We thought we had better let people know that there is a scam going on in Copan which will cause independant travellers a lot of grief. Travelling to Copan from Antigua no problem 125 quetzales door to door service leaving 4am arriving 10ish. Checked onward travel all the same everywhere in Copan $29 to Purto Barrios , Rio Dolce etc. Costly but to save the hassel we asked what we got for our money, modern AC transport we were told. 6am arrived so did the transport, one of the worst buses we have been in and we have been in some these past weeks. Realised we had been scamed but decided to grin and bear it, bad move. 2 1/2 hours later mini bus stops at Rio Honda, our rucksacks taken off, a few local notes handed to some guy who knew the scam and we were told he would buy the ticket. Finally we were told to board a bus a Rapido you might think, oh no very local bus stopping every 200m to drop off and pick up this could take some time. Well it would have except 50 km from Purto Barrios we were told to get of as the bus was going elsewhere, just dropped at the side of the road to fend for ourselves. Luckly some nice locals, yes their are many, helped us on our way, however we were lucky we took the early bus, if it had been the later one we would have been on the side off the road in the middle of nowhere in the dark, a good place to be?
You will quickly become accustom to using the service of these small 4-stroke engine, 3 wheel vehicles imported from India. They are now popular all over Honduras. No need to bargain too hard because even if you pay too much, it will be a few pennies difference not worth quibbling about. If you drove in like we did with the rental car, then still use these guys to get around. Be green. There's some adventure in riding them anyway. It's sort of amazing to watch a loaded Tuk Tuk climb the steep cobblestone hills of Copan Ruinas. Watch my video.
I took the first minibus in the morning leaving Copán for the border. It left at 6.00 and was 20 lempiras (July 2009). At the border the customs went quick as I was the only passenger from the minibus who needed to get my passport stamped. On the Guatemalan side the bus going to Chiquimula waited for me. For that bus I paid 25 quetzales.
In Chiquimula the company Maria Elena has got buses to Flores/Santa Elena at 6, 10 and 15. At their office I bought a ticket for 100 quetzales for the 10 o’clock bus and then went out to find something to eat. At one of the eateries at the market I bought a plate with meat, rice and beans and a pepsi to drink. It was served with tortillas and it was 19 quetzales.
After a few hours drive towards Santa Elena/Flores the bus broke down. Someone were sent out to buy new screws, but the only ones they could get hold of were too long, so the men then tried to shorten them with the help of a stone and a pair of tongs. I don’t know if they succeeded, because after waiting for more than half an hour another, bigger bus heading for Santa Elena stopped. It was from another company, but I didn’t mind paying more as long as I arrived before dark. On this bus I paid 40 quetzales. There were another two hours until we reached Santa Elena. As we entered Santa Elena the passengers going to Flores had to change for a shuttle bus (it didn’t cost any extra). It took us to our hotels, and at the same time they tried to get us to sign up for a tour to Tikal the next day.
To go from Santa Ana to Copán Ruínas in Honduras the quickest way is to go through Guatemala and if you are using public transportation it will include changes between several buses.
In the morning I went to the corner of Avenida F Moraga Sur and 13a Calle Pte in Santa Ana and there I waited 10 minutes for the next bus to Metapán. The ticket was 0.90 dollars (July 2009) and it took almost 1.5 hours because after half an hour a tyre exploded. We continued for another 15 minutes with an unbearable loud sound coming from the tyre. Then the bus company luckily had sent out another bus to meet us. When we reached the bus terminal in Metapán a bus was just leaving for the border. That bus was 0.55 dollars and took half an hour.
I walked over the border and got my passports stamped. On the Guatemalan side I was told to wait by the road. There were no one else waiting, but only lots of lorries. After some time waiting a bus to Chiquimula arrived though. It was 15 quetzales and took 2 hours. In Chiquimula the bus stopped at the market and I asked for the direction of the buses to El Florido. On the next bus the man told me it was 30 quetzales to El Florido. I didn’t believe it as I had just paid 15 quetzales for a longer ride. The man then changed his mind to 25 quetzales, which I still thought was too much, but he said that was the correct price. It turned out the bus was only going half way to El Florido and I had to change bus after 50 minutes). Money were handed over to a guy (not on the bus). I asked on the new bus for the price and they said they charged 16 quetzales, not 25. (Coming back from Honduras I was charged 25 quetzales again so I don’t know if that was the correct price or a price tourists are charged).
On the border to Honduras I had expected there to be some militaries as all borders had been closed a few days earlier because of the political situation in Honduras. There were no militaries at the border, there was not even anyone at the immigration office, so I had to ask for someone to come. The departure tax from Guatemala was 25 lempiras and for entering Honduras I paid 3 dollars(June 2009). When I was ready a minibus was leaving for Copán. It was 20 lempiras and it took about 20 minutes. In Copán the minibus stops near Parque Central and when I arrived it was afternoon.
the best way to go to Copán is in a rented car, the road is good through all the way. There are some tour´s leaving Antigua or Guatemala City (very expensive around $150.00), or you can go by bus (very complicated)...From Chiquimula to Copán the views are great.
This tip was written several years ago, now is very easy to reach Copan, there are cheap shuttles (around $20.00) from Antigua via Guatemala City.
From Antigua in Guatemala there are many direct busses that go to Copán Ruinas. These busses are relatively expensive, but still good value if you look at the fact that it by far the fastest way to get there. Busses like these will cost you between $ 25,- and $ 40,- for one way.
But, if you want to do it the cheaper way, or if you are not departing from Antigua, but from elsewhere in the country, you have to depend on minibusses to get to Copán. No matter where you come from in Guatemala, you will always end up in a village called Chiquimula to take a minibus to the border "El Florido, Frontera, El Florido, Frontera...". This minibus will take you there in about 40 minutes and cost you around one dollar.
When you reach the border, you can ask the minibus that just brought you there, to take you further until Copán Ruinas. The driver will be more then willing to help you with that because: he asks $ 12,- for it! And that for a trip of only 15 minutes. In other words: don't do it!
There is public transportation between the border and Copán, but it might even be easier to hitch a ride at the border. There is only one way going from the border into Honduras, and that way always crosses by Copán, so no matter who you ask, they will always go the correct way. And: since it is pretty normal to ask for a ride in the country, the people know immediately what you mean if you point at their car and they don't mind taking you until Copán. If you hitch a ride in a pick-up truck, make sure you are in the back, because that is the best way to enjoy the great landscape all around you.
Because San Pedro Sula is the most important traffic hub, almost every connection that goes from Copán Ruinas to elsewhere in the country, goes via "SPS". That is why there are several daily busses between Copán and SPS, from three different busstations.
The first busstation is the "normal" busstation in the east of the village, on the way to the ruins. Here there are busses to SPS every few hours, for the cheapest prices. One block west and one block north from this busstation you will find the busses of Hedman Alas, an international company with connections to all big cities in Honduras and some in Guatemala.
And the one I took was a bus from the company "Casasola". You can find this company by walking directly south from the "normal" busstop, for about 100 metres. Here you can take a direct bus to SPS twice daily, for about $ 5,-, which takes about 4 hours to get there. The reason why I chose this company is because they advertise by saying that they have a connecting bus to La Ceiba, Puerto Cortes and Tela, departing from SPS.
But: there are busses to these destinations, but they do not have anything to do with Casasola, they even depart in a completely different busstation at the other side of the city so you'll still need a taxiride for that. No reason to take a bus of this company!
The ancient site of the Mayan ruins is at about 1-2 KM at walking distance from the town Copan Ruins. From our hotel Patty at the eastern edge of the town we walked further eastwards out of town in the direction of the ruins early morning.
It was a lovely walk at a footpath along the road. On your way to the ruins we saw allready the first stela along the road. Also the walk back to the town around midday was ok, because the footpath was partly shady. There were some lovely flowering trees.
Copan has a nice mountaineous countryside. At the reception of our hotel Patty we could book a horse trip into the mountains, so we decided to spend an afternoon at a horseback. The horses were waiting for us just outside the village at the other side of the bridge about 100 meters from our hotel. We were in a group of four people and a horseman.
We had a lovely trip of about 3-4 hours along the river and to a small village in the mountains where we had a stop and a drink with a spectacular view at the valley. I saw also a couple walking up the mountain. I was happy to be at a horseback.
Hedman Alas is the ritzy bus company - but at a hefty fee. We travelled with them to Antigua and it cost 40 AMERICAN DOLLARS!!!! We could have taken a shuttle for $15! So be very careful. Some routes aren't too bad. From Tela to Copan, we only paid $20, and we had the whole bus to ourselves most of the way.
But the service is great - the take care of your luggage, there are snacks, drinks and a movie.
I reached Copan by bus from Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala. The ticket was easy to purchase - Antigua is teeming with travel agencies and there is a bit of a room for bargaining. My ticket was oneway. The return I bought in Copan itself - very convinient connection. If the customer wants the minivan takes him to any adress in Guatemala city; in my case it was the airport vicinity.
Take a bus departuring from Tegucigalpa or San Pedro Sula, It takes about seven ours fron Tegucigalpa and only four from San Pedro Sula. Prices aroud 8-12 dolars. And any information about how to travel inside Honduras and specialy in Copan you can go to this site: www.mctours-honduras.com they will guide you trhough Honduras.
We came from Chiquimula to El Florido (border) in 2 1/2 hrs.
It's only 12 km to Copan but they wouldn't let us ride with 4 in a pickup truck and charged us each 100 quetzales, the bastards. We had no other choice than to go with them
On the way back, we were not that stupid and agreed with some other tourists for only 10 Lempira each
You will need to get a bus to Copán Ruinas you will need to first get to La Entrada. There are buses to La Entrada that leave from Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula regularly.
From La Entrada you should catch one of the two buses that leave daily to Santa Rosa de Copán - Copán Ruinas.
In all - it takes about half a day to reach the ruins from San Pedro Sula. I stayed a night in La Entrada my second time travelling to the ruins. The buses are small and quite uncomfortable so make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing.
If you have the money I would recommend renting a car and driving to the ruins yourself. It would take a lot less time and be much more confortable!
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There are several ways to get to Copan. Most of the travellers coming from Guatemala take one of the many turist vans which cost between $20-30 USD. The markup is due to the fact that the nearby border from Copan is rarely used by locals. If you're coming from a well known border, just head to Santa Rosa de Copan. You can get a bus to the Ruinas de Copan from there. It may take a bit more to get there, but it'll be cheaper, much cheaper!