Copán, Honduras

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Hard to believe we are right at the border with Guatemala, only about 100 kilometres from Guatemala City. Hard to believe it took us half a day to drive these 100 kilometres actually. This is how it goes in Central America: distances are fairly short—at least they look short on the map—but roads are bad and getting from point A to point B is never that easy.

Culturally speaking, we are a world apart from Guatemala. Sure, Copan is famous for the Maya ruins nearby but they are no more women in traditional clothes.

In fact, I feel like I’m in Uruguay or Argentina, and the local taste for red meat and parillas reinforce that impression.

We are back to the lowlands and it’s hard to get used to the heat again. From Guatemala City to the Lago de Atitlán, we are in the mountains and while it was very hot during the day, temperatures dropped at night. As soon as the sun set, we would wear jeans and a light sweater. Here, no need for long pants—we are back to the tropics. Palm trees, constant humidity, mosquitoes and a myriad of insects.

We are surrounded by fincas (plantations) of coffee and fruits. It’s green all around and the pace of life is notably slower than in Guatemala, if that’s possible.

People are different too. Spanish is the only language around, no more Maya dialects. Here, women don’t wear any traditional clothes (although for some obscure reason they seem to favour really high heels when climbing ruinas and walking on cobblestone—go figure!). Men, on the other side, have the gaucho attitude and wear cowboy hats. People drink hard after a long day at work and there are specialized stores selling cigars, booze and smokes at every corner.

Traditionally, Honduras also aligns more closely with the U.S. The police, the army and other random guys with machine guns (there are plenty of these in Latin America) have uniforms similar to those used in the U.S. Everywhere, in the newspaper, on T.V. and on billboards at the border, there are tales of Honduran immigrants who believed in the American dream and were deported from the land of plenty.

Yet we are in Central America. No mistake here. People still pile up at the back of pick-up trucks, horses roam free in the streets and buildings are colourful.

Honduras License Plate

Copan Church

Cowboy Hat on the Fence

Palm Tree

Street in Copan

Street in Copan

Cowboys in Copan

Honduran Flag and Football

Calle de la Independencia


Cowboy in Copan

Tuk Tuk


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. As usual your posts have sent me to Wikipedia to learn more about the country, the economy, the region, etc. Honduras is Spanish, Belize was British Honduras, now I remember, they became independent in 1964 when I was fresh out of college. I hope some Geography teacher is following this with their class.

  2. Hi Zhu & Feng,

    Just breathing in the “ambiance” of other places.
    Loving the little town with cobblestone streets. Thanks again for taking the time to share.

  3. Just what I need: I am arriving to Guatemala City tomorrow night, and my plan is to first ditch Guatemala and head over to Copan for a day or two the day after! Thanks for the preview!

  4. High heels, makeup and jewelry are part of the “vanidad latina”. I tease my family telling them that I buy earrings using my “cuarta” (extended hand) to measure if they will like it or not. You have to see those girls dancing Salsa and Cumbia on high heels!

    In the other side, there is no army nor machine guns in some Latin American places, like Costa Rica.

  5. Zhu Zhu,

    It is great seeing that you are enjoying your trip; and by the way: you look good.

    I am curious about Latin America, no doubt; however I don’t think I would ever adventure myself in travelling around it the way you do, so I commend you for your guts.


  6. Beautiful photos! I spent a day in Copan when traveling around Central America. The ruins are amazing, although Tikal is still my favorite. Sounds like you’re having an amazing trip!

    • Tikal is my favourite too, the site is awesome. I wish there were more explanations about the glyphs in Copan. If you don’t hire a guide you are left in the dark.

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