Copan’s foundation was linked to its status as an archaeological center, wherein following discovery of the ruins, a village was formed to support archeological efforts. The municipality of Copan Ruinas was created on January 1, 1893, during the presidency of General Ponciano Leiva, under leadership of the first mayor, Indalecio Maria Guerra Portela.
Copán shares a northwest border with neighboring country Guatemala, and other established boundaries of Honduras: Ocotepeque (southern border), municipalities Santa Rita and Cabañas (eastern border) and El Paraíso (northeastern border).
In 1887, Copan Ruinas was designated as a branch under Santa Rita’s jurisdiction. Copan Ruinas officially became its own city under the request of its mayor, Juan Ramón Cueva Villamil, on February 21, 1942, according to the Decreto Legislativo Número 56 (56th Legislative Decree).
“The first place in the province of Honduras is called Copán; there are ruins and remains of a great population and of magnificent buildings such as those that had never before been so extraordinary engineered by the natives of that province, buildings of such art and lavishness by the bank of a beautiful river and well-placed, fertile fields ideal for fishing and hunting. In these ruins there are mountains that seem to have been made by hand and in them many things to note. Before reaching them is a very large stone in an eagle figure and made in his chest a picture of a rod of length containing certain letters that are not known to be.”
Description of Copan in a letter dated March 8, 1576, to the King of Spain, Felipe II, by Diego García de Palacios, member of the Royal Court of Guatemala.
Copan is a small and quiet city founded on the ruins of one of the most important Mayan settlements of the Classic period. In addition to its archaeological reputation, Copan Ruinas is also rich in natural resources making it an ideal location for eco tourism, trekking, hiking, observing flora and fauna, horseback riding, and visiting coffee farms and the surrounding Maya-Chorti villages.
In Copan, you can enjoy different activities that will make your stay pleasant; start by savoring a cup of hot coffee accompanied by a plentiful breakfast, and continue your day exploring the many exciting attractions that await you.