Basecamp (tel. 504/651-4652, www.basecamphonduras.com), with its office at the Via Via Café and restaurant, organizes hiking trips, tours on off-road motocross motorcycles or on horseback, and shuttlebus service to Guatemala. Staff are very knowledgeable on the area and happy to answer questions and point do-it-yourselfers in the right direction. A unique two-hour city walk of the “real” Copán is just US$8 and includes a US$4 donation to an education project; a three-hour horseback tour is US$15, and longer hikes and motocross tours run US$30–40.
Yaragua Tours (tel. 504/651-4147, www.yaragua.com) also can organize a number of different excursions to destinations in the valley and surrounding hillsides, usually charging around US$15–25 per person, with a minimum of four people, for shorter trips to the hot springs, Hacienda San Lucas, or horseback riding, or more for longer trips to see nearby hilltop Mayan stelae or caves. Yaragua can organize an excursions to a Chortí Maya community, where visitors have the chance to pat out tortillas and shape clay pottery (US$25 pp), or trips tubing or kayaking on the Río Copán. Basecamp can also arrange all day or overnight trips to the Finca El Cisne coffee plantation, while Yaragua coordinates half-day visits to other coffee farms.
With its office right at the ruins, the Asociación de Guías Copán (tel. 504/651-4018, guiascopan [at] yahoo [dot] com) has the monopoly on tours at the park, but they also offer many more services, such as horseback rides to the Hacienda San Lucas and La Pintada (US$20 pp for 2–3 hours), guided tours to El Boquerón caves and El Rubí waterfall, and even guiding in places as far flung as La Ceiba and Guatemala. The guides are generally extremely knowledgeable, and many are multilingual (Spanish, English, French, and Italian are spoken).
Two of their guides, Yobani Peraza (tel. 504/9992-8792, guiamaya [at] yahoo [dot] com, speaks Spanish, English, and French) and Tito Ever Serrano (tel. 504/9967-6030, everserrano [at] yahoo [dot] com, speaks Spanish and French), can also provide transportation service throughout Central America, in SUVs and vans.
Another of the guides, Jorge Barraza (tel. 504/9873-9620, jorgearnaldo2001 [at] yahoo [dot] es, speaks Spanish and English), is a self-taught birder, and a genius at spotting motmots, toucanets, tanagers, orioles, and blue herons along the Río Copán, and even the occasional quetzal or trogon in remaining forests on nearby hilltops. Trips can be customized to fit energy level and types of birds you’d like to see, costing US$25–75 per person.
An equally renowned Honduran naturalist guide (and former Peace Corps volunteer) is Robert Gallardo (tel. 504/651-4133, rgallardo32 [at] gmail [dot] com), at the Enchanted Wings Butterfly House, who runs specialized trips for visitors on a quest to spot some of the 300 different species of vibrantly colorful birds living in the many microclimates and ecosystems in the hills and valleys around Copán.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition