This adventure takes us through the heartland of the vibrant string of countries between Guatemala and Panama.
We start in the beautiful colonial town of Antigua, and journey into the rarely-visited country of El Salvador. We'll visit the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán in Honduras, and then head over to the tropical island paradise of Roatán where we have the chance to go snorkelling in crystal clear waters.
We then overland into Nicaragua, where we explore the cultural hubs of Léon and Granada before seeing the breathtaking sight of the Masaya Volcano.
We then journey to Costa Rica, where we have the chance to go rafting of visiting the thermal springs at La Fortuna before moving onto the dense cloud forests of Monteverde and the jungle and beach paradise of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Finally, we cross into Panama and explore the outdoor activitiy hub of Boquete before finishing in Panama City.
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.
Today we will cross the border into El Salvador and drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the morning we will have will take a guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).
In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.
Border information: Exit Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, enter El Salvador at La Hachadura.
Estimated Drive Time - 9 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!).
After our trek up the volcano, we will take a short drive to the beautiful town of Suchitoto, where we will have a free afternoon to explore the town, with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, and to learn about the incredible work of the Dragoman-supported community centre in which we stay.
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 - 4-5 hours.
On Day 4 we will have a day to explore Suchitoto, have a guided walking tour of the town, head out on a sunset boat trip or take a day trip to San Salvador.
Border information: Exit El Salvador at Anguiatú, enter Guatemala at Anguiatú. Exit Guatemala at El Florido, enter Honduras at El Florido.
Today we will have a full day drive to return to Guatemala and then onwards to Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 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.
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 - 4-5 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.
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 east through Honduras 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 - 3-4 hours.
Today we will cross the border into Nicaragua, we will the head to the Somoto Canyon and stay in cabins near a village community.
In the morning we will have an included half day canyoning experience, or alternatively for those who wish a farm and village tour.
Aprroximate drive time - 364km / 8hrs
This morning we will enjoy our canyon tour and then drive to the university town of León.
Estimated Drive Time - 212km / 4hours.
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.
Today we will take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! 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 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.
This morning we drive 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 - 2-3 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.
Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, enter Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas.
Today we will take an early morning ferry back to San Jorge and drive to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 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.
Today we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi and boat into the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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.
Today we will continue by taxi to the small town of Tilarán, where we will rejoin our overland vehicle and drive to the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 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.
Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Paso Canoas, enter Panama at Paso Canoas.
Today we will drive across the Panama border into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 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.
Today we will 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 remains of the Camino Real at the lakeshore, then we arrive at the community and we are warmly welcomed by the people who are inspired with perspective of sustainable development through community tourism at the Camino Real. We have a typical Panamanian lunch and see then a presentation of authentic Panamanian folklore. In the morning we will undertake a hike the Camino Real, see the original cobblestone and be fascinated by stories of the mule trains, gold and pirates.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
After early morning coffee you can go for an optional bird-watching hike on a trail with plenty of tropical birds (free with local guides). At return to community we have a hearty breakfast. We will then take a hike on the trail. Afterwards it is time to say good-bye and we return by boat to our Overland Bus.
We will then 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. After our included visit we will complete the drive to the capital, Panama City.
In Panama City we will stay in a local hotel in the Bella Vista district.
Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.
Border information: if you are finishing in Panama City, you will most likely exit Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport (IATA code: PTY).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Panama City. 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.
If you are continuing on to Cartagena with Dragoman, then your leader will assist you with airport transfers for your included flight - you will spend this night in a hotel in either Panama City or Cartagena (depending on the flight times and availability).
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Really enjoyed the journey and thought the drivers/guides were great.Overall Rating
Tony was a top chap!Overall Rating
Betsy was awesome, everything had its place and it was surprisingly tidy.Overall Rating
Both crew were excellent and kind and considerate to people's needs and wishes. Could not have asked for better.Overall Rating
Zoe and Tony made an excellent team.Overall Rating
The drivers were both just amazing. Very helpful and amazingly calm and patient with the slower participants. They took care of each individual and gave me the feeling I could always go and ask them for help or information or just to hang out. They did everything to make the tedious border crossings go as smoothly as possible. They were really awesome.Overall Rating
Tony and Zoe were a great team. Always helpful and efficient whilst quietly assertive when necessary.Overall Rating
I enjoyed the journey very much especially since it took me through so many countries that would have been difficult for me to navigate on my own.Overall Rating
Trip Name: Antigua to Panama City - 2018
Duration: 28 Days
From Price: $2,625
Supplier Tour ID: ZGP1/158236
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