Copan is a town in the northwestern corner of Honduras where there once was a thriving Mayan culture along the Copan River. It is a great place to visit featuring hot springs, a wonderful bird sanctuary, and of course, the Mayan Ruins. In addition, the charming village itself is not to be missed. You can stroll the cobblestone streets for shopping and dining or just relax with a book in the beautiful plaza in the center of town.
There are two ways to get from Roatan to the mainland. You can fly or take the ferry. This article will focus on the ferry as it is the most economical. The Roatan Ferry (Galaxy Wavey) makes two roundtrips daily. Roatan departures are at 7:00 am and 2:00 pm. It is recommend that you check-in one hour before departure to check luggage and purchase tickets. The ferry crossing takes about 70-75 minutes. One way fare from Roatan to La Ceiba is L 524 (about US $30) or you can get a First Class ticket for five or six dollars more (L 624). Roundtrip tickets are available but cost the same.
First class means you get to sit inside instead of outside on the deck. Deck seating is covered and comfortable so unless it is raining, there is no need to pay extra for 'first class.' Advance reservations are not necessary so you can decide whether to sit inside or out at your time of departure. Taking the morning ferry will result in the best options for further travel once you reach the mainland. If you take the afternoon ferry, you will have to spend the night in La Ceiba or San Pedro Sula before continuing on the Copan. The ocean ferry crossing can be rough depending on the weather bu most people will tell you a bumpy ride is more likely on the afternoon trip.
Once you arrive in La Ceiba and disembark at the ferry terminal, you can grab a taxi to the bus terminal for about L 30 ($1.60) per person. There are several bus options available. The two most economical are Catipsa Tupsa and Diana Express. These are comparable services featuring buses that are much like old Greyhound buses in the USA and the fare is approximately L100 (about $5) from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula. Executive first class is available from Hedman Atlas (air conditioned buses, bathrooms on board, service attendants, movies, etc) but is much more expensive. For schedules and prices check their website (www.RoatanFerry.com).
We took the morning ferry which put us in La Ceiba in plenty of time to make our 9:00 am bus connection to San Pedro Sula. We opted for the Catisa Tupsa bus, although there is not much difference between this service and Diana Express. Both buses had the same fare, left about the same time, and made the same rest stop halfway to San Pedro Sula at a very nice terminal with food and clean bathrooms. Once we purchased our tickets and made ourselves comfortable on the bus, there were many street vendors who came on the bus to offer us drinks, candy, sandwiches, etc for very reasonable prices. There were also many 'fast food and novelty' stands in the general boarding area where you could buy travel supplies including a meal.
We arrived in San Pedro Sula at about 1:30 pm at the huge bus terminal which is more like a shopping mall than a bus terminal. Disembarking from the bus and entering the terminal we were met by representatives of other bus lines, taxi services, etc. who offered us various options for continuing on to Copan. We decided on the Cassarola Bus with a fare of L110 (about $6) to Copan. It left San Pedro Sula around 3:00 pm arriving in Copan that evening. At this terminal there were no vendors who came on the bus to sell us refreshments. This was probably due to the fact that you could get anything you wanted inside the massive mall-like terminal. However, once on the bus as the trip to Copan unfolded, there were many vendors who came on the bus at various stops along the way with fruit, candy, gum, soda, local food, etc.
We arrived in Copan about 7:00 pm and had no trouble finding a hotel. We stayed at the Hotel Majenny which was clean and pleasant for L 100 ($5) per person per night. The hotel included internet access, hot water, air conditioning, etc. It also had a small restaurant in the lobby for coffee and a bite to eat as well as soda, beer and water.
It was a full day of travel. We had to get up about 5:00 am to get ourselves to the ferry dock, catch the ferry and head for the mainland. The day didn't end until we finally hit our pillows about 8:00 that evening in Copan but it was a very interesting trip providing us a unique look into a much different culture in Honduras than we usually experience on Roatan. We spent several days enjoying Copan and even ducked over to Guatemala for a couple of days. Copan is very close to the border with Guatemala and you can get a little bus ride to “La Frontera” for L 20 (about $1). As noted previously, Copan has much to offer and don't forget to grab a few pounds of their delicious locally grown coffee. There are coffee plantation tours, hot springs, the bird sanctuary, the ruins, and much more.
Hope you will go and enjoy!
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