March 28-29, 2008
It was a long day of boring logistics getting to Copan Ruinas that included a ferry back to the mainland and a series of buses. The name of the town implied that it was the site of some ruins, but that wasn't strictly true. It was actually a pleasant, small place near the border with Guatemala with lots of actual living people.
The ruins after which the town was named were only a short walk away. People began inhabiting the site at least as far back as 1200 BC, and at the height of its existence, Copan supported about 20,000 people. Eventually, the population got out of control, cultural resources were strained, and people started starving. By 1200 AD the environment had been damaged so badly the last of the remaining farmers had to abandon the site and it was reclaimed by the jungle. It all sounded strangely familiar, but unfortunately our present day civilization can't simply get up and abandon the whole planet.
The ruins had a few pyramids and large buildings, but the most impressive part was the statues depicting Copan's past kings. They were scattered throughout the central courtyard, and some of them still even had the original paint. I was quite impressed by the hieroglyphic-like stories that were told by Copan's scholars. I had gotten ruined out in South America, but my first set of ruins in Central America have put me back on track.