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Central American Journey

Visit seven countries on this exciting adventure

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Central American Journey

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Group Size: Max 18

Trip code: JCS

Duration: 32 days

Group guided tour of 7 countries
Start in Mexico and end in Costa Rica
Explore amazing beaches and jungles

See it all in Central America with this epic 32 day adventure. Travel through seven stunning countries. Start off spicy in Mexico, before discovering the wonders of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Explore impressive Mayan ruins, spend the night in off-the-beaten-track homestays, find your bliss on postcard-perfect tropical islands, see amazing wildlife in unspoilt cloud forest, walk the cobbled streets of beautiful colonial towns, and party the night away in the region’s vibrant cities. It doesn’t get better than this!

Mexico - Belize - Guatemala - Honduras - El Salvador - Nicaragua - Costa Rica

Trip Highlights

  • Visit some of the most jaw-dropping Mayan ruins in the world at Tikal, Guatemala
  • Spend the night in a traditional homestay on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua
  • Relax on the dramatic black sands of La Libertad Region, El Salvador
  • Enjoy laid-back nights in the oceanfront reggae bars of idyllic Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Spot tapirs, monkeys and sloths in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
Gap 360 Trip Notes

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What's included
  • 31-nights’ accommodation
  • 2 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Tour guide
  • Tour transport
  • Community project visit and pottery class in San Ignacio
  • Guided tour of Tikal
  • Orientation walk around Antigua, Leon and Granada
  • Posadas Mayas homestay
  • Isla de Ometepe homestay
  • 24-hour emergency support
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Some meals
  • Optional trips and excursions
  • Airport transfers
  • Border fees
Further trip information

Travel to Mexico - Belize - Guatemala - Honduras - El Salvador - Nicaragua - Costa Rica

Days 1 - 2: Playa Del Carmen (Mexico).  Get your first taste of magical Mexico as you arrive in sun-soaked Playa del Carmen. Swim in the Caribbean Sea, visit the famous Tulum ruins, swim in sapphire coloured cenotes, go tequila tasting, snorkel with turtles and party all night long!

Days 3 - 5: Caye Caulker (Belize). Take a local bus into beautiful Belize on day three. Our destination is the easy-going island of Caye Caulker. Spend the next couple of days chilling on the beautiful beaches, fishing, snorkelling, and eating fresh seafood and drinking in the beachside reggae bars after dark.

Days 6 - 7: San Ignacio. Make tracks for the rustic town of San Ignacio. Visit a local pottery cooperative to learn all about this art-form, take an optional trip to the Xunantunich, enjoy some cave tubing or underground canoeing, check out the jawdropping Caracol Ruins, visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, or saddle up and explore the area on horseback.

Day 8: Flores via Tikal (Guatemala). Your first Guatemalan experience is a guided tour of the ancient city of Tikal. Explore the impressive ruins before heading to the small island town of Flores. Take a dip in the lake before a night with the gang.

Day 9 - 10: Rio Dulce. Travel through the dense jungle to Río Dulce. This off-the-beaten-track lakeside town is a great place to get a taste of the ‘real’ Guatemala. Indulge in some rest and relaxation, or opt for a boat trip to Livingston, visit a natural hot waterfall, or go kayaking at sunrise.

Days 11 - 12: Antigua, Guatemala. Spend the next couple of days in Antigua. We’ll take you on a guided tour of the cobbled streets and stucco houses, then leave you to your own devices. Optionals include a visit to a chocolate museum, bike tour, volcano hike, plantation visit, and sultry salsa class!

Day 13: Panajachel. Spend tonight on the shores of idyllic Lake Atitlán. Wander the streets of Panajachel town, visit the lake villages by boat, or just soak up the friendly local vibe. If you’re in the mood for some relaxation, there’s an optional massage on offer today.

Day 14: San Juan La Laguna homestay.  Take a boat across the lake to the village of San Juan, where we’ll spend the night in a traditional homestay. Enjoy a delicious local dinner with your host family and gain a unique insight into the Guatemalan way of life.

Days 15 - 16: Antigua. Head back to Antigua where you’ll have two days to explore the city at your own pace. Hang out in Central Park, get cultural in the museums, sip some Guatemalan coffee, and pick up some artisan souvenirs. After dark, enjoy the city’s lively nightlife.

Days 17 - 18: Copán (Honduras). Head to the colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas. Spend the next couple of days opting to explore the world-famous Mayan ruins, or soaking in the Luna Jaguar Hot Springs followed by a delicious barbecue lunch.

Day 19: Suchitoto (El Salvador). Cross the border into El Salvador where we’ll spend the night in the quaint colonial town of Suchitoto. On arrival, check out your beautiful surroundings, wander through the cobbled streets, and sample the local food whilst admiring the sun setting over Lake Suchitlán.

Days 20 - 21: La Libertad Region. Head to the beautiful La Libertad Region where we’ll be staying in an oceanfront resort with outdoor pool and access to two stunning beaches. Hit the local fish market, visit the Tamanique Waterfalls, or take an optional surfing lesson with local experts.

Day 22: Léon (Nicaragua). Spend a full day travelling by land and sea to Nicaragua. Our final stop is the crumbling colonial city of Leon. Stroll around the faded streets and soak up the atmosphere. After dark, the city really comes to life, with fun to be had every night of the week.

Days 23 - 24: Granada. Spend two days in Nicaragua’s oldest town. Wander down cobbled streets, explore the museums or take a horse and cart ride through town. Take an optional excursion to a volcano, visit the Laguna de Apoyo and enjoy a meal on the ‘Calzada’ after dark.

Days 25 - 26: Isla de Ometepe homestay. Head to Lake Nicaragua, where we’ll take a ferry to Ometepe Island. A hidden gem with limited development and traditional communities, it’s an authentic location for a homestay. You’ll be welcomed into the home of a local family for the next two nights, where you’ll really get a feel for rural Nicaraguan life.

Days 27 - 28: Monteverde (Costa Rica). Cross the border to Costa Rica today where we’re staying in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve for the next couple of days. Fly through the jungle on a zipline, do a skywalk across a series of suspension bridges, discover the cloud forest’s unique flora and fauna, or go canyoning down some of the area’s vast waterfalls.

Days 29 - 30: La Fortuna. Head to the adventure sports capital of Costa Rica where you can marvel at the views of the majestic Arenal Volcano, get your adrenaline pumping with a canyoning and zip-lining experience, explore the back roads by mountain bike, or chill in some local hot springs.

Days 31 - 32: San José. With beautiful parks, museums, and lush mountain surroundings San José is the perfect place to round off our tour. If you’d like a last dose of adrenaline, there’s a rafting adventure on offer. Then enjoy a last night out with the gang, before heading home on day 32. 

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Facebook Group Discussion

Hi! Is anyone doing Costa Rica Adventure this summer 2024? I can’t decide which date to pick! 👀

Anyone doing Guatemala to Costa Rica Adventure on July 3rd? 😊

Hey, i've just booked Central American Journey. Super excited! Has anyone else booked for September 14th? ✈️

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Arrival information

Please arrange your flights into Cancún (Mexico). Airport transfers are not included. Shuttles and buses from Cancún 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.

This tour ends in San José (Costa Rica) on day 32. Your return transfer to the airport is not included but is easy to arrange. 

Accommodation & meals

31 nights’ of multi-share, 4-6 people, single sex accommodation is included. 3 of those nights will be in unique homestay accommodation, the remaining simple hotels/hostels. You will be travelling through countries where cold water showers are common, so please be aware that there may not be hot water showers available. In the warm weather, a cool shower will be more than welcome!

2 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 3 dinners are included as part of this trip. You’ll have the flexibility to eat where and when you want the rest of the time.

Minimum age & eligibility

This trip is designed for travellers aged 18-39.

All countries require a valid passport (with minimum 6 months validity).

Mexico: You don’t need a visa to enter Mexico but you’ll get a stamp in your passport with the number of days you’re allowed to stay. To leave the country you’ll have to present your passport with the stamp.

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 USD18.75.

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 nationals can enter El Salvador for up to 180 days without 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 90 days.

As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay some border fees for certain countries.

Certain Central American countries may require specific vaccinations for entry, such as the Yellow Fever vaccination. You should also speak to your GP or Travel Clinic before travel for the most up to date information.

Visa rules and regulations are subject to change. Please check the relevant embassy websites for the most up to date visa information.

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