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Central America Explored San Jose - Playa del Carmen

Trip Overview

This 35 day overland tour journeys from San Jose to Playa del Carmen 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: $3,620 USD + 960 KITTY USD
Now: $3,077 (USD) + 960 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 - San Jose ( 24th Nov 2019 )

Border information: if you are starting in San Jose, you will most likely enter Costa Rica at Juan Santamaria Airport (Code: SJO)

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Until the meeting, the rest of the day is free to explore the busting city. Please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring San Jose.

In San Jose we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Day 2-3 - Monteverde ( 25th Nov 2019 to 26th Nov 2019 )

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

Estimated Drive Time - 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.

Learn all about the cultivation and processing of the world-renowned coffee of Costa Rica at one of the many incredible coffee plantations near Monteverde

USD 35

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

USD 30
Day 4-5 - La Fortuna ( 27th Nov 2019 to 28th Nov 2019 )

Today we will head by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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 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

Head out for an evening at the spectacular volcanic hot springs complex of Baldi near La Fortuna

USD 34

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

USD 100
Day 6-7 - Ometepe Island ( 29th Nov 2019 to 30th Nov 2019 )

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

This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and 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 - 4-6 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

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

USD 40

Head on a guided walk around Ometepe, and see some of the natural springs, beaches, and small villages on the island

USD 30
Day 8-9 - Granada ( 1st Dec 2019 to 2nd Dec 2019 )

Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.  

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

Daily Activities

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

Free

Trek up the beautiful dormant volcano of Mombacho near to Granada, exploring its rugged terrain and dwarf forests

USD 55
Day 10 - León, Masaya National Park ( 3rd Dec 2019 )

Today we drive to the university town of León. 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 León we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

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 traditional markets in Masaya village, famous for its local handicrafts

Free

Visit León's many museums and galleries, such as the world-class Ortiz-Gurdián art museum, the Gallery of Heros and Martyrs, and the Museum of Legends and Traditions

NIO 20
Day 11 - Lake Yojoa ( 4th Dec 2019 )

Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Las Manos, enter Honduras at Las Manos.

Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and 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 - 9-11 hours.

Day 12-13 - Roatán ( 5th Dec 2019 to 6th Dec 2019 )

Today we will take a short 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 - 3-4 hours.

On the following days we will enjoy some time to take part in the wealth of optional activities available on Roatán, 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

Sail out on a deep sea fishing trip in the Caribbean waters near Roatán (price for the entire boat with a maximum occupancy of 4 passengers)

USD 90
Day 14-15 - Copán ( 7th Dec 2019 to 8th Dec 2019 )

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 west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided visit to 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

Visit the Copán Butterfly Gardens, a serene garden bursting with tropical plants and dozens of moths and butterflies flitting about!

HNL 115
Day 16-17 - Suchitoto ( 9th Dec 2019 to 10th Dec 2019 )

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

Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.

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 - 8-10 hours.

On on second day we will have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.

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 18 - Cerro Verde National Park ( 11th Dec 2019 )

Today we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the afternoon we will take a guided hike up the Santa Ana Volcano.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

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

Trek up to the summit of Santa Ana, El Salvador's highest volcano in the heart of Cerro Verde National Park

Free
Day 19-20 - Antigua ( 12th Dec 2019 to 13th Dec 2019 )

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

Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. 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 - 6-7 hours.

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 59

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 21 - Antigua ( 14th Dec 2019 )

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.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

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

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

GTQ 200

Visit a traditional coffee plantation in the cool hills surrounding Antigua

GTQ 200

Head out on an exciting exploration of the forests and farmlands surrounding Antigua on a mountain biking trip

USD 45

Learn all about the culture and history of Antigua at some of its museums, such as the Museum of Ancient Books and the Museum of Colonial Art

GTQ 30
Day 22-23 - Chichicastenango, Lake Atitlan, Panajachel ( 15th Dec 2019 to 16th Dec 2019 )

Today we will head off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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!).

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 24 - San Andres Itzapa ( 17th Dec 2019 )

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 - 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.

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

Free
Day 25 - Rio Dulce ( 18th Dec 2019 )

Today we will drive north to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 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 100
Day 26-27 - Poptún ( 19th Dec 2019 to 20th Dec 2019 )

Today we have a free morning to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce, before heading on a short drive to 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 horse riding through the forests and farmlands near Poptún

GTQ 100

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 28 - Tikal ( 21st Dec 2019 )

Today we have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. We will likely stop briefly in the colonial town of Flores en route. 

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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 29-30 - San Ignacio ( 22nd Dec 2019 to 23rd Dec 2019 )

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

Today we have a short drive across the border into Belize and on to the village of San Ignacio, home to the country's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

We will have a full day to take part in some optional activities such as 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 to the beautiful Barton Creek cave

USD 55

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

USD 85

Rent mountain bikes and explore the area around San Ignacio

USD 20

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

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

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

BZD 30
Day 31-32 - Caye Caulker ( 24th Dec 2019 to 25th Dec 2019 )

Today we will travel north to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have a full day to explore and enjoy some optional activities 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 100

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 200

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

USD 20
Day 33 - Tulum ( 26th Dec 2019 )

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

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the bus in Belize City, 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 - 7-8 hours.

Day 34 - Chichen Itza, Playa del Carmen ( 27th Dec 2019 )

Today we will 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 Playa Del Carmen.

In Playa Del Carmen we stay in a hotel.

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
Day 35 - Playa del Carmen ( 28th Dec 2019 )

Today is the final day of our journey and there is no accommodation provided tonight.  Please speak to your Sales representative if you would like to book additional nights of accommodation to enjoy the area.

You will most likely depart Mexico from the International airport at Cancun (IATA code: CUN) which is around 45minutes from our Hotel.

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Trip Notes
Departing: 24 Nov 2019
Returning: 28 Dec 2019
Duration: 35 days
Route: San Jose - Playa del Carmen
$3,077 USD + $960 Kitty (USD)
Was $3620.00 - Save $543
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 4 Jan 2020
Returning: 7 Feb 2020
Duration: 35 days
Route: Playa del Carmen - San Jose
$3,090 USD + $970 Kitty (USD)
Was $3635.00 - Save $545.25
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 15 Nov 2020
Returning: 19 Dec 2020
Duration: 35 days
Route: San Jose - Playa del Carmen
$3,645 USD + $960 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 26 Dec 2020
Returning: 29 Jan 2021
Duration: 35 days
Route: Playa del Carmen - San Jose
$3,655 USD + $970 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 28 Nov 2021
Returning: 1 Jan 2022
Duration: 35 days
Route: San Jose - Playa del Carmen
$3,725 USD + $960 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $500 USD
available
Departing: 8 Jan 2022
Returning: 11 Feb 2022
Duration: 35 days
Route: Playa del Carmen - San Jose
$3,765 USD + $970 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $500 USD
available
* Sale price is for a limited time only and is subject to change at any time.