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La Entrada & the Ruins of El Puente 

If you're planning on exploring western Honduras, you'll likely be stopping at La Entrada at one point. This town serves as a junction of CA 4 and CA 11, and so is lined with buses that lead to Copán (2 hr.), San Pedro Sula (1 1/2 hr.), Santa Rosa (1 1/2 hr.), and lesser-known villages in the region.

La Entrada is a dusty, uninteresting town that would serve as nothing more than a transport hub if it weren't for the Maya ruins of El Puente, which are just 10km (6 1/4 miles) away. The majority of the buildings on the site, opened in 1994, date back to the Late Classic Period, between the 6th and 9th centuries, and the site is the second most important archaeological park in all of Honduras after Copán -- although you wouldn't know it by the number of visitors.

Unless your visit parallels that of a tour bus, you'll likely have the entire site to yourself. Of the more than 200 buildings found in the park, only 9 have been excavated. The centerpiece is a medium-sized pyramid set on a wide grassy plaza that's lined with a few other buildings that have been cleared from the encroaching jungle. There's a small visitor center and museum at the entrance, about a kilometer walk from the ruins.

To get to the El Puente archeological site, you will need to hire a taxi, which costs L230 round-trip from La Entrada. Admission is L55 adults, and the park is open daily from 8am to 4pm. Or you can go on a guided tour, through Hotel El San Carlos.

You can easily visit El Puente as a day trip, but if you'd like to stay overnight, Hotel El San Carlos (Junction of CA 4 and CA 11; tel. 504/2661-2228; www.hotelelsancarlos.com; L600 double) is the most reliable place to stay in the area. Just a few meters from the junction, this 45-unit hotel actually isn't half bad. There's a pool (where you can listen to the squawks of their two macaws), clean rooms with cable TV, and a restaurant that happens to be the best in town.

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.