Honduras 2020 - Days 19-21 (Copan Ruinas)
Copan Ruinas is almost too quiet: I'm the only person in my 19-room hotel. When I go downstairs for my free breakfast every morning, the doors to the other rooms are open to be aired out. My door is the only one closed. I feel badly that the hotel staff has to make breakfast just for me. There are two breakfast options: a typico (eggs, refried beans, cheese, plantain, tortillas, coffee) and the Americano (eggs, toast with jam, fruit, coffee). I have the typico once but it's just too filling. Either way, my breakfast is ready ridiculously quickly every time.
I then head out to Cafe Welchez for an excellent cappucino and from there, I go to Via Via to set up my daytrip to a Macaw Sanctuary, Macaw Mountain. A tuk tuk drives me over and I refuse the driver's offer to pick me up later since I have no idea how long I'll be staying. The setting along the river is beautiful so I take my time, reading all the information signs and chatting with the birds. Most of the birds are former pets who need to be taught how to fend for themselves in the wild. I spend an hour visiting the different birds in their large enclosures and another hour sitting on a bench by the river reading a book before heading off to the area where I can interact with macaws.
My view from the bench where I sit to read.
I was a little worried about stressing this macaw by getting too close, but he seemed to take it all in stride.
All the visitors got to take pictures with the birds. I'd read on a blog that I should wear long sleeves and a baseball cap for just this moment, so I came prepared.
The caretaker in the interactive area explained that none of the macaws there know how to fly. The ones who interact with visitors don't exhibit any self injurious behaviors, but one of the macaws in the enclosure where I found this sign had plucked out numerous feathers. They breed the macaws and eventually release the babies at the site of the Mayan Ruins that I visited the day before. Little by little, the macaw population in the area is growing.
When I returned to the entrance, I asked if tuk tuks came by often and they told me I would need to walk down the road "to the bridge" to flag one down so I set out to find the bridge. I checked Google Maps when I reached it and realized I'd already walked 0.7 km, one third of the way back to my hotel, so I just kept walking. There's only one main road from Macaw Mountain back to Copan Ruinas and it's not a busy road so it was a pleasant walk and I got to see the rural areas and the outskirts of town.
Options are very limited for vegetarian food here but for supper I found good nachos at a place overlooking Parque Central. Twisted is on the second floor of a building with some tables having nice views of the street below.
I liked all the fresh tomato, peppers and onions on the chips, and the toppings included sour cream, guacamole, refried beans, salsa, and a jalapeno. I had a very good mojito with that!
After wandering around a bit, I found myself at the bottom of a very long set of steep stairs that I need to go up to get back to my hotel. This is a small fraction of the full set of stairs. I can already feel my legs getting stronger thanks to this visit.
The next day, I didn't have any plans because I wanted to spend some time catching up on my work. I sat at a table by the pool for some time but there were no plugs for my laptop and I eventually had to go work in my room. In the late afternoon, I headed out to the Tea and Chocolate Place. Their website recommends taking a tuk tuk over, but it was just 9 minutes from my hotel so I walked. I got to see more of the outskirts of town that way - many farm animals!
Unlike the macaws, this wee little guy was not impressed with my picture taking.
The Tea and Chocolate place is a beautiful spot, with tables and chairs in different areas - some with views of the sunset, some in a gorgeous garden. I had a cocoa tea and bought two chocolate bars, a dark one and a white one. The dark one is ok, not my favorite, and the white one lacks flavour which is disappointing.
After my tea, I headed back to town to find some supper. In a fit of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", I walked into a steakhouse and ordered a t-bone steak. The steak was good quality and well cooked but dear god, the vegetables... were cooked to within an inch of their lives. No wonder people don't appreciate broccoli and cauliflower if that's the way they cook them, I could have mashed them with a fork! I couldn't finish my veggies. Not suprisingly after a supper of steak and fries, I find myself tossing and turning at night. Not doing that again.
The next day the weather had become much cooler - a mere 19C with clouds and wind. I put on some light pants and a rain jacket and headed out for a horseback ride. My guide for this tour didn't speak any English but boy was he chatty. The problem is that the Spanish accent in Honduras is completely different from the Spanish accent in Guatemala. Guatemalans made me feel competent - I could understand over 90% of what people would say to me. In Honduras, I think I'm batting 30%. I can't tell you the number of times I had to resort to smiling and nodding my head, having absolutely no idea what my guide had just said to me. We rode along roads and trails for about two hours. There were a number of beautiful views that must look spectacular when the sun is shining - they certainly were quite impressive despite the clouds. I saw farms and a remote school, and a number of houses in the countryside. All in all, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Back in town, I bought another package of sliced mangoes and ended up eating chips and guacamole for supper. Excellent guacamole. I walked through Parque Central and, not for the first time this week, marveled at the fact that I was the only white chick in this busy park. It saddens me how few people from Canada, the US, and Europe are visiting here. There's so much to do, and I've felt perfectly safe the whole time. Well, there was one incident with a creepy guy who hit on me and then got angry when I walked away, but his friend spoke to me later and he was much more polite. In any case, I was annoyed by the behavior but never felt unsafe. My guide on the horseback riding tour told me there were far more tourists 10 years ago, but with the current political situation, people aren't visiting as much. I've seen tourists from other Latin American countries but even then, there aren't that many and certainly not enough to keep all the hotels and restaurants in business. Even though the food hasn't been spectacular like the food in Guatemala, I can definitely recommend Copan Ruinas as a place to visit. Just wait till I report back on Luna Jaguar, the thermal baths that I'll be visiting tomorrow!