This 14-day tour is a unique adventure that traverses through these two fascinating, but often misunderstood, countries. Be one of the intrepid travelers that knows no boundaries; on land, air, water, or of the heart. San Salvador to Managua, capital to capital. Travel into the mountains and out to the sea. Cross Gulf waters and climb to the top of volcanoes. Visit colorful cities and converse with vibrant people. It’s not a secret that some of Central America’s most spectacular landscapes exist only in Nicaragua and El Salvador!
Day 1: Our adventure begins. After arriving at the airport in San Salvador and checking in to our modern, capital city hotel, we’ll visit the anthropology museum showcasing El Salvador’s history from precolumbian times to present day. Dinner will not disappoint at A Fuego Lento Grill, where the specialty of the house is served to your table on a sizzling hotplate. Night at Clarion Suites Las Palmas, San Salvador
Day 2: We leave the lively capital city for the relaxed countryside. The morning will be spent soaking in the thermal springs of Santa Teresa followed by a traditional Salvadorean lunch at Jardin De Celeste Restaurant. Along the Ruta de Las Flores (Flower Route), comprised of 8 small villages along the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range (an area where its high altitude make it the perfect place to grow some of the best coffee in the world) we will stop off in the town of Juayua, where we will show you how the coffee bean is picked, washed, dried, and turned into a cup of fresh roast. Professional Barista, Cesar, will impart his vast coffee knowledge. From cappuccino to reptiles, you also will have a chance to drape a snake across your shoulders or perhaps just take a peek at one in its vivarium at Reptilandia, a privately and lovingly owned reptile center.
Dinner will be the organic specialties of Tayua Organic Restaurant. At Tayua they grow their own garden vegetables and herbs, bake their own bread, and even smoke their own salmon! Night at Jardin de Celeste
Day 3: Cerro Verde National Park awaits. An easy 30-minute walk around the crater of this now dormant volcano leads to spectacular views of Izalco and Ilamatepec volcanoes. Back down to Coatepeque crater lake, a private boat waits to take us around Teopan Island (Island of the Gods), where some of the wealthiest people in the country call home. Here we will take a dip in the thermal waters before heading back to shore for lunch at Rancho Alegre. Once full and content we move on to our next destination, Suchitoto, a unique blend of local art and culture. After settling into our hotel, a colonial-style home perched high on the hilltop plateau, restored in 1994 after years of civil conflict, you can take a walk down the quiet streets or sit still to take in the breathtaking scenery from above. El Salvador’s famous pupusas are on the dinner menu at La Lupita Del Portal. Pupusas are thick corn tortillas filled with beans, cheese or pork. The gourmet variety may include basil, roasted garlic, squash or mushrooms. Night at La Posada Suchitlan, Suchitoto
Day 4: Suchitoto is steeped in history and over the years it has been an important agricultural and indigo producing center. Here in this sleepy town we will explore it’s cobble-stoned streets, churches, museums and hidden waterfalls. You will have the opportunity to meet a 92-year old woman still rolling and selling her own cigars. Lunch at Las Puertas Hotel and Restaurant where Pedrito, Head Chef and Manager, will delight us with his artful food – delicious homemade pastas, steak filets, and desserts! As the sun makes it’s way across the landscape you have the option to follow it’s path on Lake Suchitlan. Here you will find a great number of water birds converging on this 137 square kilometer, man-made body of water, a highlight for many migrating birds on their journey across the Central American isthmus; bring your binoculars and your largest zoom lens! Dinner on your own, ask us for suggestions. Night at La Posada Suchitlan, Suchitoto.
Day 5: The Alegria Lagoon’s shallow turquoise waters are home to the legend of a siren that lures young men in to the lagoon never to be seen again. We won’t let this happen to you! Try the free range hen soup or the grilled hen and fresh made tortillas. From the fresh water lagoon we head to the salty waters of the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador’s Pacific coast consists of more than 200km of beaches each defined by their rocky cliffs, and black and white sands. Tonight, seafood specialties are served at your dinner table under the stars. If the time is right, for our after dinner entertainment we will go in search of nesting turtles. Night at La Tortuga Verde Eco Lodge and meet ‘Tom Tortuga,’ himself!
Day 6: Wake up to the sound of waves and a tropical breeze. You may not even want to get out of bed. If you do, there is an expansive beach at your service, this is your day to spend as you see fit. Hop a boat through the mangroves, surf the waves, add to your collection of seashells, swim an ocean lap or two, or simply soak up the sun on land. Lunch on your own at area restaurant, ask us for suggestions. Dinner on your own, ask us for suggestions. Make it an early night, tomorrow is a big day! Night at La Tortuga Verde Eco Lodge
Day 7: Today is an ocean adventure! We leave El Salvador on a private passenger boat via the bustling port town of La Union. First stop Majahual Beach on Meanguera Island, get ready to get wet and swim! Next up, Joya del Golfo, a seafood paradise. Hotel and restaurant owners Rhina and Richard will prepare something fresh from the ocean. After this inspiring jaunt across the waters of the Gulf of Fonseca we arrive at Potosí’s black sand beach, Nicaragua’s tranquil entry point. From here we continue deeper into the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes and rest up for tomorrow’s big hike. Dinner at Hato Nuevo. The owner, and pioneer, of this vast property will prove to you that some beef can indeed be cut with a butter knife. Night at Hato Nuevo, Chinandega
Day 8: After a solid night’s sleep in the low, rolling green mountains of Chinandega we will set off on a hike up the forested slope of the Cosiguina volcano which keeps secret a spectacular jade lagoon. Cosiguina blew its top in the mid-1800s and now lies dormant. It is a relatively short three-hour hike up and down, and from the rim of this stunning crater you will be able to see across the Gulf of Fonseca to El Salvador and Honduras. After recharging with a relaxing lunch in the countryside, you will have the option to mount up and ride horseback through the Hato Nuevo private nature reserve for more spectacular views. Here the birds abound and the guardabarranco, Nicaragua’s (and El Salvador’s) national bird is not shy. Dinner at Hato Nuevo, another chance to savor one of Nicaragua’s finest exports. Night at Hato Nuevo, Chinandega
Day 9: Today we travel to León stopping off in Chichigalpa to visit the famous sugar refinery that produces Nicaragua’s finest, and world renowned rum, Flor de Caña. Lunch on your own in the Pacific beach town of Las Peñitas to enjoy the afternoon waves. If you prefer action, take an optional boatride through the mangroves in search of caiman below the waters and spoonbills above. Dinner at Carnívoro, where the food is also art. Night at El Convento, León
Day 10: Resting at the foot of volcano Asososca lies the cool and refreshing waters of Asososca Lagoon, contradicting its hot and dry surroundings. On the walk down to the lagoon, we get spectacular views of Volcano Momotombo and Lake Managua before making our way down to swim in its pure, volcanic waters or simply put your feet up. Lunch at Ben Linder Cafe. In the afternoon get to know León. Leon is one of the most important cities in the country. The center itself is an attractive destination due to its museums, art galleries, colorful colonial architecture, an imposing cathedral, and the facades of its churches. Dinner at El Lobito, popular with the locals, serving up savory traditional Nicaraguan dishes. Night at El Convento, León
Day 11: We say goodbye to the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and head further south and inland to the historic colonial city of Granada. Along the way we will stop off in Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua, which has a lot to offer the inquisitive traveler. We’ll make our way through the old downtown stopping off at the Plaza de la Revolución, the Palacio Nacional de Cultura, the Malecón, the old and new cathedrals. We’ll also drive up to the rim of Laguna de Tiscapa for a 360 degree view of the capital city and the immense Lake Managua. Lunch at one of Nicaragua’s most famous restaurants, Doña Haydeé. Sample from a wide array of comida típica (traditional Nicaraguan food) including Indio Viejo, Caballo Bayo and Nacatamales. Continuing south we will travel through undulating pineapple farms to arrive at Chocoyero, a dry forest nature reserve tucked into the surrounding farmland. Here we will walk the park’s well groomed path in search of howler monkeys, chocoyos (parakeets) and the elusive guatusa. Dinner at El Corral, one of the few restaurants serving up the tasty local pelibuey (sheep). Night at Patio del Malinche or Hotel Colonial, Granada
Day 12: Up with the sun, we head toward Granada’s peninsula jutting out into the sweet waters of Lake Nicaragua, the largest lake in Central America. Waiting for us is a small passenger boat to take us in and around the 365 isletas that are said to have been created by a fierce volcanic explosion a long, long, long time ago. Lunch at Garden Cafe, just as the name suggests, there is a garden, quite possibly the most enchanting garden in all of Granada. In the afternoon we will skip through Los Pueblos Blancos to visit local handicraft makers famous for their woven fiber and precious hardwood furniture, hand-turned ceramics, and sweets. In order to catch a glimpse of the lava’s glow deep inside the throat of the Masaya Volcano we will take a night tour to the crater’s edge and peer into its depths. From this vantage point you will also hear it rumble from within. Dinner on your own, ask us for suggestions. Night at Patio del Malinche, Granada
Day 13: A hike around the rim of the majestic Mombacho volcano – a cloud forest home to colorful orchids and bromeliads, curious wildlife, fascinating insects and over 160 species of birds – will get the heart pumping and delight the senses, especially if a troupe of howler monkeys makes an appearance. Lunch on your own, ask us for suggestions. Late afternoon free to explore the city. Dinner at Imagine restaurant will be served with a side of traditional folk music. Night at Patio del Malinche, Granada
Day 14: Wake up early and spend your last, not-to-be-wasted few remaining moments in lovely Granada before transferring to the airport.
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Central America and Caribbean Nicaragua El Salvador Local Culture Cultural Journey Volcano Tours
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