Arrival – Transfer to Antigua
Arrival at Guatemala City airport. Meet & greet by your local tour guide. Land transfer to the Villa Colonial hotel or similar (for two nights).
Antigua Walking Tour
“Exploring La Antigua Guatemala is like stepping back in time… cobbled stone streets, bouquets of bougainvillea bursting from crumbling ruins, pastel façades under terracotta roofs, parks with fountains… amidst a dramatic setting surrounded by three volcanoes, Agua, Fuego and Acatenango.”
La Antigua / Copan Tour (Honduras)
In the morning, departure by bus for Copán (Honduras), one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the Maya World. Copán was declared a “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO, and presents a sophisticated architectural style, and a unique art for stone carving. Visit the main plazas, complexes and monuments (entrance fee included only to the archaeological site). The visit to the tunnels of the sculpture museum is an optional tour.
Copan/Esquipulas/La Palma/San Salvador (El Salvador)
Early morning drive to Esquipulas in Guatemala. This city is famed for being the center of Catholic pilgrimage in Central America, since it houses the venerated Black Christ of Esquipulas. Continue to La Palma in El Salvador, a picturesque town of cool climate and beautiful scenery. La Palma is called the “Cradle of Peace” due to its key role in negotiations between the guerrillas and the government during the civil war. Afternoon drive to San Salvador.
San Salvador – Joya de Cerén – San Andrés
In the morning, visit to the Joya de Cerén Archaeological Site, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It is believed that this Mayan village was inhabited by a brief period of time (around 1st century), before an eruption of the Laguna Caldera Volcano destroyed by covering it with three meters of ash, 1,400 years ago. This site is considered as the “Pompeii of the Americas” and was declared a UNESCO “World Heritage Site.” You will also visit the site of one of San Andrés’ largest pre-Hispanic sites in El Salvador. In the afternoon, in the city of San Salvador, visit to the colorful downtown market, the emblematic Cathedral, and the grave of Arnulfo Romero, the “Bishop of the Poor,” mark the end of the day.
San Salvador – Perquin/Morazan
After breakfast, journey through the heart of El Salvador passing the majestic Río Lempa to Santa Rosa de Lima, and from there to the beautiful pine forest mountains in the Morazán province. Visit the Salvadorian Resistance Museum and hike to Mount Perquín to enjoy a panoramic view of El Salvador.
Perquin / Crossing to Leon Nicaragua
Early morning departure on the way to the El Amatillo Border crossing (between El Salvador and Honduras.) Continue on the Pan-American Highway for approximately two hours in Honduras, to reach the El Guasaule border crossing (between Honduras and Nicaragua). After border formalities, transfer to the Nicaraguan city of León, the second largest city of the country. It was founded in 1524, and severely damaged by an eruption of nearby Momotombo volcano.
Morning visit to the historic center of León with the central park, the local fruit market, an allegorical mural painting on the history of Nicaragua, and the third largest cathedral of colonial America, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Cathedral of León Santiago de los Caballeros. Culture is palpable in this colonial city. Behind strong walls of the old houses are museums, and the second oldest university of the Central American region. Students distinguish this city and its public life. In the afternoon, visit to the Pacific Ocean at Las Peñitas, and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
León / Masaya Volcano / Granada
Check out after breakfast, and continue to Masaya National Park, one of the most visited national parks in the region. The park offers a rare chance for visitors to peer directly into the edge of Santiago Volcano’s steaming crater. Before leaving, we will visit a memorable museum located in the park. In the afternoon, travel to the “white villages” of Catarina and San Juan de Oriente, the location of beautiful gardens and colorful streets filled with handicraft produced by the local artisans. Take time to see Valentín López’ school of ceramics workshop, where you will learn the art of making ceramics from scratch, and the secrets of indigenous ceramic handicraft making.
Granada / Lake Nicaragua
In the morning, enjoy a walking city tour around Granada, the oldest colonial city of the Americas, and currently one of the nation’s tourism hubs. Founded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba in 1524, its plazas and cobblestone streets are lined with colorful colonial architecture. Sights to see in Granada include the Casa de los Leones, Casa de los Tres Mundos, the central plaza, the municipality building, the cathedral, and you can ascend the stairs of La Merced Church’s roof to have a fantastic view of Granada. In the afternoon, ride to the port on an adorned horse-drawn carriage and finish the day with a relaxing tour around the Islets of Granada, formed by a volcanic eruption. You will have a great opportunity to enjoy the flora and fauna of this unique environment.
Granada / Ometepe / San Juan del Sur
Early breakfast and transfer by bus to the port of San Jorge. Crossing the lake to Ometepe Island by ferry. Visit the village of the Monkey Lagoon, Charco Verde, and Altagracia village. Later, we will visit the Archaeological Museum, and the stone paintings. In the afternoon, return to the mainland, and transfer to San Juan del Sur, where we will admire the beautiful and picturesque bay on the southern part of Nicaragua, discovered by the navigator Andrés Niño in 1522, who gave it the original name of San Juan del Mar del Sur. Dinner will be served at the hotel’s restaurant, with a view of the bay.
San Juan del Sur / Peñas Blancas Border (NIC-CR) / La Fortuna
After an early breakfast, transfer to the nearby border crossing with Costa Rica, and continue (about four hours away) to La Fortuna. Register at the hotel and enjoy the evening at the hotel’s thermal springs, and a fabulous dinner at the hotel’s restaurant.
National Park Arenal – Hanging Bridges La Fortuna
In the morning, transfer to Arenal National Park. Once there, you can wander through an ash trail and get close to this distinctive retreat from the problems of everyday life as you climb over the rocks of a cooled lava field from the year 1992. Continue to the reservoir, and hike across the suspension bridge to observe nature, and especially birdlife. Every now and then, you can also catch a sight of the volcano from the bridges. Transfer and overnight in San José.
Transfer to Juan Santa María International airport for your return flight home.