Copan ruins from El Salvador
One kilometre from the town Copán Ruinas, Mayan Copán is one of the most impressive historical sites in the whole of Mesoamerica. Copán is believed to have experienced a 'golden era' between 553AD and 738AD, before declining soon after; nowadays it is a popular destination not only for visitors with an interest in Mayan archaeology but for anyone fascinated by the stunning artwork: the temples, pyramids and carvings here are exceptional.
Day 1: Depart Sunzal for the town of Copán Ruinas, crossing the border into Honduras in a private vehicle ( 4.5hrs). You will spend 3 nights at hotel Marina Copán on the main square.
Day 2: You have a full day centred on the ruins with a guided tour. It is not as immense as the sites of Tikal or Chichén Itzá, but the Maya people's craftsmanship has survived the vicissitudes of time - most evident in the intricate carvings of 21 stone columns, or stelae.
You’ll also visit the Maya Sculpture Museum, where, after you’ve entered through an impression of a snake's mouth framing the entrance you find an exhibition of artwork from the Mayan site. Its centrepiece is a replica of Rosalila Temple, which lies concealed under a large pyramid at Copán.
In the afternoon, choose between a visit to Hacienda San Lucas, which you will be able to explore on horseback or on foot or a visit to the Macaw Mountain Bird Park.
Day 3: The morning offers the opportunity to take an optional private tour of the newly excavated El Rastrojón, a Mayan archaeological site regarded as a warrior settlement. It consists of several buildings which are believed to have served as a fort for Mayan kings and nobles of Copán. You'll be guided by a qualified archaeologist.
In the afternoon it’s a short drive from Copán Ruinas to the Finca Santa Isabel where you tour the area where young coffee plants are nurtured and continue on a hike into the mountains to where the plants continue to grow under the shade of trees. See how the coffee is harvested and processed. Shade coffee farming helps to preserve the habitat of indigenous wildlife and supports over 150 species of birds; you will also be able to observe some of them as you walk the trails.
Day 4: You’ll be driven from Copán Ruinas to San Pedro Sula airport to connect with your international flight.
UK clients arrive home the following day.
Breakfast daily, lunch day 2.
4 days from £683pp