FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More
Enchanted Wings Butterfly Garden. Here's the place to learn everything you've always wanted to know about butterflies. You'll see more activity if you visit in the morning. You can take a guided tour, or use the laminated cards provided that illustrate the species you'll see. The attraction was set up by a former Peace Corps volunteer, and these folks also operate an on-site botanical garden with some 200 species of orchids. Locals refer to the place as the mariposario (butterfly garden). Outside of Copán Ruinas on road to El Florido, Copán Ruinas. 651–4133. L115; children under 12, L50. Daily 8–4:30.
Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve. has extensive aviaries and birding facilities, as well as 20 species of rescued birds, primarily Central American macaws, toucans and parrots. (There just might be a special place in heaven for these folks for the good work they do.) Particularly interesting is the exhibit explaining the relationship the Maya had to birds. There are handicap-accessible trails and walkways, too. The on-site restaurant is operated by Twisted Tanya's in town and has a similar eclectic menu. Incidentally, everybody around here refers to the complex as simply "the Bird Park." 2½ km north of Copán Ruinas, Copán Ruinas. 651–4245. www.macawmountain.com. $10. Daily 9–5.
Copán Coffee Tour. The Copán Coffee Tour is presented by the owners of the Hotel Marina Copán. Transportation to the finca is provided from Copán Ruinas in a traditional baronesa (a covered wagon) reminiscent of those used by plantation workers, but which today is pulled by a truck rather than oxen or horses. The four-hour tour includes a steep climb in elevation. Luckily, visitors are carried by a tractor most of the distance. See how coffee is cultivated in the highlands, then return to the finca to see how it is processed in the wet warehouse, the dry warehouse, and the roasters. At the end of the tour, a delicious meal is served (lunch, brunch, or breakfast). If you don't make it for the tour, you can still sample the coffee at Cafe Welchez, open daily 6 am to 10 pm, right next door to the Hotel Marina Copán on Parque Central. Finca Santa Isabel, Copán Ruinas. 651–4202. www.cafehonduras.com. $30 (includes breakfast or lunch). Tours daily at 9 and 2.
Finca El Cisne. A century-old ranch about 45 minutes north of town makes for a relaxing day of horseback riding, hiking, and soaking in the on-site thermal springs. You can also learn about the coffee, cardamom, and cocoa production that goes on here. Admission price is $59, but for not much more (a total of $77) you can take part in all the activities here and stay at the adobe guesthouse. 24 km (16 mi) north of Copán Ruinas, Copán Ruinas. 651–4695. www.fincaelcisne.com. $59; round-trip transportation $5; children under 12, free. Daily 8–6.
Honduras Canopy Tours. Zip-line excursions originated in Costa Rica and are cropping up all over Central America. Copán's very own entry into the field at the entrance to Hacienda San Lucas lets you glide through the air, courtesy of a series of cables and a very secure harness. 1½ km (1 mi) south of Copán Ruinas, Copán Ruinas. 651–4105. $35.
Luna Jaguar Spa Resort. This is a newly built facility on the hot springs outside of Copán Ruinas. The resort offers spa treatments and bathing in their beautiful pools and gardens. The natural thermal waters run down a mountainside and into a river that runs hot and cold. There are several smaller bathing facilities in the area as well. 20 km outside of Copán Ruinas, Copán Ruinas. 651–4746. www.lunajaguar.com. Prices vary for spa treatments, massage is $35/45 minutes. Park entrance is $10. Daily 10–5.