Group - Classic

Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America

19 days from £3,993pp

Nicaragua / El Salvador / Guatemala / Belize

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Essentials

About Our Group Tours

To find out more about how our group tours including group sizes, solo travellers and why to choose us. Please click here.

Tour Leader

On this tour, you’ll be accompanied from start to finish by one of our exceptional Journey Latin America tour leaders. From the moment you land in Latin America until the day the tour ends they will deal with all the practicalities, expertly adapting to the circumstances and individual needs of the group. Rather than different guides in different cities, your leader will get to know the group and keep you informed and entertained as you go.

Transport

2 flights (both 1hr), 8 scenic road journeys.

Accommodation

On this tour we use mid-range and upper-mid range hotels. In Belize we stay in a first class lodge.

Examples of the hotels we use on the Tropicbird Journey are:

• Granada: Hotel Colonial
• León: Hotel El Convento
• Suchitoto: Los Almendros de San Lorenzo
• Antigua: Meson de Maria
• Lake Atitlán: Villa Santa Catarina
• Lake Petén: Villa Maya
• Belize: Chaa Creek Lodge

On very rare occasions these hotels can change, however please speak to one of our consultants who can provide full details for each departure if you have any doubts. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch day 15 and dinner days 16-18.

Summary Of Nights

19 days, 18 nights: Granada 3; León 2; Suchitoto 2; Antigua 3; Lake Atitlán 3; Tikal 2; Chaa Creek 3.

Optional Excursions

There are a few days where optional excursions available during this tour, which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $150USD should cover participation in a wide range of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so can not be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:

• León: visit the excavated ruins of León viejo
• Suchitoto: tour the sites and artitistic quarters of Suchitoto, walk in the local Cinquera nature reserve or take boat rides on Lake Suchitlán
• Antigua : climb the Pacaya Volcano, visit local surrounding villages to pick up some handicrafts or walk up Cerro de la Cruz
• Honduras: ruins of Copán
• Lake Atitlán: further boat trips out onto the water or walks in the countryside
• Chaa Creek : additional options available can be organised through the Lodge, such as guided nature walks, a visit to some nearby botanical gardens, horseriding or spa treatments

Currency

The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba, the US dollar in El Salvador, in Guatemala the quetzal and the Belizean dollar in Belize.US dollars are widely accepted in all countries as well, but should not be relied upon. A budget of around $35US per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir.

How To Take It

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them awkward to change as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 – 12% in restaurants.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport Taxes

International departure tax is included on the ticket but a small airport security tax (approx. $3USD) is payable locally either in local currency or US dollars. There is a $10USD charge on arrival in Managua for a tourist card.

Journey Grade

This journey is at a gentle pace and there is plenty of time to relax in each location. All walks and excursions are optional, so discuss with your tour leader if you have any doubts about their suitability. There are some early mornings, and in the lowlands temperature and humidity are high, and the sun is strong.

Climate

Situated well within the tropics, these countries within Central America have a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round. May-Nov is rainy season, but places on the eastern coast, the Caribbean side, tend to be rather wetter, and to have a longer rainy season, than those on the Pacific coast to the west. There’s a risk of tropical storms or hurricanes from August to November. The wet season is characterised by short afternoon downpours rather than constant rain which relieve the heat somewhat.

Areas of El Salvador (Suchitoto) and Guatemala the western Highlands (including Guatemala City, Antigua, Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango) experience a much more comfortable spring-like climate with sunny days and temperatures averaging 22C.

Clothing And Special Equipment

Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. Some warm items and good waterproof jackets are also necessary for all departures. We suggest that you plan to ‘layer’ your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos thrive. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear.

A daypack is useful for carrying around essential items, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets. Please take precautions against mosquito bites as cases of dengue fever have recently been reported in several areas of Guatemala.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Travelling Alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge.

What's included in the price

  • services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • all land and air transport
  • international flights (if booking all inclusive price)
  • accommodation as specified
  • meals as specified
  • excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Granada: Las Isletas, Lake Nicaragua
  • Granada: Masaya market and volcano
  • Granada: city tour
  • León: walking tour
  • Antigua: walking tour
  • Atitlán: boat excursion to villages on Lake Atitlán
  • Tikal: tour of Tikal and Yaxha ruins
  • Chaa Creek: selected excursions at Chaa Creek

What's not included in the price

  • tips and insurance
  • meals other than specified
  • optional excursions
  • arrival tax in Managua

What's included in the price

  • services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • all land and air transport
  • international flights (if booking all inclusive price)
  • accommodation as specified
  • meals as specified
  • excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Granada: Las Isletas, Lake Nicaragua
  • Granada: Masaya market and volcano
  • Granada: city tour
  • León: walking tour
  • Antigua: walking tour
  • Atitlán: boat excursion to villages on Lake Atitlán
  • Tikal: tour of Tikal and Yaxha ruins
  • Chaa Creek: selected excursions at Chaa Creek

What's not included in the price

  • tips and insurance
  • meals other than specified
  • optional excursions
  • arrival tax in Managua

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

Papagaio

Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

  • Jamie Swan
    Jamie Swan - Travel Consultant

    Jamie backpacked across Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil before joining us; he has a degree in politics and is also a keen sportsman..

  • Carrie Gallagher
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

Meet the team