It takes just over three hours to drive from San Pedro Sula to the historic town of Copán Ruinas (near the world famous Maya ruins of Copán). Yesterday, I drove back from Copán Ruinas to San Pedro Sula's Ramón Villeda Morales airport and made it in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Spectacular drive. A bit slow going in the winding mountains, as our busito only had four cylinders, but we made up for it bigtime in the lush valleys.
The road is okay. There are a few sections after the town of La Entrada de Copán that need some serious fixing, particularly parts of the road from the town of Santa Rita de Copán. Messy when it rains hard. But overall, not too bad. Hey, you're in a developing country!
On Saturday, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández announced that the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) will be financing the construction of a new road from Chamelecón -- a suburb of San Pedro Sula -- to La Entrada. The project will also include work on a new road from La Entrada to the colonial city of Santa Rosa de Copán. La Entrada is essentially a built up fork in the road. Turn left and you go to Santa Rosa -- about an hour away. Turn right to head to Copán Ruinas -- a little under an hour.
The roadwork will help further open up Copán Ruinas, which should also benefit early next year from the new airport being built now at an area known as Río Amarillo (Yellow River), which is about 10 miles from the town. The airport will have a runway measuring approximately 4,590 feet -- long enough for 20-40-seat aircraft to land. I imagine from there coaster buses from touring companies such as MC Tours and Maya Temple Tours would take passengers the rest of the way.
Construction on the airport began last week and is planned for completion by December. President Hernández himself showed up for the prerequisite bulldozer photo op.
Mr. Hernández seems committed to seriously pushing Copán Ruinas and its adjoining archaeological park -- known as the last leg of "The Maya Route". He noted, "[The town] will have an airport and it will have a good road. We want to lift up what is Copán Ruinas, because what is there is extraordinary."
Not too long ago Mr. Hernández was approached by the business community of Copán Ruinas about the need for patching up the road from La Entrada to Copán Ruinas. Much to everyone's pleasant surprise, that work was promptly completed.
Now all eyes are on Río Amarillo.