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Central America & Colombia

This 47 day overland tour journeys from Quito to Antigua through Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

  • Duration: 47 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Light
  • Supplier Tour ID: CGQ2/158185
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Quito, Quito
  • Finishes: Antigua, Guatemala
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Quito
  • Otavalo
  • Ipiales
  • Popayán
  • Salento
  • Manizales
  • Medellín
  • Lorica
  • Tayrona National Park
  • Cartagena
  • Panama City
  • Camino Real
  • Boquete
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde
  • La Fortuna
  • Somoto
  • Lake Yojoa
  • Roatán
  • Copán
  • Suchitoto
  • Los Cobanos
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • 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: Quito

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 the charming town of Otavlo.

In Otavalo we will camp in the grounds of lovely Guesthouse..

Estimated Drive Time - 3 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: Ipiales

Today we will leave Ecuador behind and travel into Colombia. We will have an included visit to the Santuario de las Lajas en route to our hotel in Ipiales.

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

Estimated drive time: 4 hours.

04

Day 4-5: Popayán

Today we will drive to the beautiful town and former colonial capital of Popay n.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

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

In Popay n we stay in dormitory accommodation in a local hostel.

05

Day 6-7: 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 have a 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.

06

Day 8-9: Manizales

Today we have a short drive to our Hacienda in the heart of the coffee region. Depending on the weather it may be possible to take a trip into the Los Nevados National Park

Estimated drive time: 1.5hrs

On the following day we will have a tour of the coffee plantation and learn about the cultivation of coffee.

We will stay in twin rooms in a comfortable hacienda.

07

Day 10-12: Medellín

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

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

On our first full day in Medell n 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 Medell n we will stay in dormitory accommodation in a centrally-located hostel, allowing you to enjoy the exciting nightlife of the city.

08

Day 13-14: Lorica

Today we have a drive north to the beautiful, colonial town of Santa Cruz de Lorica.

Estimated Drive Time - 10hours.

The following day we have a free day to explore the historic centre, learn about the traditional hates that are made in the region or head to the coast for a final beach sunset at San Bernardo del Viento.

In Santa Cruz de Lorica we stay in a lovely local hotel.

09

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 - 7 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.

10

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.

11

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.

12

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.

13

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.

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 comfortable hotel.

14

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.

The rest of the day will be free for us to explore Panama.

15

Day 22-23: Camino Real

This morning we will start our overlanding journey, travelling to Chagres National Park to 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. We will visit and stay for two nights at a community, who 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

On Day 4, we can choose from hiking to nearby waterfalls or trails in the Chagres NP, fishing, visiting a local farm and / or navigating the lake in a dugout canoe.

Approximate driving time: 50km / 1hr

(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!).

16

Day 24-25: 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 Volc n Bar , the highest point in Panama.

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

17

Day 26-27: 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.

18

Day 28-29: Monteverde

Today we will drive to the town of Tilar n, 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.

19

Day 30-31: 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.

20

Day 32: Somoto

Border information: Exit Costa Rica and enter Nicaragua

Please note: Due to a period of political unrest, we will transit through Nicaragua in one day. Please check with your insurance company that you are covered for this day.

This morning we will cross the border and continue our drive to the Somoto Canyon in the far north of Nicaragua, close to the border with Honduras, this will be a full day of overlanding. Tomorrow morning we will have an included Canyon tour.

We will stay in dorm rooms within a small village.

Approximate Driving Time - 500km / 10hrs

21

Day 33: Lake Yojoa

Border information: Exit Nicaragua and 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 / 350km

22

Day 34-36: Roatán

Today we will take a short drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roat n, 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 Roat n, and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!

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

23

Day 37-38: Copán

Today we will start early to transfer back to Roat n'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 Cop n.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

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

In Cop n we will stay in a local hotel.

24

Day 39-40: Suchitoto

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

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.

25

Day 41-42: Los Cobanos

Today we will drive to the coastal town of Los Cobanos and enjoy some beach time.

Estimated driving time: 140km / 3 hrs

26

Day 43-44: 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 45-46: 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 Las Lajas on the outskirts of Ipiales
    • 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!
    • Stay on a coffee plantation near Manizales
    • Explore some of Tayrona National Park's scenic walking trails, including a hike to the mysterious ancient ruins of Pueblito hidden in the jungles high above the coastline
    • Explore Cartagena on a guided walking tour
    • Visit the world-famous Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitors' Centre, and learn all about the fascinating history of this controversial structure
    • Take a guided walk through the stunning trails of Manuel Antonio National Park, finishing at the world-class tropical beaches where you can swim and relax
    • 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
    • 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
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 15% Camping - 85% Hotels
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