Mayan stelae of Copan's rulers - Honduras

Copán Archaeological Site Ruins

Top choice in Copán Ruinas

One of the most important of all Maya civilizations lived, prospered, then mysteriously crumbled around the Copán archaeological ruins, a Unesco World Heritage Site. During the Classic period (AD 250–900), the city at Copán Ruinas culturally dominated the region. The architecture is not as grand as that across the border in Tikal, but the city produced remarkable sculptures and hieroglyphics, and these days you'll often be virtually alone at the site, which makes it all the more haunting.

The ruins are a pleasant 1km stroll outside of Copán. A visitors center, an excellent sculpture museum and a cafe and gift shop are close to the main entrance. The guides at the Asociación de Guías Copán really know their stuff and hiring one is a worthwhile investment.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Copán Ruinas attractions

2. Núñez Chinchilla

0.24 MILES

One hundred and fifty meters north of the Grand Plaza and included on the Copan site ticket, this interesting site of 23 residential structures was still…

3. Museo de Escultura

0.37 MILES

Copán is unique in the Maya world for its sculptures and some of the finest examples are on display at this impressive museum, which is fully signed in…

4. Los Sapos

0.64 MILES

The sapos (toads) are old Maya stone carvings, set along a hiking trail in the hills next to Hacienda San Lucas (they'll give you a map). The site is…

6. Museo Digital de Copán

0.96 MILES

This museum opened in late 2015 as a gift to the people of Copán from Japan and contains some interesting old photographs. The main reason to visit,…

7. Museo de Arqueología Maya

0.98 MILES

The Museo de Arqueología Maya is worth a visit. The exhibits include some of the best excavated ceramics, fragments from the altars and the supports of…

8. Memorias Frágiles

0.99 MILES

This fascinating photo exhibition was a gift from Boston's Peabody Museum; it features a collection of rare photos detailing the first archaeological…