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Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America

19 days from £3317pp

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Tropicbird: Highlights of Central America

19 days from £3317pp
 

Group Journey

 

Transport

2 flights (both 1hr), 7 scenic road journeys.

Accommodation

We use good quality medium-class hotels and lodges. Examples of the hotels we use on the Tropicbird Journey are

• Granada: Hotel El Dario 2016/Hotel Colonial 2017
• León: Hotel El Convento
• Suchitoto: Los Almendros de San Lorenzo
• Antigua: Meson de Maria or Posada don Rodrigo
• Lake Atitlán: Villa Santa Catarina
• Lake Petén: Villa Maya
• Belize: Chaa Creek Lodge

These hotels are subject to change and are dependent on availability. Address and contact details will be sent out with your final documents.

Meals

Breakfast daily, lunch day 15 and dinner days 16-18.

Included excursions

• Granada: Las Isletas, Lake Nicaragua
• Granada: Masaya market and volcano
• Granada: city tour
• León: walking tour
• Antigua: walking tour
• Atitlán: boat excursion to villages on Lake Atitlán
• Tikal: tour of Tikal and Yaxha ruins
• Chaa Creek: selected excursions at Chaa Creek

Summary of nights

19 days, 18 nights: Granada 3; León 2; Suchitoto 2; Antigua 3; Lake Atitlán 3; Tikal 2; Chaa Creek 3.

Included in the journey price

• services of Journey Latin America tour leader
• all land and air transport
• international flights (if booking all inclusive price)
• accommodation as specified
• meals as specified
• excursions as specified

Not included in the journey price

• tips and insurance
• meals other than specified
• optional excursions
• arrival tax in Managua

Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America.

Optional excursions

There are a few days where optional excursions available during this tour, which are booked locally through your tour leader once you are in Latin America. Not all excursions available will suit everybody, whilst others only operate within certain seasons, with minimum numbers or may not be included due to time constraints. A budget of around $150USD should cover participation in a wide range of the following options, but prices can fluctuate depending on the size of the party and so can not be provided accurately until travel commences. The list below is only a guideline, so please enquire with your tour leader for any further areas of interest:

• León: visit the excavated ruins of León viejo
• Suchitoto: tour the sites and artitistic quarters of Suchitoto, walk in the local Cinquera nature reserve or take boat rides on Lake Suchitlán
• Antigua : climb the Pacaya Volcano, visit local surrounding villages to pick up some handicrafts or walk up Cerro de la Cruz
• Honduras: ruins of Copán
• Lake Atitlán: further boat trips out onto the water or walks in the countryside
• Chaa Creek : additional options available can be organised through the Lodge, such as guided nature walks, a visit to some nearby botanical gardens, horseriding or spa treatments

Travelling alone

There is no extra cost for single travellers who are willing to share a room. You will be accommodated with another same-sex member of the group who is also travelling solo. For single travellers who wish to have their own room there are a limited number of single supplement places available, which carry a surcharge.

Currency

The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the córdoba, the US dollar in El Salvador, in Guatemala the quetzal and the Belizean dollar in Belize.US dollars are widely accepted in all countries as well, but should not be relied upon. A budget of around $35US per day should cover the cost of meals, drinks and the odd souvenir.

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds.

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. These bills should be in good condition as soiled or torn bills may be refused. Travellers cheques are increasingly less favoured by travellers who find them awkward to change as well as offering a poor rate of exchange. If you do decide to carry some with you they should be US dollar cheques only (American Express are by far the most accepted brand).

Tipping

Tips are normally welcomed and expected. Local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. We recommend approximately $3USD (or local equivalent) per person per day for each of guides and drivers, depending on the size of the group.

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

If you would like to show your appreciation to your Journey Latin America tour leader, who you may feel has exceeded your expectations, a discretionary gratuity would be gratefully received. As a guideline we recommend an amount of between $4 and $6USD per person, per day. You are obviously free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential. Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page. 

Airport taxes

International departure tax is included on the ticket but a small airport security tax (approx. $3USD) is payable locally either in local currency or US dollars. There is a $10USD charge on arrival in Managua for a tourist card.

Journey grade

This journey is at a gentle pace and there is plenty of time to relax in each location. All walks and excursions are optional, so discuss with your tour leader if you have any doubts about their suitability. There are some early mornings, and in the lowlands temperature and humidity are high, and the sun is strong.

Climate

Travellers on May to October departures should encounter high temperatures (around 35°C) and humidity in the lowlands. There is a high chance of short bursts of heavy rainfall during these months. December to April departures will still encounter high temperatures in the lowlands, but cooler evenings in the Guatemalan highlands, with temperatures falling to around 5°C. Rainfall and humidity will be lower at this time.

Clothing and special equipment

Bring plenty of light cotton clothing and good, comfortable walking shoes. Some warm items and good waterproof jackets are also necessary for all departures. We suggest that you plan to 'layer' your clothing; it is easier and more efficient to put on a couple of light layers than one thick jumper, and sensible to have long sleeves for areas where mosquitos thrive. Sandals are a good informal option for evenings. Protection against the sun (sunblock, sun hat) and mosquito repellant are essential and you should bring swimwear.

A daypack is useful for carrying around essential items, guidebook, water and any extra layers.
Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in Central America

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements, including advice on yellow fever and malaria tablets. Please take precautions against mosquito bites as cases of dengue fever have recently been reported in several areas of Guatemala.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website. 

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in parts of Latin America. If you’re pregnant, or planning to be, you should follow the advice of the  National Travel Health Network and Centre

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Those with another nationality should check with the relevant consulate.

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - if flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online at  which costs $14 per person which must be done by you personally. Passports must also be machine-readable (MRP). Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.


APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the departure of flights. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.

19 days from £3317pp

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About Group Tours

Our small escorted group journeys are led by award-winning tour guides and follow tried and tested routes that we have been refining for over 30 years. 

Journey with the UK's NO1 specialist in travel to latin america

The Leading Specialists

  • Since 1980
  • The original pioneers in travel to Latin America - the first and still the best
  • Award-winning holidays, crafted with care
  • Nobody knows Latin America better

Travel with the Experts

  • All our staff are in-depth Latin America specialists
  • Our team shares  a unique insight into Central and South America
  • Get the inside track with expert advice based on first-hand experience

Choice and Flexibility

  • The widest range of options
  • No limitations on how you can travel
  • A genuinely personal service geared to understanding your needs
  • The journey you'll love, in a style to suit you
Wanderlust

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

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