January 26, 2009

Casa K'inich - Macaw Mountain Bird Park

Just a short walk from the central park lies a special place called Casa K'inich. This is a small museum related to Mayan culture created for kids. It is a very complete and interactive exhibit that gives a brief introduction into Mayan origins, customs and traditions; great for beginners like us. Information is also found in English for the Spanish impaired, and best of all, its free! So if you do not want to pay for a guide in the ruins, go to Casa K'inich before hand. Still, I highly recommend you do pay for a guide at the ruins, otherwise you are missing out on the best part of the trip!

Our next stop was the Macaw Mountain Bird Park. This place you have to see! Entrance is only USD 10.00, plus a guided tour included (in English), describing several species of birds native to the area. The nature and bird species in this park are amazing! You will get to see macaws, parrots, parakeets, toucans and other tropical birds. Best part was the chance to hold a couple of domesticated Macaws, great for your Facebook profile picture!

January 25, 2009

Something to Do in Copan

Copan is a nice little colonial town with a main square. It has a very safe environment with tiny streets full of little bars and restaurants! There is a wide variety of places to choose from for all tastes and budgets. But since we were looking for a nice hotel but did not want to spend too much, we went for a hotel recommended by a friend of ours; its is called the Hotel Yaragua. It is located just by the central plaza in Copan. We were very satisfied with our selection. We got a triple room with bathroom + warm water for USD 35.00 a day! Follow the link to find their prices.

Our first stop was at Carnitas Nia Lola Restaurant. We were starving and could not wait to have our favorite tasting local beer, Salva Vida! You only have a selection of four local beers and Salva Vida is the beer of choice for most people visiting Honduras! Translated to English it means Life Saver, and indeed it was! We had a gringa, which is a flour tortilla filled with beef, pork, or chicken plus melted quesillo or cheese. To this you add chimol, or in other words, chopped onion, green peppers, and tomatoes. It was big and tasty but a bit expensive for a gringa. It cost over 150.00 Lempiras or just about USD 8.00. That did not matter because the place is very unique. I believe it is Canadian owned considering the Canadian related ornaments found everywhere!

Afterwards, we got to visit a splendid cafe called Casa Villamil and got some good Honduran Coffee! This place is really cozy complete with a roof top patio with a great view of the town, specially during the sunset. It is home to a cigar shop as well; a MUST see! Check out their website. We also had smoothies which were very tasty too.

January 23, 2009

Transport to Copan

But first, to get to Copan when you are coming from Tegucigalpa (The Capital), you either take a bus, drive a car, or take a plane! Of course if you are on a budget you take a bus. There are three options Hedman Alas, VIANA, and Transportes Cristina. Trust me, I have been in all of them, the best is Hedman Alas! Check out the bus...very comfortable, spacious leg room, plus reclineable seats. You even get an apple juice and some cookies!!! One thing though, do NOT take a lighter on board, leave it in the checked baggage - they have very strict norms regarding security. Expect many twists and turns; the paved roads are fine except for a few areas being repaired, but most of the Honduran terrain is extremely mountainous!

The bus stops in San Pedro Sula, Honduras second largest city and industrial center! There we find Hedman Alas's new international bus station, which is fully equipped with a cafeteria, waiting rooms with LCD TVs, and even a smoking salon for you smokers in need of some nicotine after the long trip! There you will find departures to other important destinations you must see when you visit Honduras, i.e. The Bay Islands.

We waited about 30 minutes and got on a new bus heading directly to Copan! Not as comfortable as the other but still good!In case you wondered, all of them had bathrooms inside, and they even showed a movie! As you get closer to Copan (just about three hours later), one must take a look outside, the terrain changes and you will be able to see some incredible scenery; the hills and vegetation are amazing; one can only begin to imagine a time when Mayans worked the ground and hunted in those very hills! Almost 9 hours later, we were in Copan; kinda lengthy but for only 440.00 Lempiras (Honduran currency), or just about USD 22.00, its a bargain!

Copan - Central Plaza

Photo taken in Copan, located on the Northwest of Honduras, just a few kilometers from the border with Guatemala. It is a city that was home to the ancient Mayan Civilization and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, most famous for the detailed work found on many of its sculptures. Mayans ruled between 300-900 A.D.