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Mexico City to Panama City
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Overlanding is a fantastic way to experience the traveller's paradise of the Americas! Dragoman have been the world's leading overland operator for decades, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting in the artistic capital of Mexico City, we journey through some of Central America's greatest highlights including Mexico's incredible Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, the tropical paradise of Caye Caulker in Belize, the ruined city of Tikal and the colourful markets of Chichicastenango in Guatemala. From the charming colonial town of Antigua, we overland through the magnificent highlights of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, including their Mayan ruins, stunning beaches, wonderful towns, and spectacular volcanic scenery. We then head to Costa Rica to explore the forests and beaches there before arriving in Panama and its thriving capital. Join us on this unforgettable overlanding experience through the Americas!

Latin America

Duration: 55 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Light
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158170
Starts: Mexico City, Mexico Finishes: Panama City, Panama
You will visit
  • Mexico City
  • Oaxaca
  • San Cristóbal de las Casas
  • Frontera Corozal
  • Yaxchilán
  • Palenque
  • Mérida
  • Chichen Itza
  • Tulum
  • Caye Caulker
  • San Ignacio
  • Tikal
  • Poptún
  • Rio Dulce
  • Livingston
  • San Andres Itzapa
  • Panajachel
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Chichicastenango
  • Antigua
  • Los Cobanos
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Suchitoto
  • Copán
  • Roatán
  • Lake Yojoa
  • León
  • Masaya National Park
  • Granada
  • Ometepe Island
  • La Fortuna
  • Monteverde
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Boquete
  • Santa Clara
  • Panama City

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Mexico City

Border information: if joining in Mexico City, you will most likely enter Mexico at Mexico City Benito Juárez International Airport (IATA code MEX).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am 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 Mexico's incredible capital 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 Mexico City 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 Mexico City.

In Mexico City we will stay in a good hotel in the central district of Bellas Artes.

02

Day 2-3: Oaxaca

Today we head to the wonderful laid-back colonial town of Oaxaca, famous for its cuisine and indigenous cultures.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have an included guided visit of the ruined Zapotec city of Monte Alban, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we will have free time to further explore the area's highlights.

In Oaxaca we will stay in a good hotel.

03

Day 4-6: San Cristóbal de las Casas

Today we have a full day drive to the stunning old colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, one of Mexico's most beautiful towns. and well known as the heart of the indigenous Tzotzil Maya culture.

Estimated Drive Time - 12-14 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day for exploration and to take part in some optional activities such as taking a tour to the fascinating Maya village of San Juan Chamula, or exploring the nearby Lagunas de Montebello National Park.

On the next day we will have an included boat trip down the phenomenal Sumidero Canyon, viewing its colossal cliffs from the base and searching for the resident wildlife.

In San Cristóbal de las Casas we will stay in a good hotel in the centre.

04

Day 7: Frontera Corozal

Today we will have a full day drive to the remote town of Frontera Corozal, on the Guatemalan border. En route, we may have time for an optional stop at the stunning waterfalls of Agua Azul.

In Frontera Corozal we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

05

Day 8: Yaxchilán

visit we will drive to the village of Palenque.Today we will have an included guided visit to the remote ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilán, which is only accessible via a boat trip down the river. After our visit we will drive to the village of Palenque.

In Palenque we will camp in the grounds of a hotel located within the national park.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

06

Day 9: Palenque

Today we will have an included guided visit to the incredible Mayan ruins of Palenque, which rise out of the thick jungle surrounding them. In the afternoon we will have free time to go on a jungle tour, visit the on site museum, or travel to the nearby waterfall of Misol Ha.

07

Day 10: Mérida

Today we will drive to the beautiful and artistic colonial town of Mérida, the capital of the Yucatan state.

In Mérida we wil stay in a colonial hotel in the heart of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

08

Day 11: Chichen Itza

Today we will have an early start to drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (in total, not including the Chichen Itza visit).

09

Day 12: Tulum

This morning we visit the Tulum ruins, one of the last cities built by the Maya and one of the best preserved coastal Maya sites. We will have a free afternoon to explore the beaches or take part in some optional activities.

10

Day 13-15: Caye Caulker

Border information: Exit Mexico at Subteniente López, enter Belize at Santa Elena.

Today we will travel south across the border to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have two full days of free time to explore and enjoy the many optional activities available here, such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.

11

Day 16-18: San Ignacio

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the Dragoman Bus in Belize City. We then have a short drive to the village of San Ignacio, home to Belize's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have two full days to take part in the many optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.

12

Day 19: Tikal

Border information: Exit Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen, enter Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos.

Today we will have a short drive across the Guatemalan border to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. 

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

13

Day 20-21: Poptún

Today we have a short drive to the small town of Poptún, stopping in the colonial town of Flores en route. We will arrive at our fantastic eco-lodge near Poptún and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Poptún we will stay in an eco-lodge in a working Guatemalan ranch.

14

Day 22-23: Rio Dulce

Today we will have a short drive to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to take part in some optional activities.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have an included boat trip to the village of Livingston on the Caribbean coast, before returning to Rio Dulce. 

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.

15

Day 24: San Andres Itzapa

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

 

16

Day 25-26: Panajachel

Today we will spend the morning at the Manos Amigas project before heading off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat on the lake out to some of the small local villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.

17

Day 27: Antigua

Today we will have a short drive to the magnificent city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 60 kms from Guatemala City.

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 - 3-4 hours.

18

Day 28: Antigua

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 10:00am 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.

19

Day 29-30: Los Cobanos

Border information: Exit Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, enter El Salvador at La Hachadura.

Today we will drive across the border into El Salvador and head to the Pacific coast and the small fishing village of Los Cobanos. On arrival we will enjoy some free time in this charming town well off the tourist trail.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have a free day to relax on the coast and take part in optional activities such as boating trips through the mangroves and walks along the beach in search of nesting turtles!

In Los Cobanos we will stay in a hotel on the beach.

20

Day 31: 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. On arrival we will have the opportunity to take an optional guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).

In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

21

Day 32: Suchitoto

Today 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.

22

Day 33-34: Copán

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.

23

Day 35-37: Roatán

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.

24

Day 38: Lake Yojoa

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.

25

Day 39-40: León

Border information: Exit Honduras at Las Manos, enter Nicaragua at Las Manos.

Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Nicaragua and to the university town of León.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

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.

26

Day 41-42: Masaya National Park

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.

27

Day 43-44: Ometepe Island

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.

28

Day 45-46: La Fortuna

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 - 5-7 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

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.

29

Day 47-48: Monteverde

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.

30

Day 49-50: Manuel Antonio National Park

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 include 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.

31

Day 51-52: Boquete

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 - 4-6 hours (heavily dependent on the time taken to cross the border).

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.

32

Day 53: Santa Clara

Today we will drive to the small coastal town of Santa Clara on our way towards Panama City.

In Santa Clara we will camp in the grounds of a guesthouse, about 10 minutes' walk from the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

33

Day 54: 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. 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 - 3-4 hours.

34

Day 55: Panama City

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).

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Take a guided tour around the ruined Zapotec capital of Monte Alban near Oaxaca
    • Head on a boat trip along the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon
    • Take a boat trip out for a guided tour of the stunning and remote Mayan ruins at Yaxchilán
    • Take a fascinating guided tour around the magnificent ruined city of Palenque deep in the Mexican jungle, including time to freely explore the excellent on-site museum
    • Visit the spectacular Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on a guided tour, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World centred around the world-famous pyramid of El Castillo
    • Explore the phenomenal clifftop Maya-Toltec ruins at Tulum, wonderfully located right on the Caribbean coast
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world
    • Stay at a wonderful eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan farm near Poptún
    • Enjoy a beautiful boat ride down the Rio Dulce to the Caribbean town of Livingston
    • Spend a night at the Manos Amigas community project, a centre which has been set up to support local women and their children
    • Visit the bewildering Mayan markets at Chichicastenango, taking in the incredible sights, smells, and atmosphere (provided it is running while we are in the area)
    • Visit the spectacular volcanic landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, one of El Salvador's gems
    • 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
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent ancient Mayan ruins of Copán
    • Visit the dramatic crater rim of the active Masaya volcano between León and Granada
    • Visit the traditional markets in Masaya village, famous for its local handicrafts
    • 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
    • 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
    • Visit the world-famous Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitors' Centre, and learn all about the fascinating history of this controversial structure
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew and local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 20% Camping - 80% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
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