Best of Central America
Explore incredible worlds above and below the water on a journey from the sunny beaches of Mexico, through the jungle ruins of little-known corners of Central America, to the volcanic mountains of Costa Rica and the laidback vibes of Panama. Mix with locals in the buzzing bars. Try your hand at snorkelling or mountain biking. And discover the secrets of the ancient Mayans as you traverse incredible scenery on this fantastic adventure through Central America.
Day 1: Playa del Carmen
Start off your Central American adventure in Playa del Carmen, Mexico's famous playground of surf, sun and fun. For those with a bit of extra time, consider arriving a little early to make the most of the range of activities on offer.
Days 2-3: Tulum
White powdery beaches lapped by warm blue waters and overlooked by crumbling Mayan ruins - welcome to Tulum. Choose to set out for some snorkelling in the Cenotes offshore or simply sit back beachside and take in the view, margarita in hand.
Days 4-6: Caye Caulker
Cross the border into Belize and cruise out to Caye Caulker - an idyllic tropical island getaway where exceptional scuba-diving outings or simply swinging the day away in a hammock are equally appealing options. Alternatively, head out on a manatee spotting excursion to learn about these curious creatures that call the lagoons of Caulker home.
Days 7-8: San Ignacio
Trade the blues of the Caribbean for the lush verdancy of San Ignacio in the Belize hinterlands. Perhaps venture out to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, embark on an tubing adventure through the jungle or a caving adventure underground and then finish up the day sharing barbecued street-side snacks with the town's friendly locals.
Day 9: Tikal National Park
Leave Belize behind and travel by local bus to the laidback Guatemalan island town of Flores. While the nearby jungle-shrouded temples of Tikal are the town's true claim to fame, Flores' winding cobbled streets and small-town vibe make it a very pleasant place to explore by foot.
Days 10-11: Rio Dulce
Continue on through dense jungle to Rio Dulce, by the banks of Lake Izabal. In spare time perhaps set out upriver to the coastal enclave of Livingstone for a final taste of Creole Caribbean culture or head out for a hike through Chocon-Machacas Natural Reserve.
Day 12: Antigua
Explore the cobblestone charms and quaint colonial architecture of Antigua, one of Central America's most captivating and cultivated cities.
Day 13: San Jorge La Laguna
Visit the picturesque mountain town of Chichicastenango and take a wander through its bustling market. Then continue on to San Jorge La Laguna and get an insight into local life on an overnight family homestay.
Day 14: Panajachel
Panajachel, a lovely little town on the banks of Lake Atitlan, serves as the main base for exploring the various traditional villages dotted around the lake. With a serene ambience and superb mountain panoramas, it's the perfect place to sit back with a good book or embark on any number of optional activities.
Days 15-16: Antigua
Return to the colourful handicraft stalls and leafy plazas of Antigua, Guatemala's atmospheric one-time capital. With an entire day here to spend however you see fit, perhaps book on an optional excursion to Pacaya Volcano or sign up for a salsa lesson, then gather the group for a final dinner and relive the highlights of this memorable adventure through the Mayan heartlands.
Days 17-18: Copan
Travel across the wild Guatemalan countryside and cross the border into Copan. Tour the World Heritage-listed Mayan ruins, with intricately carved structures dating back to 500 AD, or sample some unusual Honduran cuisine.
Days 19-21: Roatan Island
The reward for a bus and ferry journey today is the pristine shores of Honduras' Roatan Islands. Spend two blissful days diving into the crystal waters of the Caribbean or simply melting into the white, powdery beaches under the shade of a coconut palm.
Day 22: Comayagua
Pack up the bucket and spade; it's time to travel south to Comayagua. Mingle with locals in the lush central gardens or visit some of Honduras's most impressive cathedrals.
Days 23-24: Granada
Cross the border and arrive at Nicaragua's oldest town. Granada city is a charming and surprising place, brimming with bubbly inhabitants and character. Sightseeing in Granada is plentiful; perhaps hop on a boat ride around Lake Nicaragua or for the adventurous, an excursion to Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Park is a hot option. In the evenings, walk along narrow streets where locals chat to each other from their open-front living rooms.
Days 25-26: Ometepe Island
Spot the world's only freshwater sharks in Lake Nicaragua en route to the lush Ometepe Island. Take an optional hike to one of two towering volcanoes on the island or choose a slower pace at one of the beaches or jungle swimming holes.
Days 27-28: Monteverde
Costa Rica beckons across the border. Arrive in the eco-lovers paradise of Monteverde, and choose to explore the expansive Monteverde cloud forest on foot, mountain bike or on horse - or even go zip lining over the tree canopy.
Days 29-30: Arenal Volcano National Park
From La Fortuna, discover the Arenal Volcano and perhaps enjoy a relaxing rendezvous at the La Fortuna hot springs or waterfalls.
Days 31-32: San Jose
Complete the Way to San Jose tour and farewell new friends in this spirited city. Join locals milling around Mercado Central for some super-cheap Costa Rican food and colourful souvenirs.
Days 33-35: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Hop aboard a local bus to the mellow coastal town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. With plenty of leisure time here, why not head out on a wildlife-spotting excursion to Cahuita National Park or sign up for some surfing lessons.
Days 36-38: Bocas del Toro
Drive on into Panama and catch a ferry out to the tropical archipelago of Bocas del Toro. With azure blue waters, pristine coral reefs and a rollicking nightlife, it's easy to see why Isla Bastimentos is a favourite haunt for so many of our travellers.
Days 39-40: Boquete
Soak up the tranquil mountains scenery and crisp mountain air of Boquete, a small town by the Caldera river in the Panamanian highlands. Head out to a local coffee plantation for an insight into coffee production or get active hiking up Baru Volcano or along the Quetzal's Path.
Days 41-42: Santa Catalina
Travel on to the remote fishing village of Santa Catalina. Choose to spend your time here surfing, fishing, snorkelling or diving, or simply chill out by the beach.
Days 43-44: Panama City
Arrive in Panama City, Central America's glitziest capital. Get a taste of old Panama on a wander through the crumbling architecture of historical Casco Viejo, join an optional tour of the Panama Canal or explore the plentiful dining and drinking hotspots. As this memorable adventure comes to a close, perhaps mark the occasion with a night on the tiles at a samba club.
Discover Central America, a land of mysterious Mayan ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles. See the sights and engage in a wide range of optional activities across eight different countries on this epic Latin adventure
Whether its slumbering on the sands of Playa del Carmen, gazing at the pyramids of Tikal or haggling in the markets of Chichicastenango, you'll experience multiple sides of Central America
A homestay in San Jorge La Laguna invites you to connect with a local family. Sit down for breakfast and dinner with your hosts and work on improving your Spanish
Experience an El Salvador of the past in the colonial town of Suchitoto, before savouring the blissful present on the black-sand beaches along its Pacific Coast
Hike, cycle or zip-line through the steamy cloud forests of Monteverde in Costa Rica. Get up close to nature among the hundreds of mammal, bird and plant species that call this place home
Dial the relaxation up a notch in Bocas del Toro, Panama, spending several nights on Isla Bastimentos. There may be no roads or cars here, but there are plenty of mangroves, turtles and white sandy beaches
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