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Group - Discovery

Alcion: Central America Discovery

22 days from £3,144pp

Panama / Costa Rica / Nicaragua / El Salvador / Honduras / Guatemala

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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.

Summary Of Nights

22 days, 21 nights: Panama City 2; Boquete 1; Bocas del Toro 2, Sarapiqui 2; Monteverde 2; Ometepe 3; Granada 2; León 1; Suchitoto 2; Copán 2; Antigua 2.

Accommodation

For our Discovery Journeys we aim to use good quality, value-for-money accommodation, in a mix of larger more modern and smaller family run hotels. All the properties we use are well maintained and rooms will have a private bathroom with hot water.

The focus of these trips is on getting outside, seeing the sights, and experiencing local restaurants and cafes, therefore a few hotels may not have evening dining facilities. If you prefer more luxurious accommodation, please see our Classic Tour collection.

We use the following properties on this tour:

• Panama City: Best Western Zen Plus
• Boquete: Casa de la Abuela
• Bocas del Toro: La Terraza
• Sarapiqui: Tirimbina
• Monteverde: Monteverde Country Lodge
• Ometepe Island: Villa Paraiso
• Granada: Hotel Patio del Malinche
• León: Hotel Austria
• Suchitoto: Posada Suchitlan
• Copán Ruinas: Casa de la Cafe
• Antigua: Villa Colonial

On 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.

Transport

10 road journeys (longest 8 hours) and 4 short journeys by boat. The only journey using a public vehicle is from Panama City to Boquete via David. The rest will be done using private vehicles for the group.

Meals

Breakfast daily.

Optional Excursions

On this tour the price includes excursions in all the places you visit as per the itinerary. There will however likely be some free time when you may choose to take part in an optional excursion. These are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America, however we are more than happy to advise you of what is on offer in advance of your holiday so you can best plan the excursions that suit you.

Travelling Alone

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

Trip Suitability

There are some early mornings and long days of travel (all of which have comfort or place-of-interest stops). All walks are optional, and you can discuss with your tour leader which are suitable for you.

Climate

The trip covers six countries with climates ranging from tropical lowland to more temperate zones in the highlands. Temperatures are higher and it is the ‘official’ rainy season from May to September but this does not stop us running tours all year. A comprehensive overview of the weather in all the regions you are visiting can be found in our Destination pages. Our Travel Experts can answer your questions on climate and further details will be sent with your confirmation documents.

Clothing, Equipment and Luggage

A daypack is essential for carrying rainwear, snacks, books/tablet and a water bottle. For day-to-day wear you should take loose-fitting, breathable clothes. Comfortable shoes are important and sandals are useful. A sun hat, sun block and sunglasses are necessary, and you should take warmer layers for the cooler evenings, as well as swimwear, a towel and insect repellent. Binoculars are useful for wildlife spotting. Owing to the number of road journeys on this trip, we recommend passengers pack as lightly as possible. There are plenty of opportunities to do laundry on the trip, and your tour leader will be able to advise about the best places to do this.

Money

Please see the Country Info tab on this holiday for our latest currency information and advice about how to take your spending money. Tipping in Latin America is almost always done using cash. It is customary to tip tour leaders, local guides, drivers, boat crews and other service providers such as restaurant staff and porters. Full tipping guidelines are sent with your confirmation documents as is advice on local costs.

Health, Entry Requirements and Insurance

For health information on travelling to all 6 countries visited including recommended vaccinations, please see https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

All Latin American countries have specific entry regulations related to Covid 19. Please also check our Travel Hub for further information.

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Other nationalities should enquire with us or check with the consulates.

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on the Travel insurance website.

Our full briefing dossier contains more information on vaccinations, visas and insurance and will be provided with your final travel documents or can be requested from your travel consultant at any time.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Panama?

The best time to visit Panama is from mid-December to mid-April. As it is situated well within the tropics, Panama has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures (30°C) all year round at low altitudes. Temperatures are significantly modified by altitude – higher up it can be very cool at night. Mid-December to mid-April is the best time to visit Panama as it is the dry season. Apr-Nov is rainy season, with the Caribbean side receiving more rainfall than the Pacific. There’s a small risk of tropical storms on the Caribbean coast but the country lies outside the main hurricane belt.  

What's the official language of Panama?

Spanish is the official language of Panama.

What's the official currency of Panama?

Balboa is the official currency of Panama. The national currency is at parity with the US dollar, and only US banknotes are used. (There are some local coins equivalent to US cents). There are ATMs in most towns where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK, and amounts may be limited, and vary from bank to bank. Notes can be obtained from exchange houses and also from banks which will supply advances on a debit or credit card.

What is the time difference between Panama and the UK?

The time difference between Panama and the UK is GMT -5 hrs.

What countries does Panama combine well with?

Combine your holiday to Panama with a visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as  wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica; and Colombia, with the northern coast of which Panama shares a swashbuckling history.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Panama?

The festivals that take place in Panama are:
Carnival in Feb-Mar. Celebrated with much gusto in Panama City, costumed revelry, music and dancing culminate into a big Shrove Tuesday parade.
Semana Santa is celebrated at Easter. It is celebrated throughout Panama with religious processions.
Kuna festivals, San Blas Islands. There are several festivals throughout the year, all of which feature dancing, traditional sports and feasts.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Costa Rica?

Despite its small size, Costa Rica has a number of distinct microclimates. The Caribbean coast is humid all year round with the driest months being Sep-Oct; wildlife lovers, however, might prefer to visit this region from Jul-Aug to watch nesting turtles. The rest of the country experiences a dry season from Dec-Apr, when there is plenty of sun and temperatures are high, and a rainy season from May-Nov. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule for all regions: for example, the rainy season starts a month earlier in the south Pacific, while the northern areas, including the Guanacaste coast, are not as affected by the seasons and are generally much drier. The highlands and cloud forests have warm temperatures during the day but the high altitude means evenings are much cooler.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Costa Rica?

Spanish.

What's the national currency of Costa Rica?

Colón. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. There’s at least one in most main towns. You may have to authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited to amounts lower than in the UK. US dollars cash can be exchanged in banks too. US dollars themselves are widely accepted.

What's the time difference between Costa Rica and UK?

GMT -5 hours.  

What places combine well with Costa Rica?

A visit to neighbouring Nicaragua or Panama. There are land crossings to both, as well as international flights.

How do I get to Costa Rica?

There is a direct flight from London Gatwick to San José (11 hrs) as well as non-direct flights via US and European hubs.

What are the cultural and sport events in Costa Rica?

International Arts Festival: San José, March. Music, dance, film art exhibitions.
Monteverde Music Festival: Monteverde, Jan - Feb.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Nicaragua?

Situated well within the tropics, Nicaragua has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures all year round at low altitudes. Temperatures are significantly modified by altitude – higher up it can be very cool at night. 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 Jun-Nov.

What's the official language of Nicaragua?

Spanish.

What's the official currency of Nicaragua?

Córdoba. Notes can be obtained from exchange houses and also from banks which will supply advances on a debit or credit card. There are ATMs in large towns where you can use a UK credit or debit card. You may have to ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave UK, and amounts may be limited. ATMs allow you to choose between dollar or córdoba notes but the latter come in large denominations – try to break them down when you can. There are no ATMs (as of 2016) in El Castillo or the Solentiname islands and only one on Ometepe – bring cash with you to these places.

What's the time difference between the UK and Nicaragua?

GMT -6 hours.

What countries does Nicaragua combine well with?

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as tiny, friendly El Salvador and wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Nicaragua?

Semana Santa, (Easter, throughout Nicaragua). Processions inspired by biblical stories. Popular traditions include “the donkey procession,” on Palm Sunday; a procession of pilgrim carts that come from all parts of Nicaragua and gather in Granada; San Lázaro’s pet dog blessing in Masaya; and San Juan del Sur’s beach party celebration.

Fiestas de Masaya, Masaya, end of Sep for 3 months. A celebration on Sundays of parades and tamarindo music. It includes the Fiesta del Toro and Fiesta de los Aguisotes in late Oct and ends with the Procesión de San Jerónimo on the first Sunday of Dec.

International Poetry Festival, Granada, second week of Feb annually. Over 150 poets from all parts of the world congregate at this week-long event to recite their best poetry. 

Warning

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) currently advises against all but essential travel to Nicaragua.

Further information can be found on the FCDO’s website.

Country info

When's the best time to visit El Salvador?

The coastal lowlands have a hot tropical climate all year round with temperatures peaking at well over 30°C. The mountainous interior has a milder climate and in Dec-Jan temperatures hover around 18°C and it is cool at night. The best time to visit is during the drier months of Nov-Feb – it gets very hot thereafter. The rainy season runs May-Oct with short tropical showers – it is cooler, but some of the back roads may be impassable. Sep-Nov is the season when rainfall may be heavy and hurricanes are possible.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of El Salvador?

Spanish

What is El Salvador's official currency?

US dollar. The former local currency ( colon), was phased out in 2003. You can obtain US dollar cash or exchange travellers cheques locally in banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) and may be able to obtain cash advances via the few ATMs in larger towns and cities. You should authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited.

What is the time difference between El Salvador and the UK?

GMT -6 hrs.  

Which other countries combine well with El Salvador?

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as Nicaragua with its splendid colonial cities and coral island beaches; wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica and the Mayan cities of Guatemala, all easily accessed by land or air.  

What are the festivals and cultural or sporting events in El Salvador?

Semana Santa, Easter, throughout El Salvador. Celebrated from Thursday through to Easter Sunday.
Towns and villages all celebrate the feast days of their local saint, sometimes with protracted celebrations, as in San Miguel and Sonsonate with programmes of artistic events. 
Arts and Culture Festival, Feb, Suchitoto. The pretty colonial town hosts a world-class arts and culture festival with music and dance groups.

Country info

Warning

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Honduras, with the exception of the Bay Islands (Roatán, Utila and Guanja).

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

When To Go

Honduras holidays are possible at any time of the year. The coastal lowlands have a hot tropical climate all year round with temperatures approaching 30oC. The mountainous interior has a milder climate and in Dec - Jan temperatures hover around 18oC and it is cool at night. The rainy season runs May - Nov with afternoon showers - although precipitation is more persistent on the north coast. Sep - Nov is the season when rainfall may be heavy and hurricanes are possible.

Language

Spanish is the official language of Honduras.

Currency

The currency of Honduras is Lempira. You can change US dollar cash or travellers cheques locally in banks and may be able to obtain cash advances via the few ATMs in larger towns and cities. You may have ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK, and withdrawals may be limited. However these ATMs do not always accept foreign cards, which are also not usable in many smaller hotels and commerce. You can obtain cash advances in most banks throughout the country. NB: a charge of $US40 is made at the airport upon leaving the country (you can pay with a credit card).

Time Difference

The time difference between Honduras and the UK is GMT -6 hours.

Combines With

A visit to neighbouring Central America countries, such as tiny, friendly El Salvador; wildlife-rich, slickly organised Costa Rica and the Mayan cities of Guatemala, all easily accessed by land or air.

Getting There

There are flights via US and European hubs, the journey from London takes around 15 hours.

Key Events

Semana Santa, Easter, throughout Honduras. Celebrated from Thursday through to Easter Sunday.
Festival Lluvia de Peces (Rain of Fish), Yoro, start of rainy season in Jun. Parades and carnival. It’s a puzzle for scientists, but the dark clouds are accompanied by very heavy rain which will last upwards of 3hrs. Once the rain has stopped, the city streets are littered with living fish. Commemoration of the arrival of the Garifuna communities, 12 Apr. Presentations by music and dance groups including the Ballet Folklórico Garifuna.

Country info

When is the best time to visit Guatemala?

The best weather conditions in the upland areas are during the dry season Dec - May. It can be cold in the highlands in winter, while the jungle areas are hot and humid all year round. Culture lovers may opt to spend Easter in Antigua.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What is the official language of Guatemala?

Spanish and indigenous indian languages mainly derived from Maya.

What's the official currency of Guatemala?

Quetzal. Notes can be withdrawn using a UK credit or debit card from the many ATMs. There’s at least one in most main towns. You may have ask your bank to authorise withdrawals before you leave the UK and each transaction is limited to about £100.

What's the time difference between the UK and Guatemala?

GMT -6 hours.  

Which other countries combine well with Guatemala?

A visit to neighbouring Belize, where there are luxury eco-lodges, superb diving and snorkelling all embraced in British Caribbean cultural heritage; Copán, the ruined Mayan City of northern Honduras with its intricate carvings, accessible from Guatemala by road.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in Guatemala?

Semana Santa, Easter. Celebrations throughout the country; especially impressive in Antigua.
Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, 1-2 Nov. Celebrated throughout the country.
Traditional fiestas:  There are many festivals in Guatemala from giant kite flying near Antigua to wild horse racing in remote Todo Los Santos.

 

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • All land transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Panama City: tour of old town and the Panama Canal
  • Monteverde: guided tour of one of the nature reserves
  • Ometepe: tour of island
  • Granada: Masaya Volcano National Park and market
  • Granada: walking tour of Granada
  • Suchitoto: town tour
  • Copán: guided tour of the ruins
  • Antigua: guided tour

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and insurance
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • Border entrance and exit fees

What's included in the price

  • Services of Journey Latin America tour leader
  • All land transport
  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Excursions as specified

Included Excursions

  • Panama City: tour of old town and the Panama Canal
  • Monteverde: guided tour of one of the nature reserves
  • Ometepe: tour of island
  • Granada: Masaya Volcano National Park and market
  • Granada: walking tour of Granada
  • Suchitoto: town tour
  • Copán: guided tour of the ruins
  • Antigua: guided tour

What's not included in the price

  • Tips and insurance
  • Meals other than specified
  • Optional excursions
  • Border entrance and exit fees

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

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    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.

  • Millie Davies
    Millie Davies - Travel Expert

    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Expert

    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 a much valued Travel Expert in our Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tours sales team.

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

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

Meet the team