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Guatemala & Beyond

9 days with Intrepid Travel   Rating: Budget

Click for Dates and Prices Day 1 Antigua
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. The meeting will be followed by an orientation walk around Antigua with your leader. Once the seat of the Spanish colonial government and the most important city in Central America, the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, but many of the colonial buildings have been restored. For dinner tonight, perhaps head out with the group and sample tamale (a local dish served in corn leaf), or some pepian (a rich, meaty stew).

Day 2 Copan
Get ready for a long travel day. You'll start early (make that very early) in the morning, at about 4 am, to avoid rush hour traffic around Guatemala City. You'll travel by private minibus to Copan in Honduras. The 8-hour drive will take you through the wild countryside of eastern Guatemala. Copan is a charming town set into lush surroundings. On arrival, perhaps take a stroll through the cobbled streets and check out the central plaza. You might even like to make an optional visit to the nearby natural hot springs.

Day 3 Suchitoto
This morning is free to explore Copan and its surrounding. You may choose to visit the World Heritage-listed Mayan ruins of Copan, the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famous. The ruins are unique because of the 21 stelae (columns) that have been discovered here. They also feature temples, excavated vaults and huge faces carved into the walls. As you stroll past ancient monuments, statues and staircases, it's hard not to wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilisation. Alternatively, two kilometres (1.2mi) out of town you'll find the Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve. This reserve is dedicated to the conservation of the Central American macaw and well worth a visit. Alongside macaws you'll also find toucans, motmots, parrots, kingfishers and orioles. Most of these birds have been confiscated from smugglers or donated to the park by owners who can no longer care for them. At approximately 1 pm, wave goodbye to Copan and travel by private minibus across the border into Suchitoto in El Salvador. The road trip should take approximately seven hours. A beautiful colonial town with colourful houses and cobbled streets, Suchitoto feels a world away from modern El Salvador.

Day 4 Suchitoto
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of Suchitoto. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy a range of optional activities around the area. The town of Suchitoto overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande. Also known as Lago Suchitlan, this freshwater lake is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks. You might like to take a boat or kayaking tour of the lake. Alternatively, you could go for a hike in the nearby Cinquera rainforest, or explore the Maya ruins of Cihuatan.

Day 5 El Cuco
At about 10 am this morning start heading south-east by private minibus along the Pacific to coastal El Cuco (today's drive is approximately five hours long). There are some great dark-sand beaches close to town, including the beautiful Playa El Esteron and Playa Las Flores, one of the best surf spots in the country. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a seafood dinner along the water.

Day 6 El Cuco
Explore El Cuco as you please. Perhaps gather some group members for a hike of the nearby Conchagua volcano or take a free yoga class.

Day 7 Leon
Rise early for a full day of travel by private vehicle. Leave El Cuco at around 8 am and drive to El Amatillo border crossing (approximately 1.5 hours) before a 2.5 drive by of Honduras (including a stop for lunch) to the next border crossing Guasaule, and finally reaching Leon after another 2.5 hours. Upon arrival your leader will take you on a walking tour of this charming city. Though it's the second largest in the country, Leon is relatively free of tourists, making strolling the mural-lined streets a real pleasure.

Day 8 Granada
Make the most of Leon this morning before departing at 2 pm for Granada, perhaps by grabbing a lazy breakfast at one of the city cafes. The bus ride to Granada takes approximately three hours. Founded in 1524, Granada is the oldest city in the 'New World'. Featuring Moorish and Andalusian architecture and oozing colonial charm, the city is set on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and is surrounded by active volcanoes. Your leader will take you on a walking tour of Granada, visiting busy markets, Parque Central and 'La Calzada', a lively pedestrian street known for its busy bars and restaurants.

Day 9 Granada
This Central American adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for the final day. If you'd like to stay in Granada, our travel specialists can help arrange additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
All This Included
From beautiful black-sand beaches to tropical forests alive with jungle melodies, this pocket of Central America is something of a natural paradise. Whether you're shopping in colonial Antigua, exploring the intricately carved structures at Copan or relaxing by the sea in El Salvador, you'll get a wonderful insight into Central America during this incredible adventure.
  • Transport - Private vehicle, Local bus, Taxi
  • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
  • Suchitoto - Leader led walking tour
  • Leon - Leader-led orientation walk
  • See the sights and engage in a wide range of optional activities across four different countries on this epic Latin adventure.
  • Discover Central America, a land of mysterious Mayan ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles.
  • Experience an El Salvador of the past in the colonial town of Suchitoto, a haven for architectural buffs, before savouring the blissful present on its black sand beaches. 
  • Absorb the 24/7 buzz of Leon, a Nicaraguan city of colourful streetscapes, fiery debate, eclectic art galleries and pulsating nightlife. 
  • Dive into the heart of Grandada, possibly the most laid-back and accessible city in Central America, fully imbued with color and culture.
Hotel (8 nights)
  • Ages: Min 15
  • Group size: Min 1, Max 16
  • There is a 9-hour overland journey from El Cuco to Leon on Day 7. Although this can be tiresome, it's a great opportunity to sit back, enjoy the passing scenery and to bond with your fellow travellers. This is a real Central American adventure, after all.
  • You'll need to make several border crossings. While these are usually straightforward, please prepare to be patient while local authorities process papers.
  • Central America is tropical, so expect a hot and humid climate. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun, wear comfortable, light clothing and stay hydrated - especially when out on walking tours.
  • There are many opportunities to get active on this adventure. Some of the the optional activities, especially the volcano hikes, require a moderate level of fitness and sturdy walking shoes. If you'd prefer to take it easy, however, there are plenty of other things you can do instead. Your local leader will be able to recommend activities to suit your fitness level.
  • Copan - Archeological site (Transport & Entrance fee) - $17.00 USD
  • A single supplement is available on this trip.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.