The roads are made of stone. Honduran men stroll casually through the streets. Shielded from the searing sun, their machetes swing step by step, in and out of the circle of shade offered by their cowboy hats. In the center of this charming city there is a gathering point. A small water fountain sits like one of the nearby Mayan ruins- dry but not abandoned. It is surrounded with life: a mother resting while her children race through the square, a young man leaning on his tuk-tuk taxi while potential customers wander by, an occasional passing bell jingling from carts that carry cold ice cream treats for anyone interested.

The air is warm and humid. The sky hints of rain. In this section of town, my eyes are constantly drawn to the strong white Catholic church that watches over the square, while the streets on either side offer their own intrigue. One is lined with restaurants, from street carts to sit down. The other, where the tuk-tuks linger, is less noticeable, but with a bit of waiting a small entrance takes attention. A crowd swells and shrinks, one by one they enter empty handed and exit with small black bags. There are no tickets to go in, no secret code. The only secret is pausing long enough to notice it. I approach, step around and over young girls selling corn tortillas. Then like passing though a C.S. Lewis wardrobe, I enter a world much more vibrant than its door. Bright bananas, ripe red tomatoes, prickly pineapples-everything local and priced to sell.

Copan is enchanting. However, it’s not the reason most people visit. The main reason most people come to this area is tucked twelve walking minutes from town. The reason is the ruins.

Copan's Ruins

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