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A Honduran Haven Offers History and Mystery

COPAN RUINAS – The journey from San Pedro Sula to Copán Ruinas is a trip back in time. You leave the noisy, bustling streets of a modern Central American city and head toward the land of the Maya. Along the side of the road, machete-wielding men rhythmically slice the roadside brush. Women haul bundles of newly felled firewood on their backs. Children scamper up steep dirt footpaths that disappear into the trees.

The road is a museum of the architecture of necessity. You pass mud-brick and thatch huts made of available materials and small cinder block stores with corrugated metal roofs and signs advertising Pepsi, comida and Alka-Seltzer. Cars and trucks barrel along, passing without regard for double yellow lines, oncoming traffic, and the bikes, people and animals on the sides of the road.

After about three hours, you reach Copán Ruinas, population 6,500, a charming town of adobe walls and red tile roofs located on the far western edge of the country. The air is cooler and drier. The noise of cars and crowds is replaced by the calls of unfamiliar birds.

Earlier this year, I brought nine students to this village of cobblestone streets and crowing roosters to spend three days visiting the nearby ancient Mayan archeological site and learning about travel writing. But somewhere between the stray dogs and the alluring hills, the beer and the baleadas, we fell in love with this laid-back town and its friendly residents.

The following articles and images by journalism students from Columbia College Chicago seek to capture the appeal of Copán Ruinas, a place of ancient ruins, modern ecotourism and enduring Honduran hospitality.

– – – Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin

The dogs of Honduras

A sacred place

The Mayan ruins

If you go

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