Journey Through Guatemala & Honduras    *alt*

14 days, from £3685
Wild Frontiers
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Description

Guatemala and Honduras are blessed with an enviable mix of outstanding natural beauty, ancient Mayan ruins and some of the most charming colonial cities in Central America. Two of the most culturally rich destinations in the region, they can also boast a strong national identity and a fascinating mix of indigenous traditions.

Beginning in the captivating city of Antigua, you will have an opportunity to hike up the slopes of the active Pacaya volcano, before flying on to the stunning Mayan ruins at Tikal. Continuing into the remote landscapes along the Rio Dulce, you'll then visit the isolated Garifuna community in Livingston, before crossing the border into neighbouring Honduras.

Here the World Heritage ruins of Copan await, one of the archaeological highlights of Central America. A visit to a local farm and an exhilarating rafting trip amongst the wildlife and jungles of the Pico Bonito National Park is then followed by a chance to enjoy the serene beauty and coral filled waters of the beautiful Bay Islands, home to white sand beaches and a spectacular array of marine life.

Highlights:

- Enjoy treks through spectacular volcanic and jungle landscapes.
- Visit some of the finest Mayan archaeological sites in Latin America.
- Stay in an isolated Garifuna village accessible only by boat.
- Go rafting amongst the abundant wildlife of the Pico Bonito National Park.
- Snorkel or dive around the incredible coral formations of the Bay Islands.

Tour Includes:

- 13 nights in mid-range accommodation
- Three domestic flight in economy class
- 13 breakfasts, 6 lunches
- Accompanied by an experienced English speaking local guide on private or shared basis
- Sightseeing programme including all entrance fees
- Private guided transfers to and from all airports
*Please note the prices shown are per person and based on two persons sharing a twin or double room

Itinerary


 Days 1-2: Guatemala City - Antigua


 Day 1: You will be met upon arrival and transferred to the charming colonial town of Antigua. Day 2: A morning transfer takes you into the foothills of the active Pacaya volcano. A fairly strenuous hike through wonderful pine forests ends at the molten rock area, where hot steam seeps through the crevices at the base of the volcano. Traversing its ever-changing face you'll learn about the formation and evolution of the volcano, as you take in sweeping views of the northern volcanoes and the Pacific lowlands that point towards El Salvador. Returning to the base, your support vehicle will be waiting to transfer you back to Antigua. (B)



 Day 3: Antigua - Tikal

Driving back to Guatemala City by private vehicle, you'll fly to Flores and transfer on to Tikal. After a chance to freshen up at the hotel, a private bilingual guide will take you on a tour of the World Heritage, Tikal National Park, where ancient Mayan structures rise majestically from the rainforest floor. Accompanied by the sounds of the encroaching jungle, your guide will explain the significance of each site, before your discovery of these incredible ruins culminates in a canopy tour through the trees. (B,L)


 Day 4: Tikal - Rio Dulce

Today you'll travel to Livingston, a unique Caribbean fishing enclave located on the mouth of the Rio Dulce. Accessible only by boat, this is home to the Garifuna, a people who staunchly cling to their traditions and culture. The mellow streets are lined with clapboard houses and a journey along the waterways takes you past thermal springs and mangrove swamps and into a limestone canyon. (B,L)


 Days 5-7: Rio Dulce - Copan


 Day 5: Leaving Livingston this morning you'll head to the Honduran border, travelling by way of the ruins at Quirigua before continuing on to the stunning site of Copan, one of the ancient Maya's most lavish cultural centres. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this archaeological wonder is located within a pristine river valley close to the town of Copan Ruinas, which itself provides a pleasant setting of cobblestone streets and a picturesque plaza. (B) Day 6: Today you will take a private guided tour through the priceless Copan ruins. Well-known for their intricately carved stelae (stone monuments) and incredible hieroglyphic stairway, the ruins also offer a chance to visit the site's sculpture museum, before enjoying an afternoon at leisure. (B,L) Day 7: This morning you will set out on a full-day excursion to the Finca El Cisne farm, where you will enjoy an easy horseback ride through the rural landscapes and beautiful scenery of the Copan Valley. A hearty farmhouse lunch provides a chance to sample a variety of regionally grown ingredients, before an afternoon spent learning about the farm's cardamom and coffee plantations and cattle ranching. Returning to Copan, you'll then stop for a quick dip in the local hot springs. (B,L)



 Days 8-10: Copan - Pico Bonito


 Day 8: A long overland transfer today takes you across northern Honduras, towards the Gulf and the remote landscapes of the Pico Bonito National Park. Named after the mountain that dominates the skyline, Pico Bonito is filled with cloud forest, jungle, rivers and exceptional wildlife, which includes the elusive jaguar. Although much of the park is inaccessible without a machete and some serious boots, Pico Bonito does provide an exceptional destination for trekking, bird watching and whitewater rafting. (B) Day 9: Taking motorized skiffs and canoes through the estuaries of the Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge, you'll go in search of white-faced monkeys, iguanas, alligators and a rich array of birds today. With luck you may also come across manatees. Following the boat tour with a wander down to the white sand beach, where the rivers meet the sea, there will be time for a swim before returning to the hotel. (B,L) Day 10: A rafting adventure on the Rio Cangrejal (river of crabs) takes you through a series of class III-IV rapids and on to a 100 metre rock gorge that you can swim through. Ending at a freshwater jungle creek you'll then take a short hike up to a small waterfall, to enjoy a shower under the tumbling cascades as they drop into the deep, clear pool. (B,L)



 Days 11-14: Pico Bonito - Bay Islands


 Day 11: A short transfer to La Ceiba and a flight on to Roatan Island today brings you to the southern end of the second-largest coral reef system in the world. Once a mecca for pirates, the beautiful Bay Islands are surrounded by turquoise waters and home to several marine species, which include the world's largest congregation of whale sharks. Considered one of the world's top spots for scuba diving and snorkeling, the islands are blessed with white sand beaches, coconut palms and quiet fishing villages rich in Garifuna culture. (B,L,D) Day 12: Day at leisure. (B,L,D) Day 13: Day at leisure. (B,L,D) Day 14: Fly from Roatan to San Pedro Sula (an overnight stay may be required before your international flight home). (B)