We knew before arriving that the Copán ruins were quite a touristic attraction for Honduras. We knew when we arrived just how touristic the Copán village was compared to what we had seen of the country. As we got down the bus, I could swear we got at least half a dozen offers for the best hotels in town at USD $5.00. Seeing as we already had reservations at a similar-priced hostel, we had to steer away from the hordes of assaulting marketeers. Our friend Dre had quite a different idea and was trying to put the prices down to USD $4.00 (after which, if they agreed, he proceeded into trying to bring it down to USD $3.00, and so on…).
We found our hostel very quickly — called En la Manzana Verde (In the Green Apple), it looked like a dirty shithole from the street. We looked back to the other nice hotels nearby in deep regret, and braced ourselves while we walked through the gates in the private garden. There it looked fairly decent, with a nice porch and a very tall mango tree in the center. The hostel really was not that great, but we had running hot water and a kitchen, should we want to cook some food.
There we met some very interesting people from all around the world: there was a girl from Switzerland that had very droopy eyes and a nice mellow accent, a guy with short blonde hair from the UK, another from Holland, a blonde girl from Australia that happened to be a scuba diver, and a couple from Canada who were teaching English in Tegucigalpa, the capital. The latter two stayed longer with us, and we later learned that the man was going to Harvard in political science and that his lady was going to Browne University in drama.
The village of Copán is built near the mayan ruins, and fancies well-cobbled streets and lots of tourist shops. Most of the city is distributed around (and down from) the city square, which features some plant gardens and a fountain. The shops mostly sold the same things — hand-made Honduran and Cuban cigars, stone sculptures and mayan artifacts, cheap wooden jewelry and local coffee. Some of the fancier shops had more expensive kitchen wares and jewelry made of gold and silver. Gemstones such as jade are quite popular there, as the Mayan used to control most of the jade traffic in Central America.
We had a few plans for our stay at Copán, the first of which consisted of a hike through the mountains up to a good spot where we could see the city. At dawn, we went in search of sunset. The view was beautiful, and as with the rest, I will put up pictures when I get back home, or as soon as I get a chance.
The highlight of our trip to Copán was the visit of the ruins. It took us a few minutes to walk down to them. There we purchased our tickets and a tour guide. I have honestly no idea how to sum up whatever the guide told us about the ruins. They were great, arranged in big pyramids around a large flat field, and perfectly straight. This is really where pictures are worth a thousand words. At the entrance to the ruins we have seen and taken photographs of the Macaw bird, the national bird of Honduras.
The next day, we drove up to some hot spings fourty-five minutes from the village. The drive there had the most splendid view of the Honduran scenery we have seen yet. Unfortunately, none of us had our cameras with us at that time. The hot springs are a natural source of hot water arranged for tourists in a fashion as to provide hot baths (up to 50 odd degrees Celsius), ‘steam baths’ and a natural sauna. It really was an incredible experience, and we all enjoyed it very much. The view and overall feeling of relaxation was epic.
Back in Copán, we met a friendly fellow who just happened to be a drug dealer. No mom, we did not buy.
After much perusing of the city shops, we found one really worth it’s weight in gold — litterally. La Casa del Jade, hidden away from the town square, contains some of the most valuable jewelry of Honduras. Since the area is reknown for its jade trade, and since it is, after all, called the house of jade, it featured many pieces of jade. It also had very high quality pearls, opals, turquoise, gold and silver.
At that store we met with a really cool woman (who was trying to sell us her stock). After a while, we started speaking in Spanish and had quite a lenghty conversation. We have learned that she puts sugar in her milk and that there are about ten ways to say “filthy spying wrench” in Spanish. We talked with her until the store was about to close, at which time my friend Dre, not very experienced in Spanish, wanting to say “You go home, your shift is done for tonight”, said “Vamos a ti casa anoche” (We’re going at your place for the night). Yes, very well done indeed, Dre.
Two times there we ate at a fancy restaurant. Wanting to save money, the first time I opted for just a salad and a Sprite. The salad contained two slices of tomato, two slices of cucumber, two slices of radish and one piece of avocado, with no actual salad. It cost me around 95% of a full meal. Thinking I was just very unlucky, the next day I ordered only drinks. I bought two shots of Black Sambuka (two for the price of one), which ended up costing me LPS. 110. With just LPS. 10 more, I could have had a full meal. I think I gave up on fancy food after that. On the upside, the waitress was fantastic and very charismatic.