The heart of the Mayans beats right here in Copan. The history of Mayan civilization was carved on the steps of the Copan temples by the Mayans themselves. This cannot be said of any of the other ruins in Central America which makes this place very special as does the size of this place and the fact it remains remarkably intact almost to the extent Tikal is in Guatemala. I mean we are talking about something that is believed to date back to 4th century BC and by all accounts met its apogee in the early 200s to 600s AD! To add to the magic of this site were the red macaws flying all around me! Macaws were everywhere back then in Mayan times too as evidenced by the carvings of them in all the temples and at the sports stadium. Yes I said Sports Stadium if you can believe it which has its own acoustics (just clap when you are there to see what I mean) and can seat 6,000 people. Interestingly, I learned that not only did the Mayans play competitive sports just like us (however probably more likened to a game from the Harry Potter series) but also that, unfortunately, the Messi’s and Tom Brady’s of the Mayan times are the ones who were sacrificed to the Gods following the game. If that were true today in America, I’m guessing you parents would stop seeking “participation” trophies for all your children regardless of how well they played (thereby completely removing any chance for your children to grow up striving to do their best) but anywho….off my soapbox.
The cost to enter Mayan times was $15USD which is steep especially compared to the other Mayan sites I’ve seen down here. They also wanted an additional $15 to enter the two 4km long tunnels they found running underneath the ruins. I couldn’t warrant that extra expense at the time but think if given another chance I would have paid it. I did, however, pay $3USD to do the virtual augmented tour of the ruins in town but I didn’t think that was all that impressive despite the fact it gives you an idea of what it was like back then.
After my tour of the ruins, I caught the Hedman Alas bus from Copan to Country 69 – Guatemala! Everyone has always teased me about which country would be number 69! People voted for Amsterdam Netherlands and Bangkok Thailand but those have already been scratched off the list so Guatemala holds the honor 🙂 The bus was $44USD through Southern Guatemala to Guatemala City and on to colonial Antigua but worth the extra expense given the fact it was a long drive and it was supposed to leave at 2:20 and arrive at 8:30 but arrived at 10:30 pm. It had big reclining seats, food and drink and toilets and the not so funny in Spanish “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie to watch in route.
My bed at the new Antigua Hostel at $12/night beckoned for me long before I arrived but what a great hostel it is. One of the best I’ve been to yet and highly recommend to you budget travelers. It has a projection screen for movies, plugs and lights and drapes for every bunk bed not to mention spacious and the food and staff are great!
That’s all for now from colonial Antigua.