Hike through tiny colonial towns along the Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. Explore the ancient Maya site of Copan. Feast on delicious treats in Antigua, the cultural capital of Guatemala. Chat with friendly English-speaking locals in Belize
Discover stunning beaches, emerald jungles and historic cities in five countries across Central America on this expansive Latin adventure. Snorkel, swim and snack on lobster in the idyllic Belize Cays and sip a Caribbean cocktail in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. From the ruins of Copan in Honduras to Chichen Itza in Mexico, discover the far-reaching might of the ancient Mayans. Step back in time in colonial Suchitoto, munch on a pepian in Antigua and experience a traditional homestay in Guatemala. Whether you’re cycling through tribal villages in Mexico or blissing out on the black El Salvadorian sands of El Tunco, the colours, rhythms and natural wonders of Central America are sure to bewitch.
Breakfast Included: 1 Lunches Included: Lunches Included: 1
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel 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 laidback village of El Tunco has become well known for its surf and is the perfect spot to grab a drink, lie back in a hammock and watch the sunset over the black-sand beach.
While this town remains relatively unknown to international travellers, it's a preferred holiday destination for Salvadorians - particularly on weekends.
Take the day to enjoy this relaxed piece of paradise. Hire a board and tackle the waves, sip on a smoothie or visit the beach caves at low tide. In the evening, munch on the local specialty of pupusa and join the locals for a cocktail at the bar.
Today we travel to the town of Ahuachapan.
A mid-sized town near the Guatemalan border, Ahuachapan is known for its geothermal activity, which it uses to produce electricity for the rest of the country. It is also a handy jumping off point for some of the highlights of western El Salvador.
The following day we'll explore the Ruta de las Flores - a 36km-long winding trip through brightly-colored colonial towns famed for lazy weekends of gastronomy and gallery-hopping, as well as more adventurous pursuits like hiking to waterfalls scattered throughout the glorious Cordillera Apaneca. Home to the country’s first coffee plantations, some of its finest indigenous artisans and a world-famous weekend food festival. We'll travel by local bus to explore some of the towns.
In the evening we'll have the option to visit the nearby hot springs for a relaxing dip.
Today we head to the town of Suchitoto in northern El Salvador.
Along the way we'll make several stops to visit the Tazumal Ruins, enjoy spectacular views over Lake Coatepeque and explore the fascinating preserved ruins of Joya de Ceren - known as the Pompeii of the Americas.
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.
Use this free day however you wish. Those looking to kick things up a gear may fancy a hike in the Cinquera Forest or kayaking on Lago Suchitlan, or perhaps tour the Guazapa Volcano and the Cihuatan Ruins in the valley below.
Today we travel north to Copan, Honduras (approx. 6 hrs), crossing the border into Honduras is expected to be smooth and without complications, your leader will explain the process.
Located close to the Guatemalan border, the town of Copan Ruinas is a major gateway for tourists visiting the Pre-Columbian ruins of Copan.
Take a guided tour of the ancient ruins of Copan - the southernmost of the great Maya 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 civilization.
Travel across the border into Guatemala and on to Antigua.
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.
As the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once the most important city in Central America. In 1773 the city was destroyed by an earthquake but many of the colonial buildings have been carefully restored and the architecture from its glory days can still be admired. Walk through the quiet cobblestone streets past heavy carved-wood entrances. There are many fascinating markets and museums to explore, or if your tastes run to more active adventures hire a mountain bike and ride through the countryside. The views of mountain peaks and deep valleys, covered in lush vegetation are simply beautiful.
Perhaps check out the CHOCOMUSEO located on two blocks away from central park. Here you will learn all about chocolate, its history and nutritional values and you may be lucky enough to get a sample bag of chocolates at the end of the tour. Otherwise just grab a coffee from one of the many coffee shops in central park and just sit back relax and enjoy the beauty of this incredible city and the amazing people you will find. If you want to learn more about the famous Guatemalan coffee you can go on a coffee tour, visit the plantations, do some coffee tasting and even buy some to take back home.
Go out for a stroll and try tamales, a local dish usually prepared traditionally on weekends and served in a corn leaf. You could also give the pepian a try, a meal that consists of a rich dark sauce and three meats (chicken, beef and pork). The best value food you find is next to the artisan market close to the bus station.
This morning we make an early start and travel by private minibus to Rio Dulce (approx 8 hrs).