Discover the best of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua

From beautiful black-sand beaches to tropical forests alive with jungle melodies, this pocket of Central America is something of a natural paradise. Whether you're shopping in colonial Antigua, exploring the intricately carved structures at Copan or relaxing by the sea in El Salvador, you'll get a wonderful insight into Central America during this incredible adventure.

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Start
Antigua, Guatemala
Finish
Granada, Nicaragua
Countries
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
Style
Basix
Code
QVRK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • See the sights and engage in a wide range of optional activities across four different countries on this epic Latin adventure.

  • Discover Central America, a land of mysterious Mayan ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles.

  • Experience an El Salvador of the past in the colonial town of Suchitoto, a haven for architectural buffs, before savouring the blissful present on its black sand beaches. 

  • Absorb the 24/7 buzz of Leon, a Nicaraguan city of colourful streetscapes, fiery debate, eclectic art galleries and pulsating nightlife. 

  • Dive into the heart of Grandada, possibly the most laid-back and accessible city in Central America, fully imbued with color and culture.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves some long travel days, especially on Day 8 from El Cuco to Leon. This 12-hour journey includes a boat trip across the Gulf of Fonseca and several hours in a mini-van. Although it's a long day, it's a great opportunity to sit back, enjoy the passing scenery and bond with your fellow travellers. This is a real Central American adventure, after all.

  • As this trip covers destinations across four countries, you'll need to make several border crossings. While these are usually straightforward, please prepare to be patient while local authorities process papers.

  • Central America is tropical, so expect a hot and humid climate. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun, wear comfortable, light clothing and stay hydrated - especially when out on walking tours.

  • There are many opportunities to get active on this adventure. Some of the the optional activities, especially the volcano hikes, require a moderate level of fitness and sturdy walking shoes. If you'd prefer to take it easy, however, there are plenty of other things you can do instead. Your local leader will be able to recommend activities to suit your fitness level.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 November 2017 - 31 December 2017

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're 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 these details to provide to your leader.

The meeting will be followed by an orientation walk around Antigua with your leader. Antigua was once the seat of the Spanish colonial government and the most important city in Central America. In 1773, the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but many of the colonial buildings have been restored. For dinner tonight, perhaps head out with the group and sample tamale (a local dish served in corn leaf), or some pepian (a rich, meaty stew).

THINGS TO DO IN ANTIGUA

As there's a great deal to do in Antigua, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist.

If you're a foodie, head to the Chocomuseo to learn about the history and nutritional value of chocolate. You could even take part in a chocolate-making workshop. If you want to learn more about Guatemala's famous coffee, you might like to take a tour of a plantation and do some coffee tasting. The best value food can be found next to the artisanal market near the bus station. The food market is closed after 6pm. If your tastes run to more active adventures, perhaps hire a mountain bike and ride through the lush surrounding countryside.

ABOUT CASASITO

Unfortunately more than half the population of Guatemala lives under the poverty line, which may explain why Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate in Central America. The Intrepid Foundation supports CasaSito, an outstanding not-for-profit organization dedicated to assisting youth in reaching their academic, personal and professional potential.

If you'd like to help CasaSito and Guatemala’s youth, you can donate through the Intrepid Foundation. Each donation to the Foundation is matched dollar for dollar by Intrepid too. No donation is too small. $5, $10, $50 it all goes a long way to help this fantastic organization. Simply visit our website to make a donation: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/casasito. You can also learn more about CasaSito by watching this video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3KBiGdEcV4w
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop - USD24
  • Antigua - Bike tour - USD30
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - USD45
  • Antigua - Salsa lessons (per hour) - USD7
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
There is the new procedure to enter Nicaragua which requires information about your group (head count, dates and reservations) to be sent to immigration a week prior to the crossing meaning your tour leader will need to collect some additional information from you today to submit this in time. Apart from passport details, the leader will also ask for your occupation and a copy of your passport.
Get ready for a long travel day. You'll start early (make that very early) in the morning, at about 4 am, to avoid rush hour traffic around Guatemala City. You'll travel by private minibus to Copan in Honduras. The 8-hour drive will take you through the wild countryside of eastern Guatemala. Copan is a charming town set into lush surroundings. On arrival, perhaps take a stroll through the cobbled streets and check out the central plaza. You might even like to make an optional visit to the nearby natural hot springs.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Copan - Natural Hot Springs & Dinner - USD45
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning is free to explore Copan and its surrounding. You may choose to visit the World Heritage-listed Mayan ruins of Copan, the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famous. The ruins are unique because of the 21 stelae (columns) that have been discovered here. They also feature temples, excavated vaults and huge faces carved into the walls. As you stroll past ancient monuments, statues and staircases, it's hard not to wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilisation. Alternatively, two kilometres (1.2mi) out of town you'll find the Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve. This reserve is dedicated to the conservation of the Central American macaw and well worth a visit. Alongside macaws you'll also find toucans, motmots, parrots, kingfishers and orioles. Most of these birds have been confiscated from smugglers or donated to the park by owners who can no longer care for them. 

At approximately 1pm, wave goodbye to Copan and travel by private minibus across the border into Suchitoto in El Salvador. The road trip should take approximately 7 hours. A beautiful colonial town with colourful houses and cobbled streets, Suchitoto feels a world away from modern El Salvador.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Copan - Museum visit - USD7
  • Copan - Ruins (transport & entrance fee) - USD17
  • Copan - Macaw Mountain Bird Park entrance fee - HNL240
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of Suchitoto. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy a range of optional activities around the area. The town of Suchitoto overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande. Also known as Lago Suchitlan, this freshwater lake is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks. You might like to take a boat or kayaking tour of the lake. Alternatively, you could go for a hike in the nearby Cinquera rainforest, or explore the Mayan ruins of Cihuatan.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Suchitoto - Leader led walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Suchitoto - Boat trip to Bird Island in Lake Suchitlan (it requires a minimum of 6 travellers to operate) - USD20
  • Suchitoto - War historic walk at Cinquera Forest (requires a minimum of 4 travellers to operate) - USD35
  • Suchitoto - Cihuatan site entrance fee - USD3
  • Suchitoto - Morning kayak bird watching (requires a minimum of 3 travellers to run) - USD35
  • Suchitoto - Local family dinner - USD20
  • Suchitoto - Town tour (it requires a minimum of 6 travellers to operate) - USD25
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
At about 10am this morning start heading southeast by private minibus along the Pacific to coastal El Cuco (today's drive is approximately 5 hours long). There are some great dark-sand beaches close to town, including the beautiful Playa El Esteron and Playa Las Flores, one of the best surf spots in the country. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a seafood dinner along the water. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Explore El Cuco as you please. Perhaps gather some group members for a hike of the nearby Conchagua volcano or take a free yoga class.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • El Cuco - Volcan de Conchagua lookout (it requires a minimum of 5 travellers to operate) - USD35
  • El Cuco - Yoga Class - Free
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today is a full day of travel across the Gulf of Fonseca to Nicaragua. Leave El Cuco at 5am to La Union (approximately one hour) before a 3-4 hour boat trip through the Gulf of Fonseca to the Nicaraguan town of Potosi. The boat crossing through the Gulf of Fonseca can get choppy and the boat may take some water. If your pack is not waterproof, please wrap your valuables and electronics in a plastic bag. Once in Potosi, passports are checked before continuing by private minibus to Leon (approximately four hours). After time to unpack and settle in, your leader will take you on a walking tour of Leon. Established in the early 1500s, Leon is the second-oldest city in Nicaragua. Despite its age, Leon remains a youthful city full of art galleries, busy streets and a thumping nightlife where you can walk from one bar to the next. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Leon - Leader led walking tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The Nicaraguan border crossing can be confusing disorderly. Please pay close attention to your leader instructions. At this border crossing you will need to pay USD12 fee payble in cash.
Make the most of Leon this morning before departing at 2pm for Granada, perhaps by grabbing a lazy breakfast at one of the city cafes. The bus ride to Granada takes approximately three hours. Founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in the 'New World'. Featuring Moorish and Andalusian architecture and oozing colonial charm, the city is set on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and is surrounded by active volcanoes. Your leader will take you on a walking tour of Granada, visiting busy markets, Parque Central and "La Calzada", a lively pedestrian street known for its busy bars and restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This Central American adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day. If you'd like to stay in Granada, our travel specialists can help arrange additional accommodation for you.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Private minibus, local minibus, boat

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Suchitoto - Leader led walking tour
  • Leon - Leader led walking tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

START AND END TIME

On Day 1 there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting at approximately 6pm. There are no activities planned for the final day.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT

A Single Supplement to have your own room is available for purchase on this trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.