Thumbnail Tour Description: This 19-day/18-night tours offers amazing outdoor adventure and cultural visits through guided tours and private itineraries to the very best of Central America. Traveling to Mayan ruins, lush rainforests, beautiful beaches, charming colonial cities and exotic wildlife reserves, you will get a good feel of this enticing region as you are introduced to the three countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. With stays in 3-star accommodations and enjoying plenty of interaction with the locals, this tour ensures that you will have a truly authentic travel experience. Your trip begins in the compact nation of El Salvador, which is the perfect setting for rafting, surfing, hiking, mountain biking, diving and more – and all of this within a maximum of a 3-hours from this country’s black-sand beaches, two dozen volcanoes, vast green lush valleys and panoramic vistas. From there we will travel to Honduras, where you will be introduced to the charming town of Copan and its famed Mayan ruins within easy walking distance. In Honduras, you will discover this intriguing ancient Maya site before traveling to the Punta Izopo Wildlife Reserve and later the Pico Bonito National Park. In fact, you will discover a string of attractions while in Honduras: from miles of dense rainforest and majestic volcanoes, to beautiful lakes and the charming Spanish colonial towns. Finally, we will head for Nicaragua, one of Central America’s rising stars for adventure sports and eco-tourism. With a history peppered with pirate raids, civil war and invasions, this fragile yet enduring nation is now opening its arms to genuine and willing travelers. As Central America’s largest and least populated country, Nicaragua will provide you have plenty of space and time to enjoy all the bio-diversity has to offer. You’ll have a chance to explore a coffee plantation in Matagalpa, hike up a volcano on Ometepe Island, watch fisherman haul in their catch on Lake Nicaragua, and wander about Moorish buildings in the city of Granada. In short, this almost 3-week immersive tour experience will take you to such breathtaking scenery, Mayan ruins and the chance to meet locals in a way that few travelers get to know.
“The trip was excellent from beginning to end. The Isabella II was a fine ship and the crew and guides were all of the highest quality. I would recommend them to others. For us, the ship was the perfect size – not too small and not too large”
Upon your arrival in San Salvador (the capital of El Salvador), you will be welcomed at the airport and driven to your hotel, where you will spend the night.
Following breakfast, you will be driven to Suchitoto, a charming town north of San Salvador. Once there, you will go on a guided walking tour through the cobblestone streets of this tranquil village, visiting some of the old buildings, the market, the corn mill and the local church. After lunch, we will go on a boat trip on Lake Suchitlan, which was formed after a river was dammed and produced an ecosystem that offers a great deal of ornithological interest, as the lake is abundant in species such as pelicans, herons and storks. You will spend the night there in Suchitoto.
Breakfast. Today we will visit the Joya de Ceren (“the Ceren Jewel”), a unique Mayan archaeological site that earned the designation of a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site. From there, we will continue on to Los Volcanes National Park, which is comprised of three volcanoes: Izalco, Santa Ana and Cerro Verde. You will have a chance to walk inside of Cerro Verde, an extinct volcano now covered with dense forest. You will be taken to viewpoints where you will be able to see the impressive nearby volcanoes and landscapes. Next, we will visit the mountains on the Ruta de las Flores (“the Flower Route”), a series of colorful towns surrounded by coffee plantations. You will spend the night at a local hotel on the Ruta de las Flores.
Breakfast. Today we visit the Cascadas de Don Juan, a 35-meter-high waterfall hidden in the dense Apaneca jungle. From there, we continue to Nahuizalco, a charming town of the ethnic Nahuat Pipil people. There, you will find many handicraft shops where artisans work with wood and wicker to produce colorful handicrafts and souvenirs.
Breakfast. Transfer to Barra de Santiago for a morning of boating or kayaking through the mangroves, where you will see all kinds of birds, iguanas, lizards, marine mammals, shellfish, sea turtles, crocodiles and blue crabs. Later in the day, we will walk around El Cajete Island, home to archaeological ruins and the famous Barra de Santiago legend of Chasca and Acayetl (the Romeo and Juliette of El Salvador). Transfer back to the hotel, where you will spend the night in the Ruta de las Flores.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the town of Copan, in Honduras. Upon arrival, we will go on a guided tour of the village. Later, you will spend the night in Copan.
Following breakfast, we will go on a morning tour of the Copan Ruins archaeological site. From there, we will head to the town of Tela, where you will have free time the rest of the day and later spend the night.
Breakfast. Tour of the impressive Punta Izopo Wildlife Refuge. Overnight in Tela.
Breakfast. Day at leisure in Tela. Overnight in Tela.
Breakfast. Tour to Pico Bonito National Park, which offers great opportunities for hiking, birdwatching and other optional tours, such as kayaking. Overnight in Tela.
Breakfast. Transfer to Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. En route, we will visit to Lake Yojoa. Overnight in Tegucigalpa.
Breakfast. Transfer to Las Manos on the border with Nicaragua. We will then continue to Matagalpa, a city located in northern Nicaragua and is referred to as “the pearl of the North.” Overnight in Matagalpa.
Following breakfast, we will go on a coffee tour in Matagalpa.
Breakfast. Transfer to Granada. En route, we will visit the Masaya Volcano, which is actually a volcanic complex composed of a nested set of calderas and craters. After visiting this volcanic complex, you will visit the famous Masaya Market, the very heart of Nicaraguan handicrafts. In this diverse marketplace, you will find unique Nicaraguan products such as hand woven hammocks, embroidered blouses, wood carvings, leather goods, ceramics, paintings and hemp weavings. We will then continue to the beautiful city of Granada, where you will spend the night.
Breakfast. Today we will go on a guided walk tour of Granada, one of the oldest cities in the western hemisphere. The cobblestone streets will take you to the old churches, the convent, and many other old buildings in this charming colonial city. After lunch, you will be picked up at your hotel driven to the harbor, where a private motor boat will take us to the Granada Islets, which is a great way to explore Lake Cocibolca (also known as “Lake Nicaragua”). You will later spend the night in Granada.
Breakfast. Today you will be driven to the predominantly indigenous island of Ometepe, which is situated in one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, Lake Nicaragua. We will take the ferry to Moyogalpa and then transfer to your hotel on the island. Ometepe has served as home to indigenous tribes and cultures for many centuries, which is why you can see many pre-Columbian petroglyphs here. Later, you will spend the night in Ometepe.
Breakfast. Day at leisure. Overnight in Ometepe.
Breakfast. Transfer to Managua. Day at leisure in the capital city. Overnight in Managua.
Breakfast. Transfer to the international airport.
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