The lights really went out in Copán on the second night after we arrived in Honduras. Dan and Kathy Chevalier (s/v Sea Star), John and Susie Gerber (p/v Cabaret), and Mikayla and I had spent half the day at the archeological ruins and had worked up a big appetite. A storm broke as we sipped cocktails on the rooftop terrace of the Garditas Maya Hotel and heard the snap, crackle and pop of a transformer shutting down. We split up into two tuk tuks and headed to Carnitas Nia Lola, the only restaurant in town with the good sense to own a generator. The tasty kebabs and cocktails made the rainy day blues go away.
The Picame Restaurant serves the best coffee, hands down, in Copán. The warm, energetic chef knows that the most important thing to do is to serve the coffee first and ask for orders later. His breakfast burrito covers an entire plate, and you’ll need every bite to keep up your stamina while touring the ruins.
A former resident of Roatán moved his rescued birds—lock, stock and wingtip—to Honduras a few years ago when tourists began to overrun the island. His collection started with 90 and now numbers about 170 birds including lorakeets, toucans and parrots. Macaws are the show stoppers in their red, yellow, magenta and blue finery. A tour guide will place two or three on a tourist’s head and arms for great photos to send home to mom and dad.
The Jaguar Spa lies about an hour away from Copán on a ride that grinds more than a dancer at Atlanta’s Cheetah Club. The spa does a good job of putting on a show by creating a variety of pools and tubs for soaking up the thermal springs. The mist wafts over carved Mayan heads and zoomorphs similar to those at the ruins. A swinging bridge leads visitors out of this otherworldly place and back to the natural heat of Guatemala.
Guatemalans have learned how to put on a good protest. They do it frequently and effectively by shutting down major highways with blockades and sit-ins. Since there are few highways and even fewer navigable side roads, the strikes can stop travel for hours. Our return trip from Copán took a couple of extra hours and five additional transfers as our bus line dropped us off on one side of the sit-in and picked us up on the other. The strike protested the low salary of teachers and many students were present to support their instructors.