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Central American Journey
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Get a taste for Central America on this unique adventure. From gorgeous white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, to mighty ruins, cool cloud forest and colonial towns, discover the best bits of six unique countries. Spend your days surrounded by breathtaking scenery, hiking up towering volcanoes, visiting unique caves and bathing in mineral hot springs whilst spotting the many species of wildlife along the way. Along the Central American Journey, explore markets for handicrafts, sip locally-grown coffee and get a feel for true Central American life in two separate homestays that few travellers get to experience.

Latin America
  • Duration: 32 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Not Rated%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 126894
  • Starts: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Finishes: San Jose, Costa Rica
You will Visit
  • Playa del Carmen
  • San José

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Playa del Carmen

Check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

Additional Notes:
Shuttles and buses from the Cancún airport are easy to find and reasonably priced. You can also take the public ADO bus that has departures every 30 minutes from the airport to Playa Del Carmen for approximately MX 146 ($12 USD).

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

02

Day 2: Playa del Carmen

Start your holiday off with some hardcore relaxation. Enjoy a full day of free time to fill as you wish. Get your ruin on with a visit to Tulum perched atop the sea, explore the fish- and coral-filled seas around Cozumel on a scuba dive, go swimming in a cenote or at the beach, and save some energy for a night out on the town.

03

Day 3: Playa del Carmen/Caye Caulker

Mention Belize and you may conjure up visions of unbelievably clear blue waters, diving and snorkelling along the barrier reef and remarkable marine life. Belize also boasts huge swaths of jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, and above all, friendly, easygoing people. Belize is all this and much more!

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Mexico - Belize)

Transport:
First-class bus (4.00 hour(s), 315km)
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours, 158km)
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)

04

Day 4: Caye Caulker

Opt to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving or just chill out, Belizean style.

05

Day 6: Caye Caulker/San Ignacio

From the town of San Ignacio, opportunities abound for exploring Belize's little known inland scenic beauty. With free time here, choose to explore the area by foot, canoe or horse, take a caving trip, or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and swim in its inviting pools and rivers.

It is possible to do cave tubing or visit the ATM cave on this day however it would require a group decision to do this with minimum numbers. The local operator would pick them up from the water taxi terminal and take passengers directly from Belize City to do one of these activities.

Transport:
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)
Local bus (3.00 hour(s), 123km)

06

Day 7: San Ignacio

Opt to visit the sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal or check out the seldom-visited Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.

07

Day 8: San Ignacio/Flores

Cross the border into Guatemala and you immediately notice the difference in culture, with its heavy Mayan influence and Spanish language. Here we have entered Guatemala's northeast jungle Petén region. The descendants of the Maya of Chichén Itzá migrated to the Petén area several centuries after the collapse of the great Mayan cities in the Yucatán.

En route to Flores, stop for a guided tour of the ancient city of Tikal. Arrive in Flores, the capital of the department of Petén, a small island located on the second largest lake of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Belize - Guatemala)
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour

Transport:
Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours, 5km)
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.50 hours, 100km)
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 65km)

08

Day 9: Flores/Rio Dulce

A travel day from Flores to Rio Dulce which is located in the department of Izabal, home of the largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Izabal was one of the most important water ways of the Spanish crown during colonial times.

We take the road past areas of dense jungle and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters around the globe, on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 210km)

09

Day 10: Rio Dulce

Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak to visit groups of noisy howler monkeys, or take a horseback ride through the rubber plantations combined with a visit to the Shaman Tower.

10

Day 11: Rio Dulce/Antigua

Today is a travel day from Rio Dulce to Antigua, followed by an orientation walk once you arrive. Plan your activities for the next day and enjoy some of the nightlife this beautiful colonial city has to offer.

Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will take you on a brief orientation walk to help you get your bearings. While you're here, opt to take a mountain bike ride out into the countryside or explore the fascinating markets, shops and museums within the city.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Salsa Lesson

Transport:
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.50 hours, 315km)

11

Day 12: Antigua

Relax with a massage, climb a volcano, soak up the culture of this colonial town's many museums and cafes, attend a chocolate workshop, visit one of the local coffee or macadamia nut plantations, or explore the nearby hills and towns by bike.

12

Day 13: Antigua/Panajachel

Travel through the hills and fertile fields of the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue/grey mountains and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture.

The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and horseback riding.

Additional Notes:
Note: Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies, or individuals who do not wish to be photographed.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 80km)

13

Day 14: Panajachel/San Juan La Laguna (1D)

Embark on a boat ride across the lake before participating in a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. This area is known for stunning scenery and great shopping for Mayan handicrafts. Opt to bargain for colourful textiles and paintings at the lake's markets.

Included Activities:
Mayan Homestay Project

Transport:
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)

14

Day 15: San Juan La Laguna/Antigua (1B)

We return to Antigua to spend more time to explore the city, shop, and check out optional activities in the area.

Optional activities include visiting a macadamia nut and coffee plantations, biking around Antigua's surrounding hills and salsa lessons.

Included Activities:
Big Night Out

Transport:
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 80km)

15

Day 16: Antigua

Enjoy free time to relax with a massage, explore the nearby hills by bicycle, or visit a local macadamia nut farm.

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Day 17: Antigua/Copán

The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place, set along a river in the coffee growing region close to the Guatemalan border.

The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, Copán contains some of the most important Mayan ruins found to date, and many unusual artistic features, including some of the most detailed carving in the Mayan world.



Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 200km)

17

Day 18: Copán

Free time in Copan. Opt to visit the impressive Copan ruins and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way. Knowledgable local guides can interpret the many Mayan carvings left here over 1,000 years ago. You can also choose to explore the nearby hills and small villages on horseback or journey through the countryside to some hidden jungle hot springs for a relaxing soak.

18

Day 19: Copán/Roatán

Spend time on the island snorkelling, scuba diving or just relaxing on the beach. Roatán is a SCUBA diving haven with its location along part of the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Roatán is a Caribbean island made famous for its marine treasures. Crystal blue waters invite swimming, diving and snorkelling, or simply relax on the white, sand beaches of the Bay Islands.

Additional Notes:
Prepare for the long travel day with snacks.

Transport:
Local bus (8.00 hour(s), 320km)
Ferry (1.50-2.00 hours, 75km)
Taxicab (0.50 hour(s))

19

Day 20: Roatán

Free time in Roatán to enjoy optional activities. Roatán is a world-famous destination for SCUBA diving and snorkelling. The coral reef here is home to sea turtles, dolphins, rays, hundreds of species of colorful fish, corals and sponges. You can also explore the clear waters on a boat, kayak or paddleboard. Explore the island on a moped and visit traditional Garifuna settlements on the other end of the island.

20

Day 22: Roatán/Granada

Spend the morning in Caribbean paradise. Then skip a long bus ride and fly in style to Managua, and continue overland to Nicaragua's third largest and oldest city, Granada.

Transport:
Plane (4.50-6.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)

21

Day 23: Granada

Granada's colonial charm is complemented by the active volcanoes and lakes that surround it, and there are many fun easy day trips available. Hike, cruise, or just explore the city's markets and museums.

Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada, your tour leader will give you an initial orientation walking tour of the city and then you have plenty of time to explore in more depth.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Big Night Out

22

Day 24: Granada

Free time to explore beautiful Granada's busy markets, colonial buildings and museums on foot or take a horse and carriage ride around town. Enjoy a meal on the "calzada", a pedestrian street that extends from the center of town down to Lake Nicaragua.

There are many optional activities to do just outside of town as well. Walk in the forest at the top of Mombacho Volcano, kayak around the isletas in Lake Nicaragua or swim in Laguna de Apoyo.

23

Day 25: Granada/Isla de Ometepe (1D)

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island, formed from two volcanoes, one active and one dormant that rise out of the middle of the lake. The limited development and traditional communities create a welcoming relaxed atmosphere.

The group will be split up amongst different local families who will host you in their homes for two nights in a small community on the island. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home. This experience give you a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live.

Included Activities:
Puesta del Sol Community Guesthouse Stay

Transport:
Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 75km)
Local bus (0.25-0.50 hours, 5km)
Ferry (1.00-1.50 hours, 10km)
Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))

24

Day 26: Isla de Ometepe (1B, 1D)

Today is a free day in Ometepe. We get to spend more time with the local host families and see more of the island. Opt to climb either of the two volcanoes on the island, view petroglyphs left by the island's original inhabitants, walk or kayak in Charco Verde reserve, swim in clear spring water at Ojo de Agua, lay on the beach or explore the island on bicycle.

Included Activities:
Puesta del Sol Community Guesthouse Stay

25

Day 27: Isla de Ometepe/Monteverde (1B)

At 1,400 meters above sea level, Monteverde is literally in the clouds. The Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves are home to diverse and unique flora and fauna. Sloths, monkeys, kinkajous, tapirs and large cats inhabit the area. There are more species of orchids here than anywhere else in the world.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Nicaragua - Costa Rica)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))
Ferry (1.50 hour(s), 10km)
Local bus (0.25 hour(s), 5km)
Local bus (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 190km)

26

Day 28: Monteverde

The day is free to choose from many optional activities. Fly hundreds of meters above the trees on a zip-lining tour, hike through one of the cloud forest reserves, ride a horse in the mountains, visit a coffee/sugar cane farm, go bungee jumping, drive an ATV on trails in the hills, tour the cheese factory or check out the orchid garden, serpentarium, or frog pond in town.

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Day 29: Monteverde/La Fortuna

The trip from Monteverde to La Fortuna takes us down from the cloud forest and across Costa Rica's largest lake The town of La Fortuna lies at the base of the Arenal Volcano, which dominates the landscape rising to 1670 meters high. The town has become famous as the adventure sports capital of Costa Rica.

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, white water rafting, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddlebording, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we're here.

Transport:
Shared van (2.00 hour(s))
Boat (0.75 hour(s))
Shared van (0.50 hour(s))

28

Day 30: La Fortuna

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, white water rafting, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddlebording, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we're here.

29

Day 31: La Fortuna/San José

Return to San José for our final night out.

San José has beautiful parks, museums and theatres. Enjoy the view of the surrounding lush mountains from the downtown streets.

Transport:
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)

30

Day 32: San José

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Caye Caulker stay
    • Guided tour of Tikal
    • Orientation walk in Antigua and Granada
    • G Adventures-supported homestays with Guatemalan and Nicaraguan families
    • Group salsa lesson in Antigua
    • Beach time in Caye Caulker and Roatán
    • Internal flight
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Simple hotels/hostels (28 nts, some multi-share), community guesthouse stay (2 nts), homestay (1 nt)
    • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners
    Transport
    • Local bus, ferry, boat, van, taxi, plane, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Relax on white-sand beaches
  • Explore the Mayan ruins of Copn and Tikal
  • Bargain at the local markets of colourful colonial Antigua
  • Meet some local friends at G for Good homestays in Guatemala and Nicaragua
  • Skip the bus and gain time (and comfort!) with a flight between Roatan and Managua.


Reviews (8)
Dwayn S. Posted on: 

I am very impressed as to how it was run.My tour leader was incredible and the trip would not have been the same without her! I am already Thinking of my next adventure.

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Beate V. Posted on: 

A great tour! We could have stayed even longer in Utila, an amazing place!

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Suzanne B. Posted on: 

Overall the tour was excellent, saw so much of central america is such a short space of time. The group size was just right to get to know everyone really well too. Our leader was really professional as well as being great fun, we felt safe at all times. Would definitely do another G Adventures trip.

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Sarah B. Posted on: 

Preferred the pace of travel of the Mayan Sun - there was such a lot of travel in the Volcano tour - too many long days.

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Harriet K. Posted on: 

The tour was fantastic with so many different activities to do everywhere we went. There was a fantastic mix of transport and cultural experiences with something for everyone. Great support throughout with a good level of independence as well. Highly recommended!

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Tessa M. Posted on: 

Amazing trip! Fun, culture, history, friendly people, action packed days and lots of laughs.

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Simon F. Posted on: 

The trip was absolutely wonderful with great opportunities for optional excitement and time in a local environment.

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Linda L. Posted on: 

Absolutely wonderful experience, as we have had on our previous G Adventures trips.

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