Toucan Play At That
If Costa Rica was a food, it would taste like a cross between coffee and vinegar. OK that sounds gross. But you can't leave without trying shade-grown Costa Rican coffee and salsa lizano, the tarty sauce they slather on everything.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Antigua
- Arrive in Antigua and make the most of an orientation walk in the evening. We say "make the most of" because you have barely any time here, so every minute counts.
- Arrive at any time before the orientation meeting at 6pm
- Go on a walking tour of Antigua's highlights with your leader
- Walk through the quiet cobblestone streets, visit the markets and museums, or perhaps hire a mountain bike and ride through the countryside
- Be sure to try Tamales, a local dish served in a corn leaf, you shoudl also try Pepian, a combination of three meats (chicken, beef and pork) in a dark sauce
- Depart Antigua early on Day 2, if you want to spend more time in this great city, we suggest you arrive early
Day 2-3: Copan
- The Mayan ruins of Copan were discovered in 1570 and feature some of the most impressive pre-Columbian artwork you'll ever see anywhere. Some people even think this place is more impressive that Chichen Itza, which is saying something.
- Travel by local bus to Copan, Honduras
- Go on an optional trip to the Mayan ruins of Copan
Day 4-6: Roatan Island
Roatan is an island, which means it's surrounded by water, which means there are loads of water-based adventures to be had here. Don't forget this is the Caribbean, so the water is clear and there are tonnes of multi-coloured fish and heaps of white sand beaches around. Google 'Roatan Island' and see for yourself.
- Head to San Pedro Sula by local bus (approx. 3 hours), then continue to La Ceiba (approx. 3 hours) before taking a ferry to Roatan (approx. 2 hours)
- Spend the following two days relaxing and taking part in the many water based optional activities
- Dive, swim or snorkel through the Caribbean waters
- For more active adventures, tear yourself away from the beach and venture into the hilly interior by bicycle
- Spot 'Jesus Lizards' in the botanical gardens or visit the nearby Institute for Marine Science
In the evenings chat with locals in any of the lively bars and enjoy a cold light house beer
Day 7: Comayagua
Say goodbye to Roatan and hello to Comayagua, which is, according to some travel sources, "a great place to witness colonial architecture meeting modern day life". Which basically means it's a really good-looking old town that people still live in. That's kind of it. Grab a beer and take it all in.
- Leave early (approx 5:30 am) and travel by ferry back to the mainland (approx. 2 hours), then travel on to Comayagua by local bus (approx. 4.5 hours)
- Witness colonial architecture meeting modern day life
Day 8-9: Granada
Spend one whole day travelling across the border into Nicaragua, then one whole day in Granada exploring as you please. Grabbing a boat and heading out to Lake Nicaragua is a great shout - as is visiting the Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Parks.
- Travel across the border to Granada, Nicaragua, you'll take a local bus, Tica Bus, taxis and another local bus (it's a full day of travel)
- Enjoy a full free day to bargain hard in the markets, hike, cruise and explore the neighbouring landscapes
- Explore the cobblestone streets surrounded by colourful buildings or tour the 'islets' on Lake Nicaragua by boat
- Perhaps partake in the optional day trip to Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Parks
- Perhaps enjoy a night on the town
Day 10-11: Ometepe Island
Travel by bus and boat to the island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua. There's another volcano to hike, which is no walk in the park (because it's a freaking volcano). There are some fishermen to watch too, which is much more interesting than it sounds.
- From Granada travel by local bus and boat (approx 6-7 hours) to the island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua
- Lake Nicaragua is the largest in Central America and the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world
- Ometepe is a mainly agricultural island with rural villages and watermelon, coffee, banana and citrus plantations, wildlife abounds including the world's only species of freshwater shark
- Sit on the shore of the lake and watch the fishermen come back from their long day
- You have a free day here, perhaps take an optional hike to Volcano Maderas, or check out the petroglyphs or chill out on the beach
Day 12-13: Monteverde
Constant mist in the cloud forest makes it feel a bit like a nightclub, but with less Katy Perry and more fresh air. Take the giant Sky Walk - a series of suspension bridges dangling 40m above the jungle.
- Climb up the mountains to the village of Monteverde
- Experience the mystical and fragile environment here - a highlight of Costa Rica
- Enjoy incredible bird-watching opportunities
- Perhaps embark on the giant 'Sky Walk', a walk through the forest canopy 40 metres above ground
Day 14-15: La Fortuna - Arenal
Riding the sky tram, zip-lining, mountain biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. If you get home and say you sat on your bum in La Fortuna you should be very ashamed.
- Stop by La Fortuna, whose main attraction is the spectacular Arenal Volcano
- Enjoy a hike around the volcano and absorb the surrounding scenery
- Take a dip at the waterfalls of La Catarata de Fortuna
Day 16-17: San Jose
- People watching is good, but you know what's even better? People talking. As in, conversing with people. If you can't do that, maybe just compliment one. "Yo no hablo mucho español, pero maldito que busca volar hoy," means "I don't speak much Spanish, but goddamn you're looking fly today." And you should definitely never say that.
- A local bus ride takes us to San Jose
- A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, get comfy and do some people watching, artisan booths are common here there could be a spontaneous art fair
- Perhaps visit the Gold Museum, home to an amazing collection of indigenous gold art.
- Maybe head to the out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood
- The trip will end on Day 17, there are no activities planned for this day
Nuts and Bolts
An experienced local guide plus there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing as indicated.
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, meals, entrance fees, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
- Antigua - Salsa class (per hour)
- Copan - Ruins (transport & entrance fee)
- Granada - Masaya Market tour
- Granada - Masaya Volcano
- La Fortuna/Arenal - Hot Springs
- La Fortuna/Arenal - Volcano hike
- Monteverde - Butterfly garden
- Monteverde - Coffee Plantation tour
- Ometepe - Petroglyphs hike
- Ometepe - San Ramon Waterfall
- Ometepe - Volcan Concepcion hike (Approx 11 hrs)
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Bicycle rental (per day)
- Puerto Viejo - Botanical Garden tour
- Puerto Viejo - Dolphin watching
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - Surf lesson (1hrs)
- Puerto Viejo - Snorkel hire
- Puerto Viejo - Surfboard hire
- San Jose - Butterfly Farm
- San Jose - City tour
- San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls full day tour
The operator for this Geckos Adventures trip is our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group will therefore be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers.
Important - A Word on Central America
Central America is different and that’s what makes it such an fascinating destination. You will find that things don’t always go according to plan or work the way they do back home. Buses and planes often run late and sometimes the water in your bathroom can run cold and the electricity fail. The locals live with these issues everyday. In order to get the most out of your holiday, a degree of patience, good humour and understanding is a definite advantage. If you approach your holiday with an open and enquiring mind, the warm welcome you receive from Central Americans will ensure you a rich and rewarding holiday experience.
Public Holiday Inconveniences
Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, most museums also tend to be closed on Mondays.
Emergency Contact: Viaventure
24 Hour Emergency:+502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
23 January 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Geckos