Central America small group tour
Not a month in the country, but a month in 7 countries. No way could I have come up with such a brilliant itinerary on my own. The trip of a lifetime.
Mexico: Yucatan Peninsula Playa del Carmen Tulum Belize: Caye Caulker Snorkelling San Ignacio Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave Guatemala: Tikal National Park Flores Rio Dulce Antigua Chichicastenango Lake Atitlan Honduras: Copan El Salvador : Suchitoto El Cuco Nicaragua : Leon Granada Ometepe Island Costa Rica: Monteverde La Fortuna Arenal Volcano National Park San Jose
US $3460ToUS $4070excluding flights
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
Single supplement $1410.
Description of Central America small group tour
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1 Reviews of Central America small group tour
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 13 Feb 2018 by Laurie Munslow
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
Snorkelling in Caye Caulker, Belize, was an amazing experience! Nurse sharks, stingrays and turtles, not to mention oodles of brightly coloured fish, seemed completely oblivious to our presence, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, with its dazzling array of corals and fish, was stunning. What a fantastic day! Just as good, but for different reasons, was the memorable Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave - wading through water; scrambling up, over and under rocks; and marvelling at the stalactites, stalagmites and Mayan relics, including the famous crystal maiden skeleton, made for an exhilarating day! The Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala were simply breathtaking. The jungle backdrop offers a chance to see wildlife such as toucans, tarantulas, coatis and howler monkeys, to name but a few! The homestay in Guatemala was wonderful: it offers an insight into some of the realities of life for the Mayan population. My host family was so lovely and keen to chat; you really do need to have at least a basic smattering of Spanish to get the most out of the experience. Also, Suchitoto in El Salvador: gorgeous! Oh, and Granada in Nicaragua, too...was I seriously supposed to pick just one memorable aspect?! No chance!
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
(1) Bring US dollars for currency exchange - at every border crossing A Man with a Hat and a Serious Wad of Cash appeared (seemed legit...!), so you can easily
exchange USD or offload leftover currency. (2) Note that some ATMs in Guatemala don't seem to like Mastercard or pre-paid travel cards (I don't know
which...I had a Mastercard travel card...): you might have to try several attempts on one or more machines, but best to bring a Visa card as a back-up. (3) Try
and eat at street stalls or local "comedores" to keep food costs down. If lots of locals are eating there, it's a pretty safe bet! (4) Take probiotics with you in case
you do have tummy troubles. (5) Bring a dry bag for your valuables - there's lots of boat travel, and you and your belongings are likely to get wet. (6) If you're
worried about the water, drink bottled beer!
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Local transport and trip providers were used throughout the tour, wherever and whenever possible. The trip seemed especially beneficial to the local communities in Guatemala, particularly at the homestay and visits to Mayan markets and handicraft cooperatives.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
For value for money, and as an introduction to Central America, it was great. The trip really does have everything: history, culture, beaches, colonial cities, nature and great food, not to mention professional tour guides who were keen to impart their local knowledge and ensure we all had a good experience. Be warned though: it is just a taster; you're going to want to go back! Know, however, that once you leave Guatemala, there are some long travel days. The trip from Antigua to Copán, in particular, involved a lot of travel for what was just 24 hours in Honduras (although the ruins are, admittedly, impressive) and everyone felt a bit fed up during the seemingly never-ending trip from El Cuco, El Salvador, to León, Nicaragua!
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) vacation so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetThe very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travelers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world we are exploring; to travel responsibly is at the heart of our commitment as a global tour operator.
This epic trip from Mexico to Costa Rica is designed to follow the ethos of low impact and even positive impact tourism. Traveling through six Central American countries, visiting beaches, ancient ruins and pristine rainforests, this trip does much to support local industry and initiative and provide employment opportunities as we go.
In addition to this we encourage all our passengers to take steps to ensure that their trip is environmentally responsible as possible. On this trip you will get the chance to snorkel in the pristine waters of Caye Caulker, Mexico, visit the heart of the rainforest on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua and explore the cloudforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica. We want our visits to assist in the preservation of all these stunning locations and you will be encouraged to treat them with care. For example, your group leader will brief you on the dos and don’ts of snorkelling to help protect the fragile marine environments. You’ll be encouraged to stick to the marked pathways in the jungle environments and to treat all destinations with respect.
Your group leader will also be on hand to assist with the appropriate disposal of rubbish en route, recycling wherever possible and we encourage all our travelers to use refillable water bottles with purification tablets rather than contributing to the rapidly escalating problem caused by the copious number of plastic bottles discarded globally on a daily basis.
PeopleYou’ll stay in small, locally owned budget accommodation, from hotels to a basic homestay in San Jorge La Laguna and be accompanied throughout by a professional local group leader. Those who opt to explore some on the Mayan ruins en route or who decide to take on one of the many optional hikes in this itinerary will also benefit from the knowledge and experience of various local site guides employed in the various locations. What you do in each destination is up to you, so your group leader will be on hand to help with arrangements, including recommended local suppliers to use for things such as cycle hire, kayak hire and guided tours.
Meals on this trip are at your own expense giving all travelers freedom to choose the places you eat. When dining together, your group will eat in traditional, locally owned restaurants, and during the day will purchase food en route from local vendors and small cafes, again your group leader will be on hand to recommend the places the locals eat and where to get the best regional specialities.
Our emphasis on tour is real life experiences and to experience the best of these we encourage all our travelers to be aware of local sensibilities when they travel with us and to behave accordingly. With the high degree of local interaction on this itinerary, it is worth noting that Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
You’ll mainly travel on this trip by local bus. As well as being by far the best option environmentally, this offers great opportunity for cultural interaction with your fellow bus travelers. Due to safety concerns however we do not use the brightly painted ‘chicken buses’ that are a common sight throughout Central America, instead using more modern, efficient inter-city coaches.
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