Real Guatemala to Costa Rica
From 10/01/2024 to 16/01/2026
Take a cooking class in Los Ramos – an Indigenous community in the middle of Ometepe Island’s volcanos – and learn traditional techniques used to make Nicaraguan dishes like nacatamales.
Enjoy a full day at leisure in one of El Salvador’s most beautiful national parks – Cerro Verde.
Get up close and personal to a volcanic crater or take the plunge in a pristine lake.
The choice is yours!.
Island life doesn’t get much better than Ometepe in Nicaragua – volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforests, stunning beaches, ancient rock carvings and a massive lake are all at your disposal.
Have breakfast 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.
Get a taste of four 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, kayak, swimming or dancing adventure.
By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects.
Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.
Breakfasts Included: 1.
Dinners Included: 2.
Hotel (12 nights),Camping (2 nights),Multishare Hostel (2 nights).
Private vehicle,Public bus,Local bus,Taxi,Shared boat,Ferry.
Age: min 18, max 29.
Group Size: 1 - 16.
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.
Itinerary / more information
1 - Antigua Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala. If you arrive early, why not explore all Antigua has to offer - from its vibrant colonial-style buildings and curved archways to the puffing volcanoes of Pacaya, Agua and Jumaytepeque. The number one stop for any chocoholic should be the ChocoMuseo, where you'll get a history lesson and, more excitingly, participate in a chocolate-making workshop. In 1773, the city of Antigua was destroyed by an earthquake, but many colonial buildings have been restored and are fun to explore on foot. There are no planned activities today until your welcome meeting at 6 pm. Tonight, maybe sample a tamale - a local dish served in a corn husk - or some pepian - a rich, meaty stew - then it's surely time for a mojito with your new friends!
2 - 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 landscapes and endless mountain terrain while learning the local lingo from your leader in an informal Spanish lesson. Arrive in Cerro Verde in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
3 - 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 Coatepeque? There are many ways to keep busy in one of El Salvador's most beautiful national parks. El Salvador is home to pupusas - a flatbread made from cornmeal and often stuffed with delicious fillings like cheese, chicharron (fried pork) or refried beans. Tonight, watch a pupusa-making demonstration, and then try some! Yum!
4 - 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 the country's largest and most populated cities since facing a severe earthquake in 1917. This afternoon, explore the city on foot, opt to take a swim at the Cuevas de Moncagua or find a good dinner spot to hole up with a few new travel buddies.
5 - 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 Leon. Why not refuel after your journey with some traditional Nicaraguan dishes - like gallo pinto, with its hearty combination of rice and beans considered a national symbol - or quesillo, a cheesy treat made of corn tortillas, pickled onion and sour cream? Home to one of the oldest universities in Central America, Leon is considered a 'college town' and is known for its youthful, fun atmosphere and energetic nightlife. Why not head out with the group tonight for an optional salsa dance class?
6 - 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 Bas?lica de la Asunci?n - Central America's largest cathedral. Or stop by the Museo Hist?rico de la Revoluci?n for an insight into revolutionaries who fought hard for the freedom of their country. You might like to go volcano sandboarding (this is the only place in the world where you can do it!) in the dunes. If you're feeling peckish, why not fill up on the traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs and gallo pinto before jumping on some local busses to Granada - founded in 1524 and draped in colourful colonial architecture, this enchanting city is set on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and is surrounded by active volcanoes.
7 - Granada This morning you'll enjoy breakfast with your group at Cafe de las Sonrisas - a local caf? run entirely by deaf people. The caf?'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 explore Granada - one of Central America's least spoiled colonial towns. Maybe you'd like to take a guided tour of the city, visit the markets, or wander the cobblestone streets, snapping photos of the colourful buildings. If you're an adventure enthusiast, opt to hire a kayak and paddle around the islets of Lake Nicaragua, rent a bicycle and ride to Laguna De Apoyo (a 200-year-old lake set into a lush forest crater), or hike through the flora and fauna along the Mombacho volcano crater trail. For a cultural insight into the heritage of the Nicaraguan people, the city of Masaya or the 'City of the Flowers' offers a mixture of folkloric entertainment, from marimba music to street theatre. Tonight, maybe enjoy an evening along Calle la Calzada, where you can grab a drink at one of the many outdoor bars and watch the wandering performers bring the street to life.
8 - 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 hotel. Hourglass-shaped Ometepe Island was formed by two volcanoes rising out of Lake Nicaragua (Ometepe literally means two volcanoes in the Nahuatl language), and the deep jungle is home to exotic wildlife such as monkeys and parrots. Sit on the shore and watch fishermen return from a long day on the water with their catch or hike to a nearby waterfall.
9 - 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 might prefer to splash around in the natural springs, soak up the sun on the shore or check out the island's petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings). If you like watermelon, coffee, banana and citrus fruits, this is the place for you as you'll have loads of delicious fresh fruit to feast on. Tonight, head to Los Ramos - an Indigenous community in the middle of the island's volcanos - for a cooking class. Learn traditional techniques used to make Nicaraguan dishes like nacatamales (a dough-based snack often filled with meat and steamed in banana leaves) before sitting down for a meal together.
10 - 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.
11 - 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 head south to La Flor beach reserve, where it's possible to see olive ridley, hawksbill, leatherback and green sea turtles nesting between July and November. A massive statue of Christ (the largest in Central America) sits atop a cliff above the bay, so why not hike to the top for spectacular views of the town and the Pacific? In the evening, the city boasts a variety of great bars and restaurants where you can share a meal or a few drinks with the group.
12 - 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 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 similar to rainforests, but instead, draw their water from a semi-permanent cloud covering the region. Constant mist in the forest makes it feel like a nightclub but with less bass and more fresh air. This is truly a nature lover's paradise! More than 2000 plant species, 320 bird species and 100 mammal species call Montverde home - be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.
13 - 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 through the cloud forest, check out the area by mountain bike or fly over the canopy on a zip-line tour. Another way to see the forest from above is to take a tour along a series of suspension bridges 40 m above the jungle. You can explore the park on your own or arrange for a local guide to accompany you. The guides are very knowledgeable and happy to engage in conversation. To see some guaranteed wildlife up close, visit the butterfly and insect gardens or the serpentarium. There are also several cooperatives worth visiting in the local communities.
14 - 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 continue to your destination. La Fortuna is a small town just a few minutes from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. While you're here, take some photos of the volcano reflected spectacularly in the lake. Get a good rest tonight, as tomorrow you've got a free day to take advantage of all the active activities.
15 - 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 70 m high La Fortuna waterfall or get wet with some water sports on the lake, like stand-up paddle boarding. 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. Alternatively, a boat safari down the Celeste River offers the opportunity to see lizards, crocodiles and tropical birds in their natural habitat. This is a day you'll remember forever, so strap on your swimming suit or hiking boots and make the most of it!
16 - 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 exploration is the central plaza. The Gold Museum also has a fantastic collection of Indigenous gold art. If you're in the mood for some shopping, head to the Mercado Municipal de Artesanias or the city's Central Market, where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood. This afternoon you might want to rejoin your group for a final farewell dinner (or margarita) and say muchas gracias to your Central American journey.
17 - 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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