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.
2 flights (both 1hr), 8 scenic road journeys.
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.
Breakfast daily, lunch day 15 and dinner days 16-18.
• 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
Summary of nights
19 days, 18 nights: Granada 3; León 2; Suchitoto 2; Antigua 3; Lake Atitlán 3; Tikal 2; Chaa Creek 3.
Included in the journey 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
Not included in the journey price
• tips and insurance
• meals other than specified
• optional excursions
• arrival tax in Managua
Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America.
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
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.
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).
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.
Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance
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.
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.
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
Reduce plastic waste
Journey Latin America has partnered with Water-To-Go to offer JLA Group Tour passengers the opportunity to purchase 75cl filtered water bottles for a 50% discount. The bottle can be refilled at any water outlet and has a filter that eliminates 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, allowing the water to be safe to drink. Please call your contact at JLA to add it your booking and it will be delivered to your address. More information about this initiative can be found on our website here
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.
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. Those with another nationality should check with the relevant consulate.
APIS and ESTA - important flight information:
ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at which costs $14 per person which must be done by you personally. Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.
APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the departure of flights. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.