Central American Experience
32 days from $3,161 (was $3,952)
- Discover the breath-taking Mayan ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
- See sloths, monkeys and tapirs in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
- Stay with a local family in Posadas Mayas, Guatemala
- Laze on the sun-soaked beaches of Belize
- Explore the cobbled streets of the ancient city of Copán, Honduras
- Swim in the cool waters of Lake Nicaragua
Central America is filled to the brim with astounding countryside, colourful townscapes, and fantastic wildlife. On this trip, you’ll journey through seven of Central America’s most captivating countries with a group of adventurous travellers, staying in the most famous and breathtaking locations in the region. Spend time soaking up the sunshine in some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful coastal locations and discover the colourful underwater world of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Trek through coffee plantations, vast nature reserves, and quaint cobbled streets, and immerse yourself in true Latin American culture.
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Day 1: Arrival
Hola, and welcome to Mexico! Arriving in Cancun today, you’ll need to hop on a shuttle or bus to your accommodation in sunshiny Playa del Carmen. Depending on your arrival time, you might have the opportunity to have a wander around the town or soak up some sunshine on the beach before joining your group at this evening’s welcome meeting.
Day 2: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
You’ve got a free day today to explore at your own pace. You might fancy taking it easy with a spot of sunbathing and leisurely snorkelling, or perhaps you’re raring to go and fancy going on a tour of Tulúm National Park to visit the beautiful Mayan ruins. Later on why not grab a bite to eat in town with the group?
Day 3-5: Caye Caulker, Belize
On day three we’ll hop across the border from Mexico to Belize to spend a couple of days on the gorgeous Caribbean island of Caye Caulker. A colourful place with an easygoing, uncomplicated atmosphere, this little island is the perfect place to relax in, so kick off your flip-flops, grab a mojito and climb into a hammock – no one will mind if that’s where you spend the next two days. Alternatively, you could make the most of having the world’s second longest barrier reef on your doorstep and go diving. There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied if you fancy some adventure, so try out a dolphin tour, go snorkelling, kayaking, or surfing, pop into town for a bit of retail therapy, or go on a tour of the fantastic Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary.
Day 6-7: San Ignacio, Belize
We’ll be heading inland on day 6 through Belize’s scenic terrain to the riverside town of San Ignacio – the heart of the Cayo District. We'll visit a local community project in the town that encourages women to learn new skills and earn a living by selling the things they make – you'll even have the chance to try your hand at clay throwing in a pottery class. The next day you’ll have plenty of free time to explore the vicinity by foot, canoe, or horseback for some truly incredible views of the area.
Day 8: Tikal/Flores, Guatemala
Today we’re crossing over the border through the rich forest-clad, volcanic landscape of Guatemala. We’ll be taking a fascinating tour of the ancient Mayan citadel of Tikal, to learn a bit about Mayan history and stare, agog, at the mammoth temples and trail through the maze of ruins. Climb to the top of Temple IV, the tallest Mayan structure in the world, and admire the impressive views of the jungle below.
Next up, we’re off to the small island town of Flores, set in the waters of Lake Petén Itzá. A quiet, unspoilt area dotted with colourful houses and cobbled streets – the perfect place to slow down and relax with a spot of swimming, boating, and wildlife watching.
Day 9-10: Río Dulce, Guatemala
Travelling through the dense Guatemalan jungle, today we’re heading to the little port town of Río Dulce, set on the shores of Lake Izabal. Try out a whole host of optional activities here, from horse riding through the local rubber plantations, hiking along the trails of the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve, chilling out in the thermal springs, or going on a morning kayak tour to spot monkeys.
Day 11-12: Antigua, Guatemala
On day 11 we’ll make our way through more incredible countryside to our accommodation in Antigua. We’ll head out for an orientation of the city and find out a bit about the history of this former capital, now UNESCO World Heritage Site, as we walk through the cobbled streets taking in the sights.
You’ll have the opportunity to explore Antigua’s thriving market square, museums, and blissful beaches, or why not hire a mountain bike and get off the beaten track with a ride through the countryside? Why not opt to take a group salsa lesson to learn some sultry Latin American moves while you're here, too?
Day 13-14: Panajachel, Guatemala
We’ll head to the busy lakeside settlement of Panajachel on day 13 – a picture-perfect setting in the Guatemalan highlands, with an expanse of calming blue waters framed by a spectacular volcanic backdrop. On day 14 you’ll be staying with a local family in one of the lakeside villages to get a taste for real Guatemalan living, so get to know your hosts and enjoy delicious traditional food with the rest of the group. You’ll have time to explore your surroundings on foot or have fun on Lake Atitlán with a spot of fishing, swimming, kayaking, or windsurfing. 1 dinner included.
Day 15-16: Antigua, Guatemala
Back to beautiful Antigua, you’ll get to catch up on a bit of rest and relaxation with time to yourself to take it easy in this Caribbean paradise. While away your time with a cocktail or famous Guatemalan coffee under the shade of a palm, people watch in Central Park, visit one of the local Macadamia nut or coffee plantations, or hunt out some bargains in the city’s excellent shopping hub.
Day 17-18: Copán, Honduras
Waving goodbye to Guatemala on day 17, we’ll make the journey to vibrant Honduras with our first stop at the historic town of Copán. There’s an optional trip scheduled to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses the decorated monuments and intricately carved stonework of some of the world’s most important Mayan ruins, which we highly recommend you go on. You’ll also have plenty of time to roam the countryside on horseback, visit a private macaw reserve, or soak in the local hot springs.
Day 19: Suchitoto, El Salvador
Make your way into El Salvador, stopping at the charming mountain town of Suchitoto for the night. Don’t forget to try the delicious pupusas, a local speciality.
Day 20-21: Playa el Tunco, El Salvador
Travel to the chilled out coastal town of El Tunco. Head to the striking black sand beach and take an optional surf lesson. The sunsets here are legendary as well – don’t miss them!
Day 22: Leon, Nicaragua
Go deeper into Nicaragua, where we’ll spend the night in the gorgeous colonial city of Leon. Wander through the historic centre checking out the central park, local market and various beautiful churches.
Day 23–24: Granada, Nicaragua
Journey to Granada, a colourful colonial town surrounded by lakes and active volcanoes. Explore the markets and museums and take an optional trip to Mombacho Volcano or to the warm waters of the Laguna de Apoyo.
Day 25–26: Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
Take the ferry across Lake Nicaragua to the unspoilt island of Ometepe. You’ll be spending the next 2 nights in a traditional homestay with a local family. Swim in the lake, hike the surrounding area or take an optional excursion to the springs of Ojo de Agua.
Day 27–28: Montverde, Costa Rica
Our next destination is quite literally in the clouds. The Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves are 1,400 metres above sea level and home to a unique array of wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, tapirs, large cats and more. Choose to fly through the jungle on a zipline, go horse riding, or take a tour of a butterfly garden.
Day 29-30: La Fortuna, Costa Rica
We’ll spend the next 2 days in the adventure sports capital of Costa Rica. Canyoning, white water rafting, kayaking and paddle boarding are all options while we’re here, but there are more sedate excursions for the adrenaline adverse, such as a hot springs soak and a waterfall swim.
Day 31-32: San Jose, Costa Rica
Enjoy the final days of your trip in Costa Rica’s buzzing capital. Check out the lively market squares and vibrant streets and enjoy some last nights out with your new friends.
Please note activities and itineraries are subject to change.
- 31 nights of accommodation
- 2 breakfasts, 1 lunches, and 3 dinners
- Experienced tour guide
- All transport between destinations
- Community initiative visit and pottery in San Ignacio
- Guided tour of Tikal
- Orientation of Antigua, Leon and Granada
- Beach time in Caye Caulker and El Tunco
- Homestays in Guatemala and Costa Rica
- 24/7 emergency support
- Flights to and from Central America
- Airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- Drinks and meals not included on the itinerary
- Border fees
- Optional activities
31-nights’ accommodation are included on this trip. You’ll mainly stay in simple but comfortable hostels and hotels. Rooms are on a multi-share basis and are same sex. Do bear in mind that you’ll be travelling through countries where cold water showers are common, so hot water showers may not always be available – although you might find a cold shower a welcome prospect after spending time in the heat of the day!
2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 3 dinners are included as part of this trip. This includes traditional meals at your homestays. Please budget around £550-£750 for the duration of your trip to purchase food and drinks not included in your itinerary.
You will need to arrange your flights to arrive in Cancun International Airport, Mexico (CUN) for the first day of your trip. You can arrive any time during the day, as long as you arrive at your accommodation in time for the welcome meeting (between 5pm-7pm). Airport transfers aren’t included, but shuttles and buses from the airport to Playa del Carmen are easy to find and reasonably priced.
Please note, we can also arrange an airport transfer for you when you arrive. Please contact a Travel Advisor for more information.
Your tour end in San Jose, Costa Rica on day 32, so you’ll need to arrange your return flights from San Jose International Airport (SJC).
To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years, the maximum is 39 years. Please note that some activities on this trip will require a moderate level of fitness.
All six countries on this trip require visitors to carry a valid passport with at least six months' validity remaining following your return home.
As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay border fees for some countries.
Mexico: British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Mexico but will need a tourist card, which you’ll get on arrival. You will need to complete an immigration form on your flight or at a border crossing in order to get your tourist card. You will need to keep your tourist card safe as you need it to leave the country.
Belize: British nationals can visit Belize for up to 30 days without a visa. You must have your passport stamped on entry or risk a fine or arrest.
Guatemala: British passport holders don’t need a visa to visit Guatemala for stays of up to 90 days.
Honduras: British nationals don’t need to get a visa in advance to enter Honduras, but can get a 30 day tourist visa on arrival.
El Salvador: British passport holders can enter El Salvador as a tourist for up to 90 days without the need for a visa.
Costa Rica: British nationals will not require a visa in order to enter Costa Rica, and can remain in the country as a visitor for up to three months.
Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements.
You should also arrange the required yellow fever vaccinations before you travel, and bring your record of proof with you. Without a valid yellow fever certificate you may not be allowed entry to some Central American countries.
How Many People Will Be In My Group?
The group size on this trip is capped at 18 people, but on average you’ll be one of 14-16.
How Much Spending Money Should I Bring With Me?
This will depend on the sorts of activities you want to try out during the trip, 1,500USD/£1,200 for activities & food and drink. Don’t forget you’ll need to budget for entrance and exit taxes for some countries.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a requirement for this trip and you will need to provide insurance details to your tour guide on arrival in Mexico. Talk to us about this when you book for full terms and conditions – we can help arrange this for you if you like.