Toucan Play At That

Arenal - Costa Rica's most active volcano
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Ometepe Island
The carvings of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Copan
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Antigua Guatemala
  • 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.

    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
  • What's Included

    • An experienced local guide plus there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing as indicated.

    Not Included

    • 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.

    Safety Information

    Active Volcanoes
    This tour passes through volcanic areas.  In the instance, a volcano becomes potentially dangerous and authorities declare nearby towns unsafe for travel, the itinerary will be re-routed. Where possible, Gecko’s will provide advance notice of such changes. At short notice, when this is not possible, your tour leader will provide up to date information on behalf of Gecko’s.

  • Map Itinerary

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Nuts+Bolts

#GSRS
- 16
Boat, Bus, Taxi
16 nights Hotel
Antigua, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala
San Jose

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