Central America Explored

Become a TourHound member today to access personalised recommendations and bucket lists to help plan your trips. You’ll also receive rebates on selected tours. It’s free to become a member, sign up here.
  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

Highlights
  • Free time to explore La Fortuna including visiting the town's famous waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Spend the night on Isla Ometepe
  • Stop off at the Chichicastenango markets en route to our stay near Lake Atitlan
  • Soak up the atmosphere of the colonial towns of Leon and Granada
  • Stretch your legs on a Volcano hike near Antigua (optional)
  • Explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Tikal
  • Explore the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador
  • Spend some time in the Bay Island of Roatan in Hondura
  • Explore beautiful Antigua
  • Relax on an Island getaway in Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Spend a night at our community project Manos Amigos
  • Two days to Explore Antigua
  • Explore the ruins of Copan
  • Spend a night with a local community project at the Somoto Canyon
  • Get active in the Costa Rican cloud forests at Monteverde
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary
Transport
US Style School Bus, Flight, Boat
Destinations
  • Central America
  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
Tour Types
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Cultural
  • Bicycle
  • Active
  • Wildlife
  • Camping
  • Diving
  • Eco
  • GAP Year
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Horse Riding
  • Kayak & Canoe
  • Local Guide
  • Local Living
  • Overland truck
  • River Cruise
  • Scenic Flight
  • Sightseeing
  • Snorkeling
  • Walking Tour
  • Trekking
  • Overland
  • Adventure
Day 1

Border information: if joining in Playa Del Carmen, you will most likely enter Mexico at Cancun International Airport (IATA code CUN).

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

In Playa del Carmen we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 2

Today we will have an early start to drive to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - we have an included guided tour around this spectacular site before continuing our drive to the stunning coastal village of Tulum.

In Tulum we will camp in a basic campsite near to the Mayan ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.


Day 3

Border information: Exit Mexico at Subteniente López, enter Belize at Santa Elena.

Today we will have an early start to travel south across the border to Belize City, where we board a speed boat to the island paradise of Caye Caulker.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have a full day of free time to explore and enjoy some optional activities available here, such as snorkelling, diving or taking a scenic flight over the phenomenal Great Blue Hole.

In Caye Caulker we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 5

Today we will head back to the mainland and rejoin the bus in Belize City. We then have a short drive to the village of San Ignacio, home to Belize's best archaeological sites and adventure activities!

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

Tomorrow we have time to take part in some optional activities available in San Ignacio, including trekking, caving, biking, and exploring the excellent Mayan ruins in the area.

In San Ignacio we will stay in a forest eco-lodge.


Day 7

Border information: Exit Belize at Benque Viejo del Carmen, enter Guatemala at Melchor de Mencos.

Today we will have a short drive across the Guatemalan border to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal, where we have an included guided tour. 

In Tikal we will camp at a basic campsite close to the ruins.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.


Day 8

Today we have a short drive to the small town of Poptún, stopping in the colonial town of Flores en route. We will arrive at our fantastic eco-lodge near Poptún and have a free afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at our eco lodge.

In Poptún we will camp at an eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan ranch.


Day 10

Today we will have a short drive to Rio Dulce in Guatemala's beautiful central region. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to take part in some optional activities. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

In Rio Dulce we will stay in an eco-lodge.


Day 11

Today we will drive day to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. We will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO 'Mani Amiche' in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.

In San Andres Itzapa we will stay in dormitories at the community centre (please note that there is no option to upgrade to private accommodation here).

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

 


Day 12

Today we will spend the morning at the Manos Amigas project before heading off on a short drive to Panajachel, situated on the shores of the beautiful Lake Atitlan.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat trip on the lake, to some of the small villages along the shoreline. If possible, we will include a visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market during these days, depending on the weekday. Please note that the market is only open on Thursdays and Sundays so you may not be able to visit during your trip.

In Panajachel we will stay in a nice local hotel.


Day 14

Today we will have a short drive to the magnificent city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated 60 kms from Guatemala City.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.


Day 15

Border information: if joining in Antigua, you will most likely enter Guatemala at Guatemala City La Aurora International Airport (IATA code: GUA).

There will be an important group meeting at 18:00 at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings, and to take part in some optional activities. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Antigua before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Antigua.

In Antigua we will stay in a delightful colonial hotel.


Day 16

We have a free day to enjoy Antigua, take a day trip into the National parks, go hiking or visit a coffee plantation.


Day 17

Today we will cross the border into El Salvador and drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the morning we will have will take a guided trek up the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).

In Cerro Verde National Park we will camp with basic facilities.

Border information: Exit Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, enter El Salvador at La Hachadura.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

 


Day 18

After our trek up the volcano, we will drive to the beautiful town of Suchitoto, where we will some time to explore the town, with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, and to learn about the incredible work of the community centre in which we stay.

In Suchitoto we will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre, which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On Day 4 we will have a day to explore Suchitoto, have a guided walking tour of the town, head out on a sunset boat trip or take a day trip to San Salvador.


Day 20

Border information: Exit El Salvador and enter Guatemala at Anguiatú. Exit Guatemala and enter Honduras at El Florido.

Today we will have a full day drive to Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

On the following day we will visit the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.

In Copán we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 22

Today we will drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The following day we have some free time to take part in optional activities and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!

In Roatán we will stay in a local hotel near the beach.


Day 24

Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining the bus! We will then continue our journey east through Honduras to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa

In Lake Yojoa we will camp for the night in the grounds of a lodge and brewery.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.


Day 25

Today we have a big drive day across the border to Nicaragua.

Approximate Drive time - 550km / 12 hrs

The following day we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.

In León we will stay in a centrally-located hotel.


Day 27

Today we will take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! En route we will have an included visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

In Granada we will stay in a centrally-located hostel, which has a mixture of private and dormitory rooms.


Day 28

This morning we drive to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.

On Ometepe we will stay in a small local hotel.


Day 30

Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas, enter Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas.

Today we will take an early morning ferry back to San Jorge and drive to La Fortuna in Costa Rica, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.

In La Fortuna we will stay in excellent cabanas outside of town.


Day 32

Today we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi and boat into the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.

In Monteverde we will stay in a local hotel.


Day 34

Today we will drive to the vibrant city of San Jose, where you have time to explore the historic neighbourhoods, visit some of the museums or galleries and enjoy some live music.

Expected drive time: 150km / 4-5hrs

In San Jose we will stay in a comfortable hotel.


Day 35

Border information: If you are leaving Costa Rica today, you will most likely exit Costa Rica at Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO).

Today is the final day of our journey. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation.


Included
  • Accommodation
    -Comfortable Hotel 13 nights. Basic Hotel 13 nights. Camping 4 nights. Multishare Hostel 3 nights
  • Meals
    -Breakfasts x 16, Lunches x 16, Dinners x 16

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

{{shortLabel}}

tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

0 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
Enquire 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Start:San Jose
Finish:Playa del Carmen
Group size:6 - 22
Suitable for: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 13 nights. Basic Hotel 13 nights. Camping 4 nights. Multishare Hostel 3 nights
Physical rating:Low
Meals:Breakfasts x 16, Lunches x 16, Dinners x 16
Diets:Vegetarians, Please contact Dragoman with any specific dietary requirements
Tour operated in: English
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
tour hound
Why TourHound?