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Hidden Secrets of Central America (19 days / 18 nts)

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Places Visited:
v/   Honduras
v/   El Salvador
v/   Nicaragua
Price from $4,040
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These three unrevealed treasures of Central America certainly will make you discover the ancestral hidden secrets of pre-Columbian cultures, subdued by the swords of the Spanish conquerors; but their rich indigenous heritage is reflected today on undying traditions and customs.
Day 1:Arrival San Pedro Sula (HONDURAS)
Day 2:San Pedro Sula City Tour - Copan
Day 3:Copan - Copan Ruins - Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve - Copan
Day 4:Copan - La Palma (EL SALVADOR) - San Salvador
Day 5:City Tour San Salvador - Puerto Libertad - Lago Coatepeque - Santa Ana
Day 6:Santa Ana - Tazumal - San Andres - Joya de Ceren - San Salvador - Managua
Day 7:Managua City Tour - León Viejo - Juan Venado Reserve - Las Peñitas - León
Day 8:León City Tour - Cerro Negro Volcano - León
Day 9:León - San Jacinto Hot Springs - Estelí: cigar factory - Selva Negra
Day 10:Selva Negra - Chocolate factory - Masaya Volcano National Park - “Verbenas” - Granada
Day 11:Granada City Tour - San Juan de Oriente - Catarina - Masaya market - Boat Trip Las Isletas - Granada
Day 12:Granada - San Jorge - Charco Verde - Playa Santo Domingo
Day 13:Playa Santo Domingo - Moyogalpa - San Jorge - San Juan del Sur
Day 14:San Juan del Sur - Jinotega
Day 15:Jinotega - Lago Apanas - San Rafael del Norte - Las Manos(HONDURAS)–Valle de Angeles
Day 16:Valle de Angeles - Tegucigalpa - Comayagua - Lago Yojoa
Day 17:Lago Yojoa - Pulhapansak - Lancetilla Gardens - Tela
Day 18:Tela - National Park Punta Sal - Tela
Day 19:Transfer to San Pedro Sula


Day 1:  Arrival San Pedro Sula (HONDURAS)
Arrival at San Pedro Sula International Airport and transfer to your hotel.

Included meals: None
Accommodation: Hotel Casa del Árbol ***(*) or similar
Day 2:  San Pedro Sula City Tour - Copan
After breakfast, we will depart for a city tour of the economic capital of the country and one of the fastest growing cities in Central America. Our route will then lead westward to the Honduran Highland of the Copan area. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the little village of Copan, noted for the excellent hand-rolled cigars produced by Flor de Copán - available in the company‘s factory outlet. Also for coffee lovers, you might want to visit Beneficio Maya, where fine coffee is gra ted and roasted for export. Aside from being able to view the process, visitors can buy fresh export grade coffee. Note: Activities in Copan are not included in the price.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Copan **(*) or similar
Day 3:  Copan - Copan Ruins - Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve - Copan
This morning will dedicate to visit of one of the most impressive Mayan ruins. Here we will learn about the Mayan civilization and culture, their evolution, history, Mayan hieroglyphs and monuments. The site of Copan was considered the capital of art and refinement for the Mayan people. The museum of Mayan sculpture will also show us a lot from the pre-Columbian times.
In the afternoon we will drive to the Macaw Mountain Bird Park & Nature Reserve, only a few minutes away from Copan. The park, U.S. design and attention to detail combined with Honduras‘ natural beauty, creates an extraordinary experience in Central America. There are many different activities to do in the park such as visit the natural coffee roasting house, swim in the natural bathing pool and hike on different trails.
Return to Copan in the early evening.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Plaza Copan **(*) or similar
Day 4:  Copan - La Palma (EL SALVADOR) - San Salvador
Today you leave Honduras and head for El Salvador. Enjoy a scenic drive and a stop in the village of La Palma, surrounded by verdant mountains and known for its famous handicraft and paintings.
Arrival in San Salvador in the evening.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Mariscal **(*) or similar
Day 5:  City Tour San Salvador - Puerto Libertad - Lago Coatepeque - Santa Ana
We will begin the day with the tour of San Salvador, the capital and business metropolis of the country. We will also visit the most important monuments, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, Plaza Gerardo Barrios and La Puerta del Diabolo. One of the most recognizable monuments in El Salvador is the Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo or - Monument to the Savior of the World.
Continuing on we will drive to the Pacific Ocean, first to Puerto Libertad and along the coast. We will have lunch at the edge of the crater lagoon of Coatepeque, a volcanic lagoon, enjoying a delicious fish. In the afternoon we will continue to Santa Ana, famous for its cathedral and theater.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Hotel Tolteka ** or similar
Day 6:  Santa Ana - Tazumal - San Andres - Joya de Ceren - San Salvador - Managua
Today, after leaving Santa Ana, we will visit the most significant pre -Hispanic sites of El once of the Olmec, Maya, Lenca and Pipil Salvador, showing us the archeological e cultural groups. First we will visit the - Tazumal, the country‘soldest settlement, then the San Andres Park, a religious ceremonial center, and finish with the famous excavation of  - Joya de Cerén - one of the most well preserved sites. Joya de Cerén is famous for its archaeological sites, so here we will be sure to visit and see different placesthat contain famous artifacts.
Drive to the airport for our flight to Managua. Arrival at Managua International Airport and shuttle bus to the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation:Hotel Camino Real **** or similar
Day 7:  Managua City Tour - León Viejo - Juan Venado Reserve - Las Peñitas - León
After breakfast we will drive to - Loma de Tiscapa, a small volcanic hill where Somoza‘s presidential house was strategically situated. Today Sandino‘s black metal silhouette rules over the hill and you can enjoy excellent views of the old and new Managua from here. nagua towards the ruins of - León Viejo, first capital Afterwards we will drive along Lake of Nicaragua which succumbed to the violent eruption of Momotombo volcano and a destructive earthquake. Here you will have the chance to learn about interesting colonial time episodes of this UNESCO site and understand why the first Spanish conquistadors settled Leon Viejo in this ferocious land.
Then we will drive to the Pacific coast and embark a boat to visit the Reserve of Juan Venado, famous for its mangroves and wildlife. In Las Peñitas, on the way back to the cultural town Leon, we will admire a beautiful sunset (if weather permits).

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Austria *** or similar
Day 8:  León City Tour - Cerro Negro Volcano - León
the old looking Cathedral - La Asuncion, This morning, we will begin with the visit of considered the largest in Central America and sheltering the remains of Nicaragua‘s greatest poet - Ruben Dario. We will also ascend to the roof of the temple to enjoy spectacular views of the city.
Then we will visit the archive-museum house of Ruben Dario as well as the art museum of Ortiz-Gurdian Foundation which contains an impressive collection of European and Latin American art. As we walk through the city we still can see some of the old murals revolutionaries painted during the civil war.
In the afternoon we will travel 25 kilometers east from Leon driving by unique rural scenic areas where traditional crops like cassava, sugar cane, peanuts, corn, amongst others are grown. Then we will reach the base of - Cerro Negro, regarded as the youngest volcano in Central America, formed in 1850. This fascinating hiking trail will take us to the summit of this - black to enjoy animpressive view over the - Maribios volcanic chain, constituted by the active hill cones of San Cristobal and Telica. After descending on the sandy slopes of the volcano we drive back to León.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Austria *** or similar
Day 9:  León - San Jacinto Hot Springs - Estelí: cigar factory - Selva Negra
After breakfast we will drive to San Jacinto Hot Springs, a unique phenomenon of this volcanic region where internal vents eject hot gasses, water and mud. Afterwards we will drive from the volcanic fertile soils of the Nicaraguan pacific basin to the north central region of Estelí, known for its top quality cigars. As we drive we will have the chance to pass by tobacco fields and visit one of the many cigar factories in this area. Here we will learn about the painstaking process of selecting the best tobacco leaves, drying, rolling and packing. Then we will drive back to the highlands of Matagalpa, also known as the coffee hub. After checking into our rooms at Selva Negra Lodge, we will go for a nature walk into the primary tropical forest to explore the lush vegetation and try to discover the elusive birdlife of the region.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Selva Negra Lodge ** or similar
Day 10:  Selva Negra - Chocolate factory - Masaya Volcano National Park - “Verbenas” - Granada
This morning after breakfast we will drive through the - Selva Negra farm to learn very important facts about the sustainability of the farm, coffee and cheese production, cattle and pig raising, social projects, environmental protection and treatment of animal waste.
After this interesting experience, we will drive to Matagalpa and visit a small chocolate factory producing 100% Nicaraguan chocolate. Here you will learn about the history of the cocoa bean, varieties, roasting, grinding and mixing.
Then we will drive from the highlands on the Pan-American Highway descending to the pacific lowlands to reach our next destination, Masaya‘s Volcano National Park. This is a great opportunity to discover one of the most impressive active volcanoes in the - Pacific Ring of Fire. Here you will have the chance to observe ancient lava flows, outstanding landscapes, lava incandescence, bat caves, an absolutely wonderful experience. In the dark we will drive to the town of Masaya and enjoy a folkloric event while we enjoy a typical dinner. After this we will drive to the charming colonial city of Granada.

Included meals: Breakfast, dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Patio del Malinche *** or similar
Day 11:  Granada City Tour - San Juan de Oriente - Catarina - Masaya market - Boat Trip Las Isletas - Granada
After breakfast we will begin a city tour of the oldest colonial settlement in the Americas. We will visit the historical building of Convent San Francisco housing the l ocal museum of Granada, displaying the most important pre-Hispanic totem collection in Nicaragua.
We will also visit the historical center of the city where we can see the Bishop Palace, Cathedral, Palace of Culture, City Hall and other remarkable monuments. Then we will drive to the ―Pueblos Blancos, where we will visit the colorful town of San Juan de Oriente, renowned by its high quality pottery. Afterwards we will drive to a view point where we can enjoy breathtaking views of - Lake Apoyo, known as the largest and deepest volcanic Crater Lake in the country. Afterwardswe will head to Masaya‘s market where you can find a wide variety of fine quality wallets, jewelry, clothes, etc… handmade products such as hammocks, shoes, Before we get to our hotel we will embark on a natural excursion on the Lake Nicaragua- a boat tour through some of the volcanic islands, popularly known as ―Las Isletas.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Patio del Malinche *** or similar
Day 12:  Granada - San Jorge - Charco Verde - Playa Santo Domingo
After breakfast we will drive south on the Pan-American highway, passing by several sugarcane and rice fields, as well as banana plantations, papaya, water melon and passion fruit.
Then we will reach the small town of San Jorge where we take the ferry to navigate on the great Lake Nicaragua to the volcanic island of Ometepe. Departing from Moyogalpa, one of the two main towns of the Island, we drive around the active volcano of Concepcion to visit  - Charco Verde, known for its dark green lake, lush surrounding vegetation, birdlife and howler monkeys. Then we will continue on to Playa Santo Domingo where we can relax at the end of the day with a refreshing dive into the lake.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Paraíso **(*) or similar
Day 13:  Playa Santo Domingo - Moyogalpa - San Jorge - San Juan del Sur
This morning we leave the hotel and drive back to Moyogalpa to take the ferry to San Jorge. Back on the mainland, we will head further South on the Pan-American Highway to San Juan del Sur, a famous vacation town for the Nicaraguans. The afternoon is free at your disposal to stroll along the Malecon or have a swim in the bay.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Colonial ** or similar
Day 14:  San Juan del Sur - Jinotega
Today we head back to the north of the country, into the mountainous region of Nicaragua. On this drive you will see as well as feel a completely different climate considering that this drive is going from the beaches of San Juan all the way to the mountains of Jinotega. The city of Jinotega is located at an elevation of about 1,000 meters, in a valley surrounded by spectacular mountains. This valley was already inhabited during pre-Columbian times by different indigenous groups.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Café **(*) or similar
Day 15:  Jinotega - Lago Apanas - San Rafael del Norte - Las Manos(HONDURAS)–Valle de Angeles
From Jinotega, we will drive further to the north, passing Lago de Apanas and San Rafael del Norte before we reach the border town of Las Manos. After fast immigration formalities, we will continue our drive through the mountains of Honduras and reach the famous region of Valle de Angeles also called - The Switzerland of Honduras. Valle de Angeles is the best place in the area to buy souvenirs and craft items; especially well-known for its woodwork.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Santa Lucía ** or similar
Day 16:  Valle de Angeles - Tegucigalpa - Comayagua - Lago Yojoa
After breakfast, we will drive to the capital city of Honduras - Tegucigalpa, where we will visit its main attractions such as the center of town, which features fine churches an d other interesting buildings. The cathedral of St. Michael Archangel anchors the central park . The Los Dolores church is the most beautiful; and the San Francisco church is the oldest building of any type in the city, probably dating from 1590. Parque La Leona is a pleasant park with a good view of downtown pedestrian street offers, cafes and people-watching. From Tegucigalpa we drive to Comayagua which is the former capital of Honduras.
Here in Comayagua you can see the beautiful Comayagua Cathedral which has one of the oldest clocks in the entire world. You can also enjoy famous attractions such as the Iglesia la Merced, Museum of Religious Colonial Art and the Museum of Archaeology.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Finca Las Glorias **(*) or similar
Day 17:  Lago Yojoa - Pulhapansak - Lancetilla Gardens - Tela
We will leave the highland and drive to the Caribbean lowland. Before arriving in Tela, our spot for the next two days, we will visit Lago Yojoa, which is the largest lake in Honduras.
Offering various activities from fishing to water sports, it is surrounded by Santa Barbara and Cerro Azul mountains with chances for bird watching and hiking. After Lago Yojoa we will see the beautiful natural Pulhapansak waterfall. Then continuing on is the Lancetilla Gardens, the second largest tropical botanical garden in the world. Lancetilla Botanical Garden boasts one of the most pre-eminent collections of fruit trees, flowering trees, hardwoods, palms, bamboo and other assorted medicinal and poisonous plants in Latin America with a collection of 1,000 tropical plants. Arrival in Tela where we will feel some Caribbean atmosphere.

Included meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Cesar Mariscos **(*) or similar
Day 18:  Tela - National Park Punta Sal - Tela
We start by boat to the National Park Punta Sal, where we might see howler monkeys and possibly dolphins on the way to the islands. There are various hikes that communicate isolated beaches where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters or relax in the white sand. The biodiversity of the mangrove swamp gives you a peak of what a real paradise this place is. There we will go on a walk into the forest and then have time to enjoy the beautiful beaches. Return to Tela in the late afternoon.

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Hotel Cesar Mariscos **(*) or similar
Day 19:  Transfer to San Pedro Sula
In the morning transfer to the International Airport in San Pedro Sula for your flight back home or to enjoy an extension on one of our island destinations.

Included meals: Breakfast
 
Trip type:
  Shared service
(can be done privately also)
Departures:
   Tuesday (Private departure)