Central American Journey

Mexico · about Escorted or Guided Tour

Escape the resorts and discover something extraordinary in Central America. Visit six countries on this classic adventure and experience mighty ruins, clear Caribbean waters, rainforests, and breathtaking scenery along the way. Explore indigenous Mayan villages and meet locals for an immersive experience that few travellers get to know. While you’re free to choose your own adventure, your accommodation and transportation are included. Our expert CEOs will help you make the most of your time. Take a trip that’s packed with all the things you need and nothing you don’t – 32 days of maximum adventure at minimum cost.

What's Included

Guided tour of Tikal. Orientation walk around Antigua and Granada. G Adventures-supported homestays with Guatemalan and Nicaraguan families. Group salsa lesson in Antigua. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Relax on white-sand beaches, explore the Mayan ruins of Copán and Tikal, bargain at the local markets of colourful colonial Antigua, meet some local friends at overnight homestays in Guatemala and Nicaragua, skip the bus and gain time (and comfort!) with a flight between Roatan and Managua.

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

1. Please note that this tour is a combination of several G Adventures tours. As such, your group CEO, fellow passengers, or vehicle may change between the individual tour sections.

2. As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay some border fees for certain countries ranging from $1 to $38 USD. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 18, avg 16.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Local bus, ferry, boat, van, taxi, plane, walking.

Solo Travellers

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Simple hotels (26 nts), homestays (3 nts), rustic ecolodge (2 nts).

My Own Room Exceptions

Nights 3-5 Caye Caulker, Night 14 Lake Atitlán homestay, Nights 25-26 Ometepe

About Accommodation

Please note if you are a single traveller, you can expect to share accommodation with one or two other travelers of the same sex for the duration of your trip. Using multi-share accommodation when available helps us to keep our operating cost down, and these savings are passed onto you. If you are traveling with a friend or companion, we will attempt to keep your accommodation on a twin or double basis, however, ask you to be open to the idea of occasional multi-share rooms.

We will be travelling through countries where cold water showers are the accepted norm. In keeping with our authentic tours, some of our hotels will not have hot water showers. This tour includes two nights in San Ignacio at an eco-friendly rustic jungle lodge, where there are composting toilets and ceiling-less showers.

We embrace local culture while staying in San Juan in a Mayan Homestay. Here, you will be staying in a private room, but don’t expect luxury. Just as it is for the locals, there might only be cold water, and you may share the facilities with the family. It is an authentic glimpse into their lives.

Joining Hotel

Ko’ox Caribbean Paradise Hotel
Constituyentes, 5ta Avenida Norte
Playa del Carmen
Quintana Roo
Mexico
+52 984 803 2032

Please note that the dates listed below will begin at the below hotel:
November 24 and December 15, 2015 departures
January 05th, 12th, 16th, 23rd 2016 departures
February 06th, 13th, 27th, 2016 departures
March 01st, 05th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 2016 departures
April 02nd, 16th, 19th, 2016 departures
May 03rd, 07th, 14th, 17th, 31st, 2016 departures
June 14th, 18th, 25th, 2016 departures
July 02nd, 09th,12th, 16th, 30th, 2016 departures
August 06th, 13th, 16th,20th, 27th, 30th, 2016 departures
September 03rd, 10th, 13th, 24th, 2016 departures
October 01st, 08th, 15th, 25th, 2016 departures
November 05th, 08th, 12th, 15th, 22nd, 2016 departures
December 06th, 10th, 17th, 20th, 24th, 27th, 2016 departures

Ko’ox City Garden Hotel
Av. Constituyentes entre 1° y 5ta Avenida
Solidaridad, Quintana Roo
Playa del Carmen
Mexico
19841854946

Joining Instructions

Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), please make your way to the joining hotel (note that check-in time will be in the afternoon). Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!

If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.

If you have pre-arranged an arrival transfer, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign in the arrivals hall. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer 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. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

We recommend the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). You must be able to carry your luggage to our accommodations and should be prepared to load it on and off of transportation, as porters are usually not on hand. A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Binoculars
- Cover for backpacks
- Pocketknife
- Concealable money belt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting and/or waterfall rappelling/abseiling)
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Flashlight
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, DEET bug repellant, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.

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 and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Costa Rica is the Colon (CRC), in Nicaragua the Colon (NIO), in Honduras the Lempira (HNL), in Guatemala the Quetzal (QTQ), in Mexico is the Peso (MXN), in Belize the Dollar (BZD).

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank.

You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies.

Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in each country.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Departure Tax

Mexico exit tax by land: MXN290 (USD21)
Departing Belize – $18.75USD
Entering Guatemala – 10 Quetzales
Entering Honduras by airport – $38USD
Entering Nicaragua – $12USD
Departing Nicaragua – $5USD
Costa Rica airport exit tax: $29USD

These costs are subject to change and fluctuate from day to day.

Tipping

It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.

Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Optional Activities

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES ON TOUR
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Playa del Carmen (Mexico):
Snorkel rental $5
Ferry to Cozumel $18 roundtrip
Tulum $10-40
Diving course $350
Scuba diving (for already certified divers) $40-110
Bicycle rental $16 day
Horseback riding $35-40
Dos Ojos Cenote Snorkeling Tour $35

Caye Caulker:
Snorkel trips $35 – $70 (half day/full day)
Blue Hole dive tour $200
Manatee tour $80
Snorkel equipment rental $10 (day)
Windsurfing $25 (for board & instruction/hour)
Sea kayaking $15 (half-day)
Two-tank dive $60
Sunset Sail Rum cruise $35

San Ignacio (Belize):
Canoe rental $12
Barton Creek Cave $25 (4-hour return trip)
Mountain Pine Ridge $35
Half-day caving $15
Full-day caving $80
Horseback riding $20-$50
Bicycle rental $2.50/hour
Butterfly farm $7.50
Xunantunich $8

Flores: Boat tour:
Boat tour: Lake Petén Itzá $12
Guided tour of Tikal – $60 divided by number of participants – approx. $6-12
Entrance fee for Tikal ruins $8
Transport to/from Tikal $8

Rio Dulce:
Hot Springs $18
Boat trip to Livingston $18 (includes a swim in the hot springs)
El Castillo Fort $5
Horseback Riding $25
Birdwatching Boat Tour $25
Nature Walk $13
Howler monkey kayak morning tour $13-26 (depending on number of people)

Antigua (Guatemala):
City tour $20
Bicycle rental/tour $10 / $35
Coffee /Macadamia nut Plantation tour $20
Salsa lessons $4/hr
Massages $20-$40
Santiago Zamora village tour $10

Panajachel: Boat trip $12 (to Santiago de Atitlán and San Pedro)
Bicycle rental $1.60/hr
Kayak rental $2/hr
Horseback riding $50 (full day)
Volcano climb $10
Nature Hike $5

Copan: Copan ruins entrance $10
Copan guide $25 for the group
Copan Museum $5
Horseback riding $15/3 hrs

Roatan/Bay Islands:
Intro Open water course $240
One tank dive $25
Snorkel rental $5 – $10
Moped Rental $40
Boat tours $10 -$20
Bicycle rentals $12

Granada:
Las Isleatas Boat tour $15
Laguana Apoyo & Mirador Caterina $15
Kayaking $30
Taxi to/from Masaya market $15
Tour of Mombacho volcano $25

Ometepe:
Climb Vocan Masaya with a guide $25
Climb Volcan Madera with a guide $25
Bike Rentals $12
Ojo de Agua spring $2
Petroglyphs & Chaco Verde $25
Horseback riding $20 (4 hours)

Monteverde:
Ziplining $45
Hanging bridges $25
Horseback riding ($25 for 1 ½ hours, $30 for 2 hours, $45 for 3 hours)
Butterfly garden $12
Trapiche Tour $30
Coffee tour $25
Frog Pond $12
Serpentarium $10
ATV $50 for a single, $75 for a double
Night Walk $22
Orchid Garden $10
Cheese Factory $10
Bat Jungle $10

La Fortuna/ Arenal:
Rafting Class III and IV (Full day – 7 hours) $75 (includes fruit on the river and lunch)
Rafting Class II and III (half day – 4.5 hours) $65 (includes fruit on the river and lunch)
Canyoning/Rappelling tour $75 (includes breakfast or lunch depending on tour time – 4 hours)
Mambo Combo (Rafting II and III with Canyoning) $139.50 (8 hours)
Venado Cave Spelunking $55 (4 hours)
Stand up Paddle $65 (4 hours)
Mountain biking $59 (4 hours)
Caño Negro Reserve $55 (8 hours)
Volcano walk/viewpoint/dinner and entrance to hot springs $45 (incl. transportation)
Viewpoint/dinner/entrance to hot springs $36 (incl. transportation)
Hot springs only $20
Hot springs with dinner $25
Cerro Chato Extreme Hike (6 hours) $59
Safari float $45 (4 hours)
Horse trip to waterfall $42 (4 hours)
Bike Rental $15/day
Volunteer Program at Proyecto Asis (feeding animals, playing with animals, baby monkey, and some physical work, includes snack) $59 (4 hours)

San José:
Carara Reserve $60 (full day w break & lunch)
Irazu, Orosi and Lankaster Garden tour $55 (with lunch)
Grecia & Sarchi $40 (oxcart & handicrafts)
City tour $24
Poas Volcano $51
Rafting (Pacuare) $90
Rafting (Sarapiqui) $75
Braulio Carrillo Reserve $50-$65
Café Britt tour $20-$30
Butterfly Farm $20-$25

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Like any city where tourism is on the increase, crime also tends to increase and while San José is not a noticeably dangerous city, there are certain precautions you should take. Make sure that you are aware of your things at all times and don’t go out carrying expensive gear or jewelry.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any 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 our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Trip Specific Responsible Travel

On this tour you may have the opportunity to visit the following G Adventures for Good projects:

OPEN WINDOWS FOUNDATION
Open Windows is a non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities for children in the community of San Miguel Dueñas. Programs offered by Open Windows are free and have supported over1,500 children in the areas of literacy, computer skills, tutoring and art with priority given to those who have greater financial need. A scholarship program is offered to children who show great interest in learning and strong dedication to studying and for those in need of medical support, a health clinic is open free to the community twice each month.

Although the town of San Miguel Duenas is situated just twenty minutes from the wealthy tourist center of Antigua, it does not benefit from its proximity. It has a substantially lower standard of living (the average monthly income is less than $80, and many homes do not have running water or electricity) and level of education. The need to improve education is huge. In Guatemala the literacy level is only 71%, the average child completes only five and a half years of school, more than half fail 1st grade, and only 1% of the population reads for pleasure.

San Miguel Duenas is an agricultural town of 12,000 people, of which 4,000 are school-aged children and yet only 2,000 attend school. The rest do not go for various financial and cultural reasons. Instead of attending school many children must help provide for their families by picking coffee. This has resulted in an exceptionally low literacy rate in this community.

There are NO other libraries or computer centers in San Miguel Dueñas (not even the four local schools have either of these facilities). Open Windows, therefore, aims to improve the living conditions of the economically deprived children from in and around the town, by providing access to important educational resources through its services which the community has come to depend on.

How You Can Help
Each year we work with the staff of Open Windows to identify the needs of the project. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support. It costs $500 USD to send one child to school for one year. This provides enough funds to cover the cost of the child’s uniform, school fees, books and school supplies. Highschool is six years in duration which means that by raising just $3,000 USD we can help one child further their education giving them the confidence and ability to access better jobs and create a brighter future.

While our goal is to raise funds to support the Open Windows Scholarship program, travellers can also help make a difference by visiting the Open Windows project while on your G Adventures tour and donating the following items:
• School supplies (i.e. pens, pencils, notebooks)
• Art supplies (i.e. yarn, crochete hooks, paint)
• Children’s clothes (i.e. T-shirts)
• Running shoes (new and used)
• Mouse pads and earphones to be used with the computers
• Toys to be used for the reading points program
• Over the counter medicine to be used in the health clinic (i.e. Tylenol, cough medicine etc.)

It is possible to visit this project on most tours that pass through Antigua, Guatemala. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures CEO who can arrange this for you.

CORNERSTONE FOUNDATION
The Cornerstone Foundation is a registered non-profit humanitarian service organization that offers a variety of valuable programs to people in need in the small town of San Ignacio, Belize.

The programs offered through the Cornerstone Foundation have constantly been evolving and are based on specific needs within the community.

Relief & Aid
Through this program seniors, the ill and disabled are supported by a weekly food program whereby food such as rice, beans and meat when available are delivered to their homes. Children whose families cannot afford to provide them with food at lunch are able to participate in Cornerstones’ basic but nutritious lunch feeding program.

HIV/AIDS Education
HIV infection in Belize is the highest in Central America. This program collaborates closely with other local efforts to raise community awareness of high-risk behaviors, provides support for those who are living with AIDS, and conducts activities to change attitudes and reduce stigmatization.

Women’s Issues
Supporting the move of local women towards greater independence and self-sufficiency is the focus of this program. Self-esteem building, ending domestic violence, training peer counselors, and teaching job skills are part of this program.

Disabilities
This program serves individuals, families, caregivers, teachers and others, helping to meet the physical, social, emotional, and material needs of the disabled. Belize has minimal information about special needs, limited physical therapy, nearly no equipment, and few professionals trained to work with learning and other disabilities.

Literacy
Although English is the country’s official language, most Belizeans grow up speaking local indigenous languages instead. Cornerstone’s Literacy and English Second Language (ESL) classes are offered to children, adults, developmentally disabled students which improves their ability to participate more fully in Belizean society and the economy.

How You Can Help
Each year we work with the staff of Cornerstone to identify the needs of their programs. In the past we have supported Cornerstone’s Literacy and Disabilities programs and with your support we can help with continued annual donations through the Planeterra Foundation. G Adventures pays all administration costs so that 100% of each donation goes to the projects we support.

It is possible to visit the Cornerstone project office on some tours that pass through San Ignacio, Belize. To arrange a visit please speak to your G Adventures CEO.

For more information about these projects and/or to make a donation please visit our website at www.planeterra.org or contact us at info@planeterra.org

Associated Planeterra Project

The Planeterra Projects:

The community homestay program Puesta del Sol in the village of La Paloma on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, is now receiving at least two groups per week from G Adventures increasing income for the community. Planeterra is strengthening the organization with training on how to run their small businesses and is investing in solutions to reduce environmental impacts. We are also working on developing other small businesses in the area to be linked to the home stay, creating a sustainable supply chain – and more positive local economic benefits.

The Mayan Homestay Project is located in the village of San Juan. The project currently hosts G Adventures groups twice per week and another company’s group once per month. Planeterra’s initiative here is to help more families get involved in the Posadas Mayas program and current families to have more space by remodeling and constructing new rooms. The project also includes investing in solutions that reduce environmental impacts associated with tourism (i.e. waste and water management) and developing other small businesses to be linked to the Posadas Mayas.

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Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.

Max Pax

18

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD790-1030 for meals not included.

Meals Included

2 breakfasts, 3 dinners

PRODUCT_LINE: JCS, ID: 23717

Itinerary

Day 1: Playa del Carmen

Check into our hotel and enjoy the city.

Additional Notes:
Shuttles and buses from the Cancún airport are easy to find and reasonably priced. You can also take the public ADO bus that has departures every 30 minutes from the airport to Playa Del Carmen for approximately MX 146 ($12 USD).

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Playa del Carmen

Start your holiday off with some hardcore relaxation. Enjoy a full day of free time to fill as you wish. Get your ruin on with a visit to Tulum perched atop the sea, explore the fish- and coral-filled seas around Cozumel on a scuba dive, go swimming in a cenote or at the beach, and save some energy for a night out on the town.

Day 3: Playa del Carmen/Caye Caulker

Mention Belize and you may conjure up visions of unbelievably clear blue waters, diving and snorkelling along the barrier reef and remarkable marine life. Belize also boasts huge swaths of jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, and above all, friendly, easygoing people. Belize is all this and much more!

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Mexico – Belize)

Transport:
First-class bus (4.00 hour(s), 315km)
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours, 158km)
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)

Day 4: Days 4-5 Caye Caulker

Opt to snorkel with stingrays and nurse sharks at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, go diving or just chill out, Belizean style.

Day 5: Day 6 Caye Caulker/San Ignacio

From the town of San Ignacio, opportunities abound for exploring Belize’s little known inland scenic beauty. With free time here, choose to explore the area by foot, canoe or horse, take a caving trip, or visit the Mountain Pine Ridge Area and swim in its inviting pools and rivers.

It is possible to do cave tubing or visit the ATM cave on this day however it would require a group decision to do this with minimum numbers. The local operator would pick them up from the water taxi terminal and take passengers directly from Belize City to do one of these activities.

Additional Notes:
In San Ignacio, the accommodation is a rustic eco-lodge, totally surrounded by nature. Eat local Belizean food, swim in the river that passes by and wake up to the sounds of Belizean wildlife at your window. There are composting toilets and ceiling-less showers, making this lodge is one of the most unique stops on this adventure.

Transport:
Water taxi (0.75-1.00 hours, 39km)
Local bus (3.00 hour(s), 123km)

Day 6: Day 7 San Ignacio

Free day to visit sacred Mayan cave Actun Tunichil Muknal or check out the seldom-visited Mayan ruins of Xunantunich.

Day 7: Day 8 San Ignacio/Flores

Cross the border into Guatemala and you immediately notice the difference in culture, with its heavy Mayan influence and Spanish language. Here we have entered Guatemala’s northeast jungle Petén region. The descendants of the Maya of Chichén Itzá migrated to the Petén area several centuries after the collapse of the great Mayan cities in the Yucatán.

En route to Flores, stop for a guided tour of the ancient city of Tikal. Arrive in Flores, the capital of the department of Petén, a small island located on the second largest lake of Guatemala, Lake Petén Itzá.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Belize – Guatemala)
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour

Transport:
Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours, 5km)
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.50 hours, 100km)
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 65km)

Day 8: Day 9 Flores/Rio Dulce

A travel day from Flores to Rio Dulce which is located in the department of Izabal, home of the largest lake in Guatemala, Lake Izabal was one of the most important water ways of the Spanish crown during colonial times.

We take the road past areas of dense jungle and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters around the globe, on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast.

Transport:
Taxicab (0.25-0.50 hours, 2km)
Local bus (4.00-4.50 hours, 210km)

Day 9: Day 10 Rio Dulce

Opt to visit the coastal town of Livingston by boat, go for a swim in a natural hot waterfall, take a sunrise kayak to visit groups of noisy howler monkeys, enjoy a hike combined with yoga at the Shaman Tower, or take a horseback ride through the rubber plantations combined with a visit to the Shaman Tower.

Day 10: Day 11 Rio Dulce/Antigua

Today is a travel day from Rio Dulce to Antigua, followed by an orientation walk once you arrive. Plan your activities for the next day and enjoy some of the nightlife this beautiful colonial city has to offer.

Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will take you on a brief orientation walk to help you get your bearings. While you’re here, opt to take a mountain bike ride out into the countryside or explore the fascinating markets, shops and museums within the city. Enjoy an included group salsa lesson and practice your moves out at night.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Salsa Lesson

Transport:
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.50 hours, 315km)

Day 11: Day 12 Antigua

Relax with a massage, climb a volcano, soak up the culture of this colonial town’s many museums and cafes, attend a chocolate workshop, visit one of the local coffee or macadamia nut plantations, or explore the nearby hills and towns by bike.

Day 12: Day 13 Antigua/Panajachel

Travel through the hills and fertile fields of the Guatemalan highlands to the shores of Lake Atitlán, one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue/grey mountains and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture.

The area is also ideal for outdoor pursuits like swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, and horseback riding.

Additional Notes:
Note: Please dress conservatively when visiting the villages and refrain from photographing religious ceremonies, or individuals who do not wish to be photographed.

Transport:
Local bus (4.00 hour(s), 100km)

Day 13: Day 14 Panajachel/San Juan La Laguna (1D)

Opt to explore the village of Panajachel or take a tour by boat of some of the different villages on Lake Atitlán.

Included Activities:
Mayan Homestay Project

Transport:
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)

Day 14: Day 15 San Juan La Laguna/Antigua

We return to Antigua to spend more time to explore the city, shop, and check out optional activities in the area.

Optional activities include visiting a macadamia nut and coffee plantations, biking around Antigua’s surrounding hills and salsa lessons.

Transport:
Boat (0.50-0.75 hours, 25km)
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.50 hours, 80km)

Day 15: Day 16 Antigua

Free time to relax with a massage, explore the nearby hills by bicycle or visit a local macadamia nut farm.

Day 16: Day 17 Antigua/Copán

The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place, set along a river in the coffee growing region close to the Guatemalan border.

The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, Copán contains some of the most important Mayan ruins found to date, and many unusual artistic features, including some of the most detailed carving in the Mayan world.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (8.00 hour(s), 200km)

Day 17: Day 18 Copán

Free time in Copan. Opt to visit the impressive Copan ruins and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way. Knowledgable local guides can interpret the many Mayan carvings left here over 1,000 years ago. You can also choose to explore the nearby hills and small villages on horseback or journey through the countryside to some hidden jungle hot springs for a relaxing soak.

Day 18: Day 19 Copán/Roatán

Spend time on the island snorkelling, scuba diving or just relaxing on the beach. Roatán is a SCUBA diving haven with its location along part of the second largest barrier reef in the world.

Roatán is a Caribbean island made famous for its marine treasures. Crystal blue waters invite swimming, diving and snorkelling, or simply relax on the white, sand beaches of the Bay Islands.

Additional Notes:
Prepare for the long travel day with snacks.

Transport:
Local bus (8.00 hour(s), 320km)
Ferry (1.50-2.00 hours, 75km)
Taxicab (0.50 hour(s))

Day 19: Days 20-21 Roatán

Free time in Roatán to enjoy optional activities. Roatán is a world-famous destination for SCUBA diving and snorkelling. The coral reef here is home to sea turtles, dolphins, rays, hundreds of species of colorful fish, corals and sponges. You can also explore the clear waters on a boat, kayak or paddleboard. Explore the island on a moped and visit traditional Garifuna settlements on the other end of the island.

Day 20: Day 22 Roatán/Granada

Spend the morning in Caribbean paradise. Then skip a long bus ride and fly in style to Managua, and continue overland to Nicaragua’s third largest and oldest city, Granada.

Transport:
Plane (4.50-6.00 hours)
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)

Day 21: Day 23 Granada

Granada’s colonial charm is complemented by the active volcanoes and lakes that surround it, and there are many fun easy day trips available. Hike, cruise, or just explore the city’s markets and museums.

Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada, your tour leader will give you an initial orientation walking tour of the city and then you have plenty of time to explore in more depth.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Day 22: Day 24 Granada

Free time to explore beautiful Granada’s busy markets, colonial buildings and museums on foot or take a horse and carriage ride around town. Enjoy a meal on the “calzada”, a pedestrian street that extends from the center of town down to Lake Nicaragua.

There are many optional activities to do just outside of town as well. View Masaya Volcano’s smoldering crater, walk in the forest at the top of Mombacho Volcano, kayak around the isletas in Lake Nicaragua or swim in Laguna de Apoyo.

Day 23: Day 25 Granada/Isla de Ometepe (1D)

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island, formed from two volcanoes, one active and one dormant that rise out of the middle of the lake. The limited development and traditional communities create a welcoming relaxed atmosphere.

The group will be split up amongst different local families who will host you in their homes for two nights in a small community on the island. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home. This experience give you a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live.

Included Activities:
Puesta del Sol Homestay

Transport:
Local bus (2.00 hour(s), 75km)
Local bus (0.25-0.50 hours, 5km)
Ferry (1.00-1.50 hours, 10km)
Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))

Day 24: Day 26 Isla de Ometepe (1B, 1D)

Today is a free day in Ometepe. We get to spend more time with the local host families and see more of the island. Opt to climb either of the two volcanoes on the island, view petroglyphs left by the island’s original inhabitants, walk or kayak in Charco Verde reserve, swim in clear spring water at Ojo de Agua, lay on the beach or explore the island on bicycle.

Included Activities:
Puesta del Sol Homestay

Day 25: Day 27 Isla de Ometepe/Monteverde (1B)

At 1,400 meters above sea level, Monteverde is literally in the clouds. The Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves are home to diverse and unique flora and fauna. Sloths, monkeys, kinkajous, tapirs and large cats inhabit the area. There are more species of orchids here than anywhere else in the world.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Nicaragua – Costa Rica)

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))
Ferry (1.50 hour(s), 10km)
Local bus (0.25 hour(s), 5km)
Local bus (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 190km)

Day 26: Day 28 Monteverde

The day is free to choose from many optional activities. Fly hundreds of meters above the trees on a zip-lining tour, hike through one of the cloud forest reserves, ride a horse in the mountains, visit a coffee/sugar cane farm, go bungee jumping, drive an ATV on trails in the hills, tour the cheese factory or check out the orchid garden, serpentarium, or frog pond in town.

Day 27: Day 29 Monteverde/La Fortuna

The trip from Monteverde to La Fortuna takes us down from the cloud forest and across Costa Rica’s largest lake The town of La Fortuna lies at the base of the Arenal Volcano, which dominates the landscape rising to 1670 meters high. The town has become famous as the adventure sports capital of Costa Rica.

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, white water rafting, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddlebording, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we’re here.

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Boat (0.75 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s))

Day 28: Day 30 La Fortuna

Choose your adventure! Canyoneering, white water rafting, hiking, caving, rafting, horseback riding, paddlebording, kayaking, visiting a wildlife refuge, and even more activities are all possible options for you to choose from while we’re here.

Day 29: Day 31 La Fortuna/San José

Return to San José for our final night out.

San José has beautiful parks, museums and theatres. Enjoy the view of the surrounding lush mountains from the downtown streets.

Transport:
Local bus (3.00-4.00 hours)

Day 30: Day 32 San José

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

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