Central American Experience

32 days from £1,487 (was £1,749)

Beautiful beaches in Belize

A month of adventure through six amazing countries

A month of adventure through six amazing countries

Chilling out in Costa Rica
Mexico
+14
Gap year in Mexico

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulúm National Park in Mexico
  • Laze on the sun-soaked beaches of Belize, and stay in an eco-lodge surrounded by nature
  • Explore the beautiful lakes, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and volcanic scenery of Guatemala
  • Tour the historic town of Copán and stay on a paradise island in Honduras
  • Party in Granada and stay with a local family in Ometepe in Nicaragua
  • Seek out adventure in La Fortuna and party the night away in Costa Rica’s capital

Trip Summary

Central America is filled to the brim with astounding countryside, colourful townscapes, and fantastic wildlife. The landscape is heavily dominated by dramatic volcanic terrain, densely rich rainforests, and magnificent ancient Mayan ruins. On this trip you’ll journey through six of Central America’s most captivating countries, with a group of adventurous travellers, staying in some of the most famous and breathtaking locations in the region. You’ll get to experience real life at homestays in Guatemala and Nicaragua, get back to nature in an eco-lodge in Belize, and stay on a tropical island in Honduras.

Spend time soaking up the sunshine in some of the Caribbean’s most beautiful coastal locations and witness 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.

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip Info

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 round 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. Staying in rustic Belizean eco-lodges, you’ll be surrounded by the wonders of nature with fantastic local wildlife within petting distance (but don’t actually try petting any wildlife unless your tour guide says it’s safe to do so!). You’ll have plenty of free time to explore the vicinity by foot, canoe, or horseback for some truly incredible views of the area, or take a trip to the breathtaking Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve to swim in the cool pools of the Hidden Valley Falls, go on a caving adventure, or take a day trip to the ancient Maya archaeological site of Xunantunich.

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. Once we’ve got ourselves settled in, we’ll regroup 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 stunning 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? We’ll also have a group salsa lesson to learn some sultry Latin American moves.

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.   

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 19-21: Roatan, Honduras

Day 19 will be spent travelling to Roatan – a paradisiacal island set within the tropical Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. You’ll have two days to soak up the sun, sea, and friendly local atmosphere with as many, or few, activities as you feel like doing. Take a diving course, go paddleboarding, rent a jet ski, have a surf lesson, or brave a shark cage! On dry land you could simply hang out in a hammock, enjoy being pampered at a local spa, visit the beautiful botanical gardens, try out the Zipline and Aerial Adventure Park, or go and make some furry friends at the monkey and sloth hang out. There’s plenty to see and do, just make sure you make time to sit back and take in your incredible surroundings.

Day 22-24: Granada, Nicaragua

On day 22 we’ll board a flight bound for Nicaragua – our fifth country of the trip so far! Making our way for the lively city of Granada, you’ll be spoilt by the variety of amazing architecture, natural beauty, culture, and colonial charm – this place has it all. During the day, check out the local handcrafted wares in the market, visit the city’s museums, take a boat tour around some of the 350 tiny islands of Lake Nicaragua, or hike through the Masaya Volcano National Park. At night, enjoy the city’s live music scene with Latino vibes playing from the square and plenty of vibrant haunts to enjoy a few drinks.  

Day 25-26: Ometepe, Nicaragua

We’ll hop on a ferry across Lake Nicaragua to Ometepe, where you’ll spend two nights in a unique homestay with a local family – another fantastic opportunity to get to grips with local life. On our way we’ll see the small villages and plantations scattered beyond the dark grey sandy shoreline, as we approach the twin peaks of the volcanic isle. During your time here, you’ll have the chance to hike up Maderas Volcano, visit the pre-Columbian petroglyphs, try out the Tarzan Swing Adventure at a nearby jungle swimming pool, and ride through dense forested areas on horseback.

Day 27-28: Monteverde, Costa Rica

Travelling across to Costa Rica on day 27, we’re headed straight for the cool climate of Monteverde’s Cloud Forest, where we’ll be staying in a nature-lover’s dream accommodation nestled in the grounds of a local forest reserve. Abundant flora and fauna are the basis for most activities here, so take the opportunity to go bird watching, wildlife spotting, hiking, mountain riding, horse riding, or visit a butterfly garden. For impressive views of the forest canopy, take a zip line tour or bridge walk.

Day 29-30: La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Day 29 sees us travelling to fun-loving La Fortuna – the perfect place for adventurers and thrill-seekers. A pretty town at the foot of the mammoth Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is a great base for a whole host of exciting activities from hiking and cave walking, to canyoneering, white water rafting, and mountain biking. At the end of the day, take a relaxing soak in the Baldi Hot Springs.

Day 31: San José, Costa Rica

Our final full day will be spent in Costa Rica’s buzzing capital, where you’ll have the option to enjoy a range of city attractions. With colourful parks, fascinating museums, lively market squares, and bustling streets to explore, you’ll be kept busy during the day. In the evening, get together with the rest of the group for a delicious meal and style it out with a few drinks before partying the night away.

Day 32: Departure

Your incredible journey ends today, so swap contact details with the group before waving goodbye and heading home. Your guide can help you make arrangements to get to the airport.

 

More Trip Info

Accommodation & Meals

31 nights’ multi-share accommodation is included on this trip. You’ll stay in a range of different types of accommodation consisting mainly of simple but comfortable hostels, guesthouses, and lodges, with two scheduled homestays with local families in Guatemala and Nicaragua. You’ll share a room with members of the same sex from your group.

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!

This tour includes two nights at an eco-friendly rustic jungle lodge, where there are composting toilets and ceiling-less showers. During your authentic homestay experiences you will share the facilities with the family.

Two breakfasts and three dinners are included as part of this trip and includes traditional meals at your homestays. Please budget around 650USD-800USD/£500-£650 for the duration of your trip to purchase food and drinks not included in your itinerary. 

More Accommodation & Meals

Eligibility & FAQ's

The minimum age for this trip is 18.

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: You don’t need a visa to enter Mexico but you will need a tourist card, which you 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. The exit tax for Mexico by land is 21USD.

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. The Belize exit tax is 20USD.

Guatemala: British passport holders don’t need a visa to visit Guatemala for stays of up to 90 days. There is a 1.25USD entrance tax and a 3USD exit tax in Guatemala.

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. There is a 38USD fee payable on entry to Honduras.

Nicaragua: British nationals can visit Nicaragua without a visa for up to three months. A 12USD fee will be required on entry, and a 5USD fee is payable on exit.

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. There is a 29USD fee payable on exit.

Contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or ask us for more information.

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 will 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, but as a guide allow between 650USD-800USD/£500-£650 for food and drink for the duration of the trip, and around 1,500USD/£1,200 for activities. Don’t forget you’ll need to budget for entrance and exit taxes for some countries (listed above).

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.

More Eligibility & FAQ's

Whats Included

  • Guided tour of Tikal
  • Orientation of Antigua
  • Orientation of Granada
  • All accommodation, including homestays in Guatemala and Nicuragua
  • Salsa lesson in Antigua
  • 2 breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • Experienced tour guide
  • All transport between destinations
  • Internal flight from Honduras to Nicaragua
  • 24/7 emergency support

 

What's Not Included

  • Flights to and from Central America
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Meals not included on the itinerary
  • Border fees
  • Optional activities

More Whats Included

Flights

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.

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.

More Flights Info

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