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Quito to Antigua

Overlanding is a fantastic way to experience the traveller's paradise of the Americas! Dragoman have been the world's leading overland operator for decades, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting in the charming Guatemalan colonial town of Antigua, we overland through the magnificent highlights of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, including their Mayan ruins, stunning beaches, wonderful towns, and spectacular volcanic scenery. We then head to Costa Rica to explore the forests and beaches there before arriving in Panama and its thriving capital. After a short flight to the incredible colonial town of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast, we explore some of Colombia's best highlights, such as the beautiful beaches of Tayrona National Park, the adventure capital of San Gil and the stunning historic town of Villa de Leyva, before crossing into Ecuador and arriving at its buzzing capital of Quito. Join us on this unforgettable overlanding experience through the Americas!

Latin America
  • Duration: 47 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: CGQ2/158185
  • Starts: Quito, Ecuador
  • Finishes: Antigua, Guatemala
You will Visit
  • Quito
  • Otavalo
  • Ipiales
  • Popayán
  • Salento
  • Manizales
  • Honda
  • Villa de Leyva
  • San Gil
  • Aguachica
  • Mompós
  • Tayrona National Park
  • Cartagena
  • Panama City
  • Santa Clara
  • Boquete
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde
  • La Fortuna
  • Ometepe Island
  • Granada
  • Masaya National Park
  • León
  • Lake Yojoa
  • Roatán
  • Copán
  • Suchitoto
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Los Cobanos
  • Antigua

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Quito

Border Information: if joining in Quito, you will most likely enter Ecuador at Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport (IATA code: UIO).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Quito before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Quito.

A note on altitude: If you are joining in Quito, we strongly recommend arriving at least 24 hours before the trip begins to allow additional time to acclimatise.

In Quito we will stay in a friendly local hotel in the 'New Town'.

02

Day 2: Ipiales

Border information: Exit Ecuador at Ipiales, enter Colombia at Ipiales.

Today our journey begins with a short drive to Mitad del Mundo, the monument that marks the Equator. After this we will continue north to cross the Colombian border and reach the small town of Ipiales.

In Ipiales we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3-4: Popayán

Today we will have an included visit to the famous Santuario de las Lajas church outside of Ipiales, before driving to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popayán.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore Popayán or take part in some excellent treks or other optional activities in the surrounding area.

In Popayán we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

04

Day 5-6: Salento

Today we will continue our journey north to the small town of Salento, the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will head out in the morning for an included visit to a coffee plantation to learn all about the cultivation and producing of Colombian coffee! After a local lunch, we will take an included guided trek through the Cocora Valley to see the Quindio wax palm trees, the largest palms in the world and the national tree of Colombia.

In Salento we will camp in a well-equipped campsite, 15 minutes drive out of town.

05

Day 7-9: Medellín

Today we will drive to the vibrant city of Medellín, where we will spend 3 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On our first full day in Medellín we will have a guided walking tour of the city, and our second day will be free time to independently explore the town, its parks, churches, and museums.

In Medellín we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

06

Day 10-12: San Gil

Today we will drive to San Gil, the outdoor capital of Colombia and a mecca for extreme-sports enthusiasts! Tonight we will enjoy a vegetarian Indian buffet from the campsite's in-house restaurant.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

The following two days will be free to enjoy some of the myriad of adrenaline activities on offer in the area, or to spend some time relaxing on the farm.

In San Gil we camp in a coffee and cattle farm outside town.

07

Day 13-14: Mompós

Today we will drive to the peaceful and rarely-visited colonial town of Mompós, where we will stay for 2 nights. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

The following day we go on a short boat trip down Rio Magdalena to observe the riverside life and do some wildlife spotting. There will also be plenty of free time to explore this historical colonial town, the first town in Colombia to declare independence from Spain, wander the beautiful streets and soak up the atmosphere of the architecture.

In Mompós we stay in a lovely local hotel.

08

Day 15-16: Tayrona National Park

Today we drive north to Tayrona, one of the most popular National Parks in Colombia. Leaving our main luggage stored on the truck, we take a day-pack/night-bag and go on a moderate walk in to the park to where we will stay. Mules to carry your luggage can be hired at an extra cost.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

The following day is a free day to explore this stunning coastal park. We have the opportunity to trek to El Pueblito, a pre-Hispanic settlement of the Tayrona people, do some snorkelling, or just relax on the beautiful beaches.  

In Tayrona National Park we will stay in rented hammocks. The hammocks are equipped with mosquito nets but please note that the nets are not treated with Permethrin or similar pesticides.

There is also an option to bring tents if you prefer to stay in a tent rather than a hammock, but please note that mules will have to ber hired to carry your tent, at an extra cost.

09

Day 17: Cartagena

We will have some more free time in Tayrona National Park in the morning, before we walk back to the park entrance and complete our epic journey with a drive to the beautiful coastal colonial city of Cartagena.

In Cartagena we will stay in a comfortable hotel just outside the historical centre.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

10

Day 18: Cartagena

Today we will have an included walking tour of the city, and then the afternoon will be free to explore the city further, enjoy the many optional activities on offer, or simply relax on the beach.

11

Day 19: Panama City

Today there will be a flight from Cartagena to Panama City which will have been booked by Dragoman for you.

Upon arrival in Panama City you will be taken to the joining hotel for the next leg of the trip.

12

Day 20: Panama City

Border information: if you are starting in Panama City, you will most likely enter Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport (IATA code: PTY).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Until the meeting, the rest of the day is free to explore the busting Panamanian capital. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Panama City before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Panama City.

If you are continuing on from Cartagena today then your leader in Colombia will assist you with transport to the airport for your included flight to arrive in Panama in time for the joining meeting.

In Panama City we will stay in a local hostel in the old city.

13

Day 21: Panama City

Today we will drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning all about its controversial history and incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century. 

We will then continue to Chagres National Park and explore the Grandfather of the Panama Canal: the Camino Real, a cobblestoned road from the Caribbean to the Pacific through the rainforests of Panama, established as the transport route of Gold and Silver by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century. The Camino Real was rediscovered only recently, and we will visit and stay overnight at a community, which worked together with researcher Christian Strassnig to identify the original route of the Camino Real in the jungle.

At Alajuela Lake we take a dugout boat to observe the remains of the Camino Real at the lakeshore, before heading to our Community stay to enjoy a typical Panamanian lunch and see then a presentation of authentic folklore.   We will then hike some of the Camino Real, see the original cobblestone and be fascinated by stories of the mule trains, gold and pirates.

Approximate walking distance: 3km Estimated time: 2hrs 

(please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

14

Day 22-23: Boquete

After early morning coffee we can go for an optional birdwatching hike on a trail with plenty of tropical birds, followed by a hearty breakfast. Afterwards we will drive up into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take part in some of the many optional outdoor activities which the town is famous for, including the opportunity to take the strenuous trek to the 3,478m summit of Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.

In Boquete we will stay in a local hostel, with a mixture of private rooms and dormitories.

15

Day 24-25: Manuel Antonio National Park

Border information: Exit Panama at Paso Canoas, enter Costa Rica at Paso Canoas

Today we will drive across the border into Costa Rica, and arrive at the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided walk through some of the beautiful trails within park, learning all about its flora and fauna and immersing ourselves in the idyllic landscape. We will have free time in the afternoon to take part in some optional activities or relax on the wonderful beaches.

In Manuel Antonio we will stay in a hostel near the beach, with a mixture of private rooms and dormitories.

16

Day 26-27: Monteverde

Today we will drive to the town of Tilarán, where we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi to the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.

In Monteverde we will stay in a local hotel.

17

Day 28-29: La Fortuna

Today we will continue by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.

In La Fortuna we will stay in excellent cabanas outside of town.

18

Day 30-31: Ometepe Island

Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas, enter Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas

This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.

On Ometepe we will stay in a small local hotel.

19

Day 32-33: Granada

Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.  

In Granada we will stay in a centrally-located hostel, which has a mixture of private and dormitory rooms.

20

Day 34-35: León

Today we drive to the university town of León. En route we will have an included visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.

In León we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.

21

Day 36: Somoto

This morning we will drive to the Somoto Canyon, where we will have an included Canyon tour, or village tour if you prefer.

We will stay in dorm rooms within a small village.

Approximate Driving Time - 212km / 5hrs

22

Day 37: Lake Yojoa

Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Las Manos, enter Honduras at Las Manos.

Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa.

In Lake Yojoa we will camp for the night in the grounds of a lodge and brewery.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

23

Day 38-40: Roatán

Today we will take a short drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following 2 days we will enjoy lots of free time to take part in the wealth of optional activities available on Roatán, and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!

In Roatán we will stay in a local hotel near the beach.

24

Day 41-42: Copán

Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining the Dragoman Bus! We will then continue our journey west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided visit to the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.

In Copán we will stay in a local hotel.

25

Day 43-44: Suchitoto

Border information: Exit Honduras at El Florido, enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala at Anguiatú, enter El Salvador at Anguiatú.

Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.

In Suchitoto we will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre, which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

On on second day we will have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.

26

Day 45: Cerro Verde National Park

Today we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the afternoon we will take a guided hike up the Santa Ana Volcano.

In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

27

Day 46: Antigua

Border information: Exit El Salvador at La Hachadura, enter Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado.

Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

28

Day 47: Antigua

Border information: if leaving in Antigua, you will most likely exit Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Antigua. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit the equator at Mitad del Mundo
    • Visit the jaw dropping Santuario La Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales
    • Explore a working Colombian coffee plantation near Salento and learn all about its cultivation and production
    • Head out on a half-day guided trek through the spectacular Cocora Valley, and see the incredible 50m-tall Quindio wax palms, the tallest plam trees in the world!
    • Head out on a fascinating walking tour of Medellín and learn all about it's tumultuous past
    • Explore the area of Mompós by boat, on a beautiful short trip out on the Magdelena River
    • Explore Cartagena on a guided walking tour
    • We will have an included hike on the Camino Real, and a community based overnight stay, with all meals included.  
    • Visit the world-famous Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitors' Centre, and learn all about the fascinating history of this controversial structure
    • Trek up to the summit of Santa Ana, El Salvador's highest volcano in the heart of Cerro Verde National Park
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew and local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 20% Camping - 80% Hotels
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