Central American Journey
32 days from Playa del Carmen to San Jose
From $ 2592
Duration32 days

Escape the resorts and discover something extraordinary in Central America. Visit six countries on this adventure and experience mighty ruins, clear Caribbean waters, Pacific waves, rainforests, and breathtaking scenery along the way. Explore Indigenous Mayan villages and meet locals for an immersive experience that few travellers get to know. While you're free to choose your own adventure, your accommodation and transportation are included. Our expert CEOs (Chief Experience Officers) will help you make the most of your time. Take a trip that's packed with all the things you need and nothing you don't — 32 days of maximum adventure at minimum cost.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 32 days
    Service level: Basic
  • Starts in: Playa del Carmen
    Physical Grading: Average
  • Ends in: San Jose
    Ages: 12+
Central American Journey - Tour Map

Itinerary

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Day 1: Playa del Carmen

Start place: Playa del Carmen

Check into our hotel and enjoy the city.
Arrive at any time. Shuttles and buses from the Cancún airport are easy to find and reasonably priced. You can also take the public ADO bus that has departures every 30 minutes from the airport to Playa Del Carmen for approximately MX 176 ($10 USD).

End place: Playa del Carmen

Day 2: Playa del Carmen

Start place: Playa del Carmen

Start your holiday off with some hardcore relaxation. Enjoy a full day of free time to fill as you wish. Get your ruin on with a visit to Tulum perched atop the sea, explore the fish- and coral-filled seas around Cozumel on a scuba dive, go swimming in a cenote or at the beach, and save some energy for a night out on the town.
Enjoy free time to explore the Mayan ruins of Tulúm or the diving mecca of Cozumel. Or just play in the waves and enjoy the beach.

End place: Playa del Carmen

Day 3: Playa del Carmen/Caye Caulker

Start place: Playa del Carmen

Mention Belize and you may conjure up visions of unbelievably clear blue waters, diving and snorkelling along the barrier reef and remarkable marine life. Belize also boasts huge swaths of jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, and above all, friendly, easygoing people. Belize is all this and much more!
Opt to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving or just chill out, Belizean style.

End place: Caye Caulker

Day 4-5: Caye Caulker

Start place: Caye Caulker

Opt to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving or just chill out, Belizean style.

End place: Caye Caulker

Day 6: Caye Caulker/San Ignacio

Start place: Caye Caulker

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.
Travel by boat and bus from Caye Caulker to San Ignacio. Enjoy an included pottery demonstration and local lunch at a G Adventures-supported women's pottery cooperative.

End place: San Ignacio

Meals: L
Day 7: San Ignacio

Start place: San Ignacio

Opt to visit the sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal or check out the seldom-visited Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.

End place: San Ignacio

Day 8: San Ignacio/Flores

Start place: San Ignacio

Cross the border into Guatemala and you immediately notice the difference in culture, with its heavy Mayan influence and Spanish language. Here we have entered Guatemala’s northeast jungle Petén region. The descendants of the Maya of Chichén Itzá migrated to the Petén area several centuries after the collapse of the great Mayan cities in the Yucatán.

En route to Flores, stop for a guided tour of the ancient city of Tikal. Arrive in Flores, the capital of the department of Petén, a small island located on the second largest lake of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá.
Learn about Mayan culture and history on a guided tour of the ruins of Tikal.

End place: Flores

Day 9: Flores/Rio Dulce

Start place: Flores

A travel day from Flores to Rio Dulce which is located in the department of Izabal, home of the largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Izabal was one of the most important water ways of the Spanish crown during colonial times.

We 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.
Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, or go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall.

End place: Rio Dulce

Day 10: Rio Dulce

Start place: Rio Dulce

Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak to visit groups of noisy howler monkeys, or take a horseback ride through the rubber plantations combined with a visit to the Shaman Tower.
Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, or go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall.

End place: Rio Dulce

Day 11: Rio Dulce/Antigua Guatemala

Start place: Rio Dulce

Today is a travel day from Rio Dulce to Antigua, followed by an orientation walk once you arrive. Plan your activities for the next day and enjoy some of the nightlife this beautiful colonial city has to offer.
Enjoy an orientation walk of Antigua's cobblestone streets, then opt to take a salsa lesson and practice new moves out at night.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Day 12: Antigua Guatemala

Start place: Antigua Guatemala

Relax with a massage, climb a volcano, soak up the culture of this colonial town’s many museums and cafes, attend a chocolate workshop, visit one of the local coffee or macadamia nut plantations, or explore the nearby hills and towns by bike.
Enjoy a free day in Antigua. Opt to relax with a massage, climb a volcano, soak up the culture in one of the city's many cafés, or explore the nearby hills and towns by bike.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Day 13: Antigua Guatemala/Panajachel

Start place: Antigua Guatemala

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.

The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and horseback riding.
Travel to beautiful Lake Atitlán and enjoy the views. Note: Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies, or individuals who do not wish to be photographed.
Day 14: Panajachel/San Juan La Laguna
Embark on a boat ride across the lake before participating in a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. This area is known for stunning scenery and great shopping for Mayan handicrafts. Opt to bargain for colourful textiles and paintings at the lake's markets.

End place: San Pedro La Laguna

Meals: D
Day 15: San Juan La Laguna/Antigua Guatemala

Start place: San Pedro La Laguna

We return to Antigua to spend more time to explore the city, shop, and check out optional activities in the area.

Optional activities include visiting a macadamia nut farm, checking out a coffee plantation, biking around Antigua's surrounding hills or taking a salsa lesson.
Return to Antigua, and enjoy a Big Night Out with the group.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Day 16: Antigua Guatemala

Start place: Antigua Guatemala

Enjoy free time to relax with a massage, explore the nearby hills by bicycle, or visit a local macadamia nut farm.

End place: Antigua Guatemala

Day 17: Antigua Guatemala/Copán

Start place: Antigua Guatemala

The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place, set along a river in the coffee growing region close to the Guatemalan border.

The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, Copán contains some of the most important Mayan ruins found to date, and many unusual artistic features, including some of the most detailed carving in the Mayan world.

Cross the border to Honduras. Opt to soak in local hot springs in the jungle.
Day 18: Copán
Free time in Copan. Opt to visit the impressive Copan ruins and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way. Knowledgable local guides can interpret the many Mayan carvings left here over 1,000 years ago. You can also choose to explore the nearby hills and small villages on horseback or journey through the countryside to some hidden jungle hot springs for a relaxing soak.
Free time in Copán. Opt to visit the ruins of Copán or explore the hills on horseback.
Day 19: Copán/Suchitoto
Cross the border into El Salvador and stay in the colonial town of Suchitoto. Don't forget to try the delicious pupusas, a local Salvadorian specialty. Prepare for the long travel day with snacks.

End place: Suchitoto

Meals: D
Day 20: Suchitoto/Playa El Tunco

Start place: Suchitoto

Enjoy a free morning in Suchitoto before heading to the coast. The sunsets in this surfing town are stunning. Grab a cold drink and enjoy!

End place: Playa El Tunco

Meals: B
Day 21: Playa El Tunco

Start place: Playa El Tunco

Enjoy a free day in this laidback beach town to take a surf lesson, eat fresh ceviche at the fish market in nearby La Libertad, visit the Tamanique waterfalls, or chill out with a beer in hand.

End place: Playa El Tunco

Meals: B
Day 22: Playa El Tunco/León

Start place: Playa El Tunco

Set off early for a full day of travel by land and sea to Nicaragua, finishing up in colonial León with a brief orientation walk.
Day 23: León/Granada
Granada’s colonial charm is complemented by the active volcanoes and lakes that surround it, and there are many fun easy day trips available. Hike, cruise, or just explore the city’s markets and museums.

Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada.
Journey to Granada and see its colourful colonial buildings on an orientation walk. Enjoy a Big Night Out with the group.

End place: Granada

Day 24: Granada

Start place: Granada

Free time to explore beautiful Granada's busy markets, colonial buildings and museums on foot or take a horse and carriage ride around town. Enjoy a meal on the "calzada", a pedestrian street that extends from the center of town down to Lake Nicaragua.

There are many optional activities to do just outside of town as well. Walk in the forest at the top of Mombacho Volcano, kayak around the isletas in Lake Nicaragua or swim in Laguna de Apoyo.
Free time to explore beautiful Granada's markets, buildings and museums. Opt to kayak in Lake Nicaragua or swim in Laguna de Apoyo.

End place: Granada

Day 25: Granada/Isla de Ometepe

Start place: Granada

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island, formed from two volcanoes, one active and one dormant that rise out of the middle of the lake. The limited development and traditional communities create a welcoming relaxed atmosphere.

The group will be split up amongst different local families who will host you in their homes for two nights in a small community on the island. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home. This experience give you a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live.
Get to know local friends during a 2-night G Adventures-supported community guesthouse stay on Ometepe. Try the local cuisine and test out some language skills.

End place: Isla de Ometepe

Meals: D
Day 26: Isla de Ometepe

Start place: Isla de Ometepe

Today is a free day in Ometepe. We get to spend more time with the local host families and see more of the island. Opt to climb either of the two volcanoes on the island, view petroglyphs left by the island's original inhabitants, walk or kayak in Charco Verde reserve, swim in clear spring water at Ojo de Agua, lay on the beach or explore the island on bicycle.
Enjoy free time to explore Ometepe. Opt to climb Volcano Concepción or Volcano Maderas, take a cultural tour, visit the beach at Santo Domingo, or visit el Ojo de Agua for a refreshing swim and lunch. You can also view pre-Columbian petroglyphs or the small museum of indigenous artifacts in Altagracia.

End place: Isla de Ometepe

Meals: B, D
Day 27: Isla de Ometepe/Monteverde

Start place: Isla de Ometepe

At 1,400 meters above sea level, Monteverde is literally in the clouds. The Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves are home to diverse and unique flora and fauna. Sloths, monkeys, kinkajous, tapirs and large cats inhabit the area. There are more species of orchids here than anywhere else in the world.
Take a ferry back to the mainland and cross the border into Costa Rica, finishing up in the cloudforest air of Monteverde.

End place: Monte Verde

Meals: B
Day 28: Monteverde

Start place: Monte Verde

The day is free to choose from many optional activities. Fly hundreds of meters above the trees on a zip-lining tour, hike through one of the cloud forest reserves, ride a horse in the mountains, visit a coffee/sugar cane farm, go bungee jumping, drive an ATV on trails in the hills, tour the cheese factory or check out the orchid garden, serpentarium, or frog pond in town.
Free day in Monteverde. Opt to visit a cloud forest reserve, fly through the jungle canopy via zipline, or tour a coffee plantation.

End place: Monte Verde

Meals: D
Day 29: Monteverde/La Fortuna

Start place: Monte Verde

The trip from Monteverde to La Fortuna takes us down from the cloud forest and across Costa Rica's largest lake The town of La Fortuna lies at the base of the Arenal Volcano, which dominates the landscape rising to 1670 meters high. The town has become famous as the adventure sports capital of Costa Rica.

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, white water rafting, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddlebording, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we're here.
Transfer to La Fortuna along bumpy roads, then break up the journey with a peaceful boat ride on Lake Arenal before a short ride to the town.

End place: La Fortuna

Day 30: La Fortuna

Start place: La Fortuna

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddleboarding, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we're here.
Free time to enjoy the La Fortuna and Arenal area.

End place: La Fortuna

Day 31: La Fortuna/San José

Start place: La Fortuna

Return to San José for our final night out.

San José has beautiful parks, museums and theatres. Enjoy the view of the surrounding lush mountains from the downtown streets.
Journey through the mountains to the capital for a final night out.

End place: San Jose

Day 32: San José

Start place: San Jose

Depart at any time.

End place: San Jose

Inclusions

Included

  • Your G for Good Moment: San Antonio Women's Pottery Cooperative and Local Lunch, San Ignacio Your G for Good Moment: Posadas Mayas Homestay, San Juan La Laguna Your Discover Moment: Playa del Carmen Your Discover Moment: Caye Caulker Your Discover Moment: Antigua Guatemala Your Big Night Out Moment: Antigua Guatemala Your Discover Moment: Monteverde Your Big Night Out Moment: La Fortuna Your Discover Moment: La Fortuna Your Local Living Moment: Coope San Juan Homestay, Cantón de San Carlos Your Foodie Moment: Cooking Demonstration, Cantón de San Carlos
  • Guided tour of Tikal
  • Orientation walk in Antigua
  • Beach time in Caye Caulker and El Palmarcito
  • Free time in Suchitoto
  • Coope San Juan homestay
  • Rainforest walk
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • Transport

    Local bus, Ferry, Boat, Private vehicle, Taxi, Walking
  • Accommodation

    Simple hotels/hostels (30 nts, most multi-share), Homestay (1 nt)
  • Meals

    2 breakfasts,
    1 lunches,
    3 dinners

Dates & availability: Central American Journey

Departing Finishing Catalog Price Sale Price Seats left
Departing Sat, 01/26/2019 Finishing Tue, 02/26/2019 Catalog Price $ 3199 Sale Price $ 3199 16 Book
Departing Tue, 01/29/2019 Finishing Fri, 03/01/2019 Catalog Price $ 3199 Sale Price $ 3199 17 Book
Departing Sat, 02/02/2019 Finishing Tue, 03/05/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 14 Book
Departing Tue, 02/05/2019 Finishing Fri, 03/08/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 15 Book
Departing Sat, 02/09/2019 Finishing Tue, 03/12/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 17 Book
Departing Sat, 02/16/2019 Finishing Tue, 03/19/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 18 Book
Departing Tue, 02/19/2019 Finishing Fri, 03/22/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 17 Book
Departing Sat, 02/23/2019 Finishing Tue, 03/26/2019 Catalog Price $ 3049 Sale Price $ 3049 18 Book
Departing Sat, 03/02/2019 Finishing Tue, 04/02/2019 Catalog Price $ 3199 Sale Price $ 3199 18 Book
Departing Sat, 03/09/2019 Finishing Tue, 04/09/2019 Catalog Price $ 3199 Sale Price $ 3199 18 Book

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