Planning a trip from Guatemala to Copan? In this post, you will find everything you need to know about doing the overnight trip to Copan Ruins from Antigua Guatemala including who to book with, where to stay, and where to eat.
Things you need to know before traveling to Copan Ruins from Guatemala
- Copan Ruins is in Honduras so if you are traveling from Guatemala to Copan Ruins you need to take your passport! They also have a different currency (more about that later).
- Compared to Antigua the Copan Ruins area it’s really cheap!
- The bus journey should take around 8 hours but especially coming back through Guatemala City it can take a lot longer!
- Copan Ruins is a lot hotter than Antigua so don’t forget to pack your shorts and sunscreen!
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
What is so special about Copan Ruins and where is it?
Copan Ruins are one of the most important Mayan sites. First excavated in the 19th Century, it is just 30 minutes from the Guatemalan border making Copan Ruins an excellent overnight trip from Antigua.
The town of Copan Ruins itself is small and quaint with cobbled streets and some of the friendliest people I’ve met in Central America. From the town itself, it’s a nice 20-minute walk to the ruins or if you don’t fancy the walk there are plenty of Tuk Tuks around you can flag down.
How do you get from Copan Runes from Antigua Guatemala?
From Antigua, you can book a tourist shuttle with pretty much any company. Years ago, I went with Planeta Maya as they were the cheapest! Although the bus didn’t have AC and they were a bit useless at communication. We paid 120Q each way which was a lot lower than some of the others and also booked my own accommodation and didn’t book a tour of the ruins.
Nowadays, after Covid-19, the prices for all transportation have increased since social distancing is mandatory inside the buses, which means that the buses can’t fill as they used to and so the companies have to cover their costs somehow. The latest prices I’ve seen are $50 USD per person which doesn’t include the border crossing fee of $5 USD, accommodation, or a tour of the Copan Ruins. If you walk around Antigua you may find other prices. If you find options with lower prices, let me know!
If you have the budget and don’t fancy organizing the whole thing yourself then you can get one of the tour companies to organize the whole thing for you. I recommend booking transport through GuateGO at least 24 hours before the date you wish to leave.
Crossing the border from Guatemala into Honduras
You will need to get off the minibus and get your passport stamped on the Guatemalan side then walk across the border to Honduras. On the Honduras side, you go into (a much nicer) border control office where you need to pay $5 (or 40Q aprox) and get an entry stamp. You hop back on the minibus and off you go!
Coming back you will need to do the same, but you don’t have to pay on the way back.
Where to stay in Copan Ruins?
I stayed at Hotel & Hostal Berakah, it has a 9.6 rating on Booking.com for a reason! Being a budget traveler I opted to stay here because it was the cheapest place. That said it was also one of the nicest places I’ve stayed for such a low cost. Plus it’s really close to the road you need to follow to the ruins and the shuttle from Antigua dropped up off and picked us up right outside.
Here are some other accommodation options.
Visiting Copan Ruins
You will need a good 3 hours to wander around the actual ruins. There are three main parts and although it’s not as grand and popular as Tikal, Copan Ruins really is worth a visit.
I wish I could give you more information about the ruins themselves and the museums but because of my tight budget and inability to get money (see below) I didn’t get a guide or pay for the museum. This was more because when I bought my ticket nothing was explained to me by the ticket office. I therefore just booked a standard ticket that didn’t include a guide, or access to the tunnels, or the museum. This was a big fail on my part. So don’t be like me and ask for the full package when getting your ticket.
Even though I didn’t get to do everything I still had a great day.
Where to eat in Copan Ruins
Eat on the street! There is some great street food to be had and if you are on a budget I would highly recommend it. On the recommendation of a Mexican tucking into a taco, I decided to eat at El Chombo. If a Mexican tells you the tacos are good when you are in Honduras, you eat them haha. Plus as a veggie it’s not always easy to find good street food, you can’t go wrong with tacos and a local beer!
This was the biggest headache for me! Firstly I lost the $10 I had to pay for my friend and me to cross the border. Then when we arrived in Honduras we could not pay for the hotel by card. So off I went to find an ATM of which there are 3. None of which my bank card would work in. I had plenty of Guatemalan Quetzal but no dollars and you can’t exchange Quetzal in any of the banks, only dollars. By this point, I was starting to get pretty stressed. I ended up going into one of the banks and they let me withdraw some money with my bank card and passport. So my advice would be to take dollars with you! In Antigua, you can withdraw dollars from one of the cash machines by Parque central if you don’t already have any.
A budget for Copan Ruins
This is the summary of what you can expect to spend:
Transport and crossing fee $55
Park Entrance $15
Dinner and a Beer $5
It’s a pretty long time to be in a mini-bus for (8 hours there 9 back) but in my opinion, if you are hanging out in Antigua for a while it’s worth the stiff neck! Or if you are going to be passing through on your way from or to Guatemala it’s well worth a stop.
The only company I recommend for booking transport and tours in Guatemala (other than the individuals and companies I have named) is GuateGo. They are a Guatemalan-owned company that has painstakingly brought together all of the transport and tour options in one easy-to-use website. You can book transport in Guatemala with them here and Guatemalan tours with them here.
This post was proofread by Grammarly