Central America Explorer

Intrepid Travel Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic (2*)
47 days
From: $ 4,616 $ 98 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • This is one of our most extensive trips in Central America, hitting more than 20 destinations and introducing you to the cities, villages and myriad cultures of seven countries.
  • Your local craft fair just won’t feel the same after you’ve experienced Chichicastenango, a colourful Guatemalan market that draws thousands of vendors from the surrounding mountain villages.
  • Chichen Itza is one the New Seven Wonders of the World – find out why. Strolling around the ancient Maya ruins feels pretty wondrous.
  • A few days on Caye Caulker provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy Belizean island vibes, beachside beers and optional snorkelling, the perfect (almost) halfway point for this epic adventure.
  • Discover the jungle Costa Rica is famous for during a stay in Monteverde, a misty rainforest area home to sloths, hummingbirds, white-faced monkeys and tapirs among hundreds more animal species.

Short Description

Dive into Central America on this 47-day adventure, bookended by two chaotic capitals and filled with fun, adventure and culture. Journey through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica on an epic adventure through the tantalising highlights of the region. Get acquainted with Central American cultures, spectacular landscapes and fascinating histories as you explore the wealth of ancient ruins, spot the range of unusual wildlife and relax on idyllic Caribbean shores. This is one of our longest adventures through Central America – a trip that zig-zags from the top of the continent to the bottom and delivers you with stories to tell and a tan to show off.

Style Small group tour
Off the beaten track trips will stretch your comfort zone. They don't always feature tourist highlights, but dive deeper into local life and culture.
Itinerary Focus Off the Beaten Path
You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Lodging Level Basic (2*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Mexico City
End City San Jose

Itinerary

Day 1 Mexico City

Bienvenidos a Mexico City! This is one of the world's largest urban centres, a bustling metropolis with so many influences, offering a huge variety of museums, galleries and architectural delights, along with pumping nightlife and unparalleled street food. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, perhaps head to the Zocalo – the massive central square – and check out the Aztec ruins and colonial architecture nearby. There are also plenty of parks, plazas and gardens to relax in and adjust to the Mexican way of life.

Day 2 Mexico City

Wake up in Mexico City, ready for a leader-led walk to orientate yourself to the city. Pass by the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace, Bellas Artes, Paseo de la reforma and more. After exploring the main sights of Mexico’s capital, you sure would have worked up an appetite. For lunch, join your local leader on a ‘taco crawl’ around town to taste Mexico City’s delicious street-food staple, tacos al pastor, among plenty other delicious treats. After eating your way around the city, the rest of the day is free for you to explore as you wish. If you'd prefer, today you can instead opt take an optional day trip to the archaeological ruins of Teotihuacan, 50 kilometres out of the city. A local guide will lead you down ‘The Avenue of the Dead’, pointing out the historic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Tonight you could visit the famous Plaza Garibaldi or sip cocktails with your fellow travellers in one of the many trendy bars in the city, whatever takes your fancy.

Day 3 Puebla

Start the day with a visit to the community of San Pedro Tlahuac, home to Nahuatl descendants who keep their way of life alive. The community practices traditions from pre-Columbian times, including chinampa farming, fiestas and ancient ceremonies. After an included lunch, your group will head to Puebla, where your leader will take you out for an orientation walk and run through some handy Spanish phrases to help you make the most of the days ahead. Put your newly learnt Spanish skills to the test with an evening visit to La Pasita bar, where you’ll have the opportunity to taste pasita – a sweet liqueur made of raisins in one of Puebla’s most famous bars. Salud!

Day 4 Puebla

Puebla is a rapidly growing city featuring many well-maintained churches and buildings from the colonial period. Today is free for you to discover the city at your leisure. Though there are enough churches to visit a different one every day for a year, two of the best examples are Santa Domingo Church and the Rosary Chapel, located in town. Further afield lies the Great Pyramid of Cholula, containing over eight kilometres (five miles) of tunnels, with the enormous Popocatepetl Volcano serving as a backdrop. In town, Puebla also has plenty of markets where you can pick up some local handicrafts.

Day 5 Oaxaca

Today we journey by local bus to Oaxaca. Oaxaca (pronounced ‘wuh-haa-ka’) is a beautiful, old colonial town full of graceful arcades and colourful markets. You'll find Zapotec and Mixtec influences around the city as ancestors have populated this region for thousands of years. Your leader will take you on a quick orientation walk to show you the ropes then the next couple of days are free for you to explore. The city is known for its arts scene, particularly its folk and fine art, but you'll also discover a grungier side to Oaxaca and some incredible examples of street art. Walk the narrow, cobblestone streets, or maybe sit back in one of the squares, sipping mezcal and watching the world go by.

Day 6 Oaxaca

There's an opportunity today to visit the spectacular temples of Monte Alban just outside of Oaxaca. Monte Alban was inhabited for 1500 years by the Olmec, Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, and this World Heritage site is an outstanding example of a pre-Columbian ceremonial centre, with terraces, dams, canals and pyramids carved out of the mountain. Alternatively, why not take a day tour out to Mitla Ruins, visit a traditional weaving arts town, and stop by a local mezcal distillery. In the evening, if you've any energy left, you could head out for dinner with your fellow travellers and enjoy the town's lively atmosphere.

Day 7 Oaxaca / Overnight Bus

Use today to take part in any optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, you could have a go at plating up some delicious local fare during a cooking class or enjoy a relaxed day in town at your leisure. This evening the group will take an overnight bus to the highland town of San Cristobal de las Casas. Reclining seats and toilet are available on the bus. The bus is air conditioned, so be sure to bring a jacket on board. Please keep in mind that though the bus is comfortable, the road from Oaxaca to San Cristobal has some very winding sections, so if you suffer from motion sickness this is the time to have your medication handy.

Day 8 San Cristobal de las Casas

The bus will arrive in San Cristobal de las Casas early this morning. Leave your luggage at the hotel and begin exploring this highland town, hidden in green Chiapas valley surrounded by pine trees. Your leader will take you on a tour around town and point out all the important places. Then you'll visit the village of San Juan Chamula, home to the fascinating Iglesia de San Juan. This church, with its pine-covered floor and air thick with incense, is often frequented by shamans who come to carry out cleansings using firewater and ancient prayer. Please note that there is a strict ban on cameras inside the church. Outside, the village is alive with colourful markets that sell local handicrafts. We’ll also stop by the town of Zinacantan to explore another local church. Your visit to Zinacatan church will reveal a fascinating mixture of Christian and Mayan religion, which helps you understand some of the local culture in this region. The rest of the day is free for your own adventure. Stroll through the market, chat with the locals and maybe buy some of the colourful weavings they are known for, before grabbing a drink and some food with your fellow travellers.

Day 9 San Cristobal de las Casas

There’s no alarm clock needed this morning as today is yours to explore San Cristobal de las Casas at your own leisure. Perhaps, take in the cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, and soak up the old-world feel mixed with strong, pre-Hispanic roots. Or try something more active and ask your leader to help organise an optional boating trip in the Sumidero Canyon, which is as old and impressive as the Grand Canyon (at your own expense).

Day 10 Palenque

Travel along a windy road by private vehicle to Palenque, stopping en route at the beautiful Agua Azul cascades for a refreshing swim. Once you've arrived in Palenque, the afternoon is free for you to relax or explore. Situated in a steamy jungle, Palenque is a central town close to the nearby Maya ruins of the same name, which you'll have a chance to check out tomorrow.

Day 11 Palenque Ruins / Merida

Today you visit the Palenque archaeological zone. The stunning Mayan temples of Palenque are quite rightly considered a must-see during any trip to Chiapas, or indeed Mexico. Situated on a hilltop, the ruins date back to AD600 and are some of the most impressive Maya relics in Mexico. As you walk among the temples (closed-toe shoes recommended), listen out for the eerie calls of howler monkeys echoing from the jungle. There are many ruins which are still un-excavated and remain hidden in the forest, and you can opt to take a guided tour of the ruins or through the surrounding jungle on your own Indiana Jones-style adventure. This afternoon, travel by private vehicle to the historic town of Merida, the capital of the Yucatan region.

Day 12 Merida

Founded in 1542 on the site of Tho (an ancient Maya city), the colonial city of Merida retains much of its old-world charm thanks primarily to its people and architecture. Take an orientation walk with your leader, then enjoy free time for the rest of the day. Maybe take an optional trip to the Merida Contemporary Art Museum for an interesting perspective on contemporary life in the city. Or perhaps just spend some time wandering the Plaza Grande: a green, shady square enclosed by a 16th-century cathedral, City Hall, the State Government Palace and Casa Mantejo. Or head to the outdoor markets where you can find local specialities like the seriously spicy El Yucateco hot sauce.

Day 13 Merida

Today you can choose to visit the Maya ruins of Uxmal, a 1-hour drive from Merida, on an optional tour which includes transport and a local guide. It's thought that the city was constructed around AD700, was home to around 25,000 people and once dominated the region along with Chichen Itza. Much of the site is decorated with masks of Chac, the rain god, and important buildings include the Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the Quadrangle of the Nuns, the Governor's Palace, the House of the Tortoises and the Ball Court. Alternatively, you could choose to take an optional guided tour to Las Coloradas – the incredible pink lagoon that’s home to flocks of flamingos.

Day 14 Chichen Itza / Playa del Carmen

Travel to Playa del Carmen by private vehicle, stopping en route for an included visit to the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza. Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichen Itza contains both Toltec and Mayan ruins lying alongside each other. The famous El Castillo pyramid dominates the site and there is also a large ball court where games used to be held. Nearby, excavations of the Well of Sacrifice revealed treasures of jade, copper and gold as well as many human and animal bones. The group will spend a few hours at Chichen Itza before continuing on to Playa del Carmen. After a quick orientation walk around Playa del Carmen with your local guide, pick a place to kick back with a margarita and watch the sun go down.

Day 15 Playa del Carmen

Buenos dias! There will be a meeting at 6 pm to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure. Since you’ve got some free time in this beachside playground, why not use it snorkelling in freshwater rock pools (called cenotes), strolling along the white sands or reef diving on Cozumel. Check out the full range of recommended optional activities below for more inspiration. After the welcome meeting tonight, perhaps head out for a cocktail and a meal with your new travel buddies.

Day 16 Playa del Carmen

Wake up without an alarm – today is yours to explore this beachside paradise at your leisure. Known for its coral-clad reefs, Playa Del Carmen might be the perfect spot to don your snorkel mask and flippers and explore beneath the surface. Keep your eyes peeled for rays, moray eels and turtles. If you’d rather leave the flippers behind and adventure on land, catch a local bus and travel south to Tulum, where white-sand beaches and Maya ruins are just an hour and a half away. In the evening, you could grab a few of your fellow travellers and find a good spot to watch the sunset – muy bien!

Day 17 Chetumal

After breakfast, enjoy your final morning in Playa del Carmen. Maybe take an early morning stroll to the beach and dip your toes in the sand or simply let the world pass you by with a coffee at a local cafe. Head to your next stop in Chetumal mid-morning and arrive after lunch – a quiet city close to the border of Belize, this place makes for the perfect stop before tomorrow’s adventure to Caye Caulker. You have a free afternoon in Chetumal so you might like to round up your group and head to a local restaurant for the evening.

Day 18 Caye Caulker

Bid adios to Mexico early this morning as you head south to Belize. After border formalities, arrive in Belize City then hop in a water taxi to the island of Caye Caulker. When you arrive, get acquainted with the island on a guided walk with your leader. Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central America, which will make chatting with locals much easier. Be aware that there may be crocodiles in the split area that separates the north and south of the island, so it’s best to take caution while swimming and exploring the beaches.

Day 19 Caye Caulker

Good morning and welcome to heaven! Today is free for you to explore the island that surrounds you, or just to simply relax. If you feel like snorkelling, ask your leader about organising a trip to the colourful coral reef nearby, or maybe head further afield to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to the world’s second-longest coral reef. Manatee spotting is perfect for nature lovers, or you could take a stroll and find a swaying palm tree with your name on it – they make the perfect place to nap, read a book and soak up the island vibes on a beach day.

Day 20 Caye Caulker

What’s better than one day in paradise? Two, of course! Wake up whenever you like, because you’ve got another free day. Like any good seaside paradise, Caye Caulker is home to super fresh seafood, which you can dig into with your feet planted in the sand at one of the many ‘floor free’ outdoor restaurants. The island's famous lobsters are available between 15 June and 15 February, and you can expect to pay far less than at home (though more than your average island meal). You could even grab some grilled shrimp and a rum and coke made with firewater from a roadside stall to really get into the island spirit.

Day 21 San Ignacio

From the islands to the highlands, you’ll bid farewell to Caye Caulker today and catch a ferry to Belize City, then a bus to San Ignacio. When you arrive, your leader will take you on a walking tour of San Ignacio and its twin sister Santa Elena, giving you a sense of how vibrant the local Garifuna and Maya communities are. Tonight, maybe head out in search of a classic Maya dish like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus).

Day 22 San Ignacio

Today is free for you to discover San Ignacio at your own pace. This beautiful town is surrounded by fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and Maya ruins, making it the ideal base. If you’re a bit of a history buff, maybe take a day trip to Xunantunich – an impressive Maya ceremonial site on a hill overlooking the countryside. Getting to the site is half the fun, as you'll need to take a hand-cranked ferry to cross the river. Also nearby is the cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal – a living museum of Maya relics. Wade through cool waters to find ceramic pots and crystallised skeletons preserved by the calcium-rich environment of the cave for over 1400 years. Easily spooked? Maybe you'd prefer a cave with fewer (as far as we know) skeletons, like the one in Mountain Pine Ridge. In the late afternoon, the barbecue stalls of Santa Elena start to set up for the dinner rush. It's only a 15-minute walk, so consider wandering over to enjoy a juicy chicken leg and a chat with the locals.

Day 23 Tikal National Park

Rise and shine for an 8 am taxi ride to the Belize-Guatemala border. Once you've crossed over, board a bus to Tikal National Park. Here, there will be time to buy lunch before visiting the impressive archaeological site. Towering above the jungle, the five granite temples of Tikal are an imposing sight and one of the most magnificent Maya ruins. Hidden in the evergreen forest is a maze of smaller structures waiting to be explored. The energetic can climb to the top of the ruins for spectacular views over the canopy and the chance to spot toucans, macaws and other colourful birds. Choose to explore on your own or pay a little more for a guided tour (or maybe see the site from above on an optional zip-line ride).

Day 24 Rio Dulce

This morning you’ll depart for Flores, where your leader will take you on a walking tour of the island. Then, continue by private minivan to Rio Dulce before transferring to your hotel by boat. The easiest way to get back into town is also on the water – a journey that can be organised through the hotel. Alternatively, a 40-minute jungle walk will get you there. The hotel is a great place to relax and look over the water, with reasonably priced meals and drinks served in the hotel restaurant. Now that you are back in a Spanish-speaking nation, why not join an informal Spanish lesson led by your leader?

Day 25 Rio Dulce

With plenty of free time today, consider taking advantage of some optional activities. Maybe take a scenic boat trip down the river to the coastal enclave of Livingston for a taste of Creole-Caribbean culture. This laidback town on the Caribbean coast feels very different from the rest of Guatemala thanks to its Garifuna population. Or maybe go boating on the lake, take a tour to spot local manatees or explore nearby San Felipe Fort.

Day 26 Antigua

Leave the 'Sweet River' behind and travel by private minibus to the city of Antigua. The road between Rio Dulce and Guatemala City is one of the busiest in the country. Traffic is slow, there are frequent road works and many, many slow trucks – be armed with patience, music and a good book and the journey will be easier to handle. Though there's not much time in Antigua today, you owe it to yourself to reward your patience with a tamale (meat and dough steamed in a corn leaf). You could also give pepian a try (rich dark sauce served with vegetables and meat, usually chicken).

Day 27 Panajachel

Today, travel on the winding roads to Chichicastenango – home to perhaps the most colourful market in the country! Nicknamed Chichi market, locals come from surrounding villages on Thursdays and Sundays to sell their wares and the streets are lined with stalls offering multi-coloured textiles and fresh produce. Visit a local Mayan Shaman and do a little shopping at the market, then continue to Panajachel. Located on Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes looming in the background, Panajachel has a thriving market, great eateries and many water-based activities. Your leader will take you on a brief orientation walk of the town and then the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore. Why not go for a swim, wander the streets or kayak on the lake?

Day 28 San Juan La Laguna

This morning after breakfast, take a boat to San Juan La Laguna – a small Maya village overlooking Lake Atitlan and the first community to ban single-use plastic. Here, you’ll witness a textile weaving demonstration, seeing how they use local materials and traditional dyeing techniques. Try out some of your newly learnt Spanish to chat with the locals and take a tour of their medicinal garden, watching how they use ancient techniques to transform plants into medicine - knowledge passed from mothers to daughters for hundreds of years. Tonight, you’ll be staying with multiple families within the community in small groups. Enjoy a homecooked dinner with your host family and spend the night here – a perfect opportunity to get to know them a little better and immerse yourself in local life.

Day 29 Antigua

Hit the road again this morning and make the journey back to Antigua – in 1773, the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but many of the colonial buildings have been carefully restored, and the architecture from its glory days can still be seen. On the way, stop at Santa Apolonia – one of the last communities in Guatemala to make pottery with traditional Maya techniques. The ancient Maya people could produce perfectly rounded pottery without a potter’s wheel! Here, the local women use their hands, as they move in a circular motion to produce amazing pieces. Watch a demonstration and then try it for yourself. Continue to Antigua, where your leader will take you on an orientation walk to the Cerro de la Cruz lookout. Tonight, maybe take part in a dancing lesson – many dancing schools offer hourly lessons, so you'll be able to perfect your moves.

Day 30 Antigua

Enjoy a free day exploring photogenic Antigua today. Maybe check out the ChocoMuseo, two blocks away from central park. Learn all about chocolate, which was first documented by the Guatemalan Maya, as well as its historical importance. Or maybe grab a coffee from one of the myriad shops in central park, sit back, relax and enjoy Antigua's chilled-out vibes.

Day 31 Antigua

Enjoy a free day to explore the city, with no plans until a meeting to welcome any new travellers joining you on your adventure. Maybe grab some roasted beans from a street vendor and munch them while you stroll around. If you’ve got a historical bent, perhaps check out the 18th-century ruins of the Monastery of Santa Clara.

Day 32 Copan

Rise and shine early this morning to beat the rush-hour traffic around Antigua. Departing at around 4 am, you’ll drive towards Copan. Along the way, your leader will run an informal Spanish lesson, providing you with some useful phrases to break the ice with the locals. Head into Honduras through the wild countryside of eastern Guatemala, arriving in the charming town of Copan in the early afternoon. While most people use Copan as a base to explore the nearby ruins, there are plenty of other points of interest, both along the cobblestone streets and set into the lush surroundings. Maybe get started in the Central Plaza and follow your nose to a cafe, or maybe head to the nearby natural hot springs. This optional tour gives you hours of soaking in mud, steaming natural baths and refreshing pools in the lush jungle, with an included dinner.

Day 33 Copan

This morning, join your leader and explore the World Heritage-listed ruins of Copan – the southernmost of the great Maya sites. It's unique because of the numerous elaborate stelae (carved columns) still intact among temples, excavated vaults and walls inscribed with ancient faces. After your exploration (don’t forget your camera today!) the rest of the afternoon is free to choose your own adventure. Maybe check out some fine feathered friends at the Macaw Mountain Park or visit the Temple of Rosalila. If you didn’t get to the hot springs yesterday, this afternoon is the perfect opportunity to soak away your active morning.

Day 34 Suchitoto

You’ll wave goodbye to Copan this morning and head across the border to El Salvador. It’s a long travel day, so make sure you’ve got a good book or your favourite road trip games handy. When you arrive in Suchitoto, you’ll head out on a leader-led orientation walk of the town – widely considered the cultural capital of El Salvador. Admire the elaborate building facades, get your bearings and enjoy the surroundings. Then, get your chef’s hat on with a pupusa-making cooking class in a private home. Pupusa (cornmeal flatbreads) is a classic Salvadorian recipe from the Pipil culture and is usually stuffed with some delicious ingredients, like cheese or chicharron (fried pork).

Day 35 Suchitoto

Today is a free day in Suchitoto. Birders will want to crane their necks towards the sky as Suchitoto lies on a bird migration path! The town also overlooks the Embalse Cerron Grande – also known as Lago Suchitlan, this freshwater lake is a haven for migrating birds, particularly falcons and hawks. Maybe grab a historically minded quartet for a guided walk through Cinquera Forest, where guerrilla fighters used the forest as cover during the Civil War. Or just relax around town, in a local café or at your accommodation.

Day 36 Pacific Coast, El Salvador

This morning, head to a local designer’s home for an indigo-dying demonstration – Suchitoto is one of the best places in the world to produce indigo (used to dye clothing or other items blue). You’ll visit a local designer transforming colonial tradition into modern design and learn the history of the indigo trade. This small enterprise supports single mothers by providing them with an income for their children’s education, food and independence. Watch the demonstration, then get hands-on and try it for yourself! To decide who gets to take the creation home, the group will hold a raffle (are you feeling lucky?). After, you’ll drive to the Pacific Coast of El Salvador, home to some amazing dark-sand beaches and some of the best surf spots in the country. Maybe head to the beach for a swim or relax under the palms with a beer while you wait for sunset. As night falls, you could enjoy a seafood dinner along the water – the local crabs are some of the tastiest around.

Day 37 Pacific Coast, El Salvador

Today, you're free as a bird to explore the beautiful Pacific Coast at your own pace. Surf culture is big here, so you might like to make like the locals and hit the waves with a surf lesson. Alternatively, simply sit back and relax in a hammock on the beach and soak up the sunshine with a drink – life’s good.

Day 38 Leon

Rise nice and early for a full day of travel by private vehicle. Cross the border at El Amatillo and then head into Honduras, where you’ll stop for lunch. After, there’s another border crossing at Guasaule before you reach Leon – the second-largest city in Nicaragua. When you arrive, join your leader on an orientation walk through the charming city streets to get your bearings. Leon is surprisingly relatively free of tourists, which makes strolling the murals and contemporary architecture a real treat! Tonight, maybe head out to dinner with your group – as always, your leader will have the best recommendations.

Day 39 Leon

Today is a free day to make the most of Leon. Maybe visit the street food area behind the Lady of Grace Cathedral and try a Nica taco (made with maize, the taco is rolled, deep fried and then served with shredded cabbage smothered in cream). You could also take on a thrilling volcano sandboarding adventure on the black slopes of Cerro Negro Volcano. Maybe you’d just like to explore the city’s contemporary art or wander the Leon Cathedral.

Day 40 Granada

This morning, you’ll drive to the oldest city in the 'New World' – Granada. Featuring Moorish and Andalusian architecture, Granada is set on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and is surrounded by active volcanoes. You’ll be travelling by taxi from the hotel to the bus station, boarding a local bus bound for Managua and then hopping on a public bus to Granada. When you arrive, your leader will take you on an orientation walk through the leafy Parque Central and 'La Calzada' – a lively pedestrian street with plenty of bars and restaurants. The afternoon is yours to explore the city at your own pace. Hundreds of evergreen islets dot the waters of vast Lake Nicaragua and you can spend a few hours exploring them by boat, or hire a kayak and find your own way around, waving at the fisherman who live in wooden huts along the way. Just remember not to swim, as freshwater sharks live in the water!

Day 41 Granada

This morning you’ll have breakfast with your group at Cafe de las Sonrisas – a café run entirely by deaf people. The owner is aiming to bridge the gap and inspire other business owners to employ local people living with disabilities. After, maybe hit the Convento y Museo San Francisco and view the collection of Indigenous stone statues or take a boat tour of Monkey Island. Maybe hit the water again for a kayaking tour of Laguna Apoyo. Tonight, maybe book a special trip to Masaya Volcano National Park and see the lava lake at Santiago Crater at night (this is the best time to see the lava stir, bubble, spew and erupt)!

Day 42 Monteverde

Today is another early start as you get ready for a full day of travel. Journey to Monteverde, where you can begin exploring this afternoon on an orientation walk with your leader. Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers. These environmentally aware settlers also established a small wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown into the internationally renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve. Cloud forests are like rainforests, but instead, draw their water from a semi-permanent cloud covering the region. This is truly a nature lover's paradise! More than 2000 plant species, 320 bird species and 100 mammal species call Monteverde home. Keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal – one of the world’s most elusive birds.

Day 43 Monteverde

Enjoy a free day to discover this lush reserve at your own pace. Maybe take a hike through the cloud forest, check out the area by mountain bike or fly over the thick canopy on a zip line tour. Another way to see the forest from above is to take a Sky Walk tour along a series of suspension bridges. You can explore the park on your own or arrange for a local guide to accompany you. Guided tours are particularly helpful for those interested in learning more about the local flora and fauna, as well as the different roles wildlife play in Mesoamerican mythology. For guaranteed sightings of exotic insects and snakes, head to the Butterfly Garden or the Serpentarium.

Day 44 La Fortuna

Spend a final morning in the thickets of the Monteverde jungle, maybe taking one last walk to search for wildlife, then depart in the early afternoon for La Fortuna. You’ll drive to the shores of Lake Arenal, where you’ll take a boat across the lake to the little town of La Fortuna. On a clear day, you'll have fantastic views of the surrounding area. Watching the massive Arenal Volcano loom larger and larger as you approach is a spectacular sight. Once you reach La Fortuna, take another vehicle to the hotel, then freshen up and head out on a leader-led orientation walk. La Fortuna is a favourite among travel writers for a reason – words like picturesque and breathtaking spring to mind when trying to describe this town in the shadow of the volcano.

Day 45 La Fortuna

Why not start today with a smoothie and plan how you want to explore? Perhaps take a guided nature hike through the lush forest surrounding Arenal Volcano, keeping an eye out for rare plants and animals, or see the forest from a series of hanging bridges that offer a great vantage point for spotting wildlife like sloths and rainbow-coloured birds. The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area is home to several thermal hot springs – an ideal way to relax in the middle of nature. Or maybe check out the 70-m-high La Fortuna waterfall set in the middle of the rainforest and hit the lake on a stand-up paddleboard. A boat safari in Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge offers the opportunity to see lizards, crocodiles and tropical birds in their natural habitat, so if you’re craving more wildlife, this option is perfect.

Day 46 San Jose

Watch the volcano fade into the distance on a local bus ride to Costa Rica's capital – San Jose. When you arrive, head out on an orientation walk with your leader to see the main highlights. When you’ve got your bearings, you may like to visit the Gold Museum, which has a fantastic collection of pre-Spanish gold art. If you're in the mood for some shopping, head to the outdoor market in the Plaza de la Cultura or the city's Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood. Tonight, why not ask your leader for the best recommendations for dinner?

Day 47 San Jose

With no further activities planned, your trip comes to an end this morning. There's a lot to see and do in and around San Jose, so if you’d like to stay for longer, just speak to your booking agent.

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Price Per Day: $ 98 per day
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Apr-06-2024May-22-2024$ 4,8027 spots left Reserve
Apr-13-2024May-29-2024$ 4,80211 spots left Reserve
Apr-20-2024Jun-05-2024$ 4,80211 spots left Reserve
Apr-23-2024Jun-08-2024$ 4,8026 spots left Reserve
May-04-2024Jun-19-2024$ 4,6166 spots left Reserve
May-11-2024Jun-26-2024$ 4,6169 spots left Reserve
May-18-2024Jul-03-2024$ 4,61614 spots left Reserve
Jun-01-2024Jul-17-2024$ 4,61611 spots left Reserve
Jun-15-2024Jul-31-2024$ 4,61613 spots left Reserve
Jun-22-2024Aug-07-2024$ 4,61614 spots left Reserve
Jun-29-2024Aug-14-2024$ 4,7094 spots left Reserve
Jul-06-2024Aug-21-2024$ 4,61615 spots left Reserve
Jul-20-2024Sep-04-2024$ 4,6167 spots left Reserve
Aug-10-2024Sep-25-2024$ 4,6169 spots left Reserve
Sep-14-2024Oct-30-2024$ 4,61611 spots left Reserve
Sep-28-2024Nov-13-2024$ 4,80213 spots left Reserve
Oct-05-2024Nov-20-2024$ 4,80212 spots left Reserve
Oct-12-2024Nov-27-2024$ 4,80214 spots left Reserve
Nov-09-2024Dec-25-2024$ 4,80214 spots left Reserve
Nov-12-2024Dec-28-2024$ 4,80215 spots left Reserve
Nov-16-2024Jan-01-2025$ 4,98516 spots left Reserve
Nov-19-2024Jan-04-2025$ 4,98515 spots left Reserve
Nov-23-2024Jan-08-2025$ 4,98515 spots left Reserve
Nov-26-2024Jan-11-2025$ 4,98514 spots left Reserve
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Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

4,407 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,319
Great 671
Average 144
Disappointing 80
Terrible 193
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Central America Explorer

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Company Reviews

Avoid Intrepid

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Many recent reviews are pointing to a sharp decline in quality and service with Intrepid. My recent experience echoes all that has been mentioned. They are appalling at responding to serious concerns. I have countless auto responses from its laughingly useless and lazy customer service department. Their financial management is a joke. They couldn't find my payment despite my twice providing traces from my bank. They are pathetic liars about not just the money. They lied about their failure to send me any information about my upcoming trip, how they omitted me from the group email circulation. They lied about anyone including a 'senior manager' trying to phone me.
Even the length of the trip is a con with first day being nothing more than a brief meeting at 1800. The last 'day' being breakfast at the hotel with not a sight or sound of the Rep.
Intrepid is a dishonest mess. They are now purely concerned with making money.
Do not use this company. They are terrible and there are many better (and safer) providers out there.
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We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We joined the Intrepid “Real Italy Food Tour” and enjoyed it thoroughly. Our tour guide, Micol, was very knowledgeable and provided us with lots of good information. It seems Micol knew many of the staff of the venues we visited, including the pasta making class we attended. Our group of 11 travelers was extremely compatible, which greatly added to the fun and enjoyment.
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Central Asia Explorer

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was my third trip with Intrepid, and I'll continue to plan future trips with them. I choose Intrepid to travel to parts of the world where I don't feel comfortable traveling alone, and the experience is always memorable. Intrepid provides experiences that would be difficult for a traveler to do on their own. The most recent trip I did was to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and it was a fantastic experience.
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Our trip to India's Classic Rajasthan…

4.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide4.0
Activities4.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Our trip to India's Classic Rajasthan was a great experience - varied, interesting and exciting. Accommodation was varied, with some lovely heritage hotels - although a couple of places, although in amazing locations and really great to visit, could do with an upgrade! Our guide was exceptional - interesting facts abounding; care and concern for us all; taking us to excellent restaurants. Altogether a really memorable holiday.
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My Favourite Travel Company

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Absolutely love travelling with Intrepid and I have done so many times. Perfect for solo travellers who don't wish to travel alone!

Useless company

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Useless company, go with TripADeal or anyone else. My issue, I emailed this company on October 3rd regarding a refund and still haven’t heard back. Was disconnected from a live agent last night due to time out error and still no follow up made on their behalf.
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private vehicle,Local bus,Overnight public bus,Taxi,Shared boat,Ferry

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accommodations

Hotel (39 nights),Overnight bus (1 night),Multishare Hotel (1 night),Hotel with shared facilities (2 nights),Homestay (1 night),Lodge (2 nights)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leader or local representative. The aim of the group leader or local representative is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced group leader or local representative however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your group leader or local representative is new to a particular region or training other group leader or local representative. Your group leader or local representative will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your group leader or local representative can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Casa Las Orquideas
  • Avenida Central Calles 35 y 37
  • Los Yoses
  • San Jose
  • COSTA RICA

Trip ID#:

intrepid-QVRZC

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