How to Get From Guatemala to Copan Ruinas, Honduras

Are you trying to get from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas in Honduras? It’s pretty common to add on a visit to Copan from Guatemala – seeing as it’s only a short 20 minute drive from the Guatemala Honduras border.

Whether you want to visit Copan via an organized tour, or travel by public bus like we did, everything you need to know is in this article.

Personally, Dan and I wanted to travel from Guatemala to Honduras by public transport, which is how we’ve done almost all our Latin America border crossings.

To my knowledge, this is the first and only article detailing travel from Guatemala to Copan by public transport (besides an extremely old and somewhat inaccurate Tripadvisor thread, which is all the information we had to go off of when we traveled this route!). I’m writing this article so you don’t have to wing it as much as we did.

NOTE | I traveled from Guatemala to Copan in 2023, and have updated this article for 2024. If you find this guide helpful, please comment below with any changes or updates! Together, we can help future travelers navigate the Guatemala Honduras border safely.

Do you need to get from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas in Honduras? This Guatemala to Honduras border crossing guide will teach you exactly how.
The Copan Ruins!! Well worth the trip from Guatemala to Honduras!

Why Visit Copan Ruinas From Guatemala?

Copan Ruinas is a quaint little town in northern Honduras, home to some famous Mayan ruins (a UNESCO site).

This town is only 10 km from the border with Guatemala! That’s why many people pair a visit to Copan with a trip to Guatemala (however, I believe Honduras has a LOT to offer tourists, and recommend spending more time in the country if you can).

Most people travel to Copan Ruinas for the Mayan ruins, but the town itself is also worth some time. You can see rehabilitating scarlet macaws (or catch them in the wild at the ruins!), eat and drink local chocolate at the Tea and Chocolate Place, take a day trip to a hot springs spa, and more.

SAFETY | Is Copan Ruinas safe? I’ll address this first because I know it’s on your mind! Honduras gets a bad rep for safety overall, but the town of Copan Ruinas itself is very safe for both tourists and locals. We walked miles around town, and even walked around at night, and felt totally safe.

How to Get From Guatemala to Copan Ruinas: Tour, Shuttle, Hedman Alas, or Public Bus

When planning your route from Guatemala to Copan, you actually have quite a few options how you will get there.

The main ways to travel from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas include:

  • Organized tour: If you’re up for a long day trip or a 2-3 day trip, and don’t want to travel elsewhere in Honduras, you could visit Copan Ruinas via an organized tour from Guatemala.
  • Shuttle: There are many different shuttle companies that run the route from Guatemala to Copan. I give recommendations on companies further down this post.
  • Hedman Alas bus: Unfortunately this international bus company’s service between Guatemala and Honduras is currently suspended (2024).
  • Public transport: Going by public transport (a combo of minivans and chicken buses) is BY FAR the cheapest way to travel from Guatemala to Copan and the best option for backpackers. This is what Dan and I did, and I’ve written detailed step-by-step instructions further down this article.

Keep reading because I go into depth on each option below.

Guatemala to Honduras Border Crossing: El Florido

First, you should know a bit about the border crossing involved in this route. There are two main border crossings that tourists use from Guatemala to Honduras.

Guatemala to Honduras border crossing locations:

  • El Florido: This is the border crossing just 10 km from Copan Ruinas, that you will use when traveling from Guatemala to Copan, Honduras.
  • Corinto: Eastern border crossing, which connects Rio Dulce and Livingston, Guatemala to La Ceiba (and the Bay Islands), Honduras.

When you travel to Copan Ruinas, whether by an organized tour, shuttle, or public transport like we did, you HAVE to cross the El Florido border.

RETURNING TO GUATEMALA VIA CORINTO | If you want to extend your time in Honduras with a visit to the Bay Islands like we did, then check out my guide to the La Ceiba to Rio Dulce border crossing for the way back.

How the El Florido Border Crossing Works

I go in depth about what to expect in my detailed border crossing instructions further down this post, but here is an “abridged” version of what will happen.

What to expect at the Guatemala to Honduras border:

  1. Health check (vaccine card and yellow fever card)
  2. Exit Guatemala
  3. Enter Honduras and pay $3 USD / 25 GTQ entry tax
  4. Change money to Honduran Lempiras (HNL)
  5. Onward travel to Copan Ruinas
A lage weathered sign that says El Florido.
The El Florido border sign.

Honduaras Entry Requirements

You need to do some preparation for this border crossing. Being prepared is REALLY important when entering Honduras, because their entry requirements are more complicated than any other country in Central America, in my experience.

Honduras entry travel requirements include:

  • Honduras pre-check form: Before entering Honduras, you need to fill our their online pre-check form. You can do so on the official site here. Please read my section about the pre-check form below because this can be a little complicated!
  • Yellow fever vaccine card: We were asked to show our yellow fever vaccine card at Honduras immigration. I found this interesting because a yellow fever vaccine is not technically required if you are traveling from Guatemala (a low risk country) to Honduras. However, a yellow fever vaccine IS required if you’re traveling directly from a high risk country. We’d been in some high risk countries in the prior year (Peru, Ecuador, Panama, and Colombia) so maybe that’s why we were asked. In any case, I would be cautious and have your vaccine card handy for this border (or get the vaccine before your trip).
  • Check health requirements: As you probably know, things are constantly changing regarding COVID-19 travel rules. You should check your country’s embassy page for the most reliable information.
  • Days remaining on CA-4 visa: Honduras is a member of the CA-4 visa (along with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua). You have 90 days across all member countries. If you’re traveling from Guatemala to Honduras, you’ve already used up some days and they will definitely check this.
  • Six-months passport validity: It’s always good to have a minimum of six months of passport validity and at least two empty passport pages before you cross any international border. Some countries turn you away without this.

A Note About the Honduras Pre-Check Form

A completed Honduras pre-check form is technically a requirement to enter Honduras. You can make an account and complete your form here.

If you are traveling by organized tour or shuttle, chances are the company will do this form for you. If you travel independently by Hedman Alas bus or public transport like we did, then you need to do this form yourself.

HOWEVER! The pre-check form website is VERY glitchy and slow. My advice is to give yourself AT LEAST 72 hours in advance of your border crossing to make your account, due to possible delays.

What Happened to Us

When we did this border crossing, we tried to make a pre-check account the night before. However we were never sent an email to confirm our email addresses, and therefore we couldn’t make an account or fill out the form!

We tried this with SIX different email addresses, and even emailed their help department who just said “try again during the day” (which didn’t work).

Long story short, we were able to get through Honduras immigration without the pre-check form (we had to fill it out once we were there) but it was stressful. So if you are in the same situation as us, you’ll most likely be okay.

(Ironically, exactly five minutes after getting into Honduras, guess what popped into our email inbox? Yup, the email confirmation.)

This is the error message we kept seeing on the pre-check web page. In order to create an account, we needed to confirm our email address. However we never got the confirmation email!!
This is the confirmation email we FINALLY got nearly 24 hours later… notice the time stamp on the screen shot: 2:48pm. Literally minutes after we’d past through Honduras immigration (luckily, they let us by without the pre-check form!!).

Where to Begin Your Journey in Guatemala

Your first step when traveling from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas is to decide where to begin your journey in Guatemala. Below, I’ve shared everything you need to know about transport to Copan from Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan, Flores, and Rio Dulce.

Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas

You can travel from Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas by public transport (this is the only departure point for that), Hedman Alas bus (currently suspended however), organized tour, or shuttle.

Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas by Public Transport

If you want to travel from Guatemala to Copan the cheapest possible way, by public transport, then your ONLY choice is to start your journey in Guatemala City.

The route on public transport from Guatemala City to Copan goes roughly like this:

  • Uber to centra norte bus station
  • Rutas Orientales bus to Chiquimula
  • Mini shuttle to El Florido (via Jocotan)
  • Border crossing
  • Mini shuttle to Copan Ruinas

This is what Dan and I did and I share our step-by-step directions (with prices and times) further down this post.

Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas by Hedman Alas Bus – Temporarily Suspended

Unfortunately, Hedman Alas suspended their international bus route from Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas in 2020 – although this isn’t clear anywhere online. I messaged with them when we traveled in 2024 and the route is still closed with no plans for a reopening date.

If you want to check the status yourself, send them a Whatsapp at +50494413276.

Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas by Shuttle

There are a couple shuttle companies that will take you from Guatemala City directly to Copan. Of course, this option is more expensive than public transport.

Shuttles from Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas, Honduras:

Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas by Organized Tour

There are also some organized tours that could pick you up at your accommodation in Guatemala City and transport you directly to Copan for either one or two day trips.

Organized tours from Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas, Honduras:

Important: Where to Stay in Guatemala City

Most tourists don’t spend time in Guatemala City, so you may be overwhelmed planning a night here before your border crossing. I know I was.

Guatemala City is a HUGE city and there are some unsafe areas that you want to avoid staying: zonas 18, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 17, 19, 21, 24, and Villa Nueva.

Personally, we stayed at an Airbnb in Zona 4. I won’t recommend the Airbnb itself as we had a bad experience with the host, but the location was perfect and felt very safe.

Hostal Tequila Sunrise is a really well-rated hostal that was just a one minute walk from where we stayed. They have both private and dorm rooms. I highly recommend staying there or somewhere very close by.

From that location, we could walk two minutes to La Torre Quo for great grocery shopping, ordered the best flat white we’d had in six months from Mano’s Coffee, and ordered Uber Eats to our apartment fast and cheap.

A hostel room with two orange beds. There is a sign on the far wall that says Tequila sunrise.
A private room at Hostal Tequila Sunrise. Photo credit: Booking.
A white to-go cup that says Man's Coffee quality and passion on it.
Best flat white I’d had in months!!
Inside of a small coffee shop.
Mano’s Coffee in Guatemala City is a cute cafe steps from Hostal Tequila Sunrise with genuinely good coffee.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas

Antigua is probably the most popular place in Guatemala for tourists to visit. You can travel from Antigua to Copan Ruinas by Hedman Alas bus (currently suspended however), organized tour, or shuttle.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas by Hedman Alas Bus – Temporarily Suspended

Unfortunately, Hedman Alas also suspended their international bus route from Antigua to Copan Ruinas in 2020. Again, this isn’t clear anywhere else online. I messaged with them when we traveled and the route is still closed with no plans for a reopening date.

If you want to check the status yourself, send them a Whatsapp at +50494413276.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas by Shuttle

Antigua is the place to be if you want to travel by shuttle. There are many shuttles that depart from Antigua to Copan, but note that they don’t all run daily.

Shuttles from Antigua to Copan Ruinas, Honduras:

  • Guatemala Transportation: 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) or 12pm shuttle Antigua – Copan (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). $50 USD per person.
  • Adrenalina Tours: 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday only). $50 USD per person.
  • Gekko Trails Explorer: 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan (three days a week, but their website doesn’t specify which days… send them a message). $40 USD per person.
  • Marvelus Bookings: 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). $50 USD per person.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas by Organized Tour

If you prefer the comfort and convenience of an organized tour, and don’t want to travel elsewhere in Honduras, then you have a few options departing from Antigua.

Organized tours from Antigua to Copan Ruinas, Honduras:

  • Copan Ruins Overnight Trip from Antigua: A 2-day trip from Antigua to Copan and back, including a guided tour of the Mayan ruins, entry to Macaw Mountain Bird Park, and breakfast.
  • Copan & Quirigua 2-Day Tour from Antigua: This private 2-day tour takes you through two Mayan kingdoms: Copan Ruins in Honduras and Quiriguà in the Guatemalan Caribbean. It includes a tour guide, all border fees, meals, and a hotel stay in Honduras.
  • Copan Day Trip from Antigua: This day trip from Antigua to Copan and back includes hotel pick up in Antigua, entry and a guided tour of the ruins, and breakfast in Guatemala.
  • Private Day Tour to Copan Ruinas from Antigua: A day trip from Antigua to Copan Ruinas, including hotel pick up, a guided tour of the Mayan ruins, and lunch in Copan.

Antigua to Copan Ruinas by Public Transport

It’s not possible to travel from Antigua to Copan by public transport, at least not in one day. There’s simply not enough time.

If you’re a backpacker wanting to go by public transport, I recommend taking the chicken bus from Antigua to Guatemala City and stay the night at Hostal Tequila Sunrise, before following my directions below for Guatemala City to Copan.

Lake Atitlan to Copan Ruinas

If you’re visiting Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, then you may be wondering if there’s a way to travel directly from Lake Atitlan to Copan, Honduras. Unfortunately, this route is pretty convoluted, and I wouldn’t recommend it. It is only possible by shuttle.

Lake Atitlan to Copan Ruinas by Shuttle

Currently, there are two shuttles that operate between Panajachel (the main town on Lake Atitlan) and Copan. However, they both involve spending one night in Antigua along the way, for which you need to organize your own hotel.

Shuttles from Panajachel to Copan, Honduras:

  • Guatemala Transportation: 4pm shuttle Panajachel – Antigua. Overnight in Antigua (hotel not included). 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan. $65 USD per person + price of Antigua hotel. Not daily – contact them to schedule.
  • Atitlan Tours: 4pm shuttle Panajachel – Antigua. Overnight in Antigua (hotel not included). 4am shuttle Antigua – Copan. $70 USD per person + price of Antigua hotel. Not daily – contact them to schedule.

Personally, I recommend planning your Guatemala itinerary so you have a couple days in either Antigua or Guatemala City before traveling from Guatemala to Copan.

Flores to Copan Ruinas

Flores, located in northeast Guatemala, is the jumping-off point for another set of Mayan ruins: Tikal. It’s more popular for people to travel over the border to Belize from here.

However, if you’re on a Mayan ruins-themed vacation, then you may be wondering if there’s any way to get from Flores, Guatemala to Copan, Honduras.

Unfortunately, I can’t find any straightforward way to get from Flores to Copan (they are quite far apart, after all).

This is the best route for travel from Flores to Copan:

Rio Dulce to Copan Ruinas

Rio Dulce is a (slightly) under-the-radar destination in eastern Guatemala. It’s quite close to the Honduras border at La Corinto. A lot of people travel from Rio Dulce to/from La Ceiba (and then on to the beautiful Bay Islands of Utila and Roatan).

Due to the geography and layout of highways, it’s not nearly as popular a route to travel from Rio Dulce to Copan. In fact, I can’t find any shuttles on this route. Your best bet is to either travel back to Guatemala City via shuttle, or to take a detour to the Bay Islands first!

How to Get From Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas Using Public Transport

If you’re a backpacker or just a traveler looking to save some cash and travel in a more authentic way, then the rest of this post is for you!

Below are the detailed instructions of how you can also travel from Guatemala to Copan by public transport, based on our experience.

1. Uber to Centra Norte Bus Terminal

Your first step will be to get to the Centra Norte bus terminal, and the easiest way is by Uber. However be warned that Ubers in Guatemala City tend to cancel frequently, and there’s also hella traffic, so give yourself plenty of time to spare.

Our day started at 6:25am when we tried to order an Uber from our Airbnb in Zona 4. (You should stay at Hostal Tequila Sunrise instead – it was steps from our Airbnb. We hated our Airbnb due to an awful host but this location is absolutely ideal).

Unfortunately, the Ubers just kept canceling. FINALLY we got an Uber at 7:10am. The drive was supposed to be 25 minutes, but with traffic we didn’t arrive at Centra Norte until 7:55am, missing the 7:45am bus (or so we thought…. read on).

Moral of the story: order your Uber with PLENTY of time, at least 1.5 hours before your bus departs…

Cost: 61 GTQ / $7.80 USD total (~$3.90 USD per person)

Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Tequila Sunrise – this is my recommended place for travelers to stay in Guatemala City.
A large set of stairs inside a bus terminal.
The inside of the Centra Norte bus station.

2. Buy Rutas Orientales Bus Ticket to Chiquimula

Once at the Centra Norte bus terminal, the next step is to find the Rutas Orientales desk and buy a ticket to the town of Chiquimula.

The bus station itself is like a huge shopping mall and surprisingly nice (I’d been worried because it’s located quite close to Zona 18, which is the most dangerous zone in Guatemala City, however we felt safe inside the terminal). The Rutas Orientales desk is toward the back of the station and has a huge sign.

We bought our tickets to Chiquimula, knowing we’d missed the 7:45am bus and fully expecting to have to wait until 9:45am. We were shocked when they said we were just in time for the 8am bus!

Lucky for us, the timetables on the Rutas Orientales website, and even on the ticket counter, are incorrect. I have no idea what the correct times are, only that a bus left at 8am.

I advise you to disregard any timetables online, and send a Whatsapp to Rutas Orientales at +502 2326 3200 to ask about the correct times on your date of travel.

Cost: 85 GTQ / $10.85 USD per person – note that this is about twice as expensive as we were expecting based on the old Tripadvisor thread…

Time: 5 minutes

A seating area in a bus terminal under a red and white sign that says Rutas Orientales.
Look for this sign for Rutas Orientales in the bus station.
A red timetable.
This is the bus timetable from Guatemala City to Chiquimula, that is displayed on the Rutas Orientales website AND their counter at the Centra Norte station. However I believe it’s INCORRECT, because there was an 8am departure on the date we traveled. Don’t rely on this timetable – message them instead.

3. Take Bus Guatemala City – Chiquimula

We loaded onto the Rutas Orientales bus to Chiquimula around 8am and left at 8:10am. Before we boarded, we stowed our big backpacks in the hold below, and had our small backpacks briefly searched.

This part of the journey is on a proper bus (not a chicken bus) with assigned seating. The whole journey took about 3.5 hours and we arrived to Chiquimula around 11:30am.

I recommend that you keep an eye on the clock and on your location on Google Maps, because the Chiquimula stop was not nearly as obvious as I thought it would be. It’s just a small parking spot on the side of the road and most other people actually stayed on the bus here.

Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

A white, gold, and red bus that says Rutas Orientales on the front.
The Rutas Orientales bus we took from Guatemala City to Chiquimula.
A Guatemalan bus ticket for seats 14 and 15.
Our bus tickets.

4. Find Bus to El Florido

This next part was the most confusing for us on our whole journey from Guatemala City to Copan. Based on the old Tripadvisor thread, we’d been expecting an actual bus station with some obvious mini shuttles that advertised “El Florido / La Frontera.” Instead, we were just on the side of the road in a smallish town crowded with moped traffic jams and people selling produce.

We went into the nearby Rutas Orientales storefront and they told us to go to this location to find a shuttle to the border. They said it would be green. (Note: we also used the bathroom by the Rutas Orientales shop for 2 GTQ each. It’s the only bathroom for a while).

Then, we walked to the spot on the map (linked above) which is near the central park. To get there, we had to walk along a busy road through a market area with tons of raw meat, produce, and various people yelling at us to get on their buses.

Where We Went Wrong

We weren’t seeing any buses that were green or said El Florido, and it was this point that we realized we were in some small town in Nowhere, Guatemala and our only information to back up this life choice was a 6-year old Tripadvisor thread, LOL. So… we started second guessing ourselves, which was a mistake.

Some guy came up and said “El Florido,” and tried to get us on his shuttle. It was a dark bluish-green that said Chiquimula-Jocotan on the windshield. Not El Florido. However, he kept insisting that it would go through to El Florido.

We decided to go for it as we didn’t see much alternative. We had a feeling we were being ripped off when we had to pay 50 GTQ per person, whereas the locals were only paying about 10 GTQ (and the Tripadvisor thread had said 25 GTQ…). They also made us pay immediately, whereas the locals paid later when they got off the bus. Major scam vibes.

Later, as we were driving, we saw some buses that were white and green (yes, definitely green, not bluish-green!), that said Chiquimula – Jocotan – ElFlorido on their windshields. This is obviously the bus we should’ve boarded.

What You Should Do Instead

What we discovered is that the drive from Chiquimula to the El Florido border passes through the town of Jocotan. Every mini shuttle will pass through Jocotan, but some go straight on to the border whereas others will stop in Jocotan, necessitating a transfer to yet another shuttle.

My recommendation to you is to keep walking to this location by the central park in Chiquimula and ignore all the touts. Look for the white and green bus that clearly says El Florido on the windshield.

If you do have to get on a bus to Jocotan, that’s okay. It’s just less convenient (and I’ll describe our transfer below).

You should definitely NOT have to pay more than 50 GTQ (I bet you can get it for much cheaper – if you do, please comment below and update us!).

Cost: 50 GTQ / $6.38 USD per person

Time: 45 minutes in Chiquimula

A white and green bus that says Chiquimula - Jocotan - El Florido on the windshield.
THIS is what the bus you should board in Chiquimula looks like. It is white with bright green strips, and the windshield should say Chiquimula – Jocotan – El Florido. If it doesn’t say El Florido, it’s not going all the way to the border.

5. Take Bus Chiquimula – El Florido (Alternatively: Transfer in Jocotan)

After the chaos in Chiquimula, we boarded the mini shuttle around 12:15pm. The journey was cramped and hot, and took about 45 minutes.

We arrived in Jocotan around 1pm, and again it was chaos. The scammer had told us the bus would go straight to the border, but that was obviously not the case.

Instead, we got scurried off the shuttle. Dan got passed his big backpack (which had been tied to the roof), whereas my big backpack was handed to some random guy (??) who then started running down the street with it over his head, darting between tuktuks. Obviously, I ran after him.

He took us to a green and white mini shuttle, this one advertising that it went to El Florido. Luckily, he talked to the driver and we didn’t have to pay again.

This part of the journey took about 40 minutes and we finally arrived at the border around 1:40pm.

Cost: –

Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

The inside of a van with Guatemalans sitting inside.
The inside of our van on the way to Jocotan.
A white and green mini bus.
After we transferred in Jocotan, this is the bus we took to the border. Ideally, you should get on a bus that looks like this to start with, back in Chiquimula.

6. Health Check

Once you get off your mini shuttle, just walk straight down the road, past all the restaurants and under the gate. Bear right for the blue and white immigration building. Note that at this border, both Guatemala and Honduras immigration are in the SAME building.

Before you go inside the immigration building, you need to stop at the little health window.

For us, there was a big group of French tourists on an organized tour, so we waited for a long time. Once at the front of the line, we got some wifi to scan a QR code, and filled out a health form. We also had our vaccine cards, passports, and yellow fever vaccines checked.

Finally, we were given a little slip of paper and allowed to enter the immigration building.

Cost: –

Time: 30 minutes

A paved road with green hills in the back and a semi truck. In the distance is a blue overhead gate and a sign that says "el florido".
This is what the El Florido border looks like once you get off the mini shuttle. Keep walking straight on this road, under the blue overhead gate and past the “El Florido” sign you see to the left. Bear right to the white and blue immigration building.
A piece of paper that says "tarjta de pase sanitario"
I was given this little paper at the health desk outside the immigration office, which I then had to show the immigration officers inside.

7. Exit Guatemala

Once inside the immigration building, you’ll have to “exit Guatemala” first. The Guatemala immigration was to the right, and there was hardly any line.

The immigration officer looked at our passports, asked us how long we were staying in Honduras, and that was pretty much it!

Cost: –

Time: 5 minutes

A blue and red guatemala exit stamp in a passport.
My Guatemala exit stamp!

8. Enter Honduras

Next, we got in line to enter Honduras. There was a much longer line for this, and luckily we chose the fast one!

When we got up to the Honduran immigration officer, we were a little surprised that he actually spoke fluent English, was super friendly and said “don’t worry about anything, I’m here to help you.”

First, he scanned our fingerprints on a little digital pad.

Then, he checked our passports. This took a while because he thoroughly checked all our CA4 visa region stamps (we’d already been in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala so this took a while). He confirmed that we only had 28 days left before we had to leave the region, and we told him about our travel plans.

Next, we had to pay the Honduras entry tax which was 25 GTQ (~$3.19 USD). I’ve heard varying amounts for this tax ranging from $3-5 USD. I believe $3 USD is the correct amount. Anything over that is due to currency conversion or you’re just being scammed.

Cost: 25 GTQ / ~$3.19 USD per person

Time: 30 minutes

A receipt that says "tasa por servicios migratorios $3".
Our entry tax receipt. Note that it says $3 USD. You shouldn’t have to pay any more than that. (I’ve heard a scam that shuttle drivers tell you to give them $5 USD to pay…).

9. Exchange Money

We were officially in Honduras! Our next step was to exchange some GTQ to Honduran Lempira (HNL) so that we could pay for our next mini shuttle to Copan Ruinas.

There were a few money exchange guys outside the immigration office, and they gave us a very good rate of GTQ to HNL at 3.1 (for context, the market rate is 3.14…).

We changed 120 GTQ and got 372 HNL, which was plenty for onward travel and dinner that night, to tide us over until we found a working ATM in Copan Ruinas.

Time: 5 minutes

Hand holding Honduran Lempira.
Our new Honduran Lempira!

10. Shuttle to Copan Ruinas

Outside Honduras immigration there was a dark blue mini shuttle that said “Copan Ruinas – Frontera.”

We boarded around 2:50pm but had to wait 20 minutes for it to fill up before we could depart. It cost 25 HNL per person which is only about $1 USD!

The whole drive only took 20 minutes, and we were shortly in the cute town of Copan Ruinas by 3:30pm! From there, it was a quick and easy walk to our accommodation.

Cost: 25 HNL / $1 USD per person

Time: 40 minutes

A dark blue shuttle bus that says copan ruinas - frontera on the front bumper.
This is what the mini shuttle from the border to Copan Ruinas will look like!

Where to Stay in Copan Ruinas

While in Copan Ruinas, we stayed at one of the Villa Dona Nina apartments. You can book over Airbnb or send Evelin a Whatsapp for better rates: +504 3248-7007

I absolutely loved that place. Great location, speedy wifi, wonderful fully-equipped kitchen, comfortable bed, hot water, and an excellent host. However, they have limited apartments, so I’m suggesting a couple other places below.

Berakah B&B ($)

Berakah B&B is probably the best priced option in Copan Ruinas and the most popular for backpackers. They offer private, en-suite rooms starting from $23 USD/night, and have a great location and good reviews.

Book your stay here.

Terramaya Boutique Hotel ($$)

Terramaya Boutique Hotel comes at a slightly higher price point (although still quite affordable by Western standards). It has incredible reviews with a 9.5 overall rating on, a great location in central Copan, superb breakfast included in the rate, air conditioning, and even a spa and wellness center.

Book your stay here.

An orange room with two beds.
Berakah B&B in Copa Ruinas! Photo credit: Booking.

Onward Travel From Copan Ruinas in Honduras

Congrats, you’ve made it to Honduras!

Obviously, Copan Ruinas is a great place to visit in Honduras. However, I highly recommend you also travel elsewhere in Honduras – if you have the time.

We spent just over two weeks in Honduras and I’m so glad we gave this country a chance!

Other destinations in Honduras you should add to your itinerary include:

  • D&D Brewery / Lake Yojoa
  • Utila
  • Utila Cays
  • Roatan
  • Cayos Cochinos
  • Pico Bonito National Park

Within Honduras, we traveled by a combination of Hedman Alas bus and chicken buses. It was pretty easy to get around although we did have a couple long travel days that necessitated connecting through San Pedro Sula (don’t worry, the bus station itself is very safe here).

If you’re curious about how to return to Guatemala from Honduras, then check out my full guide to the Corinto border crossing, which we used to travel from La Ceiba, Honduras, to Rio Dulce, Guatemala.

The back of Sarah's head as she paddles in a kayak in a large lake. She has on sunglasses and an orange life vest.
Kayaking on Lake Yojoa – one of our highlights in Honduras!
Copan Ruinas with a tree.
The famous Mayan ruins in Copan Ruinas.

Guatemala to Honduras Border Crossing Overview

Everyone’s border crossing experience is going to be different. Ours is based on traveling by public transport from Guatemala City to Copan Ruinas.

Total time: 9 hours 5 minutes (this includes the 1.5 hours calling for an Uber/driving to Centra Norte)

Total cost: $25.32 USD per person

Public Transport vs. Shuttle

All in all, we saved about $30 USD per person by going on public transport, compared to taking a shuttle (shuttle prices don’t include border fees). I think this was worth it.

The journey by public transport is relatively straightforward. The most confusing part is getting onto the mini shuttle in Chiquimula, but hopefully my tips above can help you!

Backpacker traveler walking under sign that says Bienvenido a Honduras.
Welcome to Honduras!!

Final Thoughts on Traveling From Guatemala to Copan

I really hope this guide was helpful to any fellow travelers attempting to travel from Guatemala to Copan!

If you find this guide helpful for your own border crossing journey, I’d really appreciate it if you leave a comment below. Let me know how your trip went, and any updates or changes from what I’ve written here. I will keep this blog post updated so it remains useful for all of us!

Check out these related posts…

How to Get From Honduras to Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Paddle Boarding Lake Atitlan in Guatemala: Everything You Need to Know

The Best Cooking Class in Antigua Guatemala

11 Fun Things to Do in Pico Bonito National Park in Honduras

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Do you need to get from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas in Honduras? This Guatemala to Honduras border crossing guide will teach you exactly how.
Do you need to get from Guatemala to Copan Ruinas in Honduras? This Guatemala to Honduras border crossing guide will teach you exactly how.

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  1. Thank you for this much needed blog. We’ve been looking at getting to Copan and your blog was published just at the right time!

    We recently got a shuttle from Antigua to Copan, but in hindsight I think we could have got there by public transport. It would have just been a long day. I recommend getting a really early chicken bus (circa 5.30am) to Guatemala City and getting a taxi to the bus terminal (then use the rest of the guidance in your blog).

    On our way out of Honduras, we went from Copan to Rio Dulce, which we did in a day with only public transport. We got the collectivo from Copan to the border at 9.30 am, which arrived at around 10 am and cost 25 Limperas per person. It took us 30 minutes to get through immigration and then got the green and white bus to Chiqimula at 10.15 am which cost 25 Queztals each. We got two tickets each, one for 20 Queztals and one for 5 Queztals, which we were a little confused about at the time. It seemed that the locals were paying the same price and also received two tickets so we went with it. When the bus stopped in Jocotan (11.30 am) everyone changed onto another bus and two men ran off with our bags and put them on the other bus. I chased them because I had no idea what was going on but they were just moving our stuff to the new bus. Our ticket was still valid on the second bus so we didn’t have to pay again and it left around 11.45 am and got to Chiqimula at 12.30 pm.

    I’ve asked several locals in Honduras and Guatemala who have confirmed that Chiqimula is a town which really well connected and a lot of buses go through there, so if you are making a big journey which is not possible in a day and want to travel by public bus, it could be an ideal stop off point. There was no direct bus to Rio Dulce from Chiqimula, only to Puerto Barrios. However, you can get off at Morales and change buses for Rio Dulce/Fronteras. The bus from Chiqimula left at 13.10 pm and cost 70 Queztals per person. We arrived at morales at 16.50 pm and changed for the bus to Rio Dulce/Fronteras. The bus left at 16.55 pm (the previous bus driver helped us find the right bus), it cost 20 Queztals per person and we arrived at Rio Dulce at 17.30 pm.

    I hope this helps others get to and from Honduras!

    1. Hello, there is a direct bus to Rio Dulce with transportes Maria Elena which leave Chiquimula at 9am, 10am and 3pm. We found it so hard to find info on this route – thanks to all posters here!

  2. Small note, but I’m taking this journey right now, and multiple bus companies go to Chiquimula. Transportes Perla De Oriente is right next to the Rutas Orientale ticket office, and it’s a bit cheaper there too (Q70/person). We arrived at 7:30 and the bus leaves at 8.

  3. Wow, you put a lot of effort into helping people with this, and that’s really great. Just two questions… The yellow fever vaccination is required of Americans who haven’t been in any of those endemic areas too or just for those who have? And are the Rutas Orientales buses chicken buses or actual nice coach type of things? Thanks.

  4. Hola!
    Litegua has services from Guatemala-City to El Florido, with a change to the minibus at Jocotan.
    Costs: 125Q

  5. Hi, thanks for your information and thank you to all contributors. I did this trip today and would like to agree with Susanne’s post. Litegua are in zone 1 and buses leave from there for El Florido at 8:45, 12:00 and 15:00. I think the latter 2 are too late. I took the 8:45 which left around 8:55. It finished in Jocotan and from there it was around a 9 minutes wait to board a smaller bus to the border. In total it took exactly 6 hours to get to immigration.

    A short wait for the bus to Copan Ruinas and I was in my hostel by 15.52.

    If I can make a suggestion. If you want to exchange money, ie US dollars, do it on the Guatemalan side. They don’t do it on the Honduras side of the border crossing and the rate offered in CR is terrible.

    Thanks to all for your contributions

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