Mexico City to Panama City Trip Notes

Mexico City to Panama City

Last Modified: 11 May 2016
Mexico City to Panama City
Trip code: QDOYC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2018
As far as ultimate Central American adventures go, this trip from Mexico to Panama ticks all the boxes. Starting in Mexico City, the tour ventures down through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and finally to Panama. Loaded with culture, history, architecture and bountiful nature, this incredible Central American adventure will leave you breathless. This exciting itinerary may be full of trekking up volcanoes, exploring vibrant cities, kayaking down emerald rivers, snorkelling over reefs and taking part in all manor of outdoor and cultural activities, but there is also a great balance of down time too, with beaches, forests and unspoilt nature to be enjoyed and relaxed in. So if you’re after a life-affirming, awe-inspiring and never-to-be-forgotten adventure, then this epic trip is it.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationVisas
ThemesAccommodation NotesWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryTransportTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersA couple of rules
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesSafetyThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining pointFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Your fellow travellersEmergency contact
Style
Basix
Themes
Overland
Why we love it
- View ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico
- Enjoy three nights in the colonial town of San Cristobal de Las Casas
- Be left awestruck by the ruined city of Palenque
- Learn the history of the clifftop Maya-Toltec ruins at Tulum
- Discover the stunning Belizean island of Caye Caulker
- Get adventurous in San Ignacio, Belize’s adventure capital
- Stay with a Guatemalan family in Totonicapan
- Go on a spending spree at Chichicastenango’s markets
- Explore the charming colonial city of Antigua
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Mexico
The trip begins with a group meeting at 10am.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.
Modern meets ancient in Mexico City, the world's fastest growing urban centre. Although crowded and smoggy, the former Aztec capital offers a great variety of impressive museums, galleries and architecture.
You may like to extend your time here and allow yourself a day or two more to take in some of the many palaces, churches and temples, or to sit and watch life go by in the Alameda Central. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be able to assist.
Optional Activities
  • Mexico City - National Palace and Diego Rivera murals - Free
  • Mexico City - Museum of Anthropology - USD6
  • Mexico City - Mariachis in Garibaldi Square (entry is free, price to hire a band for 2-3 songs) - USD8
  • Mexico City - Teotihuacan archaeological site (inc. transport, entrance and guide) - USD50
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2-3 Oaxaca
    We leave the hustle and bustle of the capital behind today and journey to Oaxaca where we stay for 2 nights in a posada. During our stay here we will have a guided tour of the Zapotec ruins at Monte Alban; a Unesco World Heritage site.
    A beautiful old colonial town, Oaxaca is full of graceful arcades and colourful markets largely populated by descendents of the Zapotec and Mixtec Indians, who come here to sell their colourful woven blankets and shawls. Oaxaca is also known for its well-respected arts scene, including folk art, fine art and dance. Explore the markets and narrow, cobbled streets or simply sit in the square drinking the local mescal and watch life go by.
    Included Activities
    • Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins
      Optional Activities
      • Oaxaca - Folkloric ballet (seasonal) - USD10
      • Oaxaca - Santo Domingo Cultural Centre - USD8
        Accommodation
        Guesthouse (2 nt)
        Day 4-6 San Cristobal De Las Casas
        Today we have a full day's drive to the old colonial down of San Cristobal de las Casas, one of Mexico's most beautiful towns. Here we stay in a family run hotel for 3 nights. During our time here we will take a boat trip down the stunning Sumidero Canyon and there is plenty of free time for optional activities.
        With winding cobblestone streets and colonial Spanish architecture, San Cristobal de las Casas maintains a lovely old-world feel mixed with strong indigenous roots. The surrounding villages are populated with Tzotzil and Tzeltal Indians who maintain their tribal origins through their varied traditional costumes and customs. There is time here to explore the villages, perhaps by horseback or mountain bike.
        Included Activities
        • San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
          Optional Activities
          • San Cristobal de las Casas - Mayan villages tour inc. San Juan Chamula - USD20
          • San Cristobal - Horseback riding - USD20
          • San Cristobal - Bicycle rental (per hour) - USD30
            Accommodation
            Hotel (3 nt)
            Day 7 Frontera Corozal
            We have an early start today for a full day's drive to Frontera Corozal. We camp for the night in the grounds of a hotel.
            Accommodation
            Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
            Day 8-9 Palenque
            This morning we have a guided visit to the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in the morning. We then have a short drive to Palenque where we camp for two nights in the grounds of a hotel located within the national park.
            The following day we will visit the incredible ruins of Palenque, rising high from the jungle. A guide will show us around the ruins and there will also be free time to see if you can visit all 200 buildings that make up the city.
            Palenque is situated on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and is home to possibly the most impressive series of Mayan ruins, which date back at AD600. Whilst walking amongst the ruins it is often possible to hear the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle, giving an added dimension to this magnificent site. The temples are superb relics of Mayan culture and there are many ruins here still un-excavated and hidden in the surrounding forest.
            Included Activities
            • Palenque - Entrance to Palenque Ruins
            • Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
            • Yaxchilan Ruins
              Accommodation
              Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
              Day 10 Merida
              Today we have a full day drive to Merida, the capital of the Yucatan state. We stay in a colonial hotel in the heart of this bustling city. Tonight is a good chance to get out and sample some of Mexico's nightlife.
              Founded in 1542, Merida still retains much of its old-world charm with a well-preserved Old Town, wonderful museums and city streets alive with art and culture. Hang out in the green and shady Plaza Grande, with the twin-towered 16th century Cathedral on one side and City Hall, State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo on the others. For a taste of Merida's 19th century glory go for a walk along the mansion lined Paseo de Montejo. Mornings are the best time to visit the outdoor markets and you can stock up on hammocks and Maya replicas. It's a great place to try out the local food specialities, like cochinita pibil or the head-blowingly spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 11-12 Tulum
              Early morning start to drive to Tulum where we stay for two nights in a hotel. We visit Chichen Itza en route for a guided tour around this spectacular Mayan site.
              The following morning we visit the Tulum ruins, one of the last cities built by the Maya and one of the best preserved coastal Maya sites. The afternoon is free time.
              Sitting on a cliff with views of an azure ocean, Tulum not only has spectacular Maya ruins to discover but some of Mexico's finest beaches to frolic on.
              Included Activities
              • Tulum - Entrance to ruins
              • Guided tour of Chichen Itza ruins
                Optional Activities
                • Tulum - Snorkel rental (per day) - USD12
                  Accommodation
                  Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                  Day 13-15 Caye Caulker
                  We have an early start for a full day's travelling south. We board a boat in Belize City that will take us to Caye Caulker where we will spend three nights in a hotel. You will have plenty of free time in this incredible Caribbean location to relax or enjoy the many water-based activities on offer.
                  The Belize Cayes are a group of islands a short boat ride away from the coast. There are a number of these islands to choose from, but we base ourselves on Caye Caulker as this is one of the more popular islands with travellers. From here it is possible to arrange day trips to other Cayes, to the best reefs for diving, or simply to take a local boat out to the reef of Caulker itself. Each island has its own particular character, but all of them have the unmistakeable Caribbean pace and charm.
                  Optional Activities
                  • Caye Caulker - Blue Hole dive tour - USD180
                  • Caye Caulker - Sea kayaking (half day) - USD25
                  • Caye Caulker - Two-tank dive - USD75
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (3 nt)
                    Day 16-18 San Ignacio
                    Today we head to the Belize mainland, catching a boat over to Belize City, the country's former capital. We will spend a couple of hours looking around the city before heading on to San Ignacio, locally known as Cayo. We camp here for three nights and there are a variety of optional activities on offer.
                    A friendly place with a multicultural feel, San Ignacio is a wonderful base to explore the gorgeous countryside that surrounds the town.
                    Optional Activities
                    • San Ignacio - Bicycle rental (per hour) - USD4
                    • San Ignacio - Horseback riding - USD50
                      Accommodation
                      Camping (with facilities) (3 nt)
                      Day 19 Tikal
                      Today we make the short drive across the Guatemalan border to the incredible Mayan ruins of Tikal with its temples hiding in the tropical jungle. We camp near the ruins, and also have a guided tour.
                      Once a powerful Mayan city, Tikal was abandoned in the 10th century and sank into the surrounding jungle. It's now alive with jungle wildlife and awe-inspired visitors.
                      Included Activities
                      • Tikal National Park - Entrance
                        Accommodation
                        Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                        Day 20-21 Poptun
                        Today we have a short drive to the small town of Poptun, stopping in Flores en route. We camp for two nights outside of Poptun and have a free day here for outdoor activities.
                        Optional Activities
                        • Horse riding - USD30
                        • River caving - USD40
                          Accommodation
                          Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                          Day 22-23 Rio Dulce
                          We have a very short drive today to Rio Dulce where we stay for two nights in an eco lodge. We take a boat trip to Livingston on the Caribbean coast on our full day here.
                          From Puerto Barrios we will take a boat trip along the Rio Dulce. The river flows through dense forests, with the jungle coming right down to the water's edge. Tropical birds nest in the trees and fly overhead. At one part of the river hot water bubbles from a natural spring in the bank, creating a localised hot pool. For those wanting a hot bath or a swim, you can simply jump over the edge of the boat.
                          The small town of Livingston is located at the mouth of the Rio Dulce. It has no roads connecting it to the rest of the country and as a result has developed its own rather unique character. The town has something of a Caribbean feel and is a great place to spend the night.
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (2 nt)
                          Day 24 San Andres Itzapa
                          Drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. Here we visit a community centre called Manos Amigas. We sleep at the centre in dormitory-style rooms.
                          This centre is run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who 'hide away' in the centre with their kids.
                          Included Activities
                          • Visit to Manos Amigas
                            Accommodation
                            Guesthouse (1 nt)
                            Day 25-26 Panajachel/Lake Atitlan/Chichicastenango
                            We spend the morning at Manos Amigas before a short drive to Panajachel situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan where we spend two nights in a hotel. There is the opportunity to take a boat out onto the lake or perhaps just enjoy some relaxation.
                            Panajachel, located on beautiful Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes looming in the background, has a thriving market, good eateries and many water-based activities to enjoy. Go for a swim, hike or kayak on the lake. The surrounding area is dotted with villages which can be reached on foot or by boat. Watch women weaving at Santa Catarina Palopo or explore the colourful markets of Santiago Atitlan, In each village the local life has changed little over the last few hundred years. Each village has its own typical dress and make all the textiles themselves in designs passed down through generations.
                            If possible we will visit the Chichicastenango market during these days depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Saturdays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.
                            The town of Chichicastenango lies about 2,200 metres above sea level and features some of the best handicrafts from all over Guatemala. Home to perhaps the most colourful market in the country, on Thursdays and Sundays locals come from the surrounding villages to sell their wares and the streets are lined with stalls offering multi-coloured textiles and fresh produce.
                            Included Activities
                            • Chichicastenango Market
                              Optional Activities
                              • Panajachel - Water taxi to Santiago, San Pedro or San Juan - USD8
                              • Panajachel - Bike rental (per day) - USD10
                              • Panajachel - Kayak rental (per hour) - USD6
                                Accommodation
                                Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                                Day 27-28 Antigua
                                Today we drive 200 km to Antigua where we stay in a colonial hotel.
                                The old colonial capital of Guatemala, Antigua remains the cultural centre of the country. Its cobbled streets, local markets, colonial buildings, and indigenous marimba music emanating from the many bars and restaurants create a fantastic atmosphere.
                                Optional Activities
                                • Antigua - Pacaya Volcano hike - USD16
                                • Antigua - Salsa lessons (per hour) - USD7
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Day 29-30 Los Cobanos
                                  Today is a long drive day as we cross from Guatemala into El Salvador and head to the coast. We spend two nights in a hotel on the beach is Los Cobanos, a fishing village away from the tourist trail.
                                  Accommodation
                                  Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                                  Day 31 Cerro Verde National Park
                                  A short drive takes us to Cerro Verde National Park which offers some amazing views of the surrounding volcanoes and countryside. We camp in the park, which has basic facilities.
                                  The highlight of Cerro Verde National Park is the Cerro Verde, an extinct volcano which last erupted around 2500 years ago. On the top of its crater there is one of the few cloud forests in the country, located at 2030 metres above sea level. The Cerro Verde, along with the volcanoes of Santa Ana and Izalco form one of the most impressive landscapes in El Salvador. These 2 other volcanoes can be viewed from lookout points inside Cerro Verde National Park. The park also offers some wonderful treks enabling fantastic views of northern El Salvador.
                                  Accommodation
                                  Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
                                  Day 32 Suchitoto
                                  We take a short drive to the lovely town of Suchitoto with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses. We camp with basic facilities by the lake.
                                  Suchitoto is a reminder of El Salvador's past. A beautiful colonial town with painted houses and cobbled streets, it is a world away from modern El Salvador. The town overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande, also known as Lago Suchitlan, which is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks.
                                  Accommodation
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Day 33-34 Copan
                                  Today we cross the border and enter Honduras. Once border formalities are dealt with, we continue to the spectacular ruins of Copan where we stay for two nights in a hotel.
                                  The ancient ruins of Copan are the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famed. This particular site was listed as a World Heritage site in 1980 and is unique because of the 21 stelae or columns that have been found there. These are heavily carved with reliefs depicting the passage of time and the lives of the royal families. There are also a number of small pyramid-shaped temples and excavated vaults. Walk through the grassy plazas under the gaze of huge carved faces, staring out from ancient walls. As you walk past monuments, statues and staircases it's hard not to wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilisation.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Guided tour of ruins
                                    Accommodation
                                    Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                                    Day 35-37 Roatan Island
                                    A short drive brings us to San Pedro Sula and we board our flight to Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands. We stay for three nights in a lovely posada and have plenty of time for optional activities or just relaxing. Please remember that there is an airport tax not covered by kitty.
                                    Roatan Island is one of the famous Bay Islands; an archipelago of coral islands set in the Caribbean known for its laid back atmosphere. The scuba diving around the reefs is said to be some of the best in the world. During your stay on Roatan Island you can snorkel, go sea kayaking, hire jeeps or even get your PADI license.
                                    Included Activities
                                    • Honduras airport tax
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Roatan Island - Bicycle hire - USD20
                                      • Diving or snorkelling trip - USD50
                                      • Sea kayaking - USD45
                                        Accommodation
                                        Guesthouse (3 nt)
                                        Day 38 Lake Yojoa
                                        We start early today to catch our flight back to the mainland. Upon arrival back at La Ceiba we head 230 km to Lake Yojoa, halfway between San Pedro de Sula and Tegucigalpa where we camp for the night by the lake.
                                        Please not there is a US$25 airport tax which is not covered by the kitty and will need to be paid separately.
                                        Included Activities
                                        • Honduras airport tax
                                          Accommodation
                                          Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                                          Day 39-40 Leon
                                          We enter Nicaragua today and, after a long drive of 400 km, head to the university town of Leon, with its wonderful colonial architecture. We spend the night in a centrally located hotel.
                                          The town of Leon is lined with derelict buildings and the walls are adorned with political murals and graffiti. Head to the market to find some of the friendliest people in the country.
                                          Included Activities
                                          • Turtle watching, Playa La Flor
                                            Accommodation
                                            Hotel (2 nt)
                                            Day 41-42 Granada/Masaya National Park
                                            We drive to Granada, visiting Masaya National Park en route. We go to the active Masaya volcano that lies in the middle of the park to view the crater and lava flows, and visit the market. We then continue to Granada where we spend two nights in a simple hotel allowing for time to explore this beautiful colonial town.
                                            At the Masaya National Park, the twin volcano craters of Masaya and Santiago are an incredible sight. At the bottom of a vast crater, a glowing red fire, like a furnace, fills the air with pungent sulphurous fumes and rocks and volcanic ashes still cover the area surrounding the volcanoes. The park is inhabited by many different kinds of animals including coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, deer, iguanas, and monkey. The park makes a wonderful place for trekking.
                                            Oozing with colonial charm, Granada is the oldest city of the 'New World', having been founded in 1524. The city resides on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and its appearance is a mixture of Moorish and Andalusian. The surrounding countryside includes active volcanoes and lakes.
                                            Optional Activities
                                            • Visit to the market - USD5
                                              Accommodation
                                              Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nt)
                                              Day 43-44 Ometepe Island
                                              This morning we'll hop aboard a boat and cross Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake, to Isla Ometepe. On the island we'll stay in a small hotel for two nights, giving you the chance to explore all that the island has to offer.
                                              Beautifully located within Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island is formed by two volcanoes which rise from the lake. In fact 'Ometepe' literally means two volcanoes in the Nahuatl language. The island's hourglass shape is home to great beaches and a deep jungle. Wildlife abounds here and as well as monkeys and green parrots, and the lake itself is famous for the world's only species of freshwater shark. A great experience is sitting on the shore of the lake when the fishermen come back from their long day bringing in what they have caught.
                                              Optional Activities
                                              • Madera Volcano climb - USD25
                                                Accommodation
                                                Hotel (2 nt)
                                                Day 45-46 La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano National Park
                                                Today we drive 240 km to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, near the shores of Laguna de Arenal, where we camp by the lake for a couple of nights, allowing time for optional activities and for soaking up the fantastic vistas of Arenal volcano.
                                                La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.
                                                Optional Activities
                                                • La Fortuna - Hot Springs - USD25
                                                • La Fortuna - Rafting (full day) - USD75
                                                  Accommodation
                                                  Camping (with facilities) (2 nt)
                                                  Day 47-48 Monteverde
                                                  Today we leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer with taxi and boat up to the dense cloudforest and coffee plantations of Monteverde where we stay two nights in a hotel. This stunning area offers and incredible diversity of flora and fauna which hopefully you will be lucky enough to see during a guided visit to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Please remember to bring some warm clothes as it can get chilly at 1440 metres above sea level.
                                                  Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. It is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
                                                  Optional Activities
                                                  • Mountain Biking - USD25
                                                  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD45
                                                    Accommodation
                                                    Hotel (2 nt)
                                                    Day 49-50 Manuel Antonio National Park
                                                    Transfer from Monteverde to Tilaran where we meet up with our overland vehicle and drive to the Pacific coast where the Manuel Antonio National Park is located. We spend two nights in a basic hotel just outside the park. On our full day here we go for an easy guided walk in the national park and have the afternoon free for activities.
                                                    Spend your time here enjoying all the park has to offer. Head out for a hike along its many trails, keeping one eye on the great views and the other looking for the abundant wildlife. Monkeys, armadillos, sloths and hundreds of birds are among the species you maybe be able to spot. The park also boasts turquoise seas and white sand beaches, perfect for swimming, kayaking, boogie boarding, sailing, fishing or surfing. It would be easy to spend your whole time here in, or by, the water.
                                                    Optional Activities
                                                    • Horse Riding - USD30
                                                    • Manuel Antonio - Surf/boogie board rental - USD10
                                                      Accommodation
                                                      Cabin (2 nt)
                                                      Day 51-52 Boquete
                                                      We travel across the Panama border today to the Chiriqui highlands and the town of Boquete where we stay two nights in a hostel. The area is famous for outdoor activities and the nearby Volcan Baru, the highest point in Panama. Please note that this border crossing is infamously slow.
                                                      Accommodation
                                                      Guesthouse (2 nt)
                                                      Day 53 Santa Clara
                                                      We continue further into Panama today, driving 340 km before arriving by the beach at Santa Clara for a chance to relax and dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean. We'll camp for one final night in Panama by the beach.
                                                      Accommodation
                                                      Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
                                                      Day 54-55 Panama City
                                                      A drive of about 3 hours takes us to Panama City today where we stay for the night in a centrally located hotel. We will visit the Panama Canal today and there is also time for you to explore the city's old and modern areas.
                                                      There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                                      Included Activities
                                                      • Panama City - Panama Canal (Miraflores Locks)
                                                        Accommodation
                                                        Hotel (1 nt)
                                                        Itinerary disclaimer
                                                        We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip. Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.

                                                        OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                                                        Physical rating

                                                        In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.

                                                        Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
                                                        Included activities
                                                        Oaxaca - Monte Alban Ruins
                                                        San Cristobal de las Casas - Sumidero Canyon (inc. transport)
                                                        Palenque - Entrance to Palenque Ruins
                                                        Palenque - Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls
                                                        Yaxchilan Ruins
                                                        Tulum - Entrance to ruins
                                                        Guided tour of Chichen Itza ruins
                                                        Tikal National Park - Entrance
                                                        Visit to Manos Amigas
                                                        Chichicastenango Market
                                                        Guided tour of ruins
                                                        Honduras airport tax
                                                        Turtle watching, Playa La Flor
                                                        Panama City - Panama Canal (Miraflores Locks)
                                                        Important notes
                                                        1. This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
                                                        2. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

                                                        Group size
                                                        Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
                                                        Your fellow travellers
                                                        GROUP TRAVEL
                                                        As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                                                        SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                                        Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                                                        Accommodation
                                                        Cabin (2nt), Camping (with basic facilities) (2nt), Camping (with facilities) (22nt), Guesthouse (8nt), Hotel (19nt)
                                                        The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hostels or hotels. Where it's not practical to camp (ie: in towns and cities), we use hostel or hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants. The frequency and regularity of hostel and hotel stops depends on the route and area.

                                                        Campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we will wild camp. This allows us to get far away from the tourist crowds to some beautiful, secluded spots. On some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays, which allows us to get close to indigenous populations and ensures our money stays within local communities.

                                                        Please note that camping is participatory, which means you will be expected to set-up and pack down your own tent.
                                                        Meals introduction
                                                        On an overland journey you are more than just a passenger - you're part of the crew. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people in a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple!

                                                        If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
                                                        Meals
                                                        No meals included
                                                        Transport
                                                        Boat, Overland vehicle, Plane

                                                        There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the discomfort.
                                                        Money matters
                                                        On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.

                                                        Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.

                                                        You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

                                                        If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.

                                                        Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

                                                        KITTY CHANGES:
                                                        We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.

                                                        With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

                                                        Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to USD100 per day.

                                                        It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US dollars is the most readily changeable currency.

                                                        VERY IMPORTANT:
                                                        USD100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other USD bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

                                                        SPENDING MONEY
                                                        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                                        If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

                                                        The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                                        Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
                                                        At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
                                                        Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
                                                        Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
                                                        In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                                                        Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

                                                        Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                                                        Please note that you are responsible for your own visas and taxes. Please have these amounts available prior to departing the various countries.

                                                        Please allow US$15 when flying into Guatemala City airport and a further US$15 if you are flying out of Guatemala City airport. These payments must be made in cash at the airport and are in addition to the US$30 international departure tax which may be included in your international flight ticket.

                                                        If departing Guatemala by land, please allow US$3 for departure tax.

                                                        Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

                                                        EMERGENCY FUNDS
                                                        Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                                        Group leader
                                                        On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.

                                                        While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.

                                                        We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders

                                                        On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
                                                        Safety
                                                        Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                                                        We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                                                        Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                                        For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

                                                        TRAVEL ADVISORY:
                                                        Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:

                                                        http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/

                                                        PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                                        While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                                        The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.

                                                        In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.

                                                        A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.

                                                        UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
                                                        On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.

                                                        BALCONIES:
                                                        Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
                                                        Joining point
                                                        Marlowe Hotel
                                                        Av Independencia 17 Colonia
                                                        Mexico City
                                                        MEXICO
                                                        Finish point
                                                        Hotel Andino
                                                        Calle 35 y Peru
                                                        Bella Vista
                                                        Panama City
                                                        PANAMA
                                                        Phone: +507 2251162
                                                        Emergency contact
                                                        Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

                                                        If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

                                                        Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

                                                        For further contact details please use the following page:

                                                        For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

                                                        While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                                                        We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                                                        You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                                                        Dragoman: +44 (0) 1728 86222
                                                        Visas
                                                        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                                        MEXICO:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Yes - in advance
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        BELIZE:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Not required
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        GUATEMALA:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Yes - in advance
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        EL SALVADOR:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Yes - in advance
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        Whilst for most nationalities a visa is not required, you may be required to purchase a tourist card on arrival, costing approximately US$10. If you do require a visa, please obtain this in advance from your local embassy or consulate.

                                                        HONDURAS:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Not required
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        NICARAGUA:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Not required
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        Please note that although a visa is not required, holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and most EU passports are now required to pay US$10 for a tourist card on arrival.

                                                        COSTA RICA:
                                                        Australia: Not required
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Not required
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Not required
                                                        South Africa: Yes - in advance
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Not required

                                                        PANAMA:
                                                        Australia: Yes - on arrival
                                                        Belgium: Not required
                                                        Canada: Yes - on arrival
                                                        Germany: Not required
                                                        Ireland: Not required
                                                        Netherlands: Not required
                                                        New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
                                                        South Africa: Yes - in advance
                                                        Switzerland: Not required
                                                        United Kingdom: Not required
                                                        USA: Yes - on arrival

                                                        The cost of a tourist card on arrival varies by nationality.
                                                        What to take
                                                        What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                                        Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                                                        Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                                        LUGGAGE AND LOCKERS:
                                                        Although you will not have to carry your main bag long distances, you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the back locker, so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use. Please be aware that due to the constant dust and vibrations your luggage bag will be subject to extreme wear and tear.

                                                        The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide, and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

                                                        CAMPING EQUIPMENT / MATTRESS:
                                                        A sleeping bag (we recommend a 3–4 season). It can get very cold at night in winter months in desert and mountainous regions. If you're travelling during the hot season you may wish to also pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter the weather. Pillows are NOT provided so please bring a travel pillow along.

                                                        We don't provide a mattress so please bring your own (a Thermarest / inflatable mattress is recommended).

                                                        A simple plastic bag / waterproof toiletry bag (that can hang on a nail on the back of a door) will be useful to keep your clothes dry inside basic camp shower structures.

                                                        CLOTHING:
                                                        You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.

                                                        CLOSED-IN SHOES:
                                                        As this trip includes camping and/or bush walking we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment.

                                                        BATTERIES/POWER:
                                                        Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.

                                                        VALUABLES:
                                                        Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.

                                                        We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

                                                        WATER BOTTLE:
                                                        Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
                                                        Climate and seasonal information
                                                        HURRICANE SEASON:
                                                        Please note hurricane season is June to November when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors situations as they arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
                                                        Health
                                                        All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                                                        You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                                                        DENGUE FEVER:
                                                        Dengue Fever is common in Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil and parts of Mexico are currently suffering from a serious outbreak. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
                                                        Travel insurance
                                                        Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                                                        When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                                        If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                                        A couple of rules
                                                        Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
                                                        Responsible Travel
                                                        We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                                        Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

                                                        The Intrepid Foundation
                                                        Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                                        The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                                        http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                                        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Guatemala include:
                                                        * CasaSito provides educational opportunities in rural areas of Guatemala for children living in poverty. Guatemala has a very high level of illiteracy, particularly in rural areas which lack schools and educational resources. Our support is for their scholarship program, helping keep children in school.

                                                        Feedback
                                                        After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                                                        http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

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