Grand Central Vacation
You want Central America, you got Central America. Cute colonial town? Antigua. Almighty snorkeling? Roatan. Cloud forests? Monteverde. Volcanoes, La Fortuna. Caribbean chillaxing, Bocas delToro. Pacific surf, Santa Catalina. Wam, bam thank you mam.
It's time to live out your Mexican food fantasies. Tequila, burritos, nachos, tacos... is your mouth watering yet?
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 team 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 Cieba (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 or scooter
- 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
Horse riding, whitewater rafting, riding the sky tram, zip-lining, mountain biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, bungee jumping 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
- Perhaps go white-water rafting and horse riding
- 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
Day 18-20 - Puerto Viejo
Get to know your Caribbean: reggae, snorkel, surf, mountain bike, dive and meet sloths and howler monkeys at Cahuita National Park.
- Spend three nights in Puerto Viejo, located on the Caribbean Sea.
- Enjoy optional activities including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, diving and snorkelling
- Soak up the local culture, discover the local reggae or sample the indigenous handicrafts on offer
- Take a day trip to Cahuita by public bus
- Visit Cahuita National Park to see wildlife
Day 21-23 - Bocas del Toro
There's plenty of time here to get acquainted with Panama's favourite drink, seco. It's a lot like vodka or rum, but it's about 80 proof. Mix it with milk like the locals or order a 'chichita Panama' with pineapple and grapefruit juice.
- Cross on foot into Panama over an old train bridge (which serves as the border)
- Perhaps wander across to Red Frog Beach, rent a bike or go dolphin-spotting
Day 24-25 - Boquete
Don't ask why we're driving you to the village of Boquete on a yellow school bus, just enjoy the randomness. If you feel you've earned a bit of pampering, head to the Caldera Hot Springs for a massage.
- Journey on a public bus to Boquete
- Perhaps visit the Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue Center, climb the rim of the Baru Volcano, take a dip in the Caldera Hot Springs or go whitewater rafting or kayaking
- Go on a coffee tour
Day 26-27 - Santa Catalina
- One of the best sites for surfing in Central America, Santa Catalina is a good place to get critical. Or, you can go fishing, diving and visit Coiba National Park, and not get critical at all.
- Travel by local bus to Santa Catalina, on the Pacific side of Panama (approx 8 hrs)
- Santa Catalina is still very remote and undeveloped, it's one of the best sites for surfing in Central America
- Next day is free
- Perhaps surf, fish, dive or visit Coiba National Park
Day 28-29 - Panama City
See the mad engineering feat of the Panama Canal. Finish things up with a Balboa beer and a final plate of yuca frita and sancocha.
- Travel on the Pan-American highway on a public bus to Panama City
- Cross the Bridge of the Americas (finished in 1962) before arriving in Panama City
- Perhaps jump aboard a ‘chiva’ (party bus) or head down to Calle Uruguay
- See the Kuna Indians sell their ‘molas’ (part of their traditional costume)
- Walk around the French Quarter
- Stop by the San Jose Church, the Plaza Bolivar and the Presidential Palace
- Visit the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks
- Trip finishes after breakfast
What to Know
An experienced local leader in Mexico and there will be the services of local guides at some sites. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 18 Oct 2015 - 15 Nov 2015 Fully Booked US $2,775 Contact us 01 Nov 2015 - 29 Nov 2015 Fully Booked US $2,905 Contact us 22 Nov 2015 - 20 Dec 2015 Fully Booked US $2,800 Contact us 29 Nov 2015 - 27 Dec 2015 3 places left US $2,700 Book Now 06 Dec 2015 - 03 Jan 2016 1 place left US $2,700 Book Now 13 Dec 2015 - 10 Jan 2016 1 place left US $2,905 Book Now 20 Dec 2015 - 17 Jan 2016 Fully Booked US $2,700 Contact us 27 Dec 2015 - 24 Jan 2016 Fully Booked US $2,750 Contact us
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments