Day 1: Managua - Granada (Nicaragua)
In the morning you meet with your guide at the reception of your hotel and drive towards Granada. En route we visit the Volcano Masaya National Park, Nicaragua's first and biggest national park. The area comprises two volcanoes and five craters. Due to various eruptions the Spaniards feared the volcanoes. They baptized the active volcano "The Mouth of Hell" and planted a cross on the crater lip in order to exorcise the devil. From the vantage point at the crater you enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view. At fair weather, you might see the Laguna de Apoyo, the Lake Nicaragua and the city of Granada. Later we continue to Granada. The oldest colonial town in Nicaragua is said to be one of the most beautiful Central American towns. 2 overnights in Granada.
Day 2: Granada
Granada offers many interesting buildings from the colonial era. We spend the day touring the historic centre. We pass by old colonial houses and important buildings like the San Francisco Convent or Guadeloupe Church. Stroll over the Plaza Central and get carried away by the vivid city life. Many alternative excursions can be organized for this day, for example a visit of Volcano Mombacho or a boat tour to the Granada Islets, located amidst Lake Nicaragua. The 365 islets were formed by an eruption of Mombacho Volcano thousands of years ago, when great parts of the volcanic cone were thrown into the lake. The islets differ in size between a hundred square metres and over one hundred hectares. Most of the islets are covered with rich vegetation and form a habitat for many bird species.
Day 3: Granada - León
Today we drive in a northward direction along the Lake Managua to Granada. We visit the Ruins of León Viejo, one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in the Americas. The town was founded in 1524 and abandoned after an earthquake in 1610. As it didn't develop, but fell down in ruins, it is one of the few towns from the 16th century, which are preserved intact and unaltered by subsequent rebuilding. The ruins preserve in a unique way the form and nature of early Spanish settlements in the Americas adapting European architectural and planning concepts to the material potential of another region. Later we visit the city centre of León with its famous cathedral, built between 1747 and 1814. It is the largest cathedral in Central America and one of the best known in the Americas. Overnight in León.
Day 4: León - Tegucigalpa (Honduras)
Early in the morning we leave León towards the Honduran border. After a scenic drive, we reach Tegucigalpa in the afternoon. Honduras' capital is located at 1.100 above sea level in a valley surrounded by mountain ranges. The origin of Tegucigalpa dates back to the 16th century and is linked to the discovery of silver deposits in the surrounding areas. This colonial and mining past is still palpable in the historic centre. Depending on how much time we need at the border to deal with the border crossing formalities, we might have time for a short tour through the city centre. 2 overnights in Tegucigalpa.
Day 5: Tegucigalpa - Comayagua - Lake Yojoa - Cerro Azul Meambar
We drive to Honduras' biggest lake, Lago de Yojoa. On the way, we visit the ancient capital Comayagua with its colonial heritage and the small historic museum. The town's church houses one of the oldest clocks in America, which dates from AD 1100. The region around Lake Yojoa is a birdwatcher's paradise. The wetlands attract the greatest concentration of birds in the country. About 450 of the 700 species registered in Honduras can be found around this lake. We visit the impressive Pulhapanzak Waterfall before driving up to the Cerro Azul Meambar National Park. The visitor's centre, where we spend the following night, is located at 850m a.s.l. at the entrance to the national park and the unspoiled rain forest.
Day 6: Cerro Azul Meambar - San Pedro Sula - Copán Ruinas
The national park works as a retreating area for a lot of species, because of increased human activities around the Lake. Jaguars, Ocelots, Coatis, Tapir and Howler Monkeys are only a few of the 50 mammal species that live in the park. On an early hiking tour we explore the magnificent tropical forest types before transferring to Honduras' second largest city and economic centre San Pedro Sula. We visit the small anthropological museum and the colourful Guamilito market where vegetables, fruits, meat, spices, and all kinds of regional handcraft like wooden, straw and leather goods are offered. Afterwards we continue to Copán Ruinas, where we check in our hotel, located in the centre of the village. The rest of the afternoon is left free to enjoy and explore the picturesque village. 2 overnights in Copan Ruinas.
Day 7: Copán Ruinas
After breakfast we walk to the nearby Archaeological Park of Copán Ruins, which consists of two main sites: the ruins and the sepulchres. At its height (from 200 to 900 A.D.) Copán had about 24,000 inhabitants. It wasn't one of the largest Mayan cities. However, it was the principal cultural centre of the Maya region due to its advanced development of sculpture, astronomy, and hieroglyphic writing. The sculptures and stelaes are among the most artistic of all Mayan sites. The main site is famous for the Hieroglyphic Stairway, which is 30 m long and 10 m high. The lengthy inscription on the Hieroglyphic Stairway is of considerable historical significance. Later we visit the sepulchres, a residential and burial site of the Mayan nobles located at about 2 km from the main group.
Day 8: Copán Ruinas - Antigua (Guatemala)
The Maya developed into the New World's most sophisticated ancient civilization, a society of scientists, skilled architects and sculptors, fierce warriors and a ruling class that raised enormous temples to honour the lives and achievements of their kings. Representing the southeast limit to the spread of the Maya world, the city-state of Copán became the Maya's crowning artistic achievement, the cultural apex of the Maya civilization. Leader among all Mayan cities in terms of quantity and quality of stone sculpture, it has been dubbed the Athens of the New World. Early in the morning we leave the small, picturesque town, cross the nearby border and transfer through the Motagua valley to Antigua Guatemala. 2 overnights in Antigua
Day 9: Antigua
Antigua lies nestled between three volcanoes that are clearly visible over the red tile roofs and church bell towers. Founded in the 16th century as Santiago de Guatemala, Antigua was the seat of the Spanish colonial government for the Kingdom of Guatemala. After a severe earthquake in 1773, which damaged great parts of the town, the capital was moved to Guatemala City. In 1979 Antigua was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list as an outstanding example of preserved colonial architecture and of cultural value. Until today the principal monuments built before the earthquake are preserved as ruins. Much of the architecture today dates from the 17th and 18th centuries. During our tour we visit the Main Square, the Cathedral, the Capuchinas Convent, the churches San Francisco and La Merced as well as other buildings and colonial spots.
Day 10: Antigua - Guatemala City
In the morning we drive to Guatemala City. With 4.1 million people living in the metropolitan area, Guatemala City is the largest urban agglomeration in Central America. Although it is often describes as noisy and polluted (the same can be said of other big cities all over the world), it is at the same time a fascinating city with excellent dining and entertainment options as well as beautiful surroundings. Bordered by a lake, forested mountains, and four volcanoes, it has its own special charm. And it is the real cultural capital of Guatemala - the writers, the thinkers, the artists mostly live and work here. If there is time, we tour Guatemala's capital before we transfer to the airport in time for your international departure flight. End of program.
* For a small additional charge we transfer you back to San Pedro Sula.
* You can book this tour in the opposite direction without additional costs. You can also extend or shorten it or propose program changes.
* A great option to extend the tour is a stay at the beautiful Lake Atitlan or a visit to the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
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Central America and Caribbean Nicaragua Honduras Guatemala Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History
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