This update starts with us arriving in La Entrada, Honduras, exploring Copan Ruinas Pueblo and the Mayan ruins, and ends with our visit to the Caribean town of Tela. We also spent a week on a volunteer project in Nuevo Paraiso which we’ll cover in the next update. All in all, we had another great adventure. Viva Central America!
We were fortunate to get back to the Estero in El Salvador from our Guatemala trip in time for Tommy’s 1st birthday party! Here we see Mom and Grandma performing the customary smearing of the face with icing.
“Something must have gone wrong for you to be stuck in La Entrada…” This is a direct quote from the Lonely Planet travel bible. Well, guess what? We left San Salvador promptly, early in the morning. The bus was a bit slow, but it eventually dropped us off in El Poy, El Salvador, from where we walked across the border, then took a short taxi ride to Nueva Ocotepeque. The next bus to La Entrada was late! We missed the last bus from La Entrada to Copan. Stuck! Hotel Alexandria was our home for the night. We found an excellent little restaurant for food and beer! The next morning we stood by the side of the road and flagged down the first bus labelled ‘Copan Ruinas’. It turned out to be one of those fancy-schmancy airplanes on wheels and we were the only passengers. Sweeeeeeet!
The busy streets of Copan; Tuk tuks, bicycles, pedestrians and other vehicles were everywhere.
A not-so-busy street in Copan. The city was colonial style complete with cobblestone streets.
There are many ways to bring the groceries home. In Copan, one method was by horseback. This shot was taken from our hotel balcony (Hostel Mar Jenny).
There are also many methods of bringing dinner and drinks to the table. At this Copan Restaraunt the waitresses carried food and drink on their heads from the downstairs kitchen to the tables on the second floor. We never saw anything spilled! Amazing.
Ahhh… the meal has arrived. This local dish, anafre, is their version of fondue cooked in a clay pot and best washed down with Flor de Caña.
The entrance to the Mayan Ruins of Copan are a short 1km walk from town. These were our greeters at the entrance to the Mayan Ruins of Copan.
After our great experience using a guide in Tikal we decided to do it again in Copan. Juan chose us as we entered the park. Here we see Juan describing some of the Mayan inscriptions. The site of the Mayan Ruins of Copan was not as large as Tikal, nor were the structures as large. It was still a very impressive place. Juan did a great job for us and was quite the comedian. He reiterated that the rulers were often not of the soundest of minds due to the ingestion of certain plants. They were probably seeing all kinds of cool colors and little men and things.
The reamins of 3450 structures have been discovered in this area. This temple is one of the largest in Copan. It took us approximately 3 hours to walk the site.
Another of the more impressive structures in the principal site. During its peak, around the 8th century over 20,000 people inhabited the area.
Looking down onto the Plaze de las Estelas.
A Mayan version of a sports arena. The ball court, Juego de
pelota, is the second largest in Central America. We understand that once a year the best players would be summoned for a tournament. The winner would then be sacrificed. It doesn’t always pay to be the best does it?
Now this was impressive. These 63 steps are inscribed with hieroglyphics providing a history of the Royal House of Copan.
Now this guy doesn’t look very happy does he? Maybe it’s one of the lucky ball game winners immortalized in stone. At least he had that going for him!
A short walk (~2km) from the main site was an area known as Las Sepulturas. This area consisted mainly of individual family dwellings versus the usual temple and ceremonial sites we had become accustomed to. We actually found this area more fascinating than the main site. We learned that the Mayans had upper class, middle class, and lower class areas of ‘town’. Some things just never change. Here we see a typical middle class area.
Adult burial site located directly in front of the home. Our guide insisted that Carrie go down and check out the little cubby holes that held the burial offerings. “Great! Now get me out of here!” Kind of an eerie feeling looking into someone’s grave.
During our walk through Las Sepulturas we ran into this group of larvae going about their daily chores. Lots of creepy, crawly things in Central America!
We enjoyed Copan Ruinas very much but after 3 days it was time to move on. Next stop Tela. We threw on our backpacks and caught a bus to San Pedro Sula at the ungodly hour of 5:30AM. Fortunately we found a place to buy a cup of coffee near the bus station. Pat without coffee is not pretty! Tela is a small, quiet, Caribbean beach town. GREAT SEAFOOD! If ever in Tela don’t miss Restaraunte Luces Del Norte. Ummmm, Conch! We found a cool hotel located right on the beach called Hotel Puerto Rico (yep, we checked the map to make sure that we were still in Honduras!). They also had a neat restaraunt. Here we find Carrie staring at the menu. Hmmm…. what to eat, what to eat! Umm.. BEER!
Once we were settled in it was time to explore. We used Garifuna Tours to take us, by Lancha, to Punta Sal. The boat ride took about a half hour. Then we walked through the jungle to a cool little bay where, we were told, used to be an anchoring spot for pirates in the days of old. Sure would like to anchor Terra Firma there! Our guide was also careful to point out areas where snakes liked to hang out. We stepped carefully!
We came out of the jungle to view this beautiful, secluded, little beach. Pretty cool place Huh? A single family inhabited this little beach. They cooked us up some delicious fried fish. Umm… eating again!
After our nice little lunch and stroll on the beach it was time to trek through the jungle, back to our lancha and Tela. We were nearly immediately greeted by a family of howler monkeys. Although we had seen and more importantly heard howlers before, you never get used to the shear volume of their screams. Sounds more like a lion. At least these guys were polite enough not to try to urinate or defecate on us.
In addition to monkeys, snakes, etc…, the jungle is full of these huge spiders; all shapes and sizes. Carrie hates spiders!
Oh yeah, on the way back we encountered a termite nest. Our guide said they were pretty tasty. Tastes like carrots he says! Carrots??? Well, no one would try them except for, you guessed it, Carrie. She concurred: “Tastes like carrots”. Well, apparently lunch just wasn’t enough food.