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Panama City to Mexico City

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: 158171
  • Starts: Panama City, Panama
  • Finishes: Mexico City, Mexico
You will Visit
  • Panama City
  • Santa Clara
  • Boquete
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde
  • La Fortuna
  • Ometepe Island
  • Granada
  • Masaya National Park
  • León
  • Lake Yojoa
  • Roatán
  • Copán
  • Suchitoto
  • Cerro Verde National Park
  • Los Cobanos
  • Antigua
  • Panajachel
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Chichicastenango
  • San Andres Itzapa
  • Rio Dulce
  • Livingston
  • Poptún
  • Tikal
  • San Ignacio
  • Caye Caulker
  • Tulum
  • Chichen Itza
  • Mérida
  • Palenque
  • Frontera Corozal
  • Yaxchilán
  • San Cristóbal de las Casas
  • Oaxaca
  • Mexico City

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Panama City

Border information: if you are starting in Panama City, you will most likely enter Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport (IATA code: PTY).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

Until the meeting, the rest of the day is free to explore the busting Panamanian capital. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Panama 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 Panama City.

If you are continuing on from Cartagena today then your leader in Colombia will assist you with transport to the airport for your included flight to arrive in Panama in time for the joining meeting.

In Panama City we will stay in a local hotel in the Bella Vista district.

02

Day 2: 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 drive to the small coastal town of Santa Clara.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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!).

03

Day 3-4: Boquete

Today we will drive up into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 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.

04

Day 5-6: Manuel Antonio National Park

Border information: Exit Panama at Paso Canoas, enter Costa Rica at Paso Canoas

Today we will drive across the border into Costa Rica, and arrive at the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 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.

05

Day 7-8: Monteverde

Today we will drive to the town of Tilarán, where we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi to the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 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.

06

Day 9-10: La Fortuna

Today we will continue by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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.

07

Day 11-12: Ometepe Island

Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas, enter Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas

This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and 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 - 4-6 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.

08

Day 13-14: Granada

Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 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.

09

Day 15-16: Masaya National Park

Today we drive to the university town of León. 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 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.

10

Day 17: Lake Yojoa

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

Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and 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 - 9-11 hours.

11

Day 18-20: 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 - 3-4 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.

12

Day 21-22: Copán

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 west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 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.

13

Day 23: Suchitoto

Border information: Exit Honduras at El Florido, enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala at Anguiatú, enter El Salvador at Anguiatú.

Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.

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 - 8-10 hours.

14

Day 24: Cerro Verde National Park

Today we will spend the morning in Suchitoto to have the chance 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 the afternoon we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

15

Day 25-26: Los Cobanos

This morning we will spend some time in Cerro Verde National Park to give us the opportunity to take an optional guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).

In the afternoon we will take a short drive to the Pacific coast and the small fishing village of Los Cobanos, a charming town well off the tourist trail.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

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.

16

Day 27: Antigua

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

Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. 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 - 6-7 hours.

17

Day 28: Antigua

Border information: if leaving in Antigua, you will most likely exit Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Antigua. 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.

18

Day 29: 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 30-31: Panajachel

Today we will head off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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!).

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.

20

Day 32: 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 - 3-4 hours.

21

Day 33-34: Rio Dulce

Today we will drive north to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 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.

22

Day 35-36: Poptún

Today we have a free morning to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce, before heading on a short drive to 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.

23

Day 37: Tikal

Today we have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. We will likely stop briefly in the colonial town of Flores en route. 

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

24

Day 38-40: San Ignacio

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

Today we have a short drive across the border into Belize and on to the village of San Ignacio, home to the country's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 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.

25

Day 41-43: Caye Caulker

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

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 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.

26

Day 44: Tulum

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

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the Dragoman Bus in Belize City, 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 - 7-8 hours.

27

Day 45: 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.

28

Day 46: 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 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 - 4-5 hours.

29

Day 47: Palenque

Today we will have a full day 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 - 10-11 hours.

30

Day 48: 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.

31

Day 49: Frontera Corozal

Today we will have a drive to the remote town of Frontera Corozal, on the Guatemalan border. In the afternoon 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.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

32

Day 50-52: 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. En route, we may have time for an optional stop at the stunning waterfalls of Agua Azul.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 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.

33

Day 53-54: Oaxaca

Today we have a full day drive to the wonderful laid-back colonial town of Oaxaca, famous for its cuisine and indigenous cultures.

Estimated Drive Time - 12-14 hours.

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.

34

Day 55: Mexico City

Today we will have a full day drive to Mexico's incredible bustling capital of Mexico City.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

35

Day 56: Mexico City

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

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Mexico 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.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit the world-famous Panama Canal at the Miraflores Visitors' Centre, and learn all about the fascinating history of this controversial structure
    • 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
    • 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
    • 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
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the magnificent ancient Mayan ruins of Copán
    • Visit the spectacular volcanic landscape of Cerro Verde National Park, one of El Salvador's gems
    • 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)
    • Spend a night at the Manos Amigas community project, a centre which has been set up to support local women and their children
    • Enjoy a beautiful boat ride down the Rio Dulce to the Caribbean town of Livingston
    • Stay at a wonderful eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan farm near Poptún
    • Enjoy a guided tour of the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, one of the greatest ancient sites in the world
    • Explore the phenomenal clifftop Maya-Toltec ruins at Tulum, wonderfully located right on the Caribbean coast
    • 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
    • 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
    • Take a boat trip out for a guided tour of the stunning and remote Mayan ruins at Yaxchilán
    • Head on a boat trip along the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon
    • Take a guided tour around the ruined Zapotec capital of Monte Alban near Oaxaca
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew and local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 22% Camping - 78% Hotels
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