Located north of the Río Florida valley on the banks of the Río Chinamito, two kilometers north of the Río Chamelecón junction, the modest Mayan ruins at El Puente (8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, US$3) were first visited by an archaeologist in 1935, when Danish explorer Jens Yde drew a detailed map of the structures. El Puente then received little attention until 1984, when the Japanese Overseas International Cooperation Agency began work on the site in an effort to create a second archaeological attraction in Honduras  (thus the anomalous exhibit on Japan at the visitors center).
Of more than 600 sites identified in the La Venta and Florida valleys, only El Puente has been thoroughly excavated and studied. It is thought to have originally been an independent Mayan city-state at the far southeastern periphery of the Mayan zone, trading with the Maya of Guatemala and Copán  and also with other Mesoamerican groups farther south and east. By the time of the Classic Maya, A.D. 550–800, El Puente had become a satellite of the opulent, powerful dynasty at Copán.
Because it does not have the incredible artwork of Copán, El Puente does not see even a fraction of the tourists of its more famous neighbor. As a result, it makes for a quiet, relaxing side trip on a journey between Copán and the north coast , if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare.
The 210 known structures at El Puente cover two square kilometers, but only the main group has been restored. Generally oriented east to west, the main group has five well-defined plazas and is dominated by Structure 1, an 11-meter pyramid with six platforms, thought to have been a funerary temple.
Other buildings of note include Structure 10, a long pyramid on the south side of Structure 1 that holds an ornate burial chamber, and Structure 3, a pyramid complex whose south staircase holds an example of an alfarda, an inclined plane of decorative stonework. Tunnels on the top of Structure 10 and on the side of Structure 3 allow visitors access into both of these buildings.
At the entrance to the site is a small museum with displays on the site itself and on Mayan culture in general, with descriptions in Spanish only.
From the museum, it’s about a one-kilometer walk down a shady dirt road to the ruins, which are set amid grassy fields at the edge of a small river. Although the main buildings don’t take long to admire, the location is a pleasant place to relax or have a picnic. A nature trail runs through a small wooded area, and you can also take a dip in the river to cool off.
El Puente is in the municipality of La Jigua, six kilometers from the La Entrada–Copán Ruinas highway on a newly paved road. The turnoff is at La Laguna, where you can catch a ride with a passing pickup truck to the ruins for US$1 or so. This road continues past El Puente to a lonesome stretch of the Guatemalan border. Traffic is fairly regular but not always frequent—better in the morning.
A return ride can often be found with trucks carrying workers from the site back to La Entrada . A taxi from La Entrada costs US$12–15 round-trip, with a couple of hours at the ruins.