After leaving the Bay Islands we were to head back inland and up to Guatemala. As part of our shuttle route we had included a stop in Ruinas Copan, little did we known how good it would turn out to be!
Ruinas Copan was just a few minutes from the Guatemalan border, a really quaint little town and a bit trapped in time. The people were friendly, hostel really nice and for a change we managed to get some nice local street food.
The main purpose of our stop and the reason the town had developed, was because of the Mayan ruins there. They are part of the collection of temples, glyphs and statues that are located at various key sites across Honduras (at Copan), a few in Guatemala, Belize and the most famous in Mexico (Chichenitza). Each is different in size and importance to the Mayan history but all are fairly similar in style. Different sized pyramids, plazas and buildings, basically the building blocks for the ancient towns and cities.
The Mayan ruins in Copan weren't huge but we're very well preserved, mainly from around AD500 and the years surrounding this. They were used for social, religious and trade scenarios and here particularly they were one of the most important of all the sites. The buildings are amazing, great detail, with large and small rock sculptures, impressive pyramids and all set in a lush forest.
We walked around for hours, even better that we were able to be our own guides and also that the site was nearly empty! Can't have been more than 20-25 people in total but never more than a few in each area. This is completely different to the larger and more tourist orientated ones in other countries and gave the place and even better feel.
It was crazy also that the story of this particular site had a message to modern societies. The Mayan people here didn't leave due to war or invasion but because they consumed all their natural resources, leading to civil unrest and then famine...
After all the walking around and learning about the Mayan culture and civilisation here we headed back for a chilled night in town before moving into Guatemala.