|Guided walking & cultural
Touring: Guatemala & Costa Rica
||Wander the cobblestoned
streets of charming colonial Antigua.
||Sail on beautiful
Lake Atitlán and visit traditional lakeshore
||Discover the jungle
temples of Tikal, a stronghold of the ancient Maya.
||Visit San Jose,
lively capital of Costa Rica, surrounded by coffee
||Navigate the jungle
waterways of Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast.
||Explore the lava
trails on Arenal Volcano and relax in the hot springs.
||Discover the amazing
diverse wildlife of the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
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DAY 1: 16 OCT - WELCOME TO GUATEMALA!
Met upon arrival at the airport and transferred to our
hotel in the colonial city of Antigua Guatemala, a UNESCO
World Heritage Centre, just 45km from Guatemala City.
DAY 2: 17 OCT - ANTIGUA, GUATEMALA (B, D)
Antigua Guatemala is protected by the surrounding eternal
guards, the Volcanoes of Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango.
Founded in 1543, it was partially destroyed by earthquakes
in 1773. Be guided through the cobblestoned streets to
visit the Plaza de Armas, Palace of the Captains, the
Cathedral, churches, and monasteries. Shopping opportunities
await with locally produced jade and handcrafts in the
markets. Welcome lunch following the tour then remainder
of the day at leisure.
DAY 3: 18 OCT - SAN ANTONIO, AGUAS CALIENTES - CIUDAD
A morning visit to the lovely towns around Antigua. San
Antonio Aguas Calientes is home to unique and beautiful
weaving. Ciudad Vieja, founded in 1527, met its demise
in 1541, when Volcán Agua emptied the water from
its crater. The water deluged the town with tons of rock
and mud, leaving only the ruins of La Concepción
DAY 4: 19 OCT - CHICHICASTENANGO-ATITLAN LAKE (B)
Drive through the Guatemalan Highlands to the Indian village
of Chichicastenango, where pre-hispanic and catholic rituals
abound, centred on the 400-year-old church of Santo Tomas,
built on the remains of a Mayan Temple. Its Market
day and a great chance to breathe in the atmosphere (and
incense) that impregnates the area with mysticism, as
the market explodes with colour, tradition, and folklore.
Later well transfer to Panajachel on the shores
of beautiful Lake Atitlan, with three volcanoes Atitlan,
Tolimán, and San Pedro protecting it. Our charming
hotel is one of Guatemalas finest, surrounded by
DAY 5: 20 OCT - BOAT RIDE IN SANTIAGO ,ATITLAN LAKE.
A morning boat trip to Santiago Atitlán. This village
is located on the south part of the lake, on the slopes
of the Atitlan Volcano. Visit the church of Santiago Apostol
and the confraternity of Maximón. Afternoon is
DAY 6: 21 OCT - ATITLAN LAKE. FLY TO FLORES (B)
Well have this morning in Atitlan before flying
to Tikal where well stay in Tikal National Park
in the Peten Guatemala. The hotel sits on the edge of
the jungle and is only a ten-minute walk from the Mayan
DAY 7: 22 OCT - SUNRISE TOUR IN TIKAL - FLORES (B,L)
Discover the Tikal National Park and appreciate the jungle
from the top of a Mayan pyramid. Our tour starts at 4:00
am, visiting Temple IV, the best view of one the most
amazing sunrises well ever see. Watch the awakening
of the creatures of the Maya jungle and well see
and hear the jungle and its resident fauna come to life,
with cheerful bird songs. After breakfast well tour
the archaeological site, visiting the main Plaza and the
Temple of the Great Jaguar, central acropolis, Mundo Perdido
and temple IV from where we can observe the majesty of
the city and the emerald green jungle. After lunch well
fly to Guatemala for our overnight stay.
DAY 8: 23 OCT - TO COSTA RICA (B)
Fly to Costa Rica where well be met and taken to
our hotel. Converted from a Tropical Victorian mansion,
the hotel exudes the warmth and comfort of a private home,
with original art and Spanish fountains gracing the halls
DAY 9: 24 OCT - SAN JOSE (B,L)
Well spend the day being guided around San Jose
and its surroundings. After learning about its history
and culture in downtown, well then visit the principal
monuments, parks, and the heart of San José.
DAY 10: 25 OCT - TORTUGUERO (B,L,D)
A morning drive through the Braulio Carrillo National
Park showcases the biodiversity of this astonishing, protected
area, and leads us to a delicious typical breakfast, with
some of the locally grown fruits. A boat ride lets us
appreciate this exotic paradise as we glide along through
the Tortuguero canals to our lodge. Well visit the
picturesque town, the green turtle center and the beach,
before returning to the lodge for dinner.
DAY 11: 26 OCT - EXPLORING THE FOREST (B,L,D)
Tortuguero is a network of lakes, rivers and canals that
are a great for spotting wildlife such as birds, monkeys,
two and three-toed sloths, American crocodiles and caimans.
The canals also provide shelter to endangered animals
such as the Oriental Indian Manatee, crocodiles, a large
variety of crustaceans and about 30 species of sweet water
fish, including the Gaspar, considered a living fossil.
Today well take a guided morning walk through the
forest, and this afternoon explore the canals in small
DAY 12: 27 OCT - TORTUGUERO CHOCOLATE - SARAPIQUI
Well take the boat back to Caño Blanco and
let our taste buds guide us to a chocolate producing factory,
stopping for lunch on the way. Well enter across
a suspension bridge to a former cacao-tree plantation,
where our guide will reveal the secrets of transforming
cacao fruit into chocolate. Watch the process, and sample
the final product, organic rainforest chocolate! Our private
hotel is surrounded by the La Palma River, an ideal refuge
for birds, and with panoramic views of the volcano.
DAY 13: 28 OCT - COSTA RICAN CULTURE (B,L)
A day all about Costa Rican culture. Delve in to the traditions,
and the way of life in the country today, combining the
beauty of nature with the local population. Visit the
market to buy local ingredients then help prepare them
for lunch. Well stroll through orchards and gardens,
and help prepare Tico-style coffee and traditional corn
tortillas. Well spend time with a local farming
family at their authentic country house, visit the rural
settlement of Sonafluca and watch some folk dances from
children in a local school.
DAY 14: 29 OCT - QUAKERS, COFFEE AND SUGAR (B,L,D)
This morning we visit Monteverde, established in the 1950s
by a group of Quakers from the USA, who have devoted themselves
to producing milk and quality cheeses. Then well
visit a coffee farm to see how the delicious Monteverde
coffee is made. Sugar production is also on the list including
the extraction of guaro, a Costa Rican alcohol made from
sugarcane and, traditional Costa Rican sobado
(type of fudge) and caramel. Continue to our hotel for
the next 2 nights.
DAY 15: 30 OCT - MONTEVERDE CLOUD FOREST RESERVE (B,L,D)
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, is one of the most
famous conservation areas in Central America. A tropical
rain forest, called a cloud forest due to its elevation
(1,400m) and characterised by nearly 100% humidity. Here
in Monteverde, the warm trade winds from the Atlantic
condense to form clouds, bathing the forest in a constant
soft mist. It is home to rare and unusual wildlife, such
as jaguars and pumas, and over 450 species of birds including
the stunningly beautiful quetzal birds.
The Treetop Walkway is a 3km trail through the cloud forest,
making it both the longest and strongest bridge system
in Costa Rica. The treetop walkways are a fantastic way
to view the forest and with our guide will be a great
DAY 16: 31 OCT - CARARA NATIONAL PARK. (B,L,D)
Carara is one of Costa Ricas most popular National
Parks, in large part due to its proximity to San José.
We walk the trails of a transitional forest, a cross between
a dry tropical reserve and humid jungle. Its the
home of many mammals, as well as the rare scarlet macaw
and a vast number of species of plants and trees. Observe
enormous crocodiles basking along the side of the Tárcoles
River. Our hotel is perched high above the Pacific on
twelve acres of tropical rainforest.
DAY 17: 1 NOV - DAMAS ISLAND ESTUARY. (B,L,D)
A boat tour will take us through the complex and beautiful
estuary system of Damas Island. Our naturalist interpreter
will describe a variety of biological relationships between
many organisms in this delicate habitat, such as white
faced monkeys, herons, snakes, crocodiles, iguanas, just
to name a few!
This evening well recap and remember our fabulous
journey with a farewell dinner.
DAY 18: 2 NOV - SAN JOSE - DEPART (B)
Today well drive back to San Jose airport (approximately
3 hrs) for our onward travel.
END OF ARRANGEMENTS
||18 day private tour
||Dave Best as your Tour Leader
||All (3) internal flights
||English speaking guides throughout
||Good quality accommodation with daily
||Entrance fees for monuments and National
||35 Meals as listed (shown as 17-B,11-L,7-D)
||One bottle of water per day in Guatemala,
and a souvenir Oxo-biodegradable water bottle in
||Gratuities for local guides and drivers
||LIMITED TO JUST 16 PLACES
Guatemala and Costs Rica
Dates and costs
16 October - 2 November, 2017
Cost per person AUD$8,980 twin share