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Central America Explored Playa del Carmen - San Jose

Trip Overview

This 35 day overland tour journeys from Playa del Carmen to San Jose through Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
35 DAYS THROUGH Belize, Costa Rica (+ 5 more countries)
RATING:
of 0 reviews
PRICE FROM:
Was From: $3,635 USD + 1,040 KITTY USD
Now From: $3,090 (USD) + 1,040 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
35 days
TRANSPORT:
US style school bus
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
ACCOM:
20%
80%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
LZCN
DEPOSIT:
$500 USD

Highlights

  Relax on an Island getaway in Caye Caulker, Belize

  Explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Tikal

  Spend a night at our community project Manos Amigos

  Spend some time in the Bay Island of Roatan in Hondura

  Explore the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador

  Get active in the Costa Rican cloud forests at Monteverde

  Free time to explore La Fortuna including visiting the town's famous waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park

  Spend the night on Isla Ometepe

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Playa del Carmen ( 4th Jan 2020 )

Border information: if joining in Playa Del Carmen, you will most likely enter Mexico at Cancun International Airport (IATA code CUN).

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In Playa del Carmen we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Day 2 - Tulum, Chichen Itza ( 5th Jan 2020 )

Today we will have an early start to drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on a guided tour, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World centred around the world-famous pyramid of El Castillo

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Head out to explore some of the incredible cenotes (natural water-filled sinkholes) near Tulum

MXN 100

Hire snorkel gear on the beautiful beaches of Tulum

USD 10
Day 3-4 - Caye Caulker ( 6th Jan 2020 to 7th Jan 2020 )

Border information: Exit Mexico at Subteniente López, enter Belize at Santa Elena.

Today we will have an early start to travel south across the border to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have a full day of free time to explore and enjoy some optional activities available here, such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Head out on a fantastic scuba diving trip through the colossal coral reefs off the Caribbean island of Caye Caulker (there are many different options and sites available)

USD 65 - 260

Head out to the stunning coral reefs off Caye Caulker on a snorkelling trip

USD 60

Take a scenic flight over the phenomenal natural Great Blue Hole off Caye Caulker

USD 260

Hire sea kayaks to explore the deserted mangroves of Caye Caulker's North Island

USD 20

Go on a half-day fishing trip in the idyllic blue ocean near Caye Caulker

USD 250
Day 5-6 - San Ignacio ( 8th Jan 2020 to 9th Jan 2020 )

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the bus in Belize City. We then have a short drive to the village of San Ignacio, home to Belize's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Tomorrow we have time to take part in some optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Head on a horse riding trip around San Ignacio

USD 85

Rent mountain bikes and explore the area around San Ignacio

USD 20

Visit the Actun Tunichil Mukwal Cave, a Mayan archaeological site that includes ceramics, stoneware, and skeletal remains such as the famous 'Crystal Maiden'

USD 95

Take a full day tour to the remote ruins of the ancient Mayan capital of Caracol, once twice the size of the modern Belize City

USD 110

Explore the ancient ruins of Xunantunich, Belize's most-visited Mayan site and home to the mighty El Castillo pyramid

BZD 10

Visit the stunning ruins of Cahal Pech, atop a hill overlooking the southern outskirts of San Ignacio

BZD 30

Learn about local herbs and plants on a medicinal jungle trail en route to a release program for Green Iguanas near San Ignacio

BZD 12
Day 7 - Tikal ( 10th Jan 2020 )

Border information: Exit Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen, enter Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos.

Today we will have a short drive across the Guatemalan border to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. 

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world

Included in Kitty
Day 8-9 - Poptún ( 11th Jan 2020 to 12th Jan 2020 )

Today we have a short drive to the small town of Poptún, stopping in the colonial town of Flores en route. We will arrive at our fantastic eco-lodge near Poptún and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Poptún we will camp at an eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan ranch.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Stay at a wonderful eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan farm near Poptún

Free

Trek out to the incredible River Cave near Poptún, walking through the stunning Guatemalan rural landscape and exploring the underground rivers by candlelight

GTQ 115

Head out on a self-guided walk around our eco-lodge, taking in fantastic views of the surrounding rural landscape

Free

Take a day tour out to the nearby Mayan ruins of Ixcun, the comprehensive museum of Dolores and the beautiful waterfall of Mopan

GTQ 150

Explore the incredible caves of Naj Tunich, boasting the largest and most exceptional amount of Mayan cave inscriptions, paintings, and hieroglyphs in the world

GTQ 150
Day 10 - Rio Dulce ( 13th Jan 2020 )

Today we will have a short drive to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to take part in some optional activities. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy a beautiful boat ride down the Rio Dulce to the Caribbean town of Livingston

Free

Take a kayak out to explore the beautiful waters around Rio Dulce at sunrise

GTQ 150

Explore deep into the Guatemalan rainforest on foot and trek on the canopy bridges near Rio Dulce

GTQ 135
Day 11 - San Andres Itzapa ( 14th Jan 2020 )

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Spend a night at the Manos Amigas community project, a centre which has been set up to support local women and their children

Included in Kitty
Day 12-13 - Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Panajachel ( 15th Jan 2020 to 16th Jan 2020 )

Today we will spend the morning at the Manos Amigas project before heading off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat trip on the lake, to some of the small villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a tour through the spectacular highlands surrounding Lake Atitlan and Panajanchel, visiting picturesque villages and hot springs

USD 45

Head out on a boat trip to visit the traditional Mayan villages dotted along the coast of Lake Atitlan

USD 30

Visit the bewildering Mayan markets at Chichicastenango, taking in the incredible sights, smells, and atmosphere (provided it is running while we are in the area)

Free
Day 14 - Antigua ( 17th Jan 2020 )

Today we will have a short drive to the magnificent city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 60 kms from Guatemala City.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the old Jesuit church of Santo Domingo, an iconic building in Antigua and home to six fascinating museums

GTQ 40

Visit the Choco Museum of Antigua, learning all about the history of the culinary use of cocoa ever since the Mayan period

GTQ 120

Walk up to the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint to get unrivalled vistas over the town of Antigua

Free

Take a tour of the nearby small village community of San Lorenzo, and visit its schools and traditional handicrafts (only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays)

GTQ 250

Visit a traditional coffee plantation in the cool hills surrounding Antigua

GTQ 200

Participate in a local handicrafts workshop in a village near Antigua, learning traditional weaving, cooking, or woodworking skills

GTQ 200
Day 15 - Antigua ( 18th Jan 2020 )

Border information: if joining in Antigua, you will most likely enter Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings, and to take part in some optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Antigua before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Antigua.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Day 16 - Antigua ( 19th Jan 2020 )

We have a free day to enjoy Antigua, take a day trip into the National parks, go hiking or visit a coffee plantation.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a trek up to the famous active volcano of Pacaya near Antigua

USD 79

Visit a traditional coffee plantation in the cool hills surrounding Antigua

GTQ 200

Walk up to the Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint to get unrivalled vistas over the town of Antigua

Free
Day 17 - Cerro Verde National Park ( 20th Jan 2020 )

Today we will cross the border into El Salvador and drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the morning we will have will take a guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).

In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.

Border information: Exit Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, enter El Salvador at La Hachadura.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the spectacular volcanic landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, one of El Salvador's gems

Included in Kitty
Day 18-19 - Suchitoto ( 21st Jan 2020 to 22nd Jan 2020 )

After our trek up the volcano, we will drive to the beautiful town of Suchitoto, where we will some time to explore the town, with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, and to learn about the incredible work of the community centre in which we stay.

In Suchitoto we will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre, which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On Day 4 we will have a day to explore Suchitoto, have a guided walking tour of the town, head out on a sunset boat trip or take a day trip to San Salvador.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Spend the night at the wonderful community centre of Centro Arte Para La Paz in Suchitoto, which runs many workshops and projects for the locals in the area

Included in Kitty
Day 20-21 - Copán ( 23rd Jan 2020 to 24th Jan 2020 )

Border information: Exit El Salvador and enter Guatemala at Anguiatú. Exit Guatemala and enter Honduras at El Florido.

Today we will have a full day drive to Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

On the following day we will visit the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.

In Copán we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent ancient Mayan ruins of Copán

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the beautiful old Mayan stone carvings of Los Sapos, with fantastic views over the town of Copán

HNL 30
Day 22-23 - Roatán ( 25th Jan 2020 to 26th Jan 2020 )

Today we will drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The following day we have some free time to take part in optional activities and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!

In Roatán we will stay in a local hotel near the beach.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Head out scuba diving to the beautiful coral reefs off the coast of Roatán

USD 50

Rent sea kayaks to explore the magnificent Caribbean waters surrounding Roatán island

Free

Take an exciting zip lining course on Roatán island

USD 45
Day 24 - Lake Yojoa ( 27th Jan 2020 )

Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining the bus! We will then continue our journey east through Honduras to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa

In Lake Yojoa we will camp for the night in the grounds of a lodge and brewery.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Day 25-26 - León ( 28th Jan 2020 to 29th Jan 2020 )

Today we have a big drive day across the border to Nicaragua.

Approximate Drive time - 550km / 12 hrs

The following day we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.

In León we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy a fun and unique trip out to 'sand board' down the ash slopes of the Cerro Negro volcano

USD 30

Trek up the impressive active Telica volcano near León (please note that this is a fairly strenuous trek and you will need to be in good physical shape to participate - the trek usually takes about 6-7 hours)

USD 50

Visit the ancient ruins of León Viejo, the original settlement built by the Spanish before the town was moved in 1610

USD 35
Day 27 - Granada, Masaya National Park ( 30th Jan 2020 )

Today we will take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! En route we will have an included visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

In Granada we will stay in a centrally-located hostel, which has a mixture of private and dormitory rooms.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the dramatic crater rim of the active Masaya volcano between León and Granada

Included in Kitty

Visit the traditional markets in Masaya village, famous for its local handicrafts

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the incredible San Francisco Convent and Museum in Granada, the oldest building in Central America dating from 1585

USD 2

Learn about the cultivation of cocoa and its manufacture into chocolate at the Choco Museo in Granada

USD 13
Day 28-29 - Ometepe Island ( 31st Jan 2020 to 1st Feb 2020 )

This morning we drive to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.

On Ometepe we will stay in a small local hotel.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Climb to the summit of the Madera volcano on Ometepe Island (please note that although this is an easier trek than up Concepción volcano, it is still a very strenuous hike and you need to have a high level of fitness to complete it - the trek usually takes between 7-9 hours)

USD 42

Freely explore the mysterious pre-Columbian petroglyphs scattered around the island Ometepe

Free

Trek up to the stunning San Ramón waterfall in the forests near Madera volcano

USD 40
Day 30-31 - La Fortuna ( 2nd Feb 2020 to 3rd Feb 2020 )

Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, enter Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas.

Today we will take an early morning ferry back to San Jorge and drive to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.

In La Fortuna we will stay in excellent cabanas outside of town.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a fantastic white-water rafting trip on the Balsa or Sarapiqui rivers near La Fortuna, some of the best rafting areas in Costa Rica

USD 69

Take a intense canyoning trip into the rugged gorges of the jungles near Arenal, including several waterfall abseils

USD 100

Learn all about the intricacies of Costa Rican cuisine on a cooking class in La Fortuna

USD 45
Day 32-33 - Monteverde ( 4th Feb 2020 to 5th Feb 2020 )

Today we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi and boat into the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.

In Monteverde we will stay in a local hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Take a guided trek to explore the stunning forest trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, learning all about the fascinating and beautiful ecosystem there

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take an exhilarating off-road quad biking trip around the stunning countryside of Monteverde (driving licence required)

USD 70

Explore the incredible cloud forests of Monteverde at the tree-top level on a 3km canopy bridge circuit

USD 30
Day 34 - San Jose ( 6th Feb 2020 )

Today we will drive to the vibrant city of San Jose, where you have time to explore the historic neighbourhoods, visit some of the museums or galleries and enjoy some live music.

Expected drive time: 150km / 4-5hrs

In San Jose we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Day 35 - San Jose ( 7th Feb 2020 )

Border information: If you are leaving Costa Rica today, you will most likely exit Costa Rica at Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO).

Today is the final day of our journey. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation.

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Trip Notes
Departing: 4 Jan 2020
Returning: 7 Feb 2020
Duration: 35 days
Route: Playa del Carmen - San Jose
$3,090 USD + $1,040 Kitty (USD)
Was $3635.00 - Save $545.25
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 15 Nov 2020
Returning: 19 Dec 2020
Duration: 35 days
Route: San Jose - Playa del Carmen
$3,098 USD + $1,030 Kitty (USD)
Was $3645.00 - Save $546.75
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $500 USD
available
* Sale price is for a limited time only and is subject to change at any time.