Epic Mexico to Costa Rica

32 days
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Small Group Tour
From cloud forests and volcanic peaks to sun-drenched island beaches and lost temples, Central America is bursting with natural wonders and converging cultures. On this 32-day adventure, you’ll kick off in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen and snake through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Relax by colourful architecture in San Miguel, trek t...
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$3,620
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Overview

Trip type
Small Group Tour
Lodging level
Basic - 2 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Balanced schedule

Highlights

    • Enjoy traditional Guatemalan hospitality with a homecooked lunch in a local home in San Juan La Laguna, after visiting a local midwife, walking through medicinal gardens and experiencing a weaving and dying workshop. 
    • Head to Tikal National Park within the dense Maya forest to explore ancient Maya ruins at the archaeological site – you might like to opt to swing through the canopy on the optional zipline experience! 
    • Hike, cycle or zip-line through the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica and commune with nature in one of the world’s most incredible landscapes. 
    • Island life doesn’t get much better than Ometepe in Nicaragua and Caye Caulker in Belize – volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforests, stunning beaches, ancient rock carvings, laidback vibes, palm tree forests and a massive lake are all at your disposal. 
    • Get a taste of six different countries in Central America on an epic Latin adventure that takes in the sights and offers a whole heap of optional activities too! You’ll have loads of free time to choose your own hike, snorkel, kayak, swimming or dancing adventure.  

What's this trip about?

    From cloud forests and volcanic peaks to sun-drenched island beaches and lost temples, Central America is bursting with natural wonders and converging cultures. On this 32-day adventure, you’ll kick off in Mexico’s Playa del Carmen and snake through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Relax by colourful architecture in San Miguel, trek to the jungle ruins of Tikal, brush up on your Espanol over an icy cerveza and stay in villages dwarfed by volcanoes. Whether you’re haggling in the markets of Chichicastenango, chilling in a Caribbean town on the Rio Dulce or wandering cobblestone streets in Antigua, this tour gives you a taste of Central America’s myriad of flavours. From ancient Maya ruins to modern nightlife, you’ll explore the sights and sounds of Latin life and dive into the wilds of seldom-seen hotspots.

Details

Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeSmall Group - max of 16 people
Age range18 to 35 years
Flights and transportAll internal ground transport included
Start CityPlaya del Carmen
End CitySan Jose

Travel Themes

  • 18 - 30's

Destinations

  • North America
  • New Mexico
  • Central America
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • El Salvador

Attractions

  • Antigua
  • Caribbean
  • Caye Caulker
  • Central America
  • Chichicastenango
  • Copan
  • Granada
  • La Fortuna
  • Lake Atitlan
  • Lake Nicaragua
  • Monteverde
  • Ometepe
  • Panajachel
  • Salvador
  • San Ignacio
  • San Juan
  • Tikal
  • Tulum

Activities

  • Culture

Trip includes

    • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
    • Tulum - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Caye Caulker - Leader-led orientation walk
    • San Ignacio - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Tikal National Park - Archaeological Site Tour (Entrance fee & Transport)
    • Chichicastenango - Market Visit
    • San Juan La Laguna - Weaving & Dyeing experience
    • San Juan La Laguna - Midwife home visit
    • San Juan La Laguna - Medicinal Garden
    • Antigua - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Leader-led Informal Spanish Lesson
    • Cerro Verde - Salvadoran Pupusa cooking demonstration
    • Leon - Leader-led orientation walk
    • Granada - Breakfast at El Cafe de las Sonrisas
    • Los Ramos Community - Cooking Class
    • Monteverde - Leader-led orientation walk
    • La Fortuna - Leader-led orientation walk
    • San Jose - Leader-led orientation walk

Popular Trips

Itinerary

Travel Map

Day 1 Playa del Carmen

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Mexico. You’ll kick things off in Playa del Carmen – it’s recommended that you book a couple of extra days here to chill on the coast and explore at your own pace before the trip starts. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm at y...

Day 2 Tulum

Today, you’ll hop on a local bus and travel along the Caribbean coast to Tulum, where it's all about that laidback life on the white sands of the Yucatan Peninsula. Head out on a leader-led orientation walk around Tulum and maybe visit one of the best-looking Maya sit...

Day 3 Tulum

With a free day to relax in Tulum, you can settle into the laidback Mexican vibe. Maybe rent a bike and cruise around the area on two wheels. The town is heaving with hip cafes and restaurants with many vegetarian and vegan options. There are also plenty of places to ...

Day 4 Caye Caulker

Say adios to Mexico and hello to Belize. You’ll have a long travel day today, so make sure you grab a window seat if you can or get stuck into a good book. This is also the perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers a bit better! Drive by local bus to t...

Day 5 Caye Caulker

Your time in Caye Caulker is all about taking it easy. It’s said that the pace of life is so slow here that it's almost backwards! If being underwater is your thing, maybe head out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, home to Shark Ray Alley and the world's second-longest barr...

Day 6 Caye Caulker

Today is another free day to take up any other optional activities you like, or to simply pull up a towel and relax on the beach with a book, a cocktail or some friends. If you’ve already been snorkelling, maybe continue the marine exploration with a manatee tour. Get...

Day 7 San Ignacio

Leave island paradise behind today and return to Belize City by boat, before taking a local bus to San Ignacio via Belize’s capital, Belmopan. The local buses here are a little more basic than in Mexico, but this is a great opportunity to mix with Belizeans and get a ...

Day 8 San Ignacio

There is heaps to do in San Ignacio, so your free day has endless possibilities. The cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal is a living museum of Maya relics and you can wade through its waters until you reach a bunch of spooky 1400-year-old crystallised skeletons. You could t...

Day 9 Tikal National Park

Today you’ll leave San Ignacio, cross the border and get dropped off at Tikal National Park – often referred to as the Maya forest. Check-in at your hotel before exploring the crazy-cool Maya ruins of Tikal. Pass through the lush jungle vegetation, and if you've got t...

Day 10 Rio Dulce

Head from the jungle to the lakeside town of Flores this morning. Here, there's time to grab some lunch and quickly explore the town. Then it's back to the private vehicle to Rio Dulce. When you arrive, you’ll transfer to the hotel by boat. The easiest way to get back...

Day 11 Rio Dulce

There is a load of kick-ass activities to choose from in Rio Dulce today. Take a scenic boat trip down the river to Livingston – a laidback town on the Caribbean coast that offers the unique experience of local Garifuna culture. Go boating on the lake, relax in the th...

Day 12 Antigua

This morning you’ll travel to Antigua, where you’ll spend the night before heading to Lake Atitlan. When you arrive, maybe stroll around the city and tuck into some tasty tamales (a local dish served in a corn leaf) or pepian (a spicy meat stew of chicken, beef and pork in a dark sauce). You'll find the best value food in the square next to the La Merced Church.

Day 13 Chichicastenango / Lake Atitlan

Travel by private vehicle to the famous market in Chichicastenango (nicknamed Chichi market). This is the most colourful market in the country, where on Thursdays and Sundays, locals come from the surrounding villages to sell their wares and the streets are lined with...

Day 14 Lake Atitlan

This morning, make a trip to San Juan La Laguna to immerse yourself in Mayan village life. Visit a local midwife to learn about this traditional and sacred art. Then visit the village's medicinal garden before a hands-on workshop where you'll learn about Mayan textile...

Day 15 Antigua

After breakfast, hit the road back to Antigua – three nearby volcanoes dominate the horizon, creating a truly unique landscape. Join your leader on a walk to orientate yourself around the World Heritage-listed city full of cobblestones, leafy town squares and ornate c...

Day 16 Antigua

You have a free day in Antigua today, so why not explore the vibrant colonial-style buildings and curved archways further, or hike around the puffing volcanoes of Pacaya, Agua and Jumaytepeque. The number one stop for any chocoholic should be the ChocoMuseo, where you...

Day 17 Cerro Verde

Today will be an early start as you journey across the Guatemalan border to your next destination, Cerro Verde, El Salvador. From rolling hills to rolling R’s, watch the world go by from the comfort of your private vehicle as you travel through lush volcanic landscape...

Day 18 Cerro Verde

Today is all about fuelling up with local favourites and getting outdoors! Maybe visit Santa Ana’s volcanic crater for spectacular views of Lake Coatepeque, Juayua and Izalco Volcano. Or, instead of admiring the view from the crater, why not take a dip in Lake Coatepe...

Day 19 San Miguel

This morning you’ll continue south by private vehicle, passing through the capital of San Salvador on your way to San Miguel. Resting in the shadows of Chaparrastique, an active volcano sets the backdrop to this vibrant town. San Miguel has rebuilt itself into one of ...

Day 20 Leon

Say a quick hola and adios to Honduras as you cross through two borders to reach ‘the land of lakes and volcanoes’ – Nicaragua (or Nica as it’s known locally). The drive will be well worth the ride as you’re welcomed into the charming, artsy and sophisticated city of ...

Day 21 Granada

You’ll join your leader on an orientation walk around Leon this morning. Then, take some time to explore on your own, maybe checking out the Basílica de la Asunción – Central America’s largest cathedral. Or stop by the Museo Histórico de la Revolución for an insight i...

Day 22 Granada

This morning you’ll enjoy breakfast with your group at Cafe de las Sonrisas – a local café run entirely by deaf people. The café's owner is aiming to bridge the gap and inspire other business owners to employ local people living with disabilities. Then, you’re free to...

Day 23 Ometepe Island

This morning, travel by local bus to Rivas, where you'll transfer to San Jorge ferry port by taxi. Catch a 1-hour ferry across Lake Nicaragua (the largest in Central America and the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world) to the island of Ometepe, and head to your...

Day 24 Ometepe Island

Take advantage of a free day in this bucket list location to discover the island at your own pace. Maybe hike to the summit of either the Concepcion or Maderas volcanoes – but be warned, at 1700 and 1394 m above sea level, these treks are no walk in the park. You migh...

Day 25 San Juan del Sur

Today you’ll journey by ferry and public bus to San Juan del Sur – a laidback surf town on Nicaragua’s southwest coast. Though the beach that lines the town’s horseshoe bay isn’t particularly great for swimming, you don’t need to travel far to find beautiful golden beaches with year-round waves. Enjoy free time today to acquaint yourself with this fun little town.

Day 26 San Juan del Sur

Enjoy a free day exploring San Juan del Sur’s colourful coastal scenery. San Juan del Sur has plenty to offer if you're feeling active. You might like to rent a surfboard and spend the day riding the waves at nearby beaches like Playa Maderas or Playa Marsella, or hea...

Day 27 Monteverde

Say adios to Nicaragua and continue your journey south to Costa Rica this morning. Take a bus to the border and then travel by private vehicle to Monteverde. Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers – these envir...

Day 28 Monteverde

Today you have a free day to discover the reserve and experience the mystical and fragile environment here. Monteverde is not for the faint-hearted, so bring your sense of adventure, and a solid pair of shoes and have a little fun with the giddy heights. Maybe hike th...

Day 29 La Fortuna

Continue your journey through Costa Rica and take the scenic route to La Fortuna. Travel by shared minibus to Lake Arenal, then cross by boat. On a clear day, you'll see fantastic views of the surrounding area. On the other side of the lake, re-board the minibus and c...

Day 30 La Fortuna

There are plenty of optional activities to participate in today. Maybe take a guided nature hike through the lush forest surrounding Arenal Volcano, keeping an eye out for rare plants and animals or opt to see the forest from a series of hanging bridges. Check out the...

Day 31 San Jose

This morning you’ll take a local bus to Costa Rica's capital, San Jose. Situated in the fertile Central Valley and home to over half the country's population, San Jose has lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start your explorat...

Day 32 San Jose

Today your Central American adventure comes to an end, and there are no activities planned. As there's a lot to see and do in and around San Jose, it’s recommended you stay here for a few days to make the most of the city. If you'd like to extend your visit, just speak to your booking agent.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $2,915
Price per day$91
Last Updated: 6/4/2024
Departure Date
Finish Date
Base Price
Availability
13 Aug 2024
13 Sep 2024
$2,930
10 Sep 2024
11 Oct 2024
$2,930
08 Oct 2024
08 Nov 2024
$2,930
22 Oct 2024
22 Nov 2024
$3,135
05 Nov 2024
06 Dec 2024
$3,165
19 Nov 2024
20 Dec 2024
$3,165
03 Dec 2024
03 Jan 2025
$3,165
17 Dec 2024
17 Jan 2025
$2,915
07 Jan 2025
07 Feb 2025
$3,385
14 Jan 2025
14 Feb 2025
$3,385

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

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.

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Intrepid Travel

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The Intrepid Travel Experience

If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. For the past 25 years, we’ve been taking small groups of travelers on unforgettable trips around the world. What makes them unforgettable? Take a look for yourself and discover the Intrepid experience.

Our travelers have three styles of tour to choose from: Basix, Original and Comfort. Each has a different level of inclusions and accommodation, but all have unforgettable real life experiences as part of the package. Travellers can also choose themed trips, such as Family, Sailing or Food, to suit their interests.

Our group size has an average of just ten travellers, which allows us to get off the beaten track, use local accommodation and transport, and really get to know the culture. It also ensures we are contributing to the local economy; by choosing local suppliers we were able to keep AUD 60 million in local economies in 2012. We’re also working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and were the first in our sector to introduce carbon offset trips. This, along with our many corporate sustainability activities, has meant we’re one of the travel industry’s leaders in responsible travel.

Why Intrepid?

  •   Small groups - average of 10 people per trip
  •   Sustainability - pioneers for the industry
  •   Local leaders - authentic perspectives
  •   Local transport - get close and personal
  •   Local accommodation - experience real living
  •   Intrepid travelers - like-minded companions 

History

Intrepid Travel has come a long way since its beginnings in 1989. From two university friends, a typewriter and a kitchen desk, it is now a proud member of The Intrepid Group, taking over 100,000 travelers every year.

Intrepid Travel is part of The Intrepid Group of companies, alongside leading small group adventure companies Peregrine, Urban Adventures and PEAK DMC.

Despite growing into a global business with over 1,000 staff based all over the world and over 800 different trips across every continent, we’ve remained devoted to the same grassroots values and responsible travel philosophies that we had at the very beginning.

 

Values

On every trip we operate and in every interaction we have with a client, supplier or local, we live our core values everyday:

  • Integrity – Doing the right thing
  • Responsible – Think global, act local
  • Growth – Stakeholders in our own success
  • Innovation – Thriving on new ideas and embracing change
  • Fun – It’s engrained into who we are and what we do
  • Passion – We are inspired by the work we do and the trips we offer

 

Why we love this operator
They're highly committed to sustainable tourism and contribute to crucial initiatives like climate action, focusing on local cultures and more.
What they’re known for
Small group tours for all types of travelers at a range of different price points and trips to off-the-beaten-path destinations.

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Logistics

Accommodation

Hotel (22 nights),Multishare lodge (2 nights),Multishare Hotel (3 nights),Multishare Hostel (2 nights),Camping (2 nights),

Transportation & Flights

Private vehicle,Public bus,Local bus,Taxi,Shared boat,Ferry,

Transportation & flights

Private vehicle,Public bus,Local bus,Taxi,Shared boat,Ferry
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.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your group leader or local representative. If you have credit card insurance your group leader or local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. For travellers who reside within the European Union, Switzerland or USA the requirement to purchase travel insurance cannot be compulsory. However the purchase of travel insurance is still highly recommended, and travellers from these regions who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting, recognizing personal responsibility for emergency medical and repatriation costs should they arise. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services
Visa requirements
PASSPORT You’ll need a valid passport to travel internationally and most countries require your passport to have a minimum of 6 months validity, so remember to check the expiry date. We need your passport information to get everything ready for your trip so it’s important that the information on your booking matches your passport exactly. Please take care to provide the correct details. We recommend carrying a copy of the photo page of your passport while travelling and leaving a copy at home with family or friends. VISAS & ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Many countries require a visa and obtaining the correct visa for your trip and any countries you may transit through is your responsibility. We recommend you check your visa requirements as soon as you have booked your trip. This will ensure you have time to prepare your documents and for your visa application to be processed. You can check the entry requirements for your nationality on your government's foreign travel advisories, consular websites or on our page here:  www.intrepidtravel.com/visa-entry-requirements
Health & Safety
Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your group leader or local representative will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your group leader or local representative will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader or local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips. https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MONEY WITHDRAWAL: In order to avoid fraud and theft, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only. LOCAL LODGINGS: On this trip you will be staying in some restored houses and local lodges - these are one of the charms of this journey, but their staircases, balconies and passages etc may not always comply with western safety standards. Please do not expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state. FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. WATER SAFETY: Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Age Requirements
18 to 35 years
Additional Information

Finish point

  • Casa Las Orquideas
  • Avenida Central Calles 35 y 37
  • Los Yoses
  • San Jose
  • COSTA RICA
Trip ID
intrepid-QBYXC

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