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San Jose to Playa del Carmen

Latin America
  • Duration: 35 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: LZCN2/212959
  • Starts: San Jose, United States
  • Finishes: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
You will Visit
  • San Jose
  • Monteverde
  • La Fortuna
  • Ometepe Island
  • Granada
  • León
  • Masaya National Park
  • Lake Yojoa
  • Roatán
  • Copán
  • Suchitoto
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Antigua
  • Chichicastenango
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Panajachel
  • San Andres Itzapa
  • Rio Dulce
  • Poptún
  • Tikal
  • San Ignacio
  • Caye Caulker
  • Tulum
  • Chichen Itza
  • Playa del Carmen

Itinerary

01

Day 1: San Jose

Border information: if you are starting in San Jose, you will most likely enter Costa Rica at Juan Santamaria Airport (Code: SJO)

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 city. Please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring San Jose.

In San Jose we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

02

Day 2-3: 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 - 4 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.

03

Day 4-5: La Fortuna

Today we will head 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 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.

04

Day 6-7: 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.

05

Day 8-9: 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.

06

Day 10: 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.

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

07

Day 11: 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.

08

Day 12-13: 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 days we will enjoy some 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.

09

Day 14-15: 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.

10

Day 16-17: Suchitoto

Border information: Exit Honduras and enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala and 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.

11

Day 18: 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.

12

Day 19-20: 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.

13

Day 21: Antigua

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

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings, and to take part in some optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Antigua 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 Antigua.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

14

Day 22-23: Chichicastenango

Today we will head off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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!).

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat trip on the lake to some of the small villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.

15

Day 24: San Andres Itzapa

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

16

Day 25: Rio Dulce

Today we will drive north to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.

17

Day 26-27: Poptún

Today we have a free morning to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce, before heading on a short drive to our fantastic eco-lodge near Poptún and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Poptún we will camp at an eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan ranch.

18

Day 28: Tikal

Today we have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. We will likely stop briefly in the colonial town of Flores en route. 

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

19

Day 29-30: San Ignacio

Border information: Exit Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos, enter Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen.

Today we have a short drive across the border into Belize and on to the village of San Ignacio, home to the country's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

We will have a full day to take part in some optional activities such as trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.

20

Day 31-32: Caye Caulker

Today we will travel north to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have a full day to explore and enjoy some optional activities such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.

21

Day 33: Tulum

Border information: Exit Belize at Santa Elena, enter Mexico at Subteniente López.

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the Dragoman Bus in Belize City, before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

22

Day 34: Chichen Itza

Today we will drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to Playa Del Carmen.

In Playa Del Carmen we stay in a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

23

Day 35: Playa del Carmen

Today is the final day of our journey and there is no accommodation provided tonight.  Please speak to your Sales representative if you would like to book additional nights of accommodation to enjoy the area.

You will most likely depart Mexico from the International airport at Cancun (IATA code: CUN) which is around 45minutes from our Hotel.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Take a guided trek to explore the stunning forest trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, learning all about the fascinating and beautiful ecosystem there
    • Visit the dramatic crater rim of the active Masaya volcano between León and Granada
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent ancient Mayan ruins of Copán
    • Spend the night at the wonderful community centre of Centro Arte Para La Paz in Suchitoto, which runs many workshops and projects for the locals in the area
    • Visit the spectacular volcanic landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, one of El Salvador's gems
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world
    • Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on a guided tour, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World centred around the world-famous pyramid of El Castillo
    Accomodation
    • Camping - Hotels
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