieroglyphics detailing the history of the royal house of Copán. Mayans really do fascinate me. They were so artistic and precise as well as fierce warriors. They had names insanely hard to pronounce and believed in things we would probably scoff at these days, yet they make perfect sense. The acropolis East Plaza (Patio de Los Jaguars)East Plaza (Patio de Los Jaguars) View from the top of the Temple of InscriptionsTemple of InscriptionsSkull rockResidencesWe even saw more macaws on the way out. You could easily spend a few hours here, we were here for about two in the searing heat with no shade. Take water!! We did it without a guide too but if you want one there’s a booth outside the ticket window. After exploring for a few hours we headed back to the hostel to pack as we were leaving Thursday to head down to Nicaragua, or so we thought. We also managed to locate a post office which was a major win!
We woke up Thursday morning, paid our bill then walked to find a tuk-tuk to take us to Hedman Alas. This time it was cheaper and we didn’t get ripped off as I had the exact money. As we got into the bus station, google translate became very handy as the lady behind the desk informed us that there was a strike in Guatemala and the bus was being held there. We were due to get the 11am bus to Tegucigalpa, but that wasn’t happening. She said there was an approximate release time of 330pm but she couldn’t say for sure. Plans scuppered we moved out ticket to Friday.
We were able to leave one of our bags in the bus station to save us lugging it back, which we did. Instead of taking a tuk tuk, because the price of one can get us two drinks, we decided to walk the half mile hill back to the hostel to see if we could stay another night. Thankfully our room was still free so back in we went. A day to chill out in the sun/shade with a slow walk to a pharmacy and to get some extremely bland food this time as Carnitas Nia Lola. I had a chicken gringas, which looked like a quesadilla, only it tasted of cardboard. A storm raged outside for most of the day and night.
Friday came and we decided to have some breakfast before we headed out as who knew how long the journey was actually going to take.Delicious Nutella crepes lined my stomach for the day, we settled our bill once again and set out to locate a tuk-tuk. Fingers crossed that the bus was going to arrive today. Thankfully it did. We loaded on and began the journey back to San Pedro Sula to swap busses and then onto Tegucigalpa.
Until next time…