Sunday, November 9, 2008

Final Report on Copán

As the title says, this is my final report on  my vacation to Copán with my son.

If one checks up on information concerning Copán,you will usually find this: "The Pre-Columbian city today known as Copán is a locale in western Honduras, in the Copán Department, near the border of Guatemala. It is the site of a major Maya kingdom of the Classic era."  Most information will proceed to tell you all about the ruins which, of course, is the main reason one goes to Copán
However,not much is said about the town and I love the town!  

The cobblestone streets, the quaint buildings, the open market, the enchanting look of the whole area brings me back again and again.
The area is built in a valley and the town is situated on rolling hills which wind through the town and expose untold views. You will find splashes of color everywhere with interesting touches in the architecture by the way of decoration.

I love the "adobe" look to the buildings, especially when some of the outer stucco chips away and you get a look at the original brick construction. The homes and businesses are painted in Caribbean colors and tropical plants abound.

In the center of town, as in most towns of Honduras, there is a park constructed in spoke-type fashion with various buildings and offices of the local Municipality, some shops and always, the Central Market.  How I love markets. We get such limited types and quantities of vegetables on the island that whenever I go to the mainland, the Market is one of the places I love the most. 
Such abundance and variety available in Copán. Foods are brought in from nearby Guatemala and I saw, as pictured in the collage, huge radishes which are one of my favorite vegetables.  In 11 years on Guanaja I've had radishes about 8 times! There are pots and pans, shoes and clothing being sold and a small open air eating place. The photo showing the display of shoes indicates the patience one must have shopping in a Honduran market! I think one would have a hard time finding the mate to the shoe they sought to purchase.

As I was walking the streets I found a shoemaker plying his trade beside a building.  One finds these masters all over Honduras and 
for a few Lempira you can get your shoes repaired as good as new. Evidently he felt more comfortable in his stocking feet at the time.

Another "Kodak" moment presented itself in the doorway of a shop displaying hats.

The inside and outside of buildings present unusual photo opportunities, especially in the hotels, of which there are many. Like all of the town of Copán, everything is kept very clean. Every hotel I looked into was tidy and pleasant looking. Only one hotel that I visited had a pool. The Marina. although we had the availability of a hot tub at Don Udo's where we stayed.  At the Marina Hotel I found some really interesting lamp covers made of shells.  

They had a beautiful, mahogany, curved staircase that presented a beautiful play on light and shadows so I just had to take the picture of it.

There were some unusual sights; a fence surrounding a home was made of woven palm leaves.  The interior of a building had been decorated at once time with hanging paper decorations which are finally falling into disrepair but attractive none-the-less.  There was one yard where I saw corn laid out to dry in the sun and, of course, there is always the local dog.

The other plus of Copán are the varied and excellent restaurants.  We had wonderful meals wherever we went with excellent, friendly service. One such place was the "Twisted Tanya", a local restaurant owned run by a Brit who was a former owner/partner at the restaurant "Twisted Toucan" in Roatan. She became disenchanted with Roatan and moved to Copán.  The food is outstanding; the salads unlike any other and the drinks - well, the drinks are amazing.  We spent a wonderful evening at the restaurant visiting with the owner, her daughter and staff enjoying the ambiance and food.  We left late in the evening but had no fear as the hotel was only blocks away and the streets relatively deserted. We were surprised to find our hotel door locked and after calling out to the night watchman, we were allowed entrance. 

We were very lucky as the weather was beautiful and cooperated fully. There was rain late one afternoon, but other than that the temperatures were mild to cool.  Of course during the rainy season I would not recommend visiting the area.  Roads are washed out, streets are flooded and viewing the ruins would be a disaster.  So, December through mid-February is not the best time.  The rest of the year is wonderful; the tourist "season" is April through July, so judge your vacation accordingly.

So, if you like variety; horseback riding, hiking, hot springs spa, bird parks, fine cusine or just taking photos, Copán is one place you will not want to miss! 

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