Central America Explorer - 18 days, 17 nights

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  • Aerial view of San Salvador
  • Maya pyramids at Tazumal, El Salvador
  • Arco de Santa Catalina at Antigua, Guatemala
  • Indigenous women at Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala
  • Main archaeological site at Tikal, Guatemala
  • Stelas at Qurigua, Guatemala
  • Main archaeological site at Copan, Honduras
  • Pulhapanzak waterfall in Honduras
  • Basilica de Suyapa at Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Masaya volcano crater at Nicaragua
  • Panoramic view of Granada, Nicaragua
  • Old cathedral at Managua, Nicaragua
  • Hanging bridges at Monteverde, Costa Rica
  • Arenal volcano at Costa Rica
  • National Theatre at San Jose, Costa Rica

ITINERARY

DAY 01

Arrive at San Salvador, one of our representatives will be waiting for you at the airport, overnight at San Salvador.

DAY 02

Today we will explore the capital city of El Salvador, San Salvador, driving through the streets and avenues in the residential and historical areas. We will first visit the David Guzman Museum of Anthropology where we will have a guided tour of this historical location. We will see the famous Zona Rosa on our way to the Divino Salvador del Mundo monument at Plaza Las Americas. We shall go to a viewpoint located in Planes de Renderos, which will place us at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. At this height we will have a magnificent view of the city as well as access to a gallery of handcrafted artifacts. In the afternoon, we will visit El Tazumal, which is the biggest pyramid that has been discovered in the country. Its architecture will definitely impress you. After this we shall continue to Joya de Ceren. Joya de Ceren was declared world heritage by UNESCO in 1993 for being the only location in the whole Mayan culture where you can appreciate the day to day living styles of the popular pre-Columbian inhabitants. All was well preserved thanks to the ashes of the volcano's eruption. We will return to the city through the Pan-American Highway going up and through the mountains that belong to El Balsamo´s Mountain Range. Overnight at San Salvador.

DAY 03

Today we will enter Guatemalan territory, heading up north to Antigua Guatemala, a city founded in the early 16th century. Built 1,500 meters above sea-level, in an earthquake-prone region, it was largely destroyed in 1773 by one of this phenomenons, but the main building from back in the day are still preserved and can be seen today; overnight at Antigua.

DAY 04

In the morning, we will Explore Antigua, nestled in a valley surrounded by the peaks of three towering volcanoes. Over time, the city became the most important in Central America, adorned with monasteries, churches and other monuments built in the Spanish Colonial architectural style. While touring, we will see both the restored colonial buildings as well as those left as ruins throughout the town. Among the intricate colonial buildings and interesting museums, we will admire the ornate La Merced church, the ruins of the Capuchinas convent and the San Francisco Cathedral; midafternoon you will be transferred to the community of Chichicastenango for overnight.

DAY 05

Today, we will visit the Chichicastenango Indian market, reputedly the largest outdoor market in Central America, which attracts buyers and sellers from near and far every Thursday and Sunday. Many great souvenirs can be found here, from colorful Mayan fabrics and ceremonial masks to genuine leather goods, jewelry and accessories. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Panajachel for overnight.

DAY 06

At 8:00 AM, we will have a morning boat tour on Lake Atitlan, visiting to San Pedro la Laguna, one of the most visited towns around the lake, with 1 hour to visit native painting expositions, handicrafts and enjoy a cup of organic coffee, a visit to Santiago Atitlan, one of the villages that preserve the most of mayan traditions, home to the famous "Maximon" a mixture of mayan traditions over christian San Simon. A later visit to San Antonio Palopo a comunity famous for the pottery Mayan hands torn and paint in delicious colors and combinations; in the afternoon, you will be transferred to Guatemala City for overnight.

DAY 07

Today, we will catch an early domestic flight to Flores, departing at 6:05 AM and arriving at 7:06 AM, the tour continues with a one-hour drive until you reach the maya site of Tikal. in its heyday 700 AD, was the capital of the vast Mayan empire, today, the site is one of Guatemala's premier tourist attractions, Its unspoiled jungle setting makes this place very attractive for discerning travelers, particularly archaeologists, naturalist and bird watchers; We will enjoy a guided tour through the main structures such as the Jaguar Pyramid and temple IV, among many other that rise above the deep Peten jungle. Mid-afternoon we will head back to Flores for overnight.

DAY 08

Early morning we will start our journey to Copan Ruins, in route we will visit Rio Dulce and Quirigua Ruins, a small Mayan site located in the Motagua River that was apparently ruled by an offshoot of Copan's ruling dynasty during most of its history and served to secure Copan's access to the Motagua river and the trade routes to the cities further north. Quirigua features the tallest stela in the entire Mayan world. We will be reaching Honduran territory in Copan Ruinas late afternoon for overnight at Copan.

DAY 09

In the morning, we will have a guided tour of the main archaeological site that features the hieroglyphic staircase, the ball court and the famous stelas, in the afternoon, discover the various artifacts and art work carved in stone at the museum of Maya sculpture and the museum of archaeology, evening is at your disposal to stroll around the cobble stone streets of the town of Copan and visit its numerous restaurants, coffee and souvenir shops, overnight at Copan.

DAY 10

At 8:00 AM, we will be driven to the Honduran Capital City, Tegucigalpa, you will have a chance to admire the mountainous scenery while we drive to the capital city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, in route, we will visit Pulhapanzak waterfall, enjoy a delicious lunch at beautiful Lake Yojoa and also visit colonial former capital city Comayagua, including the cathedral which holds the oldest functioning clock in the Americas. We will arrive in Tegucigalpa late afternoon for overnight.

DAY 11

Tegucigalpa is not only the capital city of Honduras but further a colonial town of abundant history, we will enjoy a morning tour of both modern and colonial districts, the Basilica of Suyapa and a sweeping view of the metropolitan area at the foot of the giant figure of Christ located at Picacho hill. We will finish our Honduras mainland tour visiting two charming old mining colonial towns, Santa Lucia and Valle de Angeles that are home to the local artisan's school and many souvenir shops, evening is free, overnight at Tegucigalpa.

DAY 12

Today we are heading south to the Fonseca Gulf on the Pacific, which is shared by El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, before entering Nicaragua territory we will visit the old town of Choluteca, we shall arrive at the city of Leon midafternoon, we will have a city tour of Leon, explore the rich cultural and political history of one of Nicaragua's oldest and most influential cities, much of its charm lies in the narrow colonial streets, museums, restaurants and cafes. In this guided walking tour you will visit revolutionary murals, baroque and neoclassical churches including the Basilica de la Asuncion, surprisingly interesting Museum of Legends, arts and poetry and the Museum of Art Ortiz Gurdian, in addition, you will get to climb the rooftop of Central America's largest cathedral and enjoy the amazing views over the city and surrounding Maribios Volcanic Chain; evening at leisure, overnight at Leon.

DAY 13

Today, we are heading to Colonial city of Granada, on our way, we will visit, the town and market of Masaya, the Apoyo Lagoon, the town of Catarina and Masaya Volcano National Park, where we will have a chance to drive up to the very crater for some stunning views, arrive at Granada late afternoon for overnight.

DAY 14

Granada is considered to be one of the oldest colonial cities in the Western hemisphere. On this guided walking tour you will explore the San Francisco Church and neighboring San Francisco Convent built in 1529. Now functioning as a museum, the Convent is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art. Continue on to the beautiful Merced Church where you will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the bell tower and take in spectacular views over the city, Lake Nicaragua, and Mombacho volcano; at 1:00 PM we are on our way to Costa Rica, we will arrive at Monteverde National Park before sunset, evening free, overnight at Monteverde.

DAY 15

This day, we will hike Monteverde National Park, we will take the sky tram / sky walk, spectacular combination of suspension bridges with easy and well maintained walking trails built in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and above the tropical forest canopy; in the afternoon, we will drive to the town of La Fortuna in northern Costa Rica, near Arenal Vocano National Park, overnight at La Fortuna.

DAY 16

At 8:00 AM, we will take an informative, beautiful walk, you'll learn about the behemoth Arenal Volcano, the secondary and primary tropical forest surrounding it and the interesting wildlife of the area. Once we finish the walk, we'll head to a view point to see more of this famous volcano (note that the volcano has not been very active in the last few months but you can hear the volcano and often see flumes of gases); in the afternoon, you will be driven to capital city San Jose, arriving late afternoon for overnight.

DAY 17

Today, we will take a city tour of San Jose, the tour immerses you in the rich Costa Rican culture and history by experiencing the beautiful museums and historical sites of San José. It begins with an orientation and drive through the beautiful Sabana Park. Next, visit the historic National Theater. Completed in 1897, the theater is a masterpiece in art and architecture. Afterwards we will visit one of the Costa Rica National Museum. We will continue heading to the University of Costa Rica, the Supreme Court and various sites of interest. A brief stop will be made in a beautiful art craft shopping store; rest of the day at leisure, overnight at San Jose.

DAY 18

At the appropriate time, transfer to the airport to catch your international departure flight.

SERVICES INCLUDED

Accommodations in double occupancy, breakfast daily, domestic flight Guatemala City - Flores, private ground transportation with english speaking driver/guide, airport transfers, sightseeing tours listed with admissions, local guides and hotel taxes.

Not included: any meals not mentioned as included, airport taxes, gratuities to guides, drivers, porters or waiters and expenses of personal nature.

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Explore - Latin America Experts
TOLL FREE: 1-877-889-1510
info@centralamericaexperts.com

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