Best of Central America
SAVE UP TO 20% on this tour

From ancient ruins to active volcanoes, get off the beaten track and discover extraordinary Central America. This exciting 33-day trip hits most of the Central American countries as it covers tropical rainforests, spectacular volcanoes, stunning beaches, colonial cities and all the breath-taking scenery in between. Try one of the many adrenalin activities in La Fortuna, zipline through the Monteverde jungle canopy, visit the active Masaya Volcano and take a boat ride on Late Petén Itzá. You’ll also have the chance to explore indigenous Mayan villages and soak in the region’s incredible culture. By the end of your journey with Best of Central America you’ll have a head full of amazing memories and a camera full of jealousy inducing snaps!

Latin America
  • Duration: 33 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Not Rated%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 134078
  • Starts: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Finishes: Playa del Carmen, Mexico
You will Visit
  • San José
  • Playa del Carmen



Day 1: San José

Arrive at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.

Amid the hustle and bustle of this busy capital, San José has beautiful parks, museums and an ornate National Theatre. Enjoy the view of the surrounding lush mountains from the downtown streets, head to the central plaza, shop for souvenirs and pass the time people-watching.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting


Day 2: San José/La Fortuna

La Fortuna, the town near the Arenal Volcano, is an excellent base for adventure. Hike the area's nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall, or join a canopy tour and catch a bird's eye view of the forest greenery. Take an unforgettable night hike around the foot of the volcano, accompanied by a soundtrack of monkeys and the rumblings of the volcano.

Other optional activities include: full-day Class III & IV white water rafting on the Balsa or Toro Rivers, mountain biking, caving, horseback riding, or a tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Like much of Costa Rica, the area is a birders' paradise, with over 600 species as permanent residents.

After a long day of exploring, the Baldi Hot Springs might just be the answer for your tired muscles. Soak in one of the natural thermal baths and hope the clouds part long enough for a glimpse of Arenal´s slopes.

Local bus (5.00 hour(s), 150km)


Day 3: La Fortuna

Free day to get the adrenaline pumping with rafting and other outdoor pursuits or one of many other optional activities.


Day 4: La Fortuna/Monteverde

Costa Rica is a natural gem because of its breathtaking flora and fauna. Travelling into the cool cloud forest of Monteverde, appreciate how lush ecosystems truly are works of art. Take time to bird watch, ride a horse, mountain bike, or zip line over the forest canopy.

Shared van (0.25 hour(s))
Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Shared van (3.50 hour(s))


Day 5: Monteverde

Opt to visit a cloud forest reserve, fly through the jungle canopy via zipline or tour a coffee plantation.


Day 6: Monteverde/Isla de Ometepe (1D)

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island. The group will be split up amongst different families who will host you in their homes. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home.

Explore the island, pass plantain plantations and other small villages, to get a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live. Enjoy a challenge? Hike Concepción Volcano. If not, check out the pre-Columbian petroglyphs, try the Tarzan swing at a nearby jungle swimming hole, or enjoy the beach.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Nicaragua - Costa Rica)
Puesta del Sol Community Guesthouse Stay

Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 190km)
Local bus (1.00 hour(s))
Local bus (0.25 hour(s))
Ferry (1.50 hour(s), 10km)


Day 7: Isla de Ometepe (1B, 1D)

Full day on the island to spend time with your hosts and enjoy optional activities such as hiking and swimming.

Included Activities:
Puesta del Sol Community Guesthouse Stay


Day 8: Isla de Ometepe/Granada (1B)

Nicaragua has flourished in the past few years and boasts both incredibly friendly people as well as impressive natural beauty. Granada's colonial charm is complimented by the surrounding active volcanoes and lakes, making day trips a fun and easy option.

Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada, your Chief Experience Officer will give you an initial orientation walk in the city, after which you will have plenty of time to explore in more depth.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Big Night Out

Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))
Ferry (1.50 hour(s), 10km)
Local bus (0.25 hour(s))
Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 75km)


Day 9: Granada

For a relaxing afternoon, spend a couple of hours in a boat touring some of the 350+ ¨Isletas¨ or little islands found near Granada in Lake Nicaragua.

Other optional activities include visiting the nearby extinct Mombacho Volcano, now shrouded in vegetation. Granada is located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and has a long park ideal for strolling. The nearby markets of Masaya house vendors selling great Nicaraguan handicrafts such as hammocks, pottery, and paintings.


Day 10: Granada/Poneloya

Enjoy a couple of days of relaxation on a remote northern beach on Nicaragua's Pacific coast. Surfing, swimming and beach lounging await.

Additional Notes:
Our accommodation is in a large, multi-share mixed-gender beach lodge dorm right on the beach with an attached bar and restaurant. There's not much on our stretch of beach, but that's part of the beauty of Nicaragua's northern Pacific coast.

Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 150km)


Day 11: Poneloya

Spend your day enjoying the coast. Opt to explore the city of Leon or hit the beach.


Day 12: Poneloya/Suchitoto

After a long day of travel via bus, boat, and private vehicle, arrive to El Salvador's colonial town of Suchitoto. Don't forget to try the delicious pupusas, a local Salvadorian specialty.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Nicaragua - El Salvador)

Walking (0.50 hour(s))
Boat (0.25 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Boat (3.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s))


Day 13: Suchitoto/Concepción de Ataco

Travel to the 'Route of Flowers' region with its quaint Salvadorian towns and talented artisans.

Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 120km)


Day 14: Concepción de Ataco

Day hikes, a coffee tour and shopping are some of many options for your time here. Hike El Impossible National Park, swim in the pools of Atzumpa, check out some of the other nearby quaint towns or just explore tiny Ataco. This is a coffee producing region of El Salvador, so be sure to sample some delicious coffee in a local café.


Day 15: Concepción de Ataco/Copán

Travel into Honduras and opt to visit the Mayan ruins of Copán. The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities.

The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place. Opt to explore the nearby hills on horseback and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way, or journey to some local hot springs for a relaxing soak.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (El Salvador - Guatemala)
Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras)

Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 400km)


Day 16: Copán

Free time in Copan to enjoy optional activities.


Day 17: Copán/Antigua

After a long travel day arrive to Antigua, where you can stretch your legs during an orientation walk with your CEO. Enjoy the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Additional Notes:
This tour arrives to Antigua in the early evening. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional post-trip accommodation nights.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Honduras - Guatemala)
Orientation Walk

Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 200km)


Day 18: Antigua

Enjoy free time to relax with a massage, explore the nearby hills by bicycle, or visit a local macadamia nut farm.


Day 19: Antigua

Explore this colonial city during an orientation walk, then get the feet moving to the beat with an included salsa lesson. Relax with a massage, and soak up the culture in one of many cafés.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Salsa Lesson
Big Night Out


Day 20: Antigua/San Juan La Laguna (1D)

Travel through the hills and fertile fields of the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue/grey mountains, and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake, resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture.

We will overnight at a G Adventures-supported homestay with a local family. Tonight, the group will be spread out among a number of homes, where dinner will also be provided. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will help you to gain a better understanding of the day-to-day life of the locals in this region.

Additional Notes:
Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages, and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies or individuals who do not wish to be photographed.

Included Activities:
Mayan Homestay Project

Stretch out and unwind aboard our private ride.
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 100km)
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours)


Day 21: San Juan La Laguna/Panajachel (1B)

Return across the lake and enjoy free time in Panajachel to visit the market or relax.

Boat (0.50-0.75 hours)


Day 22: Panajachel/Rio Dulce

Take the road past areas of dense jungle and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal, and a port stop for boaters around the globe on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast.

Private Vehicle (9.00 hour(s), 400km)


Day 23: Rio Dulce

There are plenty of opportunities for R & R. Aside from boating on Lake Izabal, there are optional tours in the area to view protected manatees. You may opt to horseback ride through a rubber plantation, explore San Felipe fort, take the morning monkey kayak tour, relax in the thermal springs, or hike through the jungle-strewn trails in the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve area.


Day 24: Rio Dulce/Flores

Our final stop in Guatemala is Flores, a picturesque town surrounded by Lake Petén Itzá. Flores is well-known for its proximity to Tikal—the largest excavated Mayan site.

Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours, 210km)


Day 25: Flores/San Ignacio

Head north to the ancient city of Tikal before venturing into Belize. The spiritual centre of Tikal boasts the Mayan's highest pyramids and abundant flora and fauna in the surrounding jungle.

Included Activities:
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour
Border Crossing (Guatemala - Belize)

Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)
Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours)


Day 26: San Ignacio

From the town of San Ignacio, opportunities abound for exploring Belize's little known inland scenic beauty. With free time here, choose to explore the area by foot, canoe, or horse, take a caving trip, or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and swim in its inviting pools and rivers.


Day 27: San Ignacio/Caye Caulker

Hop aboard a local bus, then board a water taxi to the island paradise of Caye Caulker. Later, explore Caye Caulker on the G Adventures-supported Bike with Purpose tour.

Included Activities:
Belize Bike with Purpose Tour

Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 110km)
Boat (1.00 hour(s))


Day 28: Caye Caulker

Enjoy free time to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving, or just chill out, Belizean style.


Day 30: Caye Caulker/Mahahual

Leaving Belize and its Caribbean reggae-tinged vibe, head north to the Costa Maya, Mexico, to the beachside town of Mahahual.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Belize - Mexico)

Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Local bus (3.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 145km)


Day 31: Mahahual

Enjoy a free day for beach lounging and sipping seaside margaritas.


Day 32: Mahahual/Playa del Carmen

Head north to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the de facto centre of the Mayan Riviera. This once sleepy village is quickly becoming a popular destination among sun worshippers and partiers worldwide.

First-class bus (5.00 hour(s))


Day 33: Playa del Carmen

Depart at any time.

Additional Notes:
Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancún airport (45 min drive) so you can easily head directly there without returning to Cancún.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

    • G Adventures-supported homestay project experiences (Ometepe and Lake Atitlán)
    • Group salsa dancing lesson (Antigua)
    • Guided tour of Tikal
    • Orientation walks in Granada and Antigua
    • G Adventures-supported bike tour of Caye Caulker
    • Beach time in Poneloya and Mahahual
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Simple hotels/hostels (27 nts, some multi-share), beach lodge (2 nts, multi-share), community guesthouse stay (2 nts), homestay (1 nt)
    • 3 breakfasts, 3 dinners
    • Local bus, boat, van, taxi, ferry, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Bliss out on a stretch of remote Nicaraguan beach
  • Walk the colonial streets of colourful Granada and Antigua
  • Experience an overnight homestay in Guatemala and Nicaragua
  • Explore Mayan ruins
  • Visit seven countries in a month.