The Maya Ruins of Copan is typically what brings tourists to this remote area of Western Honduras. But as long as you have gone to the trouble to get there, you might just as well unpack and stay a while as the city of Copan Ruinas is a lovely town. And as long as you’re staying for more than the night, you should take the time to venture out to Macaw Mountain.
Only 3 km, or 6 minutes via mototaxi (tuk-tuk) from the central square, nestled in a small canyon on ten heavily forested acres, is this multi-faceted eco-tourism project. The park provides visitors an opportunity to see the exotic tropical birds of Honduras and a natural botanical garden of native plants and towering hardwood trees. While the temperatures may be hot on the day of your visit, in this little oasis, it’s cool, comfortable and refreshing.
The park has a collection of Honduran and Central American macaws, toucans and parrots that have been recovered from captivity. All the birds are carefully maintained and can fly freely in large naturally planted aviaries. I would never claim to be the biggest bird watcher in the world but these birds are just stunning and we couldn’t stop marveling at their colorful presence. The birds’ beauty, however, is rivaled by the array of tropical plants that line the walkways. The entire park is truly magnificent.
With a strong eco-educational component, trails are dotted with information boards that are in both Spanish and English. There is also an extensive exhibit that considers the relationship between the ancient Maya of Copan and the birds, particularly the magnificent Scarlet Macaw. This exhibit is in an interactive area where uncaged birds are available to photograph and interact with park guests.
The facilities at Macaw Mountain are first class. There is a restaurant, beautifully situated stream side, which offers full lunches. In addition to the restaurant, there is a coffee house with a perfect setting to relax and enjoy some freshly brewed Mirmundo Coffee, coffee that has been grown, harvested and roasted on the park’s coffee plantation. And, of course, there is a gift shop. While we did not partake of lunch on either of our two visits, we did enjoy a coffee granita (frozen coffee drink) at the coffee house.
Macaw Mountain is open everyday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This beauty does not come cheap, however, with a price tag of $10.00 per person. To help defray the cost they do allow you to use your ticket again within three days, however, realistically speaking, how many travelers are actually going to come back. But even with the high price, I think a trip to Macaw Mountain is well worth your time.