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Highway CA 5 to Copan Ruinas

You can easily take a bus to Copán Ruínas, transferring in San Pedro Sula. But with your own wheels, you can take the well-maintained, paved Hwy. 20 that branches off CA 5 at the south end of Lago de Yojoa at Pito Solo, where the road winds its way through the mountains and valleys. The route's numerous ways to break up the journey make this one of the country's great drives. En route, you will pass pine forests, caves, hot springs, roadside fish restaurants, a lively artesania culture, and small, charming whitewashed colonial villages that you could almost fit in your pocket.

San Pedro Zacapa & Azacualpa

The first turnoff on Hwy. 20 from Pito Solo leads to these two sleepy, whitewashed villages on the rolling slopes of Santa Bárbara. Each cobblestoned town has a small square and a few cafes and restaurants. The main objective for most tourists, though, is not the small-town atmosphere, but the Aguas Termales de Azacualpa (L50 adults; daily 8am-5pm), tucked away in the hills nearby. These are true Central American hot springs with almost no infrastructure; just a parking lot, one concrete tub, and a makeshift sauna built of wood planks and plastic tarp. The springs are direct from the source in a few small sulfur-smelling, steamy streams that lead first through a fine-looking arch that has been naturally carved in the rock and then into the Río Jaitique. You have to be careful, as some of the places where the water first hits the surface are dangerously hot. You can walk through the arch down to the river where there are a few calm spots to cool off.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.