Way-to-San-Jose

Antigua to San Jose 17 days.

  • Route: Antigua to San Jose
  • Length: 17 days
  • Transport: Boat, Bus, Taxi
  • Accommodation: Hotel (16 nts)

Get ready for a fast-paced adventure through the best of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. From oceans teeming with marine life to tropical forests alive with jungle melodies, this pocket of Central America is something of a natural paradise. Whether you're shopping in colonial Antigua, exploring the intricately carved structures at Copan, diving into the crystal blue waters off the coast of Honduras or taking a night hike up an active volcano at La Fortuna, you'll get a wonderful insight into Central America during this incredible adventure.

trip-grade

 

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.

Discovery

Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.

countries-visited

Costa Rica

Rafting In Costa Rica

 

Welcome to the easiest going place on earth. Welcome to beauty and paradise. Welcome to Costa Rica - so reads the national tourist board literature. Although hyperbolic it's hard to disagree.

Costa Rica has some of the most scenic views in Central America. The PoásVolcanoNational Park is a chance to get to the heart of a crater and see the astonishing views of the green lake. Paths leading up to these can lead to the amazing wildlife that lives in the park. Mountain squirrels, clay coloured robins and hummingbirds can be seen and heard all around, and it adds to the reasons why it is one of the most visited places in Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica you can try something new every day, and Costa Rican food is just beautiful. Let your mouth water from the juices of the fresh fruit and vegetables in the country. Have breakfast the traditional way - fried plantains, egg and orange juice is the perfect way to experience yet another flavour of Costa Rica.

Guatemala

 

With mountains and volcanoes setting the landscape, Guatemala is a perfect place to get out and explore.

The capital is Guatemala City, and it is a city bursting with culture. From the amazing art galleries and museums, to sporting venues and shopping centres, Guatemala City is full of life.

Quetzaltenango is the city with everything. Climb a volcano, hike through the countryside and listen to some live music by local bands. Known as Xela by the locals, it is the place in Guatemala to learn Spanish, help on extraordinary volunteer programmes and see amazing picturesque views.

In Guatemala, there is a tradition to eat certain foods on certain days. "Paches" is a potato based dish and is usually eaten on a Thursday. These traditions continue into special occasions such as Christmas. Like food, music is an important tradition in Guatemala and the national instrument is called the marimba. This type of xylophone is heard all over the country. It is not the only type of music in the country and the traditional music could be Marimba music, Garifuna and even rock music.

For a country with a difference, and many traditions, Guatemala is the place to visit.

Honduras

 

Honduras has an amazing coastline spanning hundreds of miles along the Pacific coast

With some of the whitest beaches in Central America, escaping and exploring is a must. The Bay Islands is the place to be for snorkling and scuba diving. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second longest in the world, and submerged below the clear waters lie unspoilt coral and an arrary of colourful underwater life. With bright fish, manta rays, sea turtles and even white sharks split into 3 isles, it makes the Bay Islands the perfect place to explore.

Away from the coastline are the fantastic mountains that soar above the country. There is some amazing scenery in Honduras and it is the place where so many resources are found. Gold, silver, lead and zinc are only a number of these.

Another treasure to be found is the Honduran music scene. Garifuna and Reggae are two of the most popular sounds of country. Music is important to Hodurans and there is an institution in the city of Comayauga. It's a central point in Honduran meals, especially the national dish of Plato Típico. This meal is a centre of beef surrounded by drinks and music. These two Honduras' icons are brought together, and made a magnificent part of Honduran culture. The food is influenced by Spanish and African cuisine. Typical Honduran food has infused these two flavours together to create its own specific taste. 

The capital city of Honduras is Tegucigalpa, and it is also the largest city in the country. There are so many places of interest including museums and national parks. The river Choluteca runs through the capital city which runs over 200 miles into the Pacific Ocean. The city is surrounded by mountains and the heart of Honduras is ready to explore.

Nicaragua

 

The rugged beauty of Nicaragua makes it one of the most interesting places in Central America to visit. The landscape is lined with many volcanoes, of which you can climb and explore.

The capital, Managua is flowing with adventure. The traquil surrounding of trees and many untouched trails means exploration is a must. Discover the magic of poetry flowing through the city and enjoy one of the most relaxing capitals in Central America.
The contrasting city of Leon however, is full of culture. Churches, cathedrals and many art galleries are scattered around the city. Exploring sites and learning about the culture can be hard work, but with the wide variety of food and drink available, are a chance to relax. There are many street barbeques about, and with grilled meats and lovely pastry dishes. Nicaragua is a country that grows tropical fruits all year round. Juicy fruits such as mangoes, bananas, watermelons, plums, dragon fruits, star fruits and passion fruits are just some of the many wonderful fruits that can be found across the country. Like the fruit, the wildlife too is colourful. It is the place to find the three toed sloth. This wonderful animal can be seen swinging through the tree life, so keep your eyes peeled and there is a high chance you can see one. Other animals include anteaters, armadillos, sea turtles and spider monkeys.
 
A country brimming with culture is also home to some beautiful music. The Marimba is a xylophone styled instrument and infused with guitars and drums, the sound of Nicaragua can be heard. On the east side of the country, the music is heavily influenced from an Indian and Spanish culture, while on the west, the music is influenced by Africans.

Nicaragua is the forgotten treasure of Central America and is a perfect place to explore.  

daily-itin

 

Day 1 Antigua

 

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Guatemala!

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. 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. If you are feeling more active you can climb the active Pacaya Volcano and enjoy the amazing view from up there. It is a half day activity. The hotel or any tour operator can help you arrange this locally subject to availability. 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.

Included Activities

  • Orientation walk

Optional Activities

  • Chocolate Museum, Antigua - USD24.00
  • Coffee / Macadamia nut plantation tour, Antigua - USD20.00
  • Bicycle tour, Antigua - USD30.00
  • Volcanoes climb, Antigua - USD16.00
  • Salsa lessons (per hour), Antigua - USD7.00

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nt)

Days 2-3 Copan

 

After a very early start, 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.

Optional Activities

  • Copan Ruins (entrance fee), Copan - USD15.00
  • Natural Hot Springs, Copan - USD20.00
  • Macaw Mountain Reserve (entrance fee), Copan - USD10.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Days 4-6 Roatan Island

 

Today we head by local bus 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.

Optional Activities

  • scooter rental (per day), Roatan Island - USD35.00
  • Snorkelling tour (half day), Roatan Island - USD25.00
  • Snorkelling equipment rental (per day), Roatan Island - USD5.00
  • stand up paddle board, Roatan Island - USD15.00

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 by local bus (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.

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 take a local bus, Tica Bus, taxis and another local bus. 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.

Optional Activities

  • Masaya Volcano, crater lake, boat tour, Granada - USD40.00
  • Granada City Tour - USD15.00
  • Kayaking tour, Granada - USD15.00
  • Mombacho Volcano hike, Granada - USD30.00
  • Bicycle rental (per day), Granada - USD10.00

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.

Optional Activities

  • Concepcion Volcano, Ometepe Island - USD25.00
  • Maderas Volcano hike, Ometepe Island - USD15.00
  • Ojo de Agua natural spring, Ometepe Island - USD7.00
  • Scooter rental, Ometepe Island - USD30.00

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.

Optional Activities

  • Night walk, Monteverde - USD25.00
  • Butterfly garden and insects farm, Monteverde - USD10.00
  • Coffee & Chocolate tour, Monteverde - USD30.00
  • Cloud Forest walking tour, Monteverde - USD17.00
  • Serpentarium, Monteverde - USD10.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

Days 14-15 La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano National Park

 

Travelling by local bus we reach La Fortuna (approx. 6-7 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.

Optional Activities

  • Canyoneering, La Fortuna - USD55.00
  • Baldi Hot Springs, La Fortuna - USD45.00
  • Fortuna waterfall, La Fortuna - USD10.00
  • Stand up paddle board, La Fortuna - USD50.00
  • Hanging bridges, La Fortuna - USD57.00

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.

Optional Activities

  • Poas National Park half day tour, San Jose - USD46.00
  • Poas Volcano National Park, Doka Coffee Tour, La Paz waterfalls full day tour, San Jose - USD96.00
  • Irazu Volcano, Ososi Valley, Lankester garden full day tour, San Jose - USD80.00
  • National Museum, San Jose - USD7.00

Accommodation

Hotel (2 nts)

what-else

 

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. 

Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.

included

Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.

optional-extras

A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.

money

Money Exchange

The official currency of Guatemala is the Quetzal (GTQ).

The official currency of Honduras is the Lempira (HNL).

The official currency of Nicaragua is the Gold Cordoba (NIO).

The official currency of Costa Rica is the Colon (CRC).

With ATMs being widely available in major towns and cities, credit and debit cards are the best way to access money in Latin America (note though that charges are made for each transaction). Please check with your bank before departure that your card is accepted in the countries you are travelling to. Also ensure your bank is aware of your travel plans as - suspecting fraud - they may cancel your cards after the first few international transactions.

Be aware that your withdrawing limit may vary from country to country (regardless of your withdrawing limit in your home country) and it can be as low as the equivalent to US$100 per day.

It's also advisable to carry some cash in small denominations bills, for those times when ATMs may not be available. US$ dollars is the most readily changeable currency.

VERY IMPORTANT:

US$100 bills with serial number CB or BE and any other US$ bills that are old, torn, written or stamped on will not be accepted by local banks.

Spending Money

Every 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.

Tipping

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Imaginative Traveller destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.

Restaurants: Tipping is not expected in local markets and basic restaurants. However if you wish to tip, round your bill up to the nearest 5%. In more up-market restaurants we suggest up to 10%-12% of your bill. Some restaurants already include tipping on the final amount, which should be shown on the bill as: propina, servicio or cubiertos.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$2 per person per day for local guides.

Porters (if applicable): While on the Inca Trail, we suggest PEN80-120 for all porters, assistants and cook.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of US$1-2 per day is generally appropriate.

Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$1-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

 

other-important-information

COSTA RICA TOURISM INDUSTRY:

Costa Rica has done a great job of looking after its natural wonders yet maximising their potential as tourist attractions. As a result, you should expect to pay for nearly every optional activity available. This allows everyone to individually have the choice of deciding on which activities they particularly want to participate in - from white water rafting to hiking. This also means high standards of service, well maintained gear, clear paths and signalling and well trained local guides that allow you to make the most of every activity.

HURRICANE SEASON:

Please note that Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Imaginative Traveller monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

WARNING FOR BOOKING FLIGHTS TO/FROM ANTIGUA

Please be careful when booking flights to/from Antigua making sure you fly into/out of Guatemala City Airport (GUA). Guatemala City Airport is the closest airport to Antigua. Please do NOT book flights to/from Antigua & Barbuda Airport [ANU] as this is an Island in the Caribbean.

Group-Size

Maximum of 16 travellers per group.

your-fellow-trav

 

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

Single-Travellers

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Accommodation

 

Hotel (17 nts)

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS

Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Imaginative Traveller trips than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME

Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION

If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Multishare includes triple and quad rooms or even dorm rooms.

meals

 

 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

Meals

No meals included

 

Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

 

USD 300.00

transport

 

Bus, Boat, Taxi

 

group-leader

All Imaginative Traveller group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Imaginative Traveller endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Imaginative Traveller we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

joining-point

Casa En Familia

7ma Avenida Norte y Callejon Camposeco No. 3-E, a 1 cuadra de La

Antigua

GUATEMALA

Phone: 502 7832 2465

Join-point-instruct

The easiest way to get from Guatemala City airport to Antigua is by taxi. The ride will take around 45 minutes and costs about 350 Quetzals (45 USD approx.). Make sure you negotiate the price before boarding the taxi.

Alternatively, "Antigua Shuttle" buses are available hourly from Guatemala City airport to Antigua. This service is not provided by one company but by a number of freelance drivers authorized by Antigua Shuttle. The trip takes approximately one hour and costs aroud 80 GTQ (USD 10) . Look for the sign reading "Antigua shuttle" as you exit the main hall

Should you have pre booked an arrival transfer make sure you go outside of the airport arrivals section. The driver will be waiting there with a sign with your name

Arriv-complications

We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.

No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.

finishing-point

Hotel Hemingway Inn

Avenida 9, Calle 9

Barrio Amon

San Jose

COSTA RICA

Phone: 506 22578630


 
 
 

emergency

 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's local ground representative Viaventure can be reached on +502 5778 4052 or + 502 5207 4914

We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked. Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

Emergency Funds

Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

visa-information

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.

GUATEMALA:

Australia: Not required

Belgium: Not required

Canada: Not required

Germany: Not required

Ireland: Not required

Netherlands: Not required

New Zealand: Not required

South Africa: Yes - in advance

Switzerland: Not required

United Kingdom: Not required

USA: Not required

HONDURAS:

Australia: Not required

Belgium: Not required

Canada: Not required

Germany: Not required

Ireland: Not required

Netherlands: Not required

New Zealand: Not required

South Africa: Not required

Switzerland: Not required

United Kingdom: Not required

USA: Not required

NICARAGUA:

Australia: Not required

Belgium: Not required

Canada: Not required

Germany: Not required

Ireland: Not required

Netherlands: Not required

New Zealand: Not required

South Africa: Not required

Switzerland: Not required

United Kingdom: Not required

USA: Not required

Please note that although a visa is not required, holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and most EU passports are now required to pay US$10 for a tourist card on arrival.

COSTA RICA:

Australia: Not required

Belgium: Not required

Canada: Not required

Germany: Not required

Ireland: Not required

Netherlands: Not required

New Zealand: Not required

South Africa: Yes - in advance

Switzerland: Not required

United Kingdom: Not required

USA: Not required

Issues

 

 

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

what-to-take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

WARM CLOTHING:

Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.

WATER BOTTLE:

Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day

IMAGES FROM HOME:

During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

fitness

Health

All Imaginative Traveller travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Imaginative Traveller reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

YELLOW FEVER:

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

WHO REPORTS:

The World Health Organisation has countries in Latin America registered as zones affected by hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, rabies and malaria.

safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:

Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

SEAT BELTS:

Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

BUSES:

Due to safety concerns, we don't use 'chicken buses' (i.e. repainted US school buses) in Guatemala and Honduras - inter-city coaches are used instead.

PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

FIRE PRECAUTIONS:

Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

LIFE JACKETS:

While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

HORSE RIDING:

Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available. If riding without a helmet is a concern then you should bring our own.

travel-insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

Please go to our website for more information:

www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-insurance


 
responsible-travel

 

At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.

Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.

Our Aims

  • 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.
  • Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.

Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.

Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.

Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

 

Carbon

 

Carbon Offset C02-e 141.00 kgs per pax.

 

give-us-your-feedback

 

Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller. Just go to http://on.fb.me/16wYISa for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

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