Visiting Macaw Mountain In Copan Ruinas: Is It An Ethical Experience?

Visiting Macaw Mountain is a must if you are in Copan Ruinas. Here you will be able to see all the different types of birds, the rehabilitation efforts, learn about them, and more! I will let you know how you can visit Macaw Mountain, entry fees, opening hours, whether it is ethical and more!


Now I know everyone visits Copan Ruinas to visit the ruins, I mean the town is literally named after them so of course you have to go. Though you will quickly discover a visit to Macaw Mountain is also a must while you are in the area.

The scarlet macaw is the national bird of Honduras so I highly recommend going and supporting the conservation efforts here!

Macaw Mountain is home to more than 330 varieties of wild native birds, many of which are rescued, endangered, or rehabilitated. Visitors can walk among trails of lush tropical plants and coffee trees, and see birds of every color and size up close. Some of the birds fly freely, while others are kept in open and natural spaces.

Macaw Mountain is not only a sanctuary for these birds but also an education center and a conservation project. The park works with local communities to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the birds and their habitats.

They also run a successful Scarlet Macaw Project, which releases some of the birds into protected environments in the wild. Macaw Mountain is a highlight experience for anyone who loves nature and wildlife and wants to see the living jewels of Honduras.

In this post, I will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Macaw Mountain, including how to get there, entry fees, opening hours, whether it is ethical, what to expect, and more. Ultimately allowing you to make the most out of your trip to Macaw Mountain in Copan Ruinas.


Visiting Macaw Mountain In Copan Ruinas: All You Need To Know


Why Visit Macaw Mountain

Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Copan Ruinas and was certainly a highlight of my visit. It is a place where you can get up close and personal with the colorful and charismatic birds of Central America, while also learning about their conservation and rehabilitation.

Here are four reasons why you should visit Macaw Mountain on your next trip to Copan Ruinas:

You can interact with the birds. Macaw Mountain is not just a zoo or a sanctuary, it is a place where you can touch, hold and feed the birds, under the guidance of trained staff.

Though from an ethical standpoint, I am not too sure about this and how associating humans with food may hinder their rehabilitation attempts. I much prefer watching the birds fly freely in large enclosures or enjoying their antics in the interactive area.

You can support a noble cause. Macaw Mountain is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating birds that have been injured, abused, or confiscated from illegal trade. Many of the birds at the park have been given a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of the staff and volunteers.

By visiting Macaw Mountain, you are helping to fund their work and raise awareness about the threats facing these amazing creatures.

You can learn about the history and culture of Copan. Macaw Mountain is not only about birds, it is also about the connection between humans and nature. The park is located on a former coffee plantation, and you can see the old machinery and buildings that were used to process the beans.

You can also learn about the ancient Maya civilization that thrived in Copan, and how they revered the macaws as sacred symbols of the sun god.

You can enjoy the natural beauty of Copan. Macaw Mountain is situated in a lush valley, surrounded by hills and forests. The park has a network of trails that take you through different habitats, such as tropical gardens, bamboo groves, and streams.

You can also relax in hammocks, swim in natural pools, or have a picnic in the shade of the trees.

Macaw Mountain is more than just a bird park, it is an experience that will enrich your mind, body, and soul. Don’t miss this opportunity to see and feel the magic of Macaw Mountain when you visit Copan Ruinas.

bonded scarlet macaws preening each other
bonded scarlet macaws preening each other

Entry Fee To Macaw Mountain

The entry fee to Macaw Mountain is L240 / $10.00 for adults and children aged 11 and up. Children between the ages of 4 to 10 pay an entrance fee of L120 / $5.00.

Tickets can be purchased at the park itself or through certain shops in the town of Copan Ruinas.

During my visit, we simply purchased ours once arriving at Macaw Mountain and it was a straightforward enough experience. Honestly, I would just do this instead of purchasing it in town.


Opening Hours Of Macaw Mountain

The park is open every day of the year, rain or shine, from 9 am to 5 pm.

Though I will say that if you are spending a few days in Copan Ruinas, try and plan your visit on a weekday rather than a weekend to avoid the crowds. This is also a popular spot with locals so there can be a lot of lines for the activities.

a keel billed toucan shaking its feathers at macaw mountain
a keel billed toucan shaking its feathers at macaw mountain

How To Get To Macaw Mountain

Honestly, Macaw Mountain isn’t too far out of the city center, though as the name suggests it is located up a mountain.

Tuktuk: One of the easiest ways to get to Macaw Mountain from the center of Copan Ruinas is to take a tuk-tuk. You can find tuk-tuks waiting for customers in the central square of Copan Ruinas, or you can flag one down on the street.

The tuk-tuk drivers are friendly and knowledgeable, and they will take you to Macaw Mountain in about 10 minutes. They cost about L25 lempiras / $1.00 per person, each way.

Walk: You can also walk to the park, following the road to Sesesmil and Agua Caliente. It is a relatively short walk since the park is located 2 km north of Copan Ruinas city center though it is pretty steep.

Honestly, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk up there, and walking back since the majority of the way is downhill. This is what we did, but that was actually because we found it difficult to find a tuk-tuk to take us back to the center as we left at closing, and not many people were around.


How Long To Spend At Macaw Mountain

So now you know some of the basic information about Macaw Mountain but how long should you spend there?

The minimum time. If you are short on time or just want to get a glimpse of the park, you can spend about an hour at Macaw Mountain. This will allow you to take a guided tour, where you will see different species of parrots, macaws, toucans, and other birds in large enclosures.

You will also learn about the history and mission of the park, which is to rescue, rehabilitate and release birds that have been injured, abused, or confiscated from illegal trade. Though you will feel quite rushed especially since everything is spread over a rather large area.

The recommended time. If you want to have a more immersive and enjoyable experience at Macaw Mountain, you should spend at least two hours at the park. This will give you enough time to explore at your own pace, without rushing through the exhibits.

You will be able to appreciate the natural beauty of the park, which is set in a lush valley surrounded by hills and forests. You will also be able to relax in hammocks, swim in natural pools, or have a picnic in the shade of the trees.

You will also have more opportunities to interact with the birds and take photos with them.

The ideal time. If you are a bird lover or a nature enthusiast, you may want to spend more than two hours at Macaw Mountain. You can spend as much time as you want, as your ticket is valid for three days. You can come back as many times as you like during that period, and enjoy different aspects of the park.

The extra time. If you have extra time and want to make the most of your visit to Macaw Mountain, you can also participate in some of the special activities that the park offers. You can join a birdwatching tour, where you can see some of the wild birds that live in the area around the park.

You can also join a release program, where you can witness some of the birds being released back into their natural habitat. You can also join a volunteer program, where you can help with some of the tasks and chores at the park, such as feeding and cleaning the birds.

Personally, I spent between 2 to 3 hours at Macaw Mountain and simply strolled around at my own pace, and checked out the gift shop at the end. I am a bit of a bird lover so I did spend quite a bit of time watching each one before moving on, and of course, taking too many photos.

two cheeky scarlet macaws looking down at us from a tree branch at macaw mountain
two cheeky scarlet macaws looking down at us from a tree branch at macaw mountain

Is Macaw Mountain Ethical?

Now regarding animal tourism ethics is something that deeply concerns me when choosing what to do in a new place. My top article on this site is actually about what elephant sanctuaries in Chiang Mai are ethical, so it is also something I pass my blog around as well.

I try to stay away from visiting zoos, I am vegetarian and didn’t even own a pet until recently because I didn’t want one unless I could provide a happy life for one with plenty of attention. I mean whether it is a zoo or in someone’s home, an animal doesn’t want to be locked in a small cage all day.

The first thing to be aware of is Macaw Mountain is not just a zoo or a sanctuary, it is a place where birds are rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild. Many of the birds have been given a second chance at life thanks to the efforts of the staff and volunteers.

The park works with local authorities and communities to combat the illegal wildlife trade, which is one of the main threats facing these birds. They also support conservation projects in the area, such as reforestation and environmental education.

Macaw Mountain provides a natural and comfortable environment for the birds, where they can enjoy their natural behaviors and social interactions. The park has large and spacious enclosures, where the birds can fly freely and have access to fresh water and food.

The park also has a veterinary clinic, where the birds receive medical care and treatment.

Macaw Mountain allows visitors to interact with some of the birds, under the guidance of trained staff. Visitors can touch, hold, and feed some of the friendly birds. The park claims that this interaction does not harm or stress the birds, but rather helps them socialize and bond with humans.

They also say that this interaction helps raise awareness and appreciation for these birds among visitors. This is the part I am not too sure about and I didn’t do it during my visit. There was also no staff in the interactive when I visited and the birds were free to do whatever they liked.

Though I imagine some stupid visitor would use this to their advantage.

Also, a lot of their birds come from ex-pats who moved to islands in the country and didn’t understand the care and effort it takes to look after birds, especially those that are loud and noisy.

Some were abused, and others are pluckers, both of which you will see at Macaw Mountain, and which will unlikely ever be able to be released into the wild. For these birds, it would be nice if there were a huge netted aviary rather than a standard-sized aviary.

I can confidently say Macaw Mountain is not a zoo, and I was happy to support their efforts in rehabilitating these birds.

I actually recommend visiting the ruins prior to Macaw Mountain as once there you will see all the Macaws they have been releasing and how much their efforts have supported the local Macaw population.

To me, this is an ethical operation, though I recommend doing your own research if you are unsure of anything I have said and form your own opinion.

checking out the interactive area at macaw mountain
checking out the interactive area at macaw mountain
sweet baby macaws that have been breed and raised at macaw mountain, where one day they will be released
sweet baby macaws that have been breed and raised at macaw mountain, where one day they will be released

Birds To See At Macaw Mountain

At Macaw Mountain, you can see a variety of birds, especially macaws, and parrots. Some of the birds you can see are:


Scarlet Macaw

These are the national birds of Honduras, and they have bright red, yellow, and blue plumage. They are also one of the largest macaws, with a wingspan of up to 120 cm. You will see plenty of these during your visit to Copan Ruinas and Macaw Mountain.

It is one of the most popular parrots in aviculture because of its beauty and personality. It can live up to 80 years or more, but it faces threats from habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade.

It is a social and intelligent bird that can learn tricks and words, but it also needs a lot of attention and care from its owner, hence why many end up here at the sanctuary.

the impressive red yellow and blue plumage on the beautiful scarlet macaws at macaw mountain
the impressive red yellow and blue plumage on the beautiful scarlet macaws at macaw mountain
two scarlet macaws touching heads at macaw mountain
two scarlet macaws touching heads at macaw mountain

Great Green Macaw

The great green macaw is a large and rare parrot that lives in the tropical forests of Central and South America. They have mostly green feathers, with a red forehead, a blue lower back and rump, and a long brownish-red tail with pale blue tips.

It has a white face with black markings around the eyes and a powerful black bill that can crack nuts and seeds.

They are one of the most endangered parrots in the world, due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade. It is a social and vocal bird that can form strong bonds with its mate and flock members. They feed mainly on fruits, especially from the almond tree, which is also threatened by deforestation.

the beautiful great green macaw at macaw mountain with its bright green and blue feathers
the beautiful great green macaw at macaw mountain with its bright green and blue feathers

Blue And Yellow Macaw

A type of large and colorful parrot that lives in the wet tropical forests of South America is the blue-and-yellow macaw. It has yellow feathers on its chest and under its wings, and blue feathers on its back and wings. It has a black chin, a green forehead, and a white face with black lines around the eyes.

It is one of the most common parrots in aviculture because of its eye-catching colors and ability to talk. They can live up to 60 years or more, but it is again endangered by habitat loss and illegal trapping for the pet trade.

two blue and yellow macaws preening their tail feathers at macaw mountain
two blue and yellow macaws preening their tail feathers at macaw mountain

White Fronted Amazon

The white-fronted Amazon is a type of parrot that is native to Central America and Mexico. It is the smallest of the Amazon parrots, with a bright white patch of feathers on its forehead and mostly green plumage with some blue and red accents.

a sweet little white fronted amazon parrot at macaw mountain
a sweet little white fronted amazon parrot at macaw mountain

Keel-billed Toucan

The keel-billed toucan is a type of bird that is native to Latin America, from Mexico to Colombia. It is a colorful and distinctive bird, with a large bill that has a rainbow of colors: green, red, orange, and yellow.

The keel-billed toucan is a social and playful bird that lives in small flocks in the rainforest canopy. It feeds on fruits, seeds, insects, and sometimes small animals. It has a loud and croaking call that can be heard from far away.

the bright beak of the keel billed toucan
the bright beak of the keel billed toucan

Great Curassow

The great curassow is a type of bird that is related to turkeys and pheasants. It lives in the tropical forests of Central and South America, from Mexico to Ecuador. It is a large and heavy bird, with a length of about 80 to 100 cm and a weight of about 3 to 5 kg.

The great curassow has a black body, a white belly, and a curly crest on its head. The male has a yellow knob on its bill, while the female has different color patterns: barred, rufous, or dark. They feed on fruits, seeds, insects, and small animals. It usually lives in small groups and roosts and nests in trees.

The great curassow is threatened by hunting and habitat loss. It is rare and shy and often found only in protected areas or remote places. It is the national bird of Belize.

looking up at the great curassow which is rocking an awesome hair style
looking up at the great curassow which is rocking an awesome hair style

White-crowned Parrot

The white-crowned parrot is a small parrot that lives in the forests and woodlands of Mexico and Central America. It has a white patch on its forehead and crown and a white throat.

The rest of its head and neck are blue, and its body is green with some red and yellow markings. It has a yellowish bill and a pinkish eye-ring.

The white-crowned parrot is a social and noisy bird that forms flocks of up to 50 birds. It feeds on fruits, seeds, nuts, and insects, and sometimes raids crops.

the regal looking white crowned parrot, the colors on this baby remind me of the birds back home in new zealand
the regal looking white crowned parrot, the colors on this baby remind me of the birds back home in new zealand

Orange-fronted Parakeet

The orange-fronted parakeet is a small and colorful parrot that lives in Central America. They have a green body with blue and yellow markings on their wings and tail. It has an orange patch on its forehead and a white ring around its eyes.

The orange-fronted conure is about 9.5 inches long and weighs about 75 grams. It is the smallest of the Aratinga conures and can live up to 20 years in captivity.

the cute and small orange fronted parakeet at macaw mountain
the cute and small orange fronted parakeet at macaw mountain

Collared Aracari

The collared aracari is a small and colorful bird that belongs to the toucan family. It lives in the tropical lowland forests and edges of Central and South America, from Mexico to Venezuela. It has a yellow body with red and black markings and a large bill with a serrated pattern.

It usually travels in small groups, feeding on fruits, insects, eggs, and nestlings. It nests in tree cavities, often sharing them with other aracari. The red collar on the back of its neck gives it its name.

the collared aracari was my favorite, i mean look at that cheeky face
the collared aracari was my favorite, i mean look at that cheeky face

Yellow-eared Toucanet

The yellow-eared toucanet is a small and striking bird that belongs to the toucan family. It lives in the wet forests and edges of Central and South America, from Honduras to Ecuador. It has a black body with an orange patch on the flanks, an olive back, and a large bill with a black line at the base.

The male has a bright yellow cheek patch and yellow-teal skin around the eye, while the female lacks the cheek patch but still has the eye skin. It usually forages in pairs or small groups, eating fruits, insects, lizards, and other prey. It nests in tree cavities, often sharing them with other toucanets.

the brightly colored face of the yellow eared toucanet
the brightly colored face of the yellow eared toucanet

My Experience At Macaw Mountain

Now to get into my experience at Macaw Mountain which I visited in the afternoon after spending the morning exploring the ruins. After seeing all the macaw birds flying freely and being absolutely mesmerised I knew I had to learn more about them. Hence my visit to Macaw Mountain.

After a delicious lunch at our favorite cafe in Copan Ruinas, Cafe San Rafel (homemade cheese anybody), we gathered up the energy to be out in the heat again and hired a tuk-tuk to take us up the hill to Macaw Mountain which we had heard so much about.

Im not going to lie, it was like empty when we arrived, but this is on a random Tuesday, so I guess we can be thankful we only had to share the park with a few other people. After purchasing our tickets and making our way down the first trail you can hear them before you see them, all those birds squeaking and chirping.

Now I am absolutely a bird lover, I had them growing up, and I now have two that I raise free range (yes in the house) with my partner. I just hate cages and believe no animal should be kept in one, though I will saw that at Macaw Mountain the birds are in aviaries, rather than cages.

I guess it’s a necessary evil while birds are being rehabilitated, but I would love to see a free-flight aviary for those long-term residents who won’t be able to live in the wild.

Nevertheless, I absolutely loved my visit here and it is obvious they are doing the best they can do with limited funding.

Apart from the incredible array of birds they care for we also got to see a couple of week-old macaws who would eventually be released into the wild, as well as some larger ones who would soon be released.

Though unfortunately because we only had a couple of days in Copan Ruinas we would miss this incredible sight, but I did read sometimes it can be a little overwhelming as the birds aren’t in a rush to leave as they enjoy living here.

The interactive area is an interesting experience. The birds are essentially free to come in or out of their nearby cages and interact with guests. Some got a little too close for comfort to me (they are huge, plus have you seen that beak!), but they all seemed happy and simply just inquisitive of the flow of new people passing by.

Macaw Mountain is surrounded by the most beautiful jungle where you can watch released macaws soaring between the trees, not wanting to be too far away from the home that they love. Running through it is a small river where some local boys were swimming during our visit.

All in all, it was an excellent experience and the perfect way to finish off our time in Copan Ruinas.

exploring the river and jungle of macaw mountain
exploring the river and jungle of macaw mountain
a cheeky photo surrounded by macaws, this is usually where you can touch and pet the birds, though this wasnt something we were interested in
a cheeky photo surrounded by macaws, this is usually where you can touch and pet the birds, though this wasnt something we were interested in

Where To Stay In Copan Ruinas

Copan Ruinas is a super quaint and just chill town. There are a few accommodation options here, but you won’t find a lot compared to Guatemala.

Honestly, I think of it being because travelers have two options to take, either El Salvador, or Honduras, and because of safety concerns they tend to choose the other option. Though you will be glad you chose Honduras because it’s an absolutely incredible country.

One thing to be aware of is Copan Ruinas does lack hostel options, though this doesn’t mean you won’t find other backpackers here. This is a super popular spot with budget travelers and you will find plenty of affordable guesthouse and accommodation options.

Personally, I stayed at Hostel Iguana Azul which is the only hostel option with a dorm room, but I did book in the private rooms which are equally as affordable. We had a shared bathroom and it was fan cooled. Facilities were on the basic side, but for the price point, this was an excellent choice.

Hostel Iguana Azul

Hostel Iguana Azul

My favorite choice for an affordable option. Dorm rooms start from $12.00 per night and private $22.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Hotel & Hostal Yaxkin Copan

Hotel & Hostal Yaxkin Copan

Another affordable choice close to the town center. Private rooms start from $21.00 per night with a shared bathroom.

BOOK NOW
La Casa de Cafe Bed And Breakfast

La Casa de Cafe Bed And Breakfast

This is the fancy sister property of Iguana Azul. It’s super nice and rooms start from $70.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
Berakah B&B- Central Park

Berakah B&B- Central Park

A centrally located b&b with excellent views to the nearby park. Rooms start from $27.00 per night.

BOOK NOW

Other Things To Do In Copan Ruinas

Copan Ruinas is a charming town in Honduras, famous for its proximity to the ancient Mayan ruins of Copan. But there is more to this place than just the archaeological site.

Copan Ruinas offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors who want to experience the culture, nature, and history of this region. Here are some of the best things to do in Copan Ruinas:

Marvel At The Copan Ruins: One of the most fascinating sights in Honduras is the Copan Ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the ancient Mayan civilization. You can explore the impressive temples, plazas, altars, and sculptures that reveal the history, culture, and art of the Maya.

One highlight is the Hieroglyphic Stairway, which has more than 1,800 glyphs that form the longest known Mayan inscription.

Visit the Copan Sculpture Museum: This museum showcases the impressive art and architecture of the Mayan civilization that flourished in Copan. You can see original sculptures, stelae, altars, and hieroglyphs that depict the rulers, gods, and rituals of the ancient city.

Relax at the Luna Jaguar Spa Hot Springs: This is a natural spa that offers thermal pools, massages, mud baths, and sauna. You can enjoy the soothing waters surrounded by tropical vegetation and volcanic rocks. Just be aware this is a little bit of a drive away, but there are plenty of tours on offer that you can book.

Shop for souvenirs and explore the town: Copan Ruinas has a charming colonial atmosphere with cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and friendly locals. You can shop for handicrafts, jewelry, textiles, and pottery that reflect the Mayan heritage of the area.

You can also check out the weekend market, where you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, and tortillas.


LIKE IT? PIN IT!

Visiting Macaw Mountain is a must if you are in Copan Ruinas. Here you will be able to see all the different types of birds, the rehabilitation efforts, learn about them, and more! I will let you know how you can visit Macaw Mountain, entry fees, opening hours, whether it is ethical, and more!

Want more Honduras Inspiration? Check out….


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. So, if you click on it and purchase something, I get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. As always all opinions are my own and your support is much appreciated.

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