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Central America Cultural Tour in Costa Rica-Guatemala

offered by supplier M20605 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 27 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 16 people
Destination(s): Costa Rica   Guatemala   Mexico  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 8350 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 8350 US Dollar (USD)

This superb tour combines the traditions of the ancient Mayans with pristine nature and wildlife. Visit Mexico’s most impressive and mysterious archaeological sites, indulge in unique gastronomy, discover indigenous villages and enjoy natural wonders of exhilarating beauty. In Guatemala experience the colourful and vibrant market of Chichicastenango - considered the best in Central America, explore scenic lake Atitlan by boat and wander the historical cobbled streets of beautiful Antigua. Ending in Costa Rica we will explore some of the world top national parks, home to active volcanos and some of the most biodiverse wildlife of the planet. With so much to offer Mexico, Guatemala and Costa Rica are just waiting to be discovered!

Itinerary:
Day 1-3: One of the world’s largest metropolis, Mexico City is also the oldest urban centre in the Western Hemisphere. We will explore the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, one of the most impressive cities of the ancient world, held sacred by the Aztecs. We also visit the Basilica de Guadalupe, Latin America’s most revered religious shrine, along with the most beautiful and cultural places in Mexico City.

Day 4-5: We head today to beautiful Oaxaca, located in a valley surrounded by the Sierra Madre del Sur. Oaxaca has strong roots in indigenous culture, and despite its colonial heritage, the city remains basically Indian at heart, wherein lies its charm. Here we will enjoy a cooking class where you will learn preparing a traditional Mexican meal in a fine Mexican house. During the cooking class you will visit a small neighbourhood market. We will also visit Monte Alban – a World Heritage Site – and a triumph of engineering spectacularly situated on a mountain 400 meters above the Oaxaca Valley.

Day 6-7: Arriving in Tuxtla take a boat tour through the Sumidero Canyon, one of the most spectacular natural reserves in Mexico. Formed 36 million years ago the walls of calcareous rock reach more than 1,000 metres, and house caves and cascades. We continue to San Cristobal de las Casas is a characteristically indigenous town nestled in the heart of the jungle highlands. We explore the city and visit the handicraft market where Tzotzil Indians from the surrounding hills come to trade. Heading out to the Tzotzil Indian villages we visit the locals who descend from the ancient Maya and maintain some unique customs, costumes and beliefs

Day 8-10: We will drive to Agua Azul, a place where over 500 cascades create incredible turquoise coloured “pools” surrounded by the rainforest. After that, we will continue to Palenque home to the ancient Maya site which sits on a ledge overlooking the swampy plains that stretch northward all the way to the Gulf coast. The elegance and craftsmanship of the buildings, as well as the lightness of the sculpted reliefs with their Mayan mythological themes, attest to the creative genius of this civilization. The ruins of Palenque, a World Heritage Site, are surrounded by rainforest where toucans and howler monkeys live. We will explore the magnificent ruins, including the Temple of the Inscriptions the tallest and most stately of Palenque’s buildings, the Temple of the Sun – crowned with a prominent roof comb, The Palace – with its maze of corridors and rooms, and many other beautiful buildings.

We will also explore the archaeological site of Bonampak, which is set in a dense jungle hid and houses vividly coloured murals in its temples which depict Mayan life and mythology like no other find in the Maya world. We will travel by boat on the Usumacinta river, its jungle-covered banks forming the Mexico-Guatemala border to arrive at Yaxchilan, one of the most dramatic Maya sites.

Day 11-12: This morning we will say farewell to Mexico and travel overland to the beautiful town of Flores in Guatemala. Here, parrots and monkeys far outnumber people, and the crumbling ruins of the ancient Mayas stand in for modern cities. We visit Tikal National Park, where some 3,000 ancient structures rise from the rainforest floor. Not only you will enjoy a fascinating tour of this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site, but you will also experience the sights and sounds of tropical birds and animals, including howler and spider monkeys, that live in the jungle canopy.

Day 13-14: On our way to Lake Atitlan we visit the wonderful authentic market of Comalapa to see the local people go about their daily life buying produce and goods for the rest of the week still dressed in the traditional textiles of the area. Lake Atitlan is surrounded by rugged hills, a trio of towering volcanoes, and a handful of small villages. Tz'utujil and Kaqchiquel Mayas have plied its shores for centuries and continue to do so today, wearing vibrant traditional clothing and practicing age-old Maya customs.
We take a trip onto the lake to visit a local textile cooperative to see the back-strap loom in use and to see how they still dye with natural dyes. You will also visit the home and workshop of local naïf painters before boarding the boat onto Santiago Village for lunch. After lunch you will walk with your guide to find the house where the Maya God Maximón is living. Each year a different ''brotherhood'' has the privilege of taking care of their God so his location changes. Once with Maximón you may see local shaman performing rituals for local people.

Day 15-17: Chichicastenango is a famous market for both locals and tourists alike. Here people trade fruit, vegetables and everyday items as well as an endless variety of beautiful textile, wooden and ceramic crafts. After some time at the market we continue to Antigua. Founded in the sixteenth century, Antigua is a cosmopolitan destination with a rich colonial past. Its cobblestone streets are lined with pretty, pastel-hued homes and the town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city of 35,000 people sits in valley between coffee farms, indigenous villages, and three imposing volcanoes We will explore this colonial city's cultural, architectural, and social history with a behind-the-scenes look at some of Antigua's ornately decorated churches, Spanish colonial-era ruins, and the tomb of the first Guatemalan saint. You will also have a day at leisure here where are range of excursions are available such as Volcano hikes, Coffee plantation tours and a school visit.

Day 18: As we say farewell to wonderful Guatemala, our adventure continues on to Costa Rica. We arrive in San Jose, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica.

Day 19-20: Today we drive from San Jose to Tortuguero. The Tortuguero Village is a calmed place, where there are no cars or wide streets and nature is literally bursting into town. On one side of the village, rivers and waterways beckon you to paddle deep into the jungle and experience nature unperturbed. On the other side of the village an unexplored Caribbean beach. These beaches are key nesting ground for endangered sea Green Turtles (between July to September). The rivers within the park are home to sensitive populations of manatees, as well as caimans, and crocodiles.
The forests are home to jaguars, three-toed sloths, three species of monkeys, Basilisk lizards and poisonous frogs also inhabit the area, along with 375 species of birds. There are more than 400 species of trees and approximately 2,200 species of other plants.

Day 21-22: Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most notable natural features, with its picture perfect conical shape rising to 1,657m. Since a major eruption in 1968, this volcano has been one of the most active in Costa Rica with mild, nearly continuous activity from its conical crater. Lava flows and clouds of smoke or ash can often be seen from the El Mirador viewpoint and there are hot springs in the area where you can relax in the mineral-rich pools of the natural geothermal river. Enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano on a gentle Hike along the base of this marvellous “Mountain of Fire” and later relax in the Titoku Hot Springs.

Day 23-26: The stunningly beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve houses 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and is home to thousands of species of plants and animals including jaguars and ocelots as well as over 400 species of birds, including the colourful resplendent quetzal. There are many trails that lead through the ferns and orchids and hanging bridges that allow you to experience the forest canopy. We will visit a Herpetarium (Frog Pond) where you can admire over 20 species of frogs and other amphibians such as colourful Poison Arrow Frog, the very large Marine Toad and the famous Red Eyed Tree Frog. We also take the Sky Tram which will lead you up to the Continental Divide and to one of the highest mountains of Monteverde. Here you can observe the cloud forest biodiversity, the surrounding volcanoes, the Nicoya Gulf and the Guanacaste plains. We will also take a Coffee Tour to experience the age-old coffee tradition for which Costa Rica is famous.

Day 26: Tonight we will share stories of our wonderful time together during our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 27: Depart San Jose with wonderful memories.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Breakfast daily
- Some other meals where stated
- Sightseeing
- Fully escorted in Central America
- Expert local guides throughout
- Internal flights
- Airport transfers

About This Supplier
Location: England
Joined InfoHub: Nov 2010

We offer small group overland trips is custom built, deluxe expeditions vehicles throughout South America including the more off-the-beaten-track areas, ranging from 12 to 26 days. Also, custom designed tours for individuals or small groups which we can tailor to your exact needs. With over 14 years experience running...

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