On the far side of the Río Copán from Copán Ruinas , on a bluff just about opposite the ruins, is one of Honduras ’s best ecolodges. Hacienda San Lucas (tel. 504/651-4495, www.haciendasanlucas.com , US$120 d) is a picturesque hacienda run by a charismatic owner, Flavia Cueva. Flavia is deeply committed to the nature, archaeology, and people of Copán, and uses the hacienda as a vehicle to preserve and support the community.
Electricity came to the nearby village just two years ago, and the painstakingly restored hacienda continues to make minimal use of it, relying instead on candles to light the eight guest rooms and dining area, and solar-generated electricity for the bathrooms. The kitchen, reception, and outdoor dining patio are in the original main house, while the guest rooms are in three bungalows surrounded by lush vegetation.
Rooms are simple but elegant, with cedar beds and locally made woven bedspreads. A hearty breakfast is included, but those in the know make sure to have at least one dinner on the property as well. The hacienda’s local Maya Chortí staff hand-grind and pat out tortillas, to serve with gourmet versions of traditional chicken and fish dishes in five-course meals.
The well-maintained trails in the surrounding hillsides are lovely for walking, and horseback rides can be arranged as well. A small Mayan archaeological site, Los Sapos , is on the hacienda property. Yoga and massages are also available (Hacienda San Lucas also offers a number of yoga retreats).
Day use of the property is $2, or come to enjoy a late-afternoon cocktail on the grassy knoll overlooking a corner of the ruins, and stay for the sumptuous dinner (be sure to make a reservation, preferably at least 24 hours in advance, or they may not be able to accommodate).
An easy walk outside of Copán Ruinas , Hacienda La Esperanza (tel. 504/651-4676, U.S. tel. 704/719-3886, www.haciendalaesperanza.org , US$75 s, US$87 d) is a homey hacienda-style bed-and-breakfast set up as a nonprofit for the Mayans of the area. All profits are channeled into a small clinic, with any surplus going to the local charity Paramedics for Children, which provides school supplies as well as medical assistance.
Commandingly situated on a hillside above the highway at kilometer marker 164 (about three kilometers from Copán Ruinas) is the large and somewhat nondescript Posada Real de Copán (tel. 504/651-4480, www.posadarealdecopan.com , US$87s, US$99 d). It is equipped with a sizable patio swimming pool, two bars, a not-so-highly-regarded restaurant (plan on eating in town), and a conference room; travelers in large groups seem to be the hotel’s primary clientele. The 80 rooms are spacious and nicely decorated, and each has air-conditioning, cable TV, and purified tap water. The hotel runs a shuttle bus to the ruins several times a day.