Most of the day was spent visiting the Copán Ruins.
In the morning after breakfast, we made our way from the town of Copán Ruinas to the actual archaeological site, which is just over 500m or a ten-minute walk away. Lots of mototaxis (i.e. tuktuks or Honduran rickshaws) ply this route but there really is no need for one as the walk is not too long or taxing.
Copán was a great centre of Mayan civilization, and its ruins are known for containing intricately carved stellae of ancient rulers and well-preserved hieroglyphics. With World Heritage designation, it is is one of the main tourist attractions in Honduras.
While not on the scale of Tikal in Guatemala, the site is still quite substantial, with a fair bit to see. It features a main complex of ruins, as well as several secondary complexes. The main complex consists of the Acropolis and some important plazas, such as the Ceremonial Plaza, with its richly sculptured monoliths and altars, and the impressive Hieroglyphic Stairway Plaza, featuring over 1,800 individual glyphs that make up the longest-known Mayan inscription.
We spent over 3 hours exploring the site. In addition to the ruins themselves, one of the highlights of our visit was seeing many beautiful scarlet macaws in the trees close to the entrance. Apparently, the scarlet macaw was a sacred bird for the ancient Mayans. With its bright, vibrant colours, it represented the god of the sun in flight between heaven and earth, and its feathers were often used to decorate the headdresses of powerful rulers. The image of the scarlet macaw also appears frequently in ancient Mayan monuments.
After visiting the main ruins, we opted to walk a further 20 minutes up the road to visit Las Sepulturas, a separate ruins site that is also included in the (rather steep) $15 ticket price. This proved somewhat interesting, if only because of its even more remote setting in the jungle and the fact that hardly anyone goes there. Indeed, most tour groups and visitors tend to give it a miss, for whatever reason. (Anyone planning to visit, though, should note that the signboard on the road is misleading, i.e. its arrows are pointing in the WRONG direction. This confused us for a while. Las Sepulturas is located about 1.4km away from the main ruin site, on the right-hand side of the road, in the direction of La Entrada.
The walk around the site took about an hour, during most of which we were alone in the jungle with the iguanas, birds, leaf-cutter ants, and all manner of insects. One particularly notable moment was when Mark saw a large snake slither across our path!
By the early afternoon, the heat had well and truly begun to sink in, and we headed back to the town, where we spent the remainder of the day strolling its cobblestone streets. Despite the hilly terrain, the streets were well kept and easy enough to navigate through, and there was an attractive main plaza with a nice colonial church. The weather was good (no rain for once!) and the atmosphere relaxed as the local people gathered in and around the centre of town enjoying their weekend.