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Highlights
  • Discover Central America, a land of mysterious Mayan ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles. See the sights and engage in a wide range of optional activities across eight different countries on this epic Latin adventure.
  • Whether its slumbering on the sands of Playa del Carmen, gazing at the pyramids of Tikal or haggling in the markets of Chichicastenango, you'll experience multiple sides of Central America.
  • You've never seen true colour until you've been to a Mexican market. Practice your bargaining skills, snap some photos and pick up traditional handicrafts at the markets in multiple destinations.
  • Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World. It's not hard to see why - strolling around the ancient Mayan ruins feels pretty wondrous.
  • A few days on Caye Caulker provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy laidback island vibes and exceptional snorkelling on the nearby reefs.
  • A homestay in San Jorge La Laguna invites you to connect with a local family. Sit down for breakfast and dinner with your hosts and work on improving your Spanish.
  • Experience an El Salvador of the past in the colonial town of Suchitoto, before savouring the blissful present on the black-sand beaches along its Pacific Coast.
  • Hike, cycle or zip-line through the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica. Get up close to nature among the hundreds of mammal, bird and plant species that call this place home.

Enjoy a Central American odyssey on this adventure from the chaos of Mexico’s capital to the heady heights of San Jose. Journeying through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica, this epic adventure takes in the tantalising highlights of the region. Get acquainted with Central American cultures, spectacular landscapes and fascinating histories as you explore the wealth of ancient ruins, spot the range of unusual wildlife, dive into the unique underwater worlds and relax on idyllic Caribbean beaches. Get to know the friendly locals and discover why Central America is an adventurer's delight on this epic overland adventure from Mexico to Costa Rica.

2,863
Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
97% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 2,593 Great 707 Average 136 Disappointing 53 Terrible 50
Value
4.6 Guide
4.6 Activities
4.6 Lodging
4.6 Transportation
4.6 Meals
4.6
Central America Explorer

No reviews yet for this trip. Browse other reviews below for Intrepid Travel.

P

Recommends

I gave this score because Fernando Maspes October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I gave this score because Fernando Maspes, our guide, organised everything beautifully. He covered not only local food and customs but history, architecture,and arts and crafts. He was charming and very well informed. Most of all he was very good company. Taxis arrived when they should, hotels were clean and comfortable and the range of food experiences comprehensive.
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Operator Intrepid Travel

B

Recommends

I love our tour leader Edith and October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I love our tour leader Edith and the support we got from her was excellent!

Operator Intrepid Travel

I

Recommends

A great variety of experiences (learning about October 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
A great variety of experiences (learning about culture, but also being in nature and doing some more physically challenging activities). Great tour leader and great group of people of various age.

Operator Intrepid Travel

M

Recommends

Group had a range of ages 30-60 September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Group had a range of ages 30-60 and mix of nationalities, so there was an interesting range of people to talk to. The group bonded quickly and easily. I have travelled a lot in South America independently and so I appreciated the ease of travel where the bus tickets and the hotels just "appeared". The foodie places were well chosen and we ate very very well!!
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Operator Intrepid Travel

Y

Recommends

I always suggest to my friends about September 2015

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I always suggest to my friends about going with Intrepid and many of them have. We are now up to trip 10 or 11 trip and hope to go on many more. Intrepid takes us to tourist sites that are off the beaten track and the guides have a great amount of information about the culture and history.
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Operator Intrepid Travel

Itinerary

Day 1 Mexico City

Bienvenidos a Mexico City! Welcome to Mexico City! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be checking your passport details, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).  Modern meets ancient in Mexico City - one of the world's largest urban centres. Although crowded and smoggy, D.F. (Distrito Federal) offers a great variety of museums, galleries and architecture, along with exciting nightlife and delicious street food. If you arrive into the city early, head to the Zocalo, the city's huge central square, to see Aztec ruins and colonial architecture. Perhaps relax in one of the many parks, plazas or gardens or take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide.

Day 2 Mexico City

This morning your leader will take you on an orientation walk to point out places of interest nearby the hotel and facilities such as the metro station and ATMs. The rest of the day is free for you to explore. If you like art, the Frida Kahlo Museum is a must-see. Another fascinating activities is a boat tour through the canal district of Xochimilco. Alternatively, you can choose to take an optional day trip to the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, 50 kilometres out of the city. A local guide will lead you down 'The Avenue of the Dead', pointing out the historic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. You'll also visit the religious landmark of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

Day 3 Puebla

This morning and most of the afternoon are free to continue exploring Mexico City. Later in the afternoon, take taxis to the bus station and catch a local bus to Puebla (approx 2.5 hours). Please make sure you bring bottled water and snacks for the journey. Local buses in Mexico aren’t the colourful school buses you’ll see in other areas of Central America. Most of the buses we use in Mexico are comfortable coach-style vehicles, with a bathroom and seats for all passengers. Local buses tend to blast the air conditioning so remember to pack a jacket in case you get cold. On arrival, your leader will take you out to orient yourself around the hotel for the further exploration the next day. At some point tonight or tomorrow your leader will run over some common Spanish phrases and words to set you up for the trip ahead. 

Day 4 Puebla

Today is free to discover Puebla at your leisure. Although a rapidly growing city, Puebla features many well-maintained colonial churches and buildings. Two good examples are the Santa Domingo Church and Rosary Chapel. Head to the markets to brush up on your bargaining skills and pick up some hand-painted tiles or other handicrafts. If you're looking for something outside of the city, perhaps take the train to Cholula town to visit the Great Pyramid. After a day sightseeing and shopping, why not try some mole Poblano, a dish native to Puebla and famous all over Mexico? You could even try making it yourself during an optional cooking class.

Day 5 Oaxaca

Today travel by local bus to Oaxaca (approx five hours). You'll have two full free days here. Your leader will provide ideas for activities and help you to make the most of your time. As usual, start with an orientation walk. A beautiful old colonial town, Oaxaca is full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. The markets are populated by descendents of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians selling colourful woven blankets and shawls. Oaxaca is also known for its arts scene, including folk art, fine art and dance. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets or simply sit in the square drinking mezcal as the world goes by. Your hotel is within walking distance of Oaxaca's nightlife hot spots.

Day 6 Oaxaca

Today, perhaps visit the spectacular mountain top temples of Monte Alban just outside the city. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1,500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre. The settlement's terraces, dams, canals and pyramids were literally carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, you could take a day tour out to the nearby Mitla Ruins, the mineral springs of Hierve el Agua and a mezcal distillery. Back in town, why not whip up something delicious at a cooking class?

Day 7 Oaxaca / Overnight Bus

Today, take the chance to do whatever optional activity you couldn't fit in yesterday or perhaps simply stroll the streets and people watch at a local cafe. In the evening, take a first-class overnight bus to San Cristobal del las Casas (approx 13 hours in total). First-class buses in Mexico are quite comfortable. They are equipped with toilets and reclining seats with plenty of leg room. They are always air-conditioned, so make sure you take a light jumper with you as it may get cold on board. While the bus is very comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections. If you suffer from motion sickness, this will be a good time to have your medication ready.

Day 8 San Cristobal de las Casas

Arrive into San Cristobal early in the morning. Check-in at the hotel isn't usually until midday, so if you can't check in on arrival, leave your luggage and start exploring San Cristobal. Start with an orientation tour so you have a head start on where the most important facilities are located. Today and tomorrow are at your leisure. As always, your group leader will help you arrange to take part in optional activities. With its winding cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains an old-world feel mixed with strong pre-hispanic roots. 

Day 9 San Cristobal de las Casas

The surrounding villages are home to Tzotzil and Tzeltal groups who maintain their tribal origins through their traditional costumes and customs. You might like to explore the villages by mountain bike. If you take a day trip to San Juan Chamula, make sure to visit the church. The floor is covered with pine needles and the air is heavy with incense. Shamans come here to carry out cleansings with firewater, ancient prayer and chickens. If you visit, please be aware of a strict ban on cameras as the local people maintain their traditional customs. There are also markets selling colourful handicrafts. Another option is a day trip to Sumidero Canyon. Back in town, wander to a local cafe and try an 'elote', a traditional highland corn snack.

Day 10 Palenque

Today travel along a windy road by private minivan to Palenque (approx 6 hours). Once you've arrived, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in hot jungle, Palenque is the jumping off point to the nearby Mayan ruins of the same name. You'll have tomorrow to check them out.

Day 11 Merida

Today you have the chance to visit the ruins of Palenque. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to 600 AD and are some of the most impressive Mayan relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples (closed-toe shoes recommended), listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. There are many ruins which are still un-excavated and remain hidden in the forest. You can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle. This afternoon, travel by private bus to the historic town of Merida (approximately 8 hours). 

Day 12 Merida

Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm. After your orientation walk around the hotel, wander through the Old Town, check out some museums and stroll the city streets, which are alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the 16th-century cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the others. For a taste of Merida's 19th-century glory, go for a walk along the mansion-lined Paseo de Montejo. Mornings are the best time to visit the outdoor markets, where you can stock up on hammocks and Mayan replicas. This is also a great place to sample local food specialities, such as 'cochinita pibil' or the extremely spicy El Yucateco hot sauce. 

Day 13 Merida

Merida is the gateway to the Maya ruins of Uxmal. Today perhaps choose to take a tour of the ruins which  includes transport and a local guide. Little is known about the site's origins but it is thought the city was founded around 500 AD. Much of the site is decorated with masks of the rain god Chac. You can also visit a nearby bird sanctuary or a variety of other ruins. Merida's locals love dancing. Every Sunday the town's streets are transformed into an open-air dance floor, with salsa and merengue bands providing the music.

Day 14 Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen

Travel to Playa del Carmen by private minivan, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza (this first leg will take about two hours). Recently named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site. There is also a large ball court where games used to be held. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice offered up treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend 2-3 hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa (approx three hours). Blessed with azure waters, powdery beaches and a European feel, Playa del Carmen is a resort city close to Cancun also with a party atmosphere. After your quick and easy orienation walk, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sunset.

Day 15 Playa del Carmen

Today is a free day to enjoy as you like. Use your time snorkelling in fresh water rock pools (called Cenotes), strolling along the white sands or for an adventure further afield, take a ferry across to Cozumel, an island famous for its reef diving. Perhaps take an Urban Adventure with an expert local guide.

Day 16 Tulum

Travel south today by local bus to Tulum, which should take around 1.5 hours. Tulum is a beach paradise on the Caribbean coast, where you can spend your time relaxing on the beach or strolling along the white sands. The town itself is small so your leader will take you on a brief orientation walk upon arrival. For a taste of Mayan architecture, take an optional visit of the ruins of Tulum. These ruins sit atop a cliff amid palm fringed and white sand beaches. You can even go for a swim within its ancient walls. In the evening, use the opportunity to kick back and watch the waves with a margarita.

Day 17 Tulum

Today is free to relax, take part in optional activities and to generally do as you wish. Perhaps start your morning by renting a bike and cycling around the area - this is a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short time. You may want to head to Akumal Bay for a change of scenery or check out one of the many fresh water rock pools (sink hole) known locally as Cenote. You can buy an organized tour to each of these attractions or venture off on your own as both are easily reached by local transport. Go early in the day to avoid the crowds. Cenote Dos Ojos is perhaps the most spectacular Cenote but it requires a 3 Km walk each way from the local bus drop off. If you haven't already, you may wish to take your last opportunity before departing the country to head to Mexico's most famous archaeological site, Chichen Itza - named one of the seven wonders of the world.

Day 18 Caye Caulker

Leave Mexico behind early in the morning and head south to Belize. Be prepared for a long day of travel on the road, as the total driving time including the border crossing will take around eight or nine hours. Travel by minivan to the border at Chetumal (3.5 hours approximately). After crossing the border and having lunch (not included) continue onto Belize City by private minivan (3 hours approximately). Once in Belize City take a water taxi to Caye Caulker (1 hour). Expect to arrive at Caye Caulker by 5-6 pm. The Belize Cayes are a group of islands that are a short boat ride away from the coast. There are a number of these islands to choose from, Caye Caulker being one of the more popular islands with travellers. On arrival there won't be too much time to explore, so perhaps go for an evening stroll to get your bearings of the immediate vicinity. Belize is the only English speaking country in Central America, which will make chatting with locals much easier.

Day 19 Caye Caulker

Today is free to explore. From Caye Caulker, it's possible to arrange day trips to other Cayes or a snorkelling trip to the nearby colorful corals to see tropical fish, sharks and manta rays. Further away, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is home to the magnificent Blue Hole and the world's second longest barrier reef. You could also choose to go manatee spotting. These huge peaceful creatures are often called sea cows and are quite curious to meet their visitors. Otherwise just relax on the beach.

Day 20 Caye Caulker

Today is another free day to take up some water or beach activities.  If you're interested in sampling local cuisine, Caye Caulker is famous for its lobster. Not the cheapest meal you'll ever buy, but delicious nonetheless. Always make sure that you respect the season: the lobsters can only be caught between June 15th and February 15th. Some of the best meals on the island are cooked on the road side. How about some grilled shrimp and a lovely rum and coke made with the local fire water?

Day 21 San Ignacio

Today catch a ferry back to Belize City (1 hour) before taking a local bus through the forested hills of the highlands to San Ignacio (3.5 hours approximately). Local buses in Belize are a little more basic and crowded than in Mexico. Get ready for a stop-and-go experience on the journey; there are very few official bus stops in Belize so the bus will stop as required by roadside passengers. On arrival, your leader will take you walking tour of San Ignacio and its twin sister Santa Elena. While San Ignacio may lack the colonial charm of other Central American towns, its streets and markets showcasing a mix of Mayan and Garifuna cultures are well worth exploring.

Day 22 San Ignacio

You have a full day at your leisure to discover San Ignacio. This beautiful town is surrounded by fast flowing rivers, waterfalls and Mayan ruins, making the ideal base to explore the region. One of the optional activities here is a day trip to Xunantunich, an impressive Mayan ceremonial centre located with panoramic views over the countryside. The east side of one of the temples has a unique stucco frieze and the central plaza has three carved stelae. Getting to the site is half the fun, as you'll need to take a hand-cranked ferry to cross the river. The cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal is a living museum of Mayan relics, where you'll have to wade through water until you reach the Mayan ceremonial site. Here you'll find ceramic pots and crystallised skeletons, preserved by the natural processes of the cave for over 1,400 years. Other options to fill in your time in San Ignacio include a day trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge area to visit waterfalls and warm swimming holes, as well as a huge cave system, the butterfly garden, canoeing or river tubing. In the late afternoon and at night perhaps head to Santa Elena (15 minutes walking) where many little street barbecue stalls open, and serve huge portions. Give it a try, sit down next to the road, chat with the locals and enjoy a juicy chicken leg. Closer to town you may want to try tamales, garnachas (crunchy tortillas with fired beans and cheese) and 'foot cow soup' also known as caxlo de res.

Day 23 Tikal

Today starts at 8am with a short taxi ride to the Belize-Guatemala border. Once in Guatemala, take a bus to Tikal National Park (approximately 2.5 hours). In Tikal there will be time for lunch (not included), before visiting the impressive archaeological site. Towering above the jungle of the Tikal National Park, the five granite temples of Tikal are an imposing sight and one of the most magnificent Mayan ruins. Hidden in the jungle growth is a maze of smaller structures waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy and you may even spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds. While here, you have the option of taking a guided tour of the area or scale the canopies and explore by zip-line. Tonight, set up the tents along with sleeping mattresses and camp under the stars by this majestic Maya site. Weather is always warm in this part of the world but a thin blanket is provided for extra comfort. There are also basic shared bathrooms and showers at camp.

Day 24 Rio Dulce

If you haven't had enough of Tikal, you have the option to visit the site again (very) early in morning (entrance fee not included). Leave Tikal at 8am for a 1-hour bus ride to Flores on Lake Peten Itza. Your leader will take you on a walking tour of Flores before continuing travelling by private minivan to Rio Dulce (approximately 4 hours). On arrival in Rio Dulce, transfer to the hotel by boat. The easiest way to get back into town is also by boat, which can be organised through the hotel, or take a 40 minute walk enjoying the jungle. Your hotel is located right on the river. This is a great place to simply relax on the deck overlooking the water, with reasonably priced meals served in the hotel restaurant. Now that you are back in a Spanish-speaking nation, this is great opportunity to pick up some Spanish from your leader for your week ahead. 

Day 25 Rio Dulce

Use your free day here taking advantage of the optional activities to get out and about. Take a scenic boat trip down the river to Livingston, a laidback town on the Caribbean coast that offers a unique experience of local Garifuna culture. Follow the local trend and go boating on the lake, take a tour to spot the protected manatees or explore nearby San Felipe fort.

Day 26 Antigua

Say goodbye to Rio Dulce today and travel by private minibus to the city of Antigua, which should take approximately eight to nine hours allowing time for lunch. However, the road between Rio Dulce and Guatemala City is one of the busiest in the country. Traffic is slow, there are frequent road works and many, many, many slow trucks. Be armed with patience, music and a good book. You'll spend the night here, before heading to Lake Atitlan tomorrow. You won't spend too much time in Antigua today, but you should still go out for a stroll and try tamales - a local dish usually prepared traditionally on weekends and served in a corn leaf. You could also give the pepian a try, which is a meal that consists of a rich dark sauce served with vegetables and meat (usually chicken). You may also want to take this time to purchase a few snacks for your time at the homestay as the meals there can be very basic. 

Day 27 Chichicastenango / San Jorge La Laguna

Be ready for an 8am departure. Travel by private transport (approximately 2.5 hours on winding roads) to the famous market in Chichicastenango. Home to perhaps the most colourful market in the country, on Thursdays and Sundays locals come from the surrounding villages to sell their wares, and the streets are lined with stalls offering multi-coloured textiles and fresh produce. After visiting Chichi head towards San Jorge La Laguna, a small Maya village overlooking Lake Atitlan, which should take 1.5 hours. Arriving in San Jorge La Laguna, meet your host family for tonight's homestay. The group may be split in twos or threes, depending on the group size. Locals in San Jorge La Laguna are both very friendly and very shy. In order to make the most of this experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Draw on your newly learnt Spanish words and get ready for some serious hand signals. Houses in San Jorge La Laguna are very basic. Your room may only consist of a couple of beds with clean bedding, and the bathroom will most likely be outside your room and shared with the rest of the family. The mother of the family will cook dinner and breakfast for you. Meals can be very basic but filling, consisting of corn, rice and beans. 

Day 28 Panajachel

Say farewell to your host family this morning, as you move to the neighbouring town of Panajachel. Located on Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes looming in the background, Panajachel has a thriving market, good eateries and many water-based activities to enjoy. Once in Pana your leader will take you on a brief walking tour of town. The rest of the time is free for you to explore. Why not go for a swim, hike to San Pedro volcano or kayak on the lake? The surrounding area is dotted with villages, which can be reached on foot or by boat. Watch women weaving at Santa Catarina Palopo or explore the colourful markets of Santiago Atitlan. Your whole day is free to take part in optional activities.

Day 29 Antigua

At 9am start travelling back to Antigua by private vehicle, which takes 3 hours. In 1773 the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but many of the colonial buildings have been carefully restored and the architecture from its glory days can still be seen. Your leader will take you on a walking tour of Antigua including Cerro de la Cruz lookout, the local market as well as the very colourful and unique chicken bus station next to the market. The rest of the time in Antigua is free for you to explore. If you're into salsa dancing or if you'd like to learn some moves, Antigua is the place to be. Many dancing schools offer hourly lessons so you'll be able to perfect your moves.

Day 30 Antigua

Enjoy a free day exploring the city. Perhaps check out the ChocoMuseo located on 4th Street West, two blocks away from central park. Learn all about chocolate, its history and nutritional values and you may be lucky enough to get a sample bag of chocolates at the end of the tour. Otherwise, grab a coffee from one of the many coffee shops in central park and just sit back, relax and enjoy Antigua's city vibe. If you want to learn more about the famous Guatemalan coffee, you can go on a coffee tour, visit the plantations, do some coffee tasting and even buy some to take home. If you're into salsa dancing or if you'd like to learn some moves, Antigua is the place to be. Many dancing schools offer hourly lessons so you'll be able to perfect your moves. Unfortunately, more than half the population of beautiful Guatemala lives under the poverty line, which may explain why Guatemala has also the lowest literacy rate in Central America. With this in mind, the Intrepid Foundation is proud supporter of CasaSito, an outstanding not for profit organization dedicated to assist youth to reach their academic, personal and professional potential. If you have 2’ to spare (2’41’’ to be exact!) take a look at this short video about CasaSito – it’s inspiring: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3KBiGdEcV4w If you want to help CasaSito and Guatemalan’s youth, you can donate through the Intrepid Foundation, which means that your donation will be match dollar for dollar by us too. No donation is too small. $5, $10, $50 it all goes a long way to help this fantastic organization. Simply visit our website: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/casasito/

Day 31 Antigua

Hit the cobblestone streets this morning on an orientation walk with your leader, and get your bearings in the former seat of the Spanish colonial government. In 1773, the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but as you'll see during your walk, many of the colonial buildings have been restored. Maybe satisfy your cravings and learn a the art of old-world chocolate production at the ChocoMuseo, sit by the fountain and people watch in Central Park or hire a mountain bike and tackle the lush countryside. If you want to learn more about Guatemala's famous coffee, you might like to take a tour of a plantation and do some coffee tasting. Hungry? The best value food can be found next to the artesian market near the bus station, so get in for a snack before it closes at 6 pm. 

Day 32 Copan

Rise and shine for a long day of travel, leaving at around 4 am to beat the rush-hour traffic around Guatemala City. All up you'll be spending 8 hours driving to Copan by private vehicle, and while the scenery is breathtaking in sections, it's a good idea to pack a book or download a few podcasts. There will also be an informal Spanish lesson to liven up the journey and sharpen your skills. Head into Honduras through the wild countryside of eastern Guatemala, arriving in the charming town of Copan in the early afternoon. While most people use Copan as a base to explore the nearby ruins, there are plenty of other points of interest, both along the cobblestone streets and set into the lush surrounds. Maybe get started in the Central Plaza and follow your nose to cafe. Or perhaps head to the nearby hot springs on an optional tour. Less than USD 50 gets you hours of soak time in mud baths, steaming natural baths and refreshing pools plus dinner, all set along winding jungle paths.

Day 33 Copan

This morning is free for you to continue explore Copan and its surrounds. Perhaps make an optional visit to the World Heritage-listed ruins of Copan, the remnants of the southernmost of the great Maya sites for which Central America is famous. Unique because of the numerous elaborate stelae – carved columns – still intact on site, there are also temples, excavated vaults and walls inscribed with ancient faces. A stroll through this old-world capital is bound to leave you pondering the mysterious and adbrupt disappearance of such a creative civilisation. Alternatively, nature lovers may wish to travel two kilometres out of town to the Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve. Dedicated to the conservation of the Central American macaw, the reserve also houses toucans, motmots, parrots, kingfishers and orioles.

Day 34 Suchitoto

Wave goodbye to Copan and head across the border to El Salvador by private vehicle. There's another substantial amount of time spent on the road today, so have that book (or your most sparkling conversation) handy to pass the time. All up the drive should take about 7 hours, depending on conditions, and you are expected to reach the colourful colonial town of Suchitoto in the afternoon. Join an orientation walk with your leader on arrival of a town widely considered the cultural capital of El Salvador. Stroll past gorgeous colonial facades and get your bearings. Birders will want to crane their necks – Suchitoto lies on a bird migration path.

Day 35 Suchitoto

Today is all yours to get among the optional activities on offer. Suchitoto overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande. Also known as Lago Suchitlan, this freshwater lake is a haven for the aforementioned migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks. Maybe hustle a crew of four or more together and take a boat trip to Bird Island, or perhaps grab a historically-minded quartet for a guided walk through Cinquera Forest, where guerrilla fighters used the forest as cover during the civil war.

Day 36 El Tunco

Head west by private vehicle to El Tunco, a perma-relaxed two-street surf town about three hours away. Take the afternoon to explore the beautiful coastal scenery around El Tunco, or simply grab a smoothie and embrace the chilled vibes. 

Day 37 El Tunco

Today you might like to find some inner peace during a yoga class at the resort or simply relax in a hammock on the beach.

Day 38 Manuel Antonio

Use a mix of transport to reach Costa Rica today – trust us, it's worth the minor hassles you may encounter along the way. Drive one hour to San Salvador Airport and board a morning flight to San Jose. Next, take a local bus to Manuel Antonio (around 4 hours). The buses in this region of the country are a little more basic than you may be used to, but it's an awesome opportuity to mingle with Costa Ricans, practice your Espanol  and get a feel for local life. The hotel is conveniently located between both Manuel Antonio and Quepos, giving you the option to explore both small towns over the next couple of days.

Day 39 Manuel Antonio

Spend your time here enjoying all that Manuel Antonio National Park has to offer. Head out for a hike along its many trails, keeping one eye on the great views and the other looking for the abundant wildlife. Monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds are among the species you maybe be able to spot. At the very least the birds will provide a tropical soundtrack to your walk. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches that are perfect for swimming, kayaking, sailing or fishing. Basically, perfect for enjoying. 

Day 40 Manuel Antonio

It's just another day in paradise. Active types might want to rent a board and work the waves, or head back to the park for more hiking and wildlife spotting. Or you can simply relax on a white-sand beach rimmed by verdant rainforest. In the evening, perhaps cap off a day of indulgence with a sunset sail.

Day 41 Monteverde

Grab your headphones and get ready to travel like a local. First, take a local bus to Puntarenas (approximately 3 hours), where you’ll have to wait for the connection, and then it will be a further 3 hours to Monteverde. Once in town your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Monteverde, a unique town with a wild history. Founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers, these environmentally-aware settlers also established a small wildlife sanctuary which has since grown into the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. Cloud forests are similar to rainforests, but instead draw their water from a semi-permanent cloud covering the region. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2000 plant species, 320 bird species and 100 mammal species call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Day 42 Monteverde

Today you have a full free day to discover the reserve. Perhaps take a hike through the cloud forest, check out the area by mountain bike or fly over the canopy on a zip line tour. Another way to see the forest from above is to take a Sky Walk tour along a series of suspension bridges. You can explore the park on your own or arrange for a local guide to accompany you. The guides are very knowledgeable and happy to engage in conversation. To see some guaranteed wildlife up close, visit the butterfly and insect gardens or the serpentarium. There are also several cooperatives worth visiting in the local communities.

Day 43 La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano National Park

Leave Monteverde at 2 pm and take the scenic route to La Fortuna. Travel by shared minibus for 1.5 hour to the shores of Lake Arenal, which you'll then cross by boat - a further 1.5 hour journey. On a clear day you'll see fantastic views of the surrounding area. On the other side of the lake, re-board the minibus and continue on to your hotel. La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. While you're here, make sure you take some photos of the volcano reflected spectacularly in the lake.

Day 44 La Fortuna / Arenal Volcano National Park

There are plenty of optional activities to take part in today. Perhaps take a guided nature hike through the lush forest surrounding Arenal Volcano, keeping an eye out for rare plants and animals. You can also see the forest from a series of hanging bridges. Check out the 70-metre high La Fortuna waterfall, or get active with some water sports on the lake, such as stand-up paddle boarding. The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area is home to several thermal hot springs, an ideal way to relax in the middle of nature. Alternatively, a boat safari down the Celeste River offers the opportunity to see lizards, crocodiles and tropical birds in their natural habitat.

Day 45 San Jose

Take a local five-hour bus to Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. Situated in the fertile Central Valley and home to over half the country's population, San Jose is filled with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. Your leader will take you on a walking tour around the city's main highlights. A good place to start your solo exploration is the main plaza. Artisan booths are common here, so you never know when an art fair will pop up. The Gold Museum has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If you're in the mood for a bit of shopping, head to the outdoor market in the Plaza de la Cultura or the city's Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood. If you prefer to explore a city taste buds first, perhaps check out the San Jose Bites and Sights Tour offered by Urban Adventures.

Day 46 San Jose

Today your Central American adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day, so you can leave any time after check out. 

Dates & Pricing

Price From

$ 4,065

Price Per Day:

$ 88 per day
 
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Sep-22-2018Nov-06-2018$ 4,225NoSold Out Reserve
Sep-29-2018Nov-13-2018$ 4,225Yes4 spots left Reserve
Oct-06-2018Nov-20-2018$ 4,225Yes6 spots left Reserve
Oct-13-2018Nov-27-2018$ 4,225Yes1 spots left Reserve
Oct-20-2018Dec-04-2018$ 4,225Yes2 spots left Reserve
Oct-23-2018Dec-07-2018$ 4,225Yes2 spots left Reserve
Oct-27-2018Dec-11-2018$ 4,395Yes4 spots left Reserve
Nov-03-2018Dec-18-2018$ 4,395Yes3 spots left Reserve
Nov-06-2018Dec-21-2018$ 4,395Yes2 spots left Reserve
Nov-10-2018Dec-25-2018$ 4,395YesSold Out Reserve
Nov-17-2018Jan-01-2019$ 4,395Yes5 spots left Reserve
Nov-24-2018Jan-08-2019$ 4,395Yes5 spots left Reserve
Dec-01-2018Jan-15-2019$ 4,395Yes2 spots left Reserve
Dec-08-2018Jan-22-2019$ 4,565YesSold Out Reserve
Dec-15-2018Jan-29-2019$ 4,565YesSold Out Reserve
Dec-22-2018Feb-05-2019$ 4,565YesSold Out Reserve
Dec-29-2018Feb-12-2019$ 4,565YesSold Out Reserve
Jan-05-2019Feb-19-2019$ 4,065YesSold Out Reserve
Jan-12-2019Feb-27-2019$ 4,705Yes7 spots left Reserve
Jan-19-2019Mar-06-2019$ 4,705Yes10 spots left Reserve
Jan-26-2019Mar-13-2019$ 4,705Yes9 spots left Reserve
Feb-02-2019Mar-20-2019$ 4,705Yes13 spots left Reserve
Feb-09-2019Mar-27-2019$ 4,705Yes12 spots left Reserve
Feb-16-2019Apr-03-2019$ 4,705Yes9 spots left Reserve
Feb-23-2019Apr-10-2019$ 4,705Yes12 spots left Reserve
Mar-02-2019Apr-17-2019$ 4,705Yes9 spots left Reserve
Mar-09-2019Apr-24-2019$ 4,530Yes12 spots left Reserve
Mar-16-2019May-01-2019$ 4,530Yes13 spots left Reserve
Mar-23-2019May-08-2019$ 4,530Yes8 spots left Reserve
Mar-30-2019May-15-2019$ 4,530Yes14 spots left Reserve
Apr-06-2019May-22-2019$ 4,530Yes14 spots left Reserve
Apr-13-2019May-29-2019$ 4,530Yes11 spots left Reserve
Apr-20-2019Jun-05-2019$ 4,530Yes13 spots left Reserve
Apr-27-2019Jun-12-2019$ 4,530Yes16 spots left Reserve
May-04-2019Jun-19-2019$ 4,530Yes13 spots left Reserve
May-11-2019Jun-26-2019$ 4,355Yes11 spots left Reserve
May-25-2019Jul-10-2019$ 4,355Yes14 spots left Reserve
Jun-01-2019Jul-17-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-08-2019Jul-24-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-15-2019Jul-31-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jun-22-2019Aug-07-2019$ 4,355Yes15 spots left Reserve
Jun-29-2019Aug-14-2019$ 4,355Yes12 spots left Reserve
Jul-06-2019Aug-21-2019$ 4,355Yes13 spots left Reserve
Jul-13-2019Aug-28-2019$ 4,355Yes15 spots left Reserve
Jul-27-2019Sep-11-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-03-2019Sep-18-2019$ 4,355Yes14 spots left Reserve
Aug-10-2019Sep-25-2019$ 4,355Yes15 spots left Reserve
Aug-17-2019Oct-02-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-24-2019Oct-09-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Aug-31-2019Oct-16-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-07-2019Oct-23-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-14-2019Oct-30-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-21-2019Nov-06-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Sep-28-2019Nov-13-2019$ 4,355Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-05-2019Nov-20-2019$ 4,355Yes14 spots left Reserve
Oct-12-2019Nov-27-2019$ 4,530Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-19-2019Dec-04-2019$ 4,530Yes16 spots left Reserve
Oct-26-2019Dec-11-2019$ 4,530Yes14 spots left Reserve
Nov-02-2019Dec-18-2019$ 4,530Yes14 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2019Dec-25-2019$ 4,530Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-16-2019Jan-01-2020$ 4,530Yes12 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2019Jan-08-2020$ 4,705Yes16 spots left Reserve
Nov-30-2019Jan-15-2020$ 4,705Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-07-2019Jan-22-2020$ 4,705Yes14 spots left Reserve
Dec-14-2019Jan-29-2020$ 4,705Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-21-2019Feb-05-2020$ 4,705Yes14 spots left Reserve
Dec-24-2019Feb-08-2020$ 4,705Yes16 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2019Feb-12-2020$ 4,705Yes16 spots left Reserve
Jan-04-2020Feb-19-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jan-11-2020Feb-26-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jan-18-2020Mar-04-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jan-25-2020Mar-11-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Feb-01-2020Mar-18-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Feb-08-2020Mar-25-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Feb-15-2020Apr-01-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Feb-22-2020Apr-08-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Feb-29-2020Apr-15-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Mar-07-2020Apr-22-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Mar-14-2020Apr-29-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Mar-21-2020May-06-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Mar-28-2020May-13-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Apr-04-2020May-20-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Apr-11-2020May-27-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Apr-25-2020Jun-10-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
May-02-2020Jun-17-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
May-09-2020Jun-24-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
May-16-2020Jul-01-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
May-23-2020Jul-08-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-06-2020Jul-22-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-13-2020Jul-29-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-20-2020Aug-05-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jun-27-2020Aug-12-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jul-04-2020Aug-19-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jul-11-2020Aug-26-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Jul-25-2020Sep-09-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-01-2020Sep-16-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-08-2020Sep-23-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-15-2020Sep-30-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-22-2020Oct-07-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Aug-29-2020Oct-14-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-05-2020Oct-21-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-12-2020Oct-28-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-19-2020Nov-04-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Sep-26-2020Nov-11-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-03-2020Nov-18-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-10-2020Nov-25-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-24-2020Dec-09-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Oct-31-2020Dec-16-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-03-2020Dec-19-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-07-2020Dec-23-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-14-2020Dec-30-2020$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-17-2020Jan-02-2021$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-21-2020Jan-06-2021$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Nov-28-2020Jan-13-2021$ 4,355No16 spots left Reserve
Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel
Details
Group Size:
Small Group - 24 max
Maximum Number of People in Group: 16
Accomodations
Hotel (37 nights),Camping with facilities (1 night),Homestay (1 night),Overnight bus (1 night),Multishare Hotel (3 nights),Multishare lodge (2 nights)
Start City
Mexico City
End City
San Jose
Guides All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Additional Information:

Finish point

  • The Palm House Inn
  • Calle 13 Avenida 2 y 6, San José Province, San José, 10303, Costa Rica
  • San Jose
  • 10303
  • COSTA RICA
  • Phone: 22231530

Alternate Finish point

  • For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
  • 08 Dec 2018 (QVRZC1812082), 15 Dec 2018 (QVRZC1812152), 22 Dec 2018 (QVRZC181222), 29 Dec 2018 (QVRZC181229), 05 Jan 2019 (QVRZC1901052)
  • Hotel Le Bergerac
  • First entry to Los Yoses, 50 mts. South San Jose
  • San Jose
  • San Jose
  • COSTA RICA
  • Phone: +506 22347850

Trip ID#: intrepid-QVRZC

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