Best of Central America

18-to-Thirtysomethings, San José to Playa del Carmen

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

From ancient ruins to active volcanoes, get off the beaten track and discover extraordinary Central America. Make sure your passport has space because this exciting 33-day trip hits most of Central America, as it covers tropical rainforests, volcanoes, colonial cities, and all the breathtaking scenery in between. Explore Indigenous Mayan villages and soak in the region's incredible culture. Our CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) will ensure your accommodation and transportation are covered — so you can choose the activities and sights that interest you most — the adventure is yours to choose!

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Life Monteverde Visit, Monteverde Your G for Good Moment: Posadas Mayas Homestay, San Juan La Laguna Your G for Good Moment: Belize Bike with Purpose Tour, Caye Caulker Your Discover Moment: La Fortuna Your Discover Moment: Monteverde Your Discover Moment: Antigua Guatemala Your Big Night Out Moment: Antigua Guatemala Your Discover Moment: San Ignacio Your Discover Moment: Caye Caulker
  • Guided tour of Tikal
  • Orientation walk in Antigua
  • Beach time in Santa Teresa and Mahahual
  • Free time in La Fortuna, Monteverde, Ataco and Suchitoto
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Bliss out on costa rican beaches
  • Walk the colonial streets of colourful antigua
  • Experience an overnight homestay in guatemala
  • Explore mayan ruins
  • Visit six countries in a month.

Itinerary

Day 1 San José Arrive at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Amid the hustle and bustle of this busy capital, San José has beautiful parks, museums and an ornate National Theatre. Enjoy the view of the surrounding lush mountains from the downtown streets, head to the central plaza, shop for souvenirs and pass the time people-watching. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 San José/La Fortuna La Fortuna, the town near the Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for adventure. Hike the area’s nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall, or join a canopy tour and catch a bird’s eye view of the forest greenery. Take an unforgettable night hike around the foot of the volcano, accompanied by a soundtrack of monkeys and the rumblings of the volcano. Other optional activities include: full-day Class III & IV white water rafting on the Balsa or Toro Rivers, mountain biking, caving, horseback riding, or a tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Like much of Costa Rica, the area is a birders’ paradise, with over 600 species as permanent residents. After a long day of exploring, the Baldi Hot Springs might just be the answer for your tired muscles. Soak in one of the natural thermal baths and hope the clouds part long enough for a glimpse of Arenal´s slopes. Transport: Local bus (3.00-5.00 hours, 150km)
Day 3 La Fortuna Free day to get the adrenaline pumping with rafting and other outdoor pursuits or one of many other optional activities.
Day 5 La Fortuna/Monteverde (1D) Costa Rica is a natural gem because of its breathtaking flora and fauna. Travelling into the cool cloud forest of Monteverde, appreciate how lush ecosystems truly are works of art. Take time to bird watch, ride a horse, mountain bike, or zip line over the forest canopy. Included Activities: Life Monteverde Visit Transport: Shared van (0.50 hour(s)) Boat (0.75 hour(s)) Shared van (2.00 hour(s))
Day 6 Monteverde Opt to visit a cloud forest reserve, fly through the jungle canopy via zipline or tour a coffee plantation.
Day 7 Monteverde/Santa Teresa Journey to the small towns of Playa Santa Teresa and Malpais, which are frequented by surfers. Opt to hit the waves, or visit Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve – take a hike to explore the area or check out the snorkelling at Secret Beach. Transport: Private Vehicle Ferry Private Vehicle (1.50 hour(s))
Day 8 Santa Teresa Check out Cabo Blanco NP to spot some wildlife, hike to the nearby waterfall for a dip or a jump in the local swimming hole or simply lounge on the beach. Take a day trip to the beautiful Isla Tortuga, where you can snorkel along a volcanic rock reef or check out the nearby surf havens of Mal Pais and Santa Teresa. Adrenaline junkies can take their pick of activities as well - surfing, ziplining, ATV, boogie boarding, horseback riding or scuba diving are all options. On the other hand, if relaxation is what you seek, opt for a yoga class or take a leisurely hike to search for orchids.
Day 10 Santa Teresa/San José Enjoy a free morning in Santa Teresa before travelling back to the capital for the night. Transport: Local bus (8.00 hour(s))
Day 11 San José/Concepción de Ataco Catch a flight to El Salvador, and travel to the 'Route of Flowers' region with its quaint Salvadorian towns and talented artisans. Transport: Plane Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 12 Concepción de Ataco Day hikes, a coffee tour and shopping are some of many options for your time here. Hike El Impossible National Park, swim in the pools of Atzumpa, check out some of the other nearby quaint towns or just explore tiny Ataco. This is a coffee producing region of El Salvador, so be sure to sample some delicious coffee in a local café.
Day 13 Concepción de Ataco/Suchitoto Travel to El Salvador's colonial town of Suchitoto. Don't forget to try the delicious pupusas, a local Salvadorian specialty. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s))
Day 14 Suchitoto Enjoy a free day to discover the cultural capital of El Salvador. Opt to visit nearby waterfalls or hike to caves.
Day 15 Suchitoto/Copán Travel into Honduras and opt to visit the Mayan ruins of Copán. The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities. The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place. Opt to explore the nearby hills on horseback and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way, or journey to some local hot springs for a relaxing soak. Included Activities: Border Crossing (El Salvador - Guatemala) Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras) Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 400km)
Day 16 Copán Free time in Copan to enjoy optional activities.
Day 17 Copán/Antigua Guatemala After a long travel day arrive to Antigua, where you can stretch your legs during an orientation walk with your CEO. Enjoy the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additional Notes: This tour arrives to Antigua in the early evening. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional post-trip accommodation nights. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Honduras - Guatemala) Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 200km)
Day 18 Antigua Guatemala Enjoy free time to relax with a massage, explore the nearby hills by bicycle, or visit a local macadamia nut farm.
Day 19 Antigua Guatemala Enjoy a free day to explore. Opt to relax with a massage or soak up the culture in one of many cafés. Enjoy a Big Night Out with the group. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Big Night Out
Day 20 Antigua Guatemala/San Juan La Laguna (1D) Travel through the hills and fertile fields of the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue/grey mountains, and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake, resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture. We will overnight at a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. Tonight, the group will be spread out among a number of homes, where dinner will also be provided. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will help you to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day life of the locals in this region. Additional Notes: Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages, and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies or individuals who do not wish to be photographed. Included Activities: Posadas Mayas Homestay Transport: Stretch out and unwind aboard our private ride. Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 80km) Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Day 21 San Juan La Laguna/Panajachel Return across the lake and enjoy free time in Panajachel to visit the market or relax. Transport: Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Day 22 Panajachel/Rio Dulce Take the road past areas of dense jungle and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal, and a port stop for boaters around the globe on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast. Transport: Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 400km)
Day 23 Rio Dulce There are plenty of opportunities for R & R. Aside from boating on Lake Izabal, there are optional tours in the area to view protected manatees. You may opt to horseback ride through a rubber plantation, explore San Felipe fort, take the morning monkey kayak tour, relax in the thermal springs, or hike through the jungle-strewn trails in the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve area.
Day 24 Rio Dulce/Flores Our final stop in Guatemala is Flores, a picturesque town surrounded by Lake Petén Itzá. Flores is well-known for its proximity to Tikal—the largest excavated Mayan site. Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 25 Flores/San Ignacio Head north to the ancient city of Tikal before venturing into Belize. The spiritual centre of Tikal boasts the Mayan’s highest pyramids and abundant flora and fauna in the surrounding jungle. Included Activities: Tikal Ruins Guided Tour Border Crossing (Guatemala - Belize) Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 64km) Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours) Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours)
Day 26 San Ignacio From the town of San Ignacio, opportunities abound for exploring Belize’s little known inland scenic beauty. With free time here, choose to explore the area by foot, canoe, or horse, take a caving trip, or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and swim in its inviting pools and rivers.
Day 27 San Ignacio/Caye Caulker Hop aboard a local bus, then board a water taxi to the island paradise of Caye Caulker. Later, explore Caye Caulker on the G Adventures-supported Bike with Purpose tour. Included Activities: Belize Bike with Purpose Tour Transport: Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours, 123km) Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Days 28-29 Caye Caulker Enjoy free time to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving, or just chill out, Belizean style.
Day 30 Caye Caulker/Mahahual Leaving Belize and its Caribbean reggae-tinged vibe, head north to the Costa Maya, Mexico, to the beachside town of Mahahual. Included Activities: Border Crossing (Belize - Mexico) Transport: Boat (1.00 hour(s)) Local bus (3.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 145km)
Day 31 Mahahual Enjoy a free day for beach lounging and sipping seaside margaritas.
Day 32 Mahahual/Playa del Carmen Head north to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the de facto centre of the Mayan Riviera. This once sleepy village is quickly becoming a popular destination among sun worshippers and partiers worldwide. Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))
Day 33 Playa del Carmen Depart at any time. Additional Notes: Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancún airport (45 min drive) so you can easily head directly there without returning to Cancún. Included Activities: Departure Day
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