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  • Aracari Toucan in Belize
  • Cahal Pech Ruins in San Ignacio, Belize
  • Beautiful Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Antigua and the Volcano de Agua, Guetemala
  • Tikal Mayan ruins, Guatemala
  • Granada Cathedral, Nicaragua
Route:
Cancún to San José
Days:
24
Style: Worldwide Adventures
Code: MCJ
Price From:
US$2,659.00

Mexico and Central America will fill your ears with reggae rhythms, your belly with flavoursome food, your eyes with spectacular landscapes and your heart with the warmth of the local people. Be ready to fill your mind with history and culture, and empty your wallet at local markets where beautiful handcrafts will offer a temptation too hard to resist!

What's Included

Excursions

  • Caye Caulker
  • Guided tour of Tikal ruins
  • Rio Dulce boat tour to Livingston
  • Guided tour of Copán ruins
  • Roatán Island
  • Ometepe Island

Accommodation

23 night(s) in hotels

Transportation

Flight

Meals

19 breakfast

Staff & Experts

Tucan Travel tour leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on included excursions

What's Not Included

  • International flights to/from the start/end of your tour and departure taxes  
  • Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.  
  • Optional excursions - Please see the optional excursions on the Tour Notes for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.

Itinerary

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Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Cancún

The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre-tour accommodation.

Until 1970 Isla Cancún (Cancún Island) had only three residents, the caretakers of the coconut plantation with only 117 people living in nearby Puerto Juarez, a fishing village and military base. The island was home to some of the Caribbean's most beautiful beaches and with the advent of mass market tourism it was an ideal location. Due to the reluctance of investors to bet on an unknown area however, the Mexican government had to finance the first nine hotels.

Today over two million visitors a year, come to Cancún to relax on one of the beautiful beaches in what is now known as the 'hotel zone' and to swim in the crystal clear turquoise waters. If the activity of Cancún becomes too much for you, you can always take a ferry out to the more relaxed Isla Mujeres or arrange a snorkelling or diving excursion.

Optional Excursions

Isla Mujeres – US$18 ferry • Xelha Theme Park - From US$95 • Xcaret Theme Park – From US$95 • Swimming with whale sharks (seasonal May - Sept) – US$140

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 2 to 2 - Playa del Carmen

The beautiful beach resort of Playa del Carmen is only a short bus ride away from Cancún. Here you can relax on a white sand beach or take advantage of one of the several interesting optional activities available in the area such as visiting the island of Cozumel or the amazingly located Maya/Toltec ruins of Tulúm. There are also many cenotes to explore.

Optional Excursions

Tulum Ruins – MXN65 plus transport or MXN80 return • Cozumal day trip –US$24

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 3 to 4 - Caye Caulker

After a short walk to the terminal we begin our full day journey to beautiful Belize using a combination of buses, taxis and a ferry. When leaving Mexico you will have to pay a small departure fee of approximately MXN390. Belizeans know how to relax, and hopefully the locals' expertise on relaxation will be contagious during your stay on Caye Caulker. If not, there are signs to remind you to "Go Slow", "Take it easy", and even "No shirt, no shoes, no problem". We spend a couple of very laid back nights on Caye Caulker, where you can throw away your shoes to wander the sand filled streets, spend the evenings eating seafood, drinking cocktails, and listening to reggae music in one of the bars.

During the day we can organise a range of different optional snorkelling trips for you, such as to Shark and Ray Alley, where you can swim within a few feet of nurse sharks and majestic sting rays, or weather dependent, you may have the opportunity to swim with sea-cows! Another optional snorkelling tour takes you out to Hol-Chan Marine Reserve where you are guaranteed to see lots of colourful fish and interesting reef formations. Qualified divers can explore the so-called bottomless "Blue Hole", made famous by the explorer Jacques Cousteau (please note: this optional excursion does not go every day, check locally for availability). Other options include sunning yourself, riding a bike around the island, or trying your luck at fishing. If you are lucky, you can take your catch to one of the local restaurants so they can BBQ it for you.

Included Excursions

Caye Caulker

Optional Excursions

Half/full day Caye Caulker snorkelling – US$45-80 • Manatee combo tour. Visit the breeding and feeding area of the manatees and also stopping at 3 locations in the reserve to snorkel. – From US$70 • Scuba diving in the Blue Hole – US$290 • Night Snorkelling – US$70 • Flight over the Blue Hole – US$200pp (min 3 people)

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 5 to 6 - San Ignacio

We continue on to San Ignacio referred to as "Cayo" by the locals, this agricultural centre is also known to be the 'adventure' and 'nature' capital of Belize. The surrounding jungle, wildlife, waterfalls, rivers and caves, have created the ideal location for the numerous optional excursions that are available, from canoeing downriver and tubing through caves, to visiting the famous caves Actun Tunichil Muknal, where they found untouched Mayan ceremonial and sacrificial remains.

Optional Excursions

Tubing – US$100 • ATM Caves – US$95 • Canoeing – US$85 • Caracol Ruins, the largest and most important Mayan ruin site in Belize – US$95 • Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve – US$85

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 7 to 7 - Flores

Waving goodbye to Belize we cross into Guatemala to the charming island-town of Flores. When departing Belize you will be required to pay a small fee of $37.50BZD, and on arrival in Guatemala another small payment of 10q is required. Flores was the last town to be conquered by the Spanish and situated in the centre of Lake Peten Itzá. On the way to Flores we stop at the breathtaking Maya site of Tikal, it is regarded as the greatest city of the Maya world and is nestled deep in the jungle. This complex is one of the biggest Maya sites discovered, and you will have most of the day to explore and learn about the flora, fauna, and amazing Mayan history with our knowledgeable local guide.

The area around Tikal has been declared as the Tikal National Park and the preserved area covers 570 square kilometres. The ancient city has been completely mapped and at its height covered an area greater than 16 square kilometres, with more than 3000 structures. Today the main centre covers an area of approximately two and a half square kilometres, As you wander the site, you will see several tall mounds which are temples that have not yet been excavated, and you will have the opportunity to climb some of the tallest Mayan temples.

The emphasis was on height when creating these imposing structures because the Maya believed the higher the building, the closer they were to the gods. Around Tikal there is a lot of animal life, and if you're lucky, you will have the chance to spot the noisy howler monkeys, pizotes (a racoon-like animal), exotic birds such as toucans, and much more!

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Tikal ruins

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 8 to 8 - Rio Dulce

We carry on to the river town of Rio Dulce where we overnight in cabins right on the water. In the afternoon the boat tour along the 23 kilometre stretch of waterway to Livingston allows you to experience one of the most scenic areas of Guatemala. Livingston is situated at the mouth of the Rio Dulce, where it joins the Bay of Amatique, and is inhabited by the Garifuna people. This lively little town has a Caribbean atmosphere different to the rest of Guatemala and is a great place to try the delicious local specialty tapado (seafood coconut soup) and listen to the local African-style punta music.

Included Excursions

Rio Dulce boat tour to Livingston

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Day 9 to 10 - Antigua

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Antigua is one of the most delightful colonial towns in Central America. The local indigenous can be seen throughout the cobbled streets and plazas of the city in their colourful costumes, selling their crafts and textiles. As the cultural centre of Guatemala, Antigua is an ideal place to experience the traditional music, architecture and art of the country. Rich in ornate churches, convents, parks, plazas, cafés, restaurants, bars and colourful street markets and surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes, Antigua is one place you will never forget.

Optional Excursions

Pacaya volcano climb – US$20 • Walking tour – US$25

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 11 to 12 - Copán

Today we leave Guatemala where we are required to pay an approximate 10Q departure tax. We then embark on a lengthy bus ride to Honduras into the charming town of Copán. Please note, you will also be required to pay a small entrance fee of US$3. Within walking distance of the village is one of the best-kept and most intriguing of all the ancient Maya sites, the Copán ruins. On your guided tour you will see the intricately carved stelaes (carvings/statues) depicting the 16 rulers of this once magnificent and influential city, the spectacular staircase, ball courts and enormous main plaza.

In the afternoon you can enjoy a trip up to hot springs surrounded by the lush vegetation of the surrounding hills, a horse-trek through the countryside, or a coffee tour of a local plantation (all optional).

Included Excursions

Guided tour of Copán ruins

Optional Excursions

Horse riding – US$25 • Hot springs and BBQ – US$45 • Coffee tour (includes lunch) – US$35 • Butterfly and bird park – US$10

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 13 to 15 - Roatán Island

From Copán we take two local buses through coffee growing districts for the coastal town of Tela before moving on to La Ceiba, about six hours in total. After that, we have a 1.5 hour trip by ferry across to Roatán. This is the largest of the beautiful sun-soaked Caribbean Bay Islands. Development on the island means there is plenty to do, but it is also easy to find a deserted beach lapped by warm Caribbean waters. Here you will find palm-fringed lagoons, turquoise water, friendly locals, lively nightlife and stunning underwater scenery, with some of the cheapest diving and snorkelling in the world! You can elect to swim with dolphins, a truly unforgettable experience, or get into the true Caribbean sprit with a sunset cruise (optional).

After a few days on Roatán, we fly to Tegucigalpa where we will drive to Leon, Nicaragua.

Please note: For your flight from Roatan Island, Tucan Travel will cover the cost of your checked baggage up to 18kg, with each passenger entitled to check in one bag.

Included Excursions

Roatán Island

Optional Excursions

Snorkelling with dive boat – US$20 • Scuba diving – US$30 per dive • Scuba diving introduction dive (up to 15m) – US$100 • Botanical gardens – US$5 • Swim with dolphins – US$68- US$242 • Kayak rental – US$20 per hour • Butterfly garden – US$5 • Scooter rentals – US$35 per day • Glass bottom boat – US$20 • Fishing trips – US$60 per hour

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

3 Breakfast

Day 16 to 18 - León

Optional Excursions

Volcano Boarding - $30 • Telica Nighttime Volcano Hike - $40 • Leon City Tour - $20

Accommodation

3 night(s) in hotels

Meals

3 Breakfast

Day 19 to 20 - Granada

After taking a combination of taxis and collectivo vans to Managua, and the tobacco growing regions, we arrive in Granada, on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. Granada is one of the most characteristic and colourful colonial towns in Central America. Founded in 1524 at the foot of the Mombacho Volcano, due to its Moorish feel, this lovely town will remind many of its Spanish counterpart. Here there are many optional excursions to visit the surrounding countryside, including a visit to the Masaya National Park, with its double-crested active volcano, and the Masaya handicraft markets nearby (great for buying hammocks). Alternatively, you can choose to go for a boat tour of the islands on the lake or a trek and/or zipline through the Mombacho Volcano Cloud Forest.

With two free days in Granada you also have plenty of time to take a day trip into Managua to explore. After years of civil war and the devastating earthquake of 1972, the city centre was left in shambles. There are still buildings with huge cracks and weeds growing through them, the strange old Cathedral being one. However, this now peaceful city is in the process of rebuilding itself. The recently restored National Palace offers a fascinating tour into the past.

Optional Excursions

Horse and cart – US$20 per hour • Masaya markets and volcano – US$35 • Isletas tour – US$30 • Mombacho canopy tour – US$45

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 21 to 22 - Ometepe Island

Travelling onwards for two hours via local bus, we cross the vast Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. This lake was once a large ocean bay, but seismic activity caused the land to rise, cutting it off from the sea. This has left the lake with fresh water sharks and other salt-water species. We take a ferry to the unspoilt and tranquil island of Ometepe, located in the middle of the lake. This is the 'true heart of Nicaragua', and is the perfect place to escape from the fast-paced normalities of life.

The name of the island means "between two hills" and was formed by the two volcanoes, Concepción and Madera. The fertile volcanic soil provides the local population with perfect farming conditions for the many crops grown. You may choose to hire a local guide and spend your free time touring the island and searching for ancient stone statues and petroglyphs which have been found all over the island. Those feeling athletic can go for volcano hikes or horseback riding on the black sand beach, while the less energetic can spend their time lying in hammocks, or taking a dip in the lake or the nearby freshwater spring. Either way, you can be sure that Ometepe Islands beauty, tranquillity, and kind-hearted residents will make this a highlight of your trip.

Included Excursions

Ometepe Island

Optional Excursions

Horse riding – US$10 for two hours • Volcano Maderas trek – US$35 • Volcano Concepcion trek (8-10 hrs, you must physically fit to complete this walk) – US$35

Accommodation

2 night(s) in hotels

Meals

2 Breakfast

Day 23 to 23 - San José

The capital city of Costa Rica, San José, is nestled in a fertile valley among coffee and sugar-cane farms. There is not much left of the colonial era architecture, due to the damage done by earthquakes, but it is certainly worth seeing the National Theatre, built in 1897. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch a performance whilst you're here. The Gold, Jade and National Museums are also particularly recommended for a visit

There are plenty of interesting optional day trips that can be undertaken within a close vicinity of San José such as visits to the Poás or Irazú volcano, white water rafting, the Turu BaRi Topical Park or the Rain Forest Aerial Tram.

Optional Excursions

Jade Museum – US$15 • Museum National – US$4 • Theatro National – US$5

Accommodation

1 night(s) in hotels

Meals

1 Breakfast

Day 24 to 24 - Depart San José

Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.

Meals

1 Breakfast

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