Backroads of Central America
18 days from San Jose to Antigua Guatemala
From $ 1879
Duration18 days

Take the road less travelled through Central America with other travellers your own age — so you can be sure to get down with other adventurers that’ll keep up. This is one of our most exciting trips, filled with breathtaking scenery — from tropical rainforests alive with jungle melodies to colonial cities bouncing to a decidedly more human beat. You'll blaze your own path as you discover a region of volcanoes, craters, beaches, and lush forests. Sticking to budget accommodation and public transport will keep costs down and keep you rooted in local life.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 18 days
    Service level: Basic
  • Starts in: San Jose
    Physical Grading: Average
  • Ends in: Antigua Guatemala
    Ages: 12+
Backroads of Central America - Tour Map

Itinerary

Expand all
Day 1: San José

Start place: San Jose

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.

Arrive at any time.

End place: San Jose

Day 2: San José/La Fortuna

Start place: San Jose

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.
Options abound—soak in Arenal's hot springs or get the adrenaline pumping with whitewater rafting or waterfall rappelling.

End place: La Fortuna

Day 3: La Fortuna

Start place: La Fortuna

Free day to get the adrenaline pumping with rafting and other outdoor pursuits or one of many other optional activities.

End place: La Fortuna

Day 4: La Fortuna/Monteverde

Start place: La Fortuna

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.
Travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde by boat and van and enjoy gorgeous scenery along the way. Enjoy dinner at a G Adventures-supported coffee cooperative that funds local educational programs.

End place: Monte Verde

Meals: D
Day 5: Monteverde

Start place: Monte Verde

Opt to visit a cloud forest reserve, fly through the jungle canopy via zipline or tour a coffee plantation.

End place: Monte Verde

Day 6: Monteverde/Isla de Ometepe

Start place: Monte Verde

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island. The group will be split up amongst different families who will host you in their homes. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home.

Explore the island, pass plantain plantations and other small villages, to get a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live. Enjoy a challenge? Hike Concepción Volcano. If not, check out the pre-Columbian petroglyphs, try the Tarzan swing at a nearby jungle swimming hole, or enjoy the beach.
Get to know local friends during a two-night community guesthouse stay on Ometepe Island. Test out some language skills, opt to climb a volcano, or visit the local swimming hole.

End place: Isla de Ometepe

Meals: D
Day 7: Isla de Ometepe

Start place: Isla de Ometepe

Full day on the island to spend time with your hosts and enjoy optional activities such as hiking and swimming.

End place: Isla de Ometepe

Meals: B, D
Day 8: Isla de Ometepe/Granada

Start place: Isla de Ometepe

Nicaragua has flourished in the past few years and boasts both incredibly friendly people as well as impressive natural beauty. Granada’s colonial charm is complimented by the surrounding active volcanoes and lakes, making day trips a fun and easy option.

Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada, your Chief Experience Officer will give you an initial orientation walk in the city, after which you will have plenty of time to explore in more depth.
See Granada's colourful colonial buildings on an orientation walk. Enjoy a Big Night Out with the group.

End place: Granada

Meals: B
Day 9: Granada

Start place: Granada

For a relaxing afternoon, spend a couple of hours in a boat touring some of the 350+ ¨Isletas¨ or little islands found near Granada in Lake Nicaragua.

Other optional activities include visiting the nearby extinct Mombacho Volcano, now shrouded in vegetation. Granada is located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and has a long park ideal for strolling. The nearby markets of Masaya house vendors selling great Nicaraguan handicrafts such as hammocks, pottery, and paintings.
Take advantage of a free day to explore Granada or kayak the isletas in Lake Nicaragua.

End place: Granada

Day 10: Granada/Poneloya

Start place: Granada

Enjoy a couple of days of relaxation on a remote northern beach on Nicaragua's Pacific coast. Surfing, swimming and beach lounging await. Our accommodation is in a large, multi-share mixed-gender beach lodge dorm right on the beach with an attached bar and restaurant. There's not much on our stretch of beach, but that's part of the beauty of Nicaragua's northern Pacific coast.

End place: Poneloya

Day 11: Poneloya

Start place: Poneloya

Spend your day enjoying the coast. Opt to explore the city of Leon or hit the beach.

End place: Poneloya

Day 12: Concepción de Ataco/Suchitoto

Start place: Concepcion de Ataco

Travel to El Salvador's colonial town of Suchitoto. Don't forget to try the delicious pupusas, a local Salvadorian specialty.

End place: Suchitoto

Meals: D
Day 13: Suchitoto/Concepción de Ataco

Start place: Suchitoto

Travel to the 'Route of Flowers' region with its quaint Salvadorian towns and talented artisans.

End place: Concepcion de Ataco

Meals: B
Day 14: Concepción de Ataco

Start place: Concepcion 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.
Full day to explore the small town of Ataco or enjoy optional activities.

End place: Concepcion de Ataco

Day 15: Suchitoto/Copán

Start place: Suchitoto

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.
Cross into Honduras, and opt to visit the Mayan ruins of Copán or a local hot spring.
Day 16: Copán
Free time in Copan to enjoy optional activities.
Day 17: Copán/Antigua
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.
Cross into Guatemala. Enjoy an orientation walk to explore the colonial city of Antigua. 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.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Day 18: Antigua

Start place: Antigua Guatemala

Depart at any time. There is much to see and do in this picturesque town. If you have time, opt to extend your trip to explore more of Guatemala.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Inclusions

Included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Life Monteverde Visit, Monteverde Your Discover Moment: La Fortuna Your Discover Moment: Monteverde
  • Orientation walk around Antigua
  • Beach time in Santa Teresa
  • Free time in La Fortuna, Monteverde, Ataco and Suchitoto
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • Transport

    Public bus, Private vehicle, Boat, Plane, Walking
  • Accommodation

    Simple hotels/hostels (17 nts, most multi-share)
  • Meals

    3 breakfasts,
    4 dinners

Dates & availability: Backroads of Central America

Departing Finishing Catalog Price Sale Price Seats left
Departing Tue, 03/26/2019 Finishing Fri, 04/12/2019 Catalog Price $ 1699 Sale Price $ 1699 14 Book
Departing Tue, 04/02/2019 Finishing Fri, 04/19/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 13 Book
Departing Tue, 04/09/2019 Finishing Fri, 04/26/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 8 Book
Departing Tue, 04/16/2019 Finishing Fri, 05/03/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 16 Book
Departing Tue, 04/23/2019 Finishing Fri, 05/10/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 16 Book
Departing Tue, 04/30/2019 Finishing Fri, 05/17/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 17 Book
Departing Tue, 05/07/2019 Finishing Fri, 05/24/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 18 Book
Departing Tue, 05/14/2019 Finishing Fri, 05/31/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 14 Book
Departing Tue, 05/21/2019 Finishing Fri, 06/07/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 15 Book
Departing Tue, 05/28/2019 Finishing Fri, 06/14/2019 Catalog Price $ 1789 Sale Price $ 1789 18 Book

Save up to 50% on tours! Get exclusive access to members-only deals by email.

Subscribe to our newsletter