Way to San Jose Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : IQVRS
  • Trip length : 17 Days
  • Trip starts in : Antigua, Guatemala
  • Trip ends in : San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Maximum group size : 16
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals : No meals included
  • Accommodation : Hotel (16 nts)
  • Transport : Boat, Bus, Taxi

daily-itinerary1

Day
1

Antigua

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala!

Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

This meeting will be followed by an orientation walk, led by your group leader, around some of Antigua's highlights.

As the seat of the Spanish colonial government, Antigua was once the most important city in Central America. In 1773 the city was destroyed by an earthquake but many of the colonial buildings have been carefully restored and the architecture from its glory days can still be admired. Walk through the quiet cobblestone streets past heavy carved-wood entrances. There are many fascinating markets and museums to explore, or if your tastes run to more active adventures hire a mountain bike and ride through the countryside. The views of mountain peaks and deep valleys, covered in lush vegetation are simply beautiful.

Go out for a stroll and try tamales, a local dish usually prepared traditionally on weekends and served in a corn leaf. You could also give the pepian a try, a meal that consists of a rich dark sauce and three meats (chicken, beef and pork). The best value food you find is next to the artesian market close to the bus station.

As there's a great deal to do in Antigua we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of this exciting city. If you need help booking extra accommodation, our reservations team will be happy to assist. If you are extending your time, perhaps check out the CHOCOMUSEO located on 4th street west, 2 blocks away from central park. Here you will learn all about chocolate, its history and nutritional values and you may be lucky enough to get a sample bag of chocolates at the end of the tour. Otherwise just grab a coffee from one of the many coffee shops in central park and just sit back relax and enjoy the beauty of this incredible city and the amazing people you will find. If you want to learn more about the famous Guatemalan coffee you can go on a coffee tour, visit the plantations, do some coffee tasting and even buy some to take back home.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Days
2-3

Copan

Today we travel by local bus to Copan, Honduras (approx. 6 hours). Along the way, we will pass through the wild, dry country side of eastern Guatemala.

The following day you may like to pay an optional visit to the Mayan ruins of Copan.

The ancient ruins of Copan are the southernmost of the great Mayan sites for which Central America is famed. This particular site was listed as a World Heritage site in 1980 and is unique because of the 21 stelae or columns that have been found there. These are heavily carved with reliefs depicting the passage of time and the lives of the royal families. There are also a number of small pyramid-shaped temples and excavated vaults. Walk through the grassy plazas under the gaze of huge carved faces, staring out from ancient walls. As you walk past monuments, statues and staircases it's hard not to wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilisation.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

Days
4-6

Roatan Island

Today we head towards San Pedro Sula (approx. 3 hours), then and continue to La Cieba (approx. 3 hours) before taking a ferry to Roatan (approx. 2 hours). The connections make this a long travelling day, leaving Copan early in the morning and arriving to the hotel in Roatan in the early evening.

Roatan Island is one of the famous Bay Islands; an archipelago of coral islands set in the Caribbean known for its laid back atmosphere, crystal blue waters and underwater treasures. Surrounded by over 100km (62 miles) of living coral reef, this is a diving haven. Dive, swim or snorkel through the Caribbean waters to discover thousands of species of multi-coloured fish or chill out on the powdery white sands under swaying coconut palms. For more active adventures, tear yourself away from the beach and venture into the hilly interior by bicycle or scooter. Spot 'Jesus Lizards' in the botanical gardens or visit the nearby Institute for Marine Science. English is the main language in Roatan, so in the evenings chat away with the locals in any of the lively bars and enjoy a cold light house beer.

Accommodation: Hotel (3 nts)

Day
7

Comayagua

Bidding farewell to our beachside playground very early (approx 5:30 am) this morning, we travel by ferry back to the mainland (approx. 2 hours), and travel on to Comayagua (approx. 4.5 hours), arriving late afternoon.

Picturesque colonial beauty meets modern life in Comayagua. This historic political centre has a wealth of Spanish Colonial architecture, including some of Central America's most impressive churches.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Days
8-9

Granada

Today is a full day of travel across the border to Granada, Nicaragua (approx. 12 hours). A good book, music, snacks and bottled water are a must to have for today's long journey, as we sometimes (depending on schedules) have to take up to 4 different buses and transfers. The border crossing between Honduras and Nicaragua is easy and quick and your group leader will assist you on what you have to do at the border.

Nicaragua is a beautiful place that surprises most travellers with its friendly people, impressive natural beauty and for many it becomes their favourite country in Central America. The country has flourished in recent years and is an incredibly vibrant and unique country.

Oozing with colonial charm, Granada is the oldest city of the 'New World', having been founded in 1524. The city resides on the banks of Lake Nicaragua and its appearance is a mixture of Moorish and Andalusian. The surrounding countryside includes active volcanoes and lakes.

Bargain hard in the markets, hike, cruise and explore the neighbouring landscapes. Wander the cobblestone streets surrounded by colourful buildings, or tour the islets of Lake Nicaragua by boat. Alternaitively, take a day trip out to Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Park to get up close to some steaming giants.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

Days
10-11

Ometepe Island

From Granada we travel by local bus and boat (approx 6-7 hours) to the island of Ometepe on Lake Nicaragua.

Beautifully located within Lake Nicaragua, Ometepe Island is formed by two volcanoes which rise from the lake. In fact 'Ometepe' literally means two volcanoes in the Nahuatl language. The island's hourglass shape is home to great beaches and a deep jungle. Wildlife abounds here and as well as monkeys and green parrots, and the lake itself is famous for the world's only species of freshwater shark. A great experience is sitting on the shore of the lake when the fishermen come back from their long day bringing in what they have caught.

In your free time perhaps take a hike to Volcano Maderas, which at 1340 metres (4395 feet), is no walk in the park. Alternatively check out the petroglyphs or chill out on the beach.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

Days
12-13

Monteverde

We continue travelling south by local bus to Monteverde, Costa Rica (7 to 9 hours depending on border crossing conditions).

Monteverde was founded as an agricultural community in 1951 by a group of North American Quakers; they cleared virgin forest to create verdant pastures ideal for dairy farming. These environmentally aware settlers were conscious of the danger that unrestricted settling and farming could cause to this precious habitat. Consequently they established a small privately-owned wildlife sanctuary, which has since grown to become the internationally-renowned Monteverde Cloudforest Biological Preserve. These forests are similar to rainforests, but instead of relying on rain for essential moisture, adequate water comes from the semi-permanent cloud that covers the region. It is lush and full of wildlife. This is truly a nature lover's paradise. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call Montverde home. Be sure to keep an eye out for the resplendent quetzal, one of the most elusive birds in the world.

Perhaps take a walk through the forest, explore by mountain bike or ride over the rainforest canopy on a zip line. You could also arrange a local guide to take on a walk around the park.or watch the butterflies in the specially created butterfly garden. The local guides are very knowledgeable about the area, and passionate about conversation. In the local communities there are several cooperatives worth visiting.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

Days
14-15

La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano National Park

Travelling by jeep and boat we reach La Fortuna (approx. 4-5 hours), our base for exploring the Arenal Volcano and its wild surrounds.

La Fortuna is a small town situated just a few minutes away from Costa Rica's most famous volcano - the majestic Arenal. The views here are spectacular as the volcano is reflected on the lake for postcard perfect photos. Besides the panoramic views the town offers a range of other activities such as the 70 metre high La Fortuna waterfall, stunning lush forest, rare plants, animal watching and watersports on the lake.

The volcano’s inner workings also mean that the area has a number of thermal springs where hot, lava-heated water gushes to the surface. These springs have been turned into a number of thermal pools and waterfalls, often surrounded by foliage, an ideal chance to relax.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts)

Days
16-17

San Jose

A local bus ride (approx 5 hours) takes us to San Jose which sits in the middle of the fertile Valle Central, ringed by volcanoes and jagged mountains just begging to be explored.

With over half the country's population living within its parameters, San Jose is a bustling city with lively markets, intriguing museums and a dynamic atmosphere. A good place to start exploring is the main plaza, a fantastic place to get comfy and do some people watching. Artisan booths are common here and you never know when there'll be a spontaneous art fair. Have a look at the Gold Museum which has an amazing collection of indigenous gold art. If these cultural gems get you in the mood for a bit of shopping head to the out door market in Plaza de la Cultura or the Central Market where you can buy anything from handicrafts to seafood.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

 

optional-extras

  • Antigua - Chocolate-making workshop at ChocoMuseo - USD24
  • Antigua - Bike tour - USD30
  • Antigua - Coffee/Macadamia nut plantation tour - USD45
  • Antigua - Salsa lessons (per hour) - USD7
  • Copan archeological visit - USD25
  • Copan - Natural Hot Springs - USD45
  • Copan - Macaw Mountain Bird Park (inc. transport) - USD14
  • Copan - Cultural Awakening Walk - USD15
  • Roatan Island - Snorkelling trip - USD30
  • Roatan Island - Stand up paddle board - USD15
  • Roatan Island - Botanical Garden (inc. return taxi) - USD20
  • Roatan Island - Transport to West Bay Beach - USD10
  • Granada - City tour - USD20
  • Granada - Mombacho Volcano hike - USD40
  • Granada - Masaya Volcano night hike - USD40
  • Granada - Monkey Island boat tour - USD20
  • Granada - Laguna Apoyo kayaking tour - USD45
  • Granada - Kayak rental (per day) - USD30
  • Granada - Bicycle tour - USD15
  • Granada - Bicycle rental (per day) - USD10
  • Ometepe - Concepcion Volcano hike - USD25
  • Ometepe - Maderas Volcano hike - USD25
  • Ometepe - Ojo de Agua natural spring - USD20
  • Ometepe - Petroglyphs - USD15
  • Monteverde - Cloud Forest hike - USD40
  • Monteverde - Sky Walk suspension bridges tour - USD30
  • Monteverde - Zip lining - USD45
  • Monteverde - Coffee & Chocolate tour - USD35
  • Monteverde - Night walk - USD35
  • Monteverde - Butterfly garden and insects farm - USD25
  • Monteverde - Serpentarium - USD15
  • Monteverde - Frog pond - USD15
  • Monteverde - Orchid gardens - USD12
  • La Fortuna - Hot Springs - USD25
  • La Fortuna - Arenal Hanging Bridges - USD65
  • La Fortuna - La Fortuna Waterfall - USD10
  • La Fortuna - Cano Negro boat tour - USD70
  • La Fortuna - Stand up paddle board - USD50
  • La Fortuna - Tabacon Hot Springs (entrance, dinner and transport) - USD99
  • San Jose - Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley & Lankester Botanical Garden (full-day tour) - USD90
  • San Jose - Butterfly farm - USD27
  • San Jose - National Museum - USD7
  • San Jose - Gold Museum - USD11
  • San Jose - Jade Museum - USD10
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park (half-day tour) - USD55
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfalls (full-day tour) - USD100

not-included1International flights, departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

 

tripgrade1

Basic

Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

Style Facts

  • Plenty of free time to explore independently
  • Optional activities to suit your budget
  • Freedom to choose your own meals
  • Simple family run hotels
  • Mostly public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

 

visa1A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.

 

medical-preparation1We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.

 

Money1Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later

 

travel-insuranceYou must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.

 

responsible-travel1Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.

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