Tailor MadeOriginal

Gems of Central America

Our journey unlocks this mysterious and remote part of the Americas. This region from the southern border of Mexico to the northern border of Colombia and separates the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean. Geographically there is an abundance of volcanoes and as such the soil contains rich mineral nutrients resulting in one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. There is stunning natural beauty and an abundance of unusual food plants both cultivated and wild. The region is a centre of coffee production

Guatemala is a heavily forested and mountainous nation with coastal lowlands in the south rising up to the volcanic Sierra Madre highlands. The country is well forested along the country’s northern Caribbean coast. The remarkable Maya civilization flourished here and extensive ruins testify to the civilisation’s grandeur. Still today more than half of Guatemalans are descendants of the indigenous Maya peoples who still retain traditional customs. 

Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems make it a key part of Central American Biological Corridor. The Mayan civilization came into it prime in the region in 1500 B.C. and flourished until about 1200. It became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, and Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom in 1981. It has ties to both the American and Caribbean regions but remains a Commonwealth realm

Costa Rica demonstrates an environmental sensitivity unparalleled in the world. Eco tourists are exposed to botanical and animal marvels found nowhere else on Earth containing 5% of the world's biodiversity. The Tortuguero National Park alone has 320 species of birds with a wide variety of reptiles. It is recognised for the annual nesting of the endangered Green turtle as well as the Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to over 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids, over 400 types of birds and more than 100 species of mammals can also be found there

What People Are Saying

"Where do we begin? From climbing astonishing Mayan Ruins to cruising the volcanic lake to the Belize Zoo to boating up backcountry rivers. In the rainforest we saw animals and birds in unbelievable close proximity. Sloths, Caiman, Iguanas, Turtles hatching from their eggs and an amazing array of birdlife. We were able to adjust our daily plan depending on the weather and stopped regularly to enjoy smooth local coffee. A visit to the home of our local guide in Costa Rica and being welcomed by his family was a definite highlight. And then there was the brightly coloured markets…. Go now, this corner of the globe must not be overlooked or put off for long."
John and Mary Hayward, New Zealand

22 Day Itinerary
Departure:3rd November 2024(Sunday to Sunday)


Day 1 - arrive Guatemala City
If you arrive early enough you can explore the capital which has a wide variety of restaurants, art galleries, theatres, and museums including some fine collections of Pre-Columbian art. The Historic Centre is where many important historic buildings can be found such as the National Palace of Culture, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Congress, the Presidential House, the National Library and the Constitution Plaza
Day 2 - Guatemala City to Panajachel (Atitlán Lake) via Chichicastenango
We depart the capital today and head for Chichicastenango commonly referred to as "Chichi" which is a small city located in the mountains. Chichi is home to a colourful market where you will find a wide range of times such as pottery, coffee, jewellery and textiles. We continue on to Lake Atitlán in the Guatemala Highlands considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The name means ‘at the water’ and it is the deepest in Central America. It exhibits extensive coffee and avocado plantations, as well as other produce such as beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic
Day 3 - Panajachel (day trip to Santiago Atitlán)
In the morning we travel by boat across to Santiago Atitlán located on the southern shore of Lake Atitlán. This town is famous for the tocoyal, a long handmade ribbon that is worn by the indigenous women. We can also find the impressive Parroquial Santiago Apóstol dating from 16th century. We return to Panajachel at the end of the day
Day 4 - Panajachel to Antigua Guatemala (via Iximche)
We head out this morning and our first stop is the Mayan site of Iximche in the western highlights. It was inhabited by the Kaqchikel, a Mayan tribe and at its height had a population of over 10,000. The arrival of the Spanish in the 1500’s resulted in the city being abandoned. The ruins were declared a Guatemalan National Monument in 1960. We continue on to Antigua Guatemala, a colourful and charming town also a World Heritage site. The cobblestoned streets, balconies and colonial buildings offer a wonderful mix of cultural and religious tradition. Added to this the town is surrounded by three volcanoes making for stunning views
Day 5 - Antigua Guatemala
We have a full day to relax and enjoy this wonderful location in Antigua Guatemala. It is famous for its well preserved Spanish Baroque influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. You can also enjoy an optional excursion to the Pacaya Volcano, visit a coffee plantation or stop by the Chocolate Museum
Day 6 - Antigua Guatemala to Flores (fly)
We depart early for Guatemala City Airport and our flight to Flores, Petén. On arrival we transfer to our stay on the island town of Flores on the lake. We have time to explore the town on foot or by tuk-tuk
Day 7 - Flores (Tikal) to Black Rock (Belize)
Today we visit the Mayan City of Tikal which is located in the centre of the National Park that bears its name. Tikal was inhabited from 600 BC until 869 AD. We explore the Twin-Pyramids, the Lost World complex and the Great Pyramid. This is the highest of the Mayan site with a complete view of Tikal and its surrounding jungle. We then transfer to Melchor Border crossing and enter Belize with a short journey to Black Rock Lodge near San Ignacio
Day 8 - Black Rock Lodge
A morning 1½ hour birdwatching tour before breakfast is first on the agenda. Then we are off to the local town of San Ignacio. Rural farmers and townsfolk descend on the market square every Saturday, making it a great chance to experience the local culture up close. From Mennonites selling local cheese, to medicine men selling herbal cures – you will see it all! Next, we travel to the Mayan village of San Jose Succotz located on the banks of the Mopan River. Board a small hand cranked pontoon ferry to cross the Mopan river to Xunantunich which means “Maiden of the Rock”. Explore this fascinating Mayan Site with one of the highest pyramids in the region We head for Benny’s kitchen for lunch, a local favourite where we can try the regional dish ‘Pibil’ for lunch. The rest of the day is free to explore or take up optional activities that can be arranged at the lodge
Day 9 - Black Rock Lodge
Relax at the Lodge and soak up the jungle atmosphere. Or you can pick and choose from the many jungle activities and Maya tour combinations
Day 10 - Black Rock Lodge to Cay Caulker
We depart to the Belize Zoo for more natural wonders. The Belize Zoo has a large cross section of Belize’s fauna and is one of the most ecologically sound zoos in the world. Most of the animals were either pets, pests, or found injured and then rescued. From crocodiles to kinkajous, from jabirus to jaguars, and from scarlet macaws to stinky peccaries, the Belize Zoo has a little bit of everything. We continue on to Cay Caulker by van and then water taxi, arriving in the afternoon at our tropical paradise
Day 11 - Cay Caulker
On the second largest barrier reef in the world, this idyllic car free island has a world class marine reserve and a Caribbean laid back feel. Optional boat trips, snorkelling, fishing and diving excursions are available or simply soak up the relaxed beach vibe
Day 12 - Cay Caulker to San Jose (fly)
Sitting on the second largest barrier reef in the world, this idyllic car free island has a world class marine reserve and a very Caribbean laid back feel. You may like to experience an optional half day snorkelling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, packed with tropical fish. Or soak up the atmosphere of the island. Transfer by water taxi to the mainland and on to the airport for the flight to San Jose Costa Rica
Day 13 - San Jose
We take a walking tour in the city centre and stop in at the famous central market, where you will be given a chance to sample some of the unusual fruits of Costa Rica. We can also stroll through the main pedestrian mall and perhaps make a stop at the National Theatre
Days 14 & 15 - San Jose to Tortuguero National Park
We start the day with an exhilarating bus ride over the mountains to the Caribbean coast. We then enjoy a boat journey which takes us to Tortuguero. We may see a variety of bird life including herons, egrets, spoonbills, as well as amphibians and reptiles such as caimans and the “Jesus Lizard” (yes, it walks on water). The tropical rainforest makes its way down to beaches as is and nesting ground for the Green, Loggerhead, Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles. We cruise the canals and keep a watch for howler monkeys and toucans as well as other wildlife. We also include a visit to the Caribbean Conservation Centre which is an outstanding source of information about the turtles and their tropical habitat
Day 16 - Tortuguero to La Fortuna
We depart from the Caribbean Coast and we travel by boat and road through lush rainforest and palm plantations to La Fortuna. Here we are at the base of the Arenal Volcano on the northern plains of Costa Rica. The Volcano sits on the southeast shore of artificial Lake Arenal was created by a hydroelectric dam. An active volcano there has been recent occasional eruptions which makes it a natural wonder to be respected. Geologists say that recently it has entered a resting phase! We enjoy an evening soaking in hot springs at its volcanoes base
Days 17 & 18 - La Fortuna to Monteverde Cloud Forest
After enjoying a short crossing of Lake Arenal by boat we ascend to the cool mountain air of Monteverde. We explore the town and the Forest Reserve which covers over 1500 hectares and is home to a myriad of wildlife. There are more than 2,000 species of plants, over 300 bird species and 100 different species of mammals which inhabit this small area. We may be lucky enough to see the ‘Resplendent Quetzal’ which is one of the most elusive and beautiful birds in the world. The village of Monteverde was founded by Quakers in the 1950s and still has quite a few local cooperatives including a community cheese factory and artist collectives. There are plenty of optional activities including the Sky Walk through the jungle canopy, a butterfly garden, Ranarium and a thrilling canopy zip line
Day 19 & 20 - Monteverde to Manuel Antonio National Park
We depart from the cloud forest with splendid views down to the sea and travel to the Pacific coast and the Manuel Antonio National Park. Along the way, we will stop at the Tarcoles River where we can view some giant crocodiles on the riverbank. We are in the deep and lush forest and may spy troupes of Squirrel and Capuchin Monkeys. We enjoy a morning guided tour of the park and the rest of the time here is ours to utilise. We can explore the national park, take a rafting trip down the Savegre River or maybe a kayak tour in the Damas mangrove estuary. Alternatively, we can relax in the sun on beautiful Espadilla beach
Day 21 - Manuel Antonio National Park to San Jose
As the drive back to San Jose for your last night in Costa Rica is only a couple of hours we can choose to enjoy more time in the National Park, spend the morning at the pool and beach or perhaps explore the local town of Quepos. We enjoy a final dinner in San Jose to celebrate our amazing journey together
Day 22 - depart San Jose
Departure day

Trip Options

Single Travellers:USD$1190Details
Extra Accommodation: Single USD$120Details
Double USD$130


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