Ultimate Central America Itinerary

This captivating adventure through Central America travels through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama on an ultimate tour of the region.

    • 58
    • QVRRC
    • Total price tool tip
    • Overland
    • Basix
There is a later version of this trip also available for travel from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 2015. View later Ultimate Central America.
mexico tulum temple beach ocean tropical reef

costa rica arenal volcano mountain

costa rica sloth sitting in tree wildlife local

costa rica scarlet macaws parrots red sitting squark

guatemala chichistenago colourful markets fruit vegetables local produce

guatemala tikal temple pyramid ancient ruins

mexico chilon bright local market

mexico palenque ancient ruins stone structures  tourist

mexico playa del carmen beach sunbaking

mexico snorkelling beach snorkels ocean sand palm trees tropical

mexico tulum temple beach ocean tropical reef

Days 1-2 Mexico City

The centre of Mexico City's buzzing metropolis still moves to the beat of its Aztec heart. Hit the town Mexican-style for a night of mariachi music or escape the crowds on an optional day trip to the canals and gardens of Xochimilco.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 3-4 Puebla

Start the day with a ride on one of Mexico's colourful buses to Puebla. Soak up the city's colonial charm, visit the market for handicrafts, try some mouth-watering mole poblano or head out for an optional hike to Puebla's nearby volcano.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 5-7 Oaxaca/Overnight Bus

Peruse Oaxaca's main plaza and take in the cosmopolitan atmosphere. Head out to the impressive Zapotec ruins of Monte Alban. Satisfy culinary cravings by sampling Oaxaca's famous chocolate and cheese. The more adventurous may want to try the local delicacies - chocolate-covered grasshopper or mescal, complete with a worm at the bottom of the bottle.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2, Overnight bus - 1

Days 8-9 San Cristobal de las Casas

Discover a world of jungle-entangled ruins in the cool climes of Mexico's mountains at San Cristobal de las Casas. Venture to the hills to explore local villages or perhaps take a day trip to the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon. For a slower pace, stop in at a cafe and sample coffee from one of the world's premier coffee growing regions.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 10-11 Palenque/Overnight Bus

The Palenque ruins are one of the most impressive Mayan sites in Mexico. Climb the temples, which is the best vantage point for spying on the exotic wildlife of the surrounding Chiapas Jungle. Cool down in the nearby Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls, a shimmering invitation too good to refuse!
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Overnight bus - 1

Days 12-13 Merida

Journey to the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula. Cruise the mansion-lined Paseo Montejo, hang out in the Plaza Grande or hit the clubs to learn some dance moves. Spice up your life and try El Yucateco, a hot sauce guaranteed to blow taste buds away. Merida is also an ideal base for an optional visit to the incredible Uxmal ruins.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 14-15 Chichen Itza/Playa del Carmen

Stand in awe of the incredible ruins of Chichen Itza, which were once an ancient ceremonial centre. Follow the scent of fresh sea air to the cool Caribbean. In free time, opt to go snorkelling, swimming or diving around nearby reefs and islands - or simply unwind on palm-fringed beaches and sip cold margaritas while watching a spectacular, golden sunset at Playa Del Carmen.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 16-17 Tulum

White powdery beaches lapped by warm blue waters and overlooked by crumbling Mayan ruins - welcome to Tulum. Choose to set out for some snorkelling in the Cenotes offshore or simply sit back beachside and take in the view, margarita in hand.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 18-19 Caye Caulker

Cross the border into Belize and cruise out to Caye Caulker - an idyllic tropical island getaway where exceptional scuba-diving outings or simply swinging the day away in a hammock are equally appealing options. Alternatively, head out on a manatee spotting excursion to learn about these curious creatures that call the lagoons of Caulker home.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 20-21 San Ignacio

Trade the blues of the Caribbean for the lush verdancy of San Ignacio in the Belize hinterlands. Perhaps venture out to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, embark on an tubing adventure through the jungle or a caving adventure underground and then finish up the day sharing barbecued street-side snacks with the town's friendly locals.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 22-23 Flores / Tikal

Leave Belize behind and travel by local bus to the laidback Guatemalan island town of Flores. While the nearby jungle-shrouded temples of Tikal are the town's true claim to fame, Flores' winding cobbled streets and small-town vibe make it a very pleasant place to explore by foot.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 24-25 Rio Dulce

Continue on through dense jungle to the small town of Rio Dulce, by the banks of Lake Izabal. In spare time perhaps set out upriver to the coastal enclave of Livingstone for a final taste of Creole Caribbean culture or head out for a hike through Chocon-Machacas Natural Reserve.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 26 Antigua

Explore the cobblestone charms and quaint colonial architecture of Antigua, one of Central America's most captivating and cultivated cities.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 27 Chichicastenango/San Jorge La Laguna

Visit the picturesque mountain town of Chichicastenango and take a wander through its bustling market. Then continue on to San Jorge La Laguna and get an insight into local life on an overnight family homestay.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Day 28 Panajachel/Chichicastenango

Panajachel, a lovely little town on the banks of Lake Atitlan, serves as the main base for exploring the various traditional villages dotted around the lake. With a serene ambience and superb mountain panoramas, it's the perfect place to sit back with a good book or embark on any number of optional activities.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 29-30 Antigua

Return to the colourful handicraft stalls and leafy plazas of Antigua, Guatemala's atmospheric one-time capital. With an entire day here to spend however you see fit, perhaps book on an optional excursion to Pacaya Volcano or sign up for a salsa lesson.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 31-32 Copan

Travel across the wild Guatemalan countryside and cross the border into Copan. Tour the World Heritage-listed Mayan ruins, with intricately carved structures dating back to 500 AD, or sample some unusual Honduran cuisine.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 33-35 Roatan Island

The reward for a bus and ferry journey today is the pristine shores of Honduras' Roatan Islands. Spend two blissful days diving into the crystal waters of the Caribbean or simply melting into the white, powdery beaches under the shade of a coconut palm.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Day 36 Comayagua

Pack up the bucket and spade; it's time to travel south to Comayagua. Mingle with locals in the lush central gardens or visit some of Honduras’s most impressive cathedrals.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 37-38 Granada

Cross the border and arrive at Nicaragua's oldest town. Granada city is a charming and surprising place, brimming with bubbly inhabitants and character. Sightseeing in Granada is plentiful; perhaps hop on a boat ride around Lake Nicaragua or for the adventurous, an excursion to Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Park is a hot option. In the evenings, walk along narrow streets where locals chat to each other from their open-front living rooms.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 39-40 Ometepe Island

Spot the world's only freshwater sharks in Lake Nicaragua en route to the lush Ometepe Island. Take an optional hike to one of two towering volcanoes on the island or choose a slower pace at one of the beaches or jungle swimming holes.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 41-42 Monteverde

Costa Rica beckons across the border. Arrive in the eco-lovers paradise of Monteverde, and choose to explore the expansive Monteverde cloud forest on foot, mountain bike or on horse - or even go zip lining over the tree canopy.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 43-44 La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano National Park

From La Fortuna, discover the active Arenal Volcano - thrill seekers may want to explore after dark for exciting up close views of glowing lava. Perhaps enjoy a relaxing rendezvous at the La Fortuna hot springs or waterfalls.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 45-46 San Jose

Arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica's spirited capital. In spare time, why not join the locals milling around Mercado Central and tuck into some super-cheap Costa Rican food or haggle for colourful souvenirs.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 47-49 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Hop aboard a local bus to the mellow coastal town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. With plenty of leisure time here, why not head out on a wildlife-spotting excursion to Cahuita National Park or sign up for some surfing lessons.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 50-52 Isla Bastimentos

Drive on into Panama and catch a ferry out to the tropical archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With azure blue waters, pristine coral reefs and a rollicking nightlife, it's easy to see why Isla Bastimentos is a favourite haunt for so many of our travellers.
ACCOM: Hotel - 3

Days 53-54 Boquete

Soak up the tranquil mountains scenery and crisp mountain air of Boquete, a small town by the Caldera river in the Panamanian highlands. Head out to a local coffee plantation for an insight into coffee production or get active hiking up Baru Volcano or along the Quetzal's Path.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 55-56 Santa Catalina

Travel on to the remote fishing village of Santa Catalina. Choose to spend your time here surfing, fishing, snorkelling or diving, or simply chill out by the beach.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 57-58 Panama City

Arrive in Panama City, Central America's glitziest capital. Get a taste of old Panama on a wander through the crumbling architecture of historical Casco Viejo, join an optional tour of the Panama Canal or explore the plentiful dining and drinking hotspots. As this memorable adventure comes to a close, perhaps mark the occasion with a night on the tiles at a samba club.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1