Central America Journey

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-MEX002

From: £3270.00

This exciting itinerary highlights the best of Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala all in one trip. It's a great introduction to the variety that each of these Central American countries has to offer. You visit Panama City and the canal, Costa Rica's  Arenal National Park and the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Guatemala's Antigua, Lake Atitlan and the famous market town of Chichicastenango.

Itinerary

Day 1 Daytime flight to Panama City and transfer to your hotel. You will spend three nights in the Las Clementinas located in the Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) of Panama City. The hotel is a small boutique hotel with only 6 rooms, and from the rooftop terrace you can enjoy stunning views of the modern Panama City skyline.

Day 2 Free day to explore Panama City; one of the most modern cities in all of Central America. Discover “Casco Viejo” (Old Quarter), home to Panama City’s small but charming colonial district, afterwards visit the nearby fish market where you can try some fresh ceviche. Alternatively take a walk along the sea boardwalk to view Panama’s modern skyline at sunset.

Day 3 Take a half day Panama Canal cruise. Arrive at Gamboa for the start of your canal transit. You will travel nearly 14 kilometers down to the Pedro Miguel locks, as you journey you will be able to observe the expansion project for the Panama canal. Before reaching the Pedro Miguel locks, you will be able to view the new centennial bridge which crosses over the canal, before descending to Miraflores Lake via a set of locks descending a total of 18 metres.

Day 4 Fly to San Jose, Costa Rica, before continuing on by road to your hotel in Arenal. You will spend two nights at hotel Kioro, which is located close to the Arenal volcano, and there are beautiful views of the volcano from the hotel. The hotel also has its own private thermal springs.

Day 5 Explore the Arenal Volcano National Park, perhaps visit the nearby waterfalls, or take a walk along the trails in the national park. For the more adventurous experience the thrill of white water rafting, zipline through the forest canopy or rapel down a waterfall. In the evening relax in one of the many hot springs with magnificent views of the volcano.

Day 6 Transfer to the Monteverde region by road and lake crossing. There is also the opportunity to transfer by horse. The Trapp Family Hotel is located just 15 minutes walk from the Monteverde Cloud Forest reserve, a birdwatchers paradise.

Day 7 Here you have the opportunity to take one of the exhilarating canopy zip lines, or alternatively take one of the high canopy walkways to see the cloud forest from a different perspective. Monteverde is also one of the best places in Central America to spot the rare and very colourful quetzal bird.

Day 8 Return to San Jose for the short flight to Guatemala City and transfer to the colonial town of Antigua. El Convento hotel is located in the heart of the town, with an excellent restaurant cooking traditional Guatemalan dishes.

Day 9 Enjoy a free day in Antigua. Surrounded by 3 volcanoes, the cobbled streets of Antigua have a truly picturesque setting. Visit some of the numerous churches including the La Merced, close to the Arco de Santa Catalina, or enjoy some Guatemalan coffee in the central square.

Day 10 Take a beautiful journey through the Guatemalan highlands to your hotel at Lake Atitlan. Hotel Atitlan is located close to the lake shore, and there are excellent views of the lake and volcanoes in the distance. The hotel also has a lovely garden and a good sized pool.

Day 11 Enjoy a free day around the lake, either relax and soak up the beautiful views, or visit some of the indigenous communities scattered around the lake. One of the villages, Santiago is home to Maximon, a local folk saint who is looked after by a different family each year. It is usual possible to a pay a visit to Maximon’s house for a small fee.

Day 12 Visit one of the most colourful markets in all of Latin America, Chichicastenango (market days are Thursday & Sunday). Explore the local food market, and the Santo Tomas church where it is common to see rituals on the steps outside. Afterwards continue onto Guatemala City and overnight at Westin Camino Real.

Day 13 Transfer to the airport for your flight returning to the UK.

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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