Guatemala, Costa Rica, & Nicaragua
Volcanoes, Hot Springs, Mayan Ruins, & the Largest Lake in Central America!
We’ve been taking our travel club on off the path adventures throughout Costa Rica for years. It’s time to expand our horizons into some of the most amazing locations found among her neighbors. From the largest lake in Central America & the world famous Mayan ruins at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tikal, Guatemala explodes with amazing landscapes to photograph and incredibly well-preserved ruins.
We’ll continue the adventure with some of our most exciting activities in Costa Rica including jungle walks around the iconic Arenal Volcano with stunning views from our boutique hotel & some of the country’s most abundant biodiversity in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, boasting fantastic landscapes, beautiful waterfalls, soothing hot springs, boiling mud pits, and fresh water volcanic lagoons!
An easy hop across the border takes us to the beautiful Nicaraguan beaches of San Juan del Sur before moving onto Granada with its rich history and colorful colonial architecture on the shores of Lake Nicaragua! Our journey doesn’t stop here because we still have Masaya Volcano’s boiling lava caldera to photograph at sunset and the magnificent León Cathedral combining baroque and neoclassical architecture, before bidding farewell to Central America’s unforgettable jewels!
Please e-mail us for the day by day itinerary (email@example.com)
AND don’t forget to check out our awesome Pre-Extension to Tikal in Guatemala!
* 12 nights /13 Days Central America small group tour
* Breakfast everyday
* 6 Dinners (including welcome & farewell celebrations), & 4 lunches included
* Boutique B&Bs & top rated hotels in excellent locations
* Regional Airfare Guatemala → Costa Rica Included
* Private, local expert guides throughout!
Guatemala (4 Nights)
“With incomparable ancient ruins, graceful churches, and colorful highland markets, Guatemala is the center of the Maya heartland. This landscape is known for its expansive stretches of rain forest that hide spider monkeys, toucans, and iguanas among mahogany trees draped with mosses and rare orchids. In a matter of days you can walk the cobblestone streets of a colonial capital, take a white-water rafting trip to the Pacific coast, and explore El Petén, where the stately pyramids of Tikal rise from the steamy jungle.” -Fodor’s Travel
Surrounded by volcanoes, Antigua is among the world’s best conserved colonial cities in the Americas. This magical and captivating small town makes you feel time might have stopped 300 years ago. From its colonial architecture to its beautiful surroundings; strolling through town on the cobblestone streets, you will experience the splendors of ancient times.
* Explore the city on foot to see and photograph her breathtaking colonial monuments and find out why this city was the bustlingcenter of the region for the Spaniards. Highlights include La Merced Church, the atmospheric Central Park, and secret passageways within the crumbling colonial convents and churches scattered throughout the streets.
* Sololá Native Market: Arguably the most colorful market in the Americas, it draws vendors from all over Guatemala, representing many of the country’s linguistic groups such as Mam, Ixil, & Kaqchikel. Filled with color, diversity, and authenticity, we can find all sorts of products, produce, live animals, fabrics, traditional garments, and herbal medicines here. Tons of cultural photo opportunities!
This large body of water lies in a massive volcanic crater in Guatemala’s southwestern highlands. Ringed by steep, verdant hills, it’s known for its Mayan villages and volcanoes with striking pointed cones. The busy town of Panajachel, wherevendors still sell traditional textiles, is a popular gateway to the lake and where we’ll call home for the next 2 nights…
* Discover the San Juan Villages: A calm boat ride takes us to these quaint villages, famous for their textile natural dyes, co-ops, and art galleries. The street walls are painted with murals which reflect every day life and traditions. Lots of great cultural images to be captured here!
Costa Rica (4 Nights)
Perhaps the most famous and traveled country in Centra America, Costa Rica’s diversity with regards to beauty, culture, beaches, hot springs, volcanoes, and adventure activities is unparalleled. We’ll explore a few of the top highlights from our popular Costa Rica Adventure offering the perfect taste of this country’s magic!
“For most of modern history, Volcán Arenal was just another dormant volcano surrounded by fertile farmland. But for about 42 years – from its destructive explosion in 1968 until its sudden subsiding in 2010 – the volcano was an ever-active and awe-striking natural wonder, producing menacing ash columns, massive explosions and streams of glowing molten rock almost daily. The fiery views are gone for now, but Arenal is still a worthy destination, thanks to the dense forest covering her lower slopes and foothills, and her picture-perfect conical shape up top (often shrouded in clouds, but still)…. This area is rugged and varied, rich with wildlife, and laced with trails.” -Lonely Planet
* Arenal Observatory Lodge: Our hotel lies in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s largest natural areas. Howler monkeyscall from the forest and the rich volcanic soil supports primary and secondary rainforest teeming with butterflies,mammals, reptiles and 400 species of birds. Seven miles of manicured, well-marked walking, bike and horseback riding trail system traverses the property and provides safe, easy access to breathtaking natural beauty! Highlights include a hanging bridge, waterfall, Cerro Chato crater lake, and a hardened lava flow to explore!
* Vida Campesina Farm: This family run organic farm lets us peak into the real life of the Costa Rican countryside. The farming family grows typical crops and practices newer sustainable agricultural techniques. Enjoy and photograph a demonstration of sugarcane juice production using a manually-operated sugar mill and learn about common Costa Rican crops such as coffee, bananas, plantains & sugar cane. Our traditional lunch here includes a hands-on demonstration on tortilla making!
* Fortuna Waterfall: Located in a small canyon surrounded by lush forest, this 200 foot high waterfall receives its clear waters from the pristine forested mountains of Arenal Volcano National Park. We’ll photograph and swim in the cool, refreshing water lagoon below the falls!
* Arenal Hanging Bridges: Explore this complex of suspension bridges and trails through the beautiful rain forest. We’ll cross ravines with small waterfalls and travel over bridges with panoramic vistas over the treetops including views of Arenal Volcano! If lucky, we’ll encounter and photograph toucans, poison dart frogs, howler monkeys, and white-faced capuchin monkeys along the way.
Rincón de la Vieja National Park:
Rincón has everything you could want in a National Park: 34,800 acres make up an intriguing combination of volcanic geological wonders and pristine tropical forests that span six biomes! The main attraction is the smooth cinder cone volcano comprised of six adjoining craters from which the park takes its name, Rincon de la Vieja (6217 ft).
* Adventures at Hacienda Guachipelín: A day of adrenaline and adventure including a canyon canopy excursion, river tubing the Rio Negro, horseback riding, volcanic mud baths, and thermal springs. For those who want a more relaxing day, nature hikes and a visit to the serpentarium & butterfly garden offer great photo opportunities.
Nicaragua (4 Nights)
“With coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, Central America’s largest country is jam packed with beauty, culture, and a rich history; not to mention the largest freshwater lake in the sub-continent. “Colonial Splendor is showcased by the elegant “streetscapes” of Granada, Nicaragua’s best-preserved colonial town, & the far less polished, working-class León offering a different colonial experience where crumbling 300-year-old houses are interspersed with revolutionary murals, and architectural masterpieces house corner stores.” -Lonely Planet
San Juan Del Sur:
“Easygoing San Juan del Sur is the hub for exploration of Nicaragua’s toned-and-tanned southern Pacific beaches. The town itself, with its clapboard Victorian houses, a towering statue of Christ on a neighboring hillside and a steady influx of young and beautiful international travelers and surfers, is quite fun, with a good range of dining, drinking, shopping, and nightlife venues.” – Lonely Planet
* Explore town & visit local beaches: Relax on the beach & take a sunset stroll along its brown sugar sands, explore town on your own, or head off with our guide to check out & photograph some of the town’s surrounding beaches.
With no better backdrop than the shores of Lake Nicaragua, “Granada drips with photogenic elegance, apicture postcard at every turn. It’s no wonder many travelers use the city as a base, spending at least a day bopping along cobblestone roads from church to church in the city center, then venturing out into the countryside for trips to nearby attractions.” – Lonely Planet
* Discover the “Isletas” of the Lake: A boat trip on Lake Nicaragua takes us winding between hundreds of small islands inhabited by some of Nicaragua’s wealthiest people along with past forgotten Spanish forts. We’ll snap away & capture the beauty in every direction.
* Sunset at Masaya Volcano Lava Crater: This early evening is going to be special. We arrive at the Masaya Volcano for a guided sunset experience to observe and capture the red, glowing crater of this impressively active caldera. If we’re lucky, two other spectacles might be witnessed: First, hundreds of parakeets who actually live at the crater return at sunset. They’ve adapted to the craters sulfuric fumes and roost there all night long. As the parakeets get ready for bed, swarms of bats fly out of the surrounding caves to offer part 2 of this twilight wildlife show!
The second largest city in Nicaragua is “buzzing with energy and, at times, drop-dead gorgeous (in a crumbling, colonial kind of way), León is what Managua should be – a city of awe-inspiring churches, fabulous art collections, stunning streetscapes, cosmopolitan eateries, fiery intellectualism, and all-week, walk-everywhere, happening nightlife. Many people fall in love with Granada, but most of them leave their heart in León” – Lonely Planet
* A Village of Pottery: En route to the city, we stop at San Juan de Oriente Village to photograph and learn how to create our own black ceramics with local artisans. Lying on deep deposits of clay laid down by volcanic activity over thousands of years, the small community of 6,000 has been a pottery center since pre-Colombian times.
* Largest Cathedral in Central America: The Cathedral of León, officially known as the Basílica de la Asunción, has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its distinct architecture & cultural importance. “The cathedral is a sort of pantheon of Nicaraguan culture. The tomb of Rubén Darío, León’s favorite son, is on oneside of the altar, guarded by a sorrowful lion and the inscription ‘Nicaragua is created of vigor and glory, Nicaragua is made for freedom.’ ” – Lonely Planet
* Nicaragua’s Greatest Poet: Ruben Dario’s museum is the actual house he lived in as a child and returned to before his death. With his first poem written here at the age of 12, this snapshot of his life displays”exhibits throughout the house, ranging from everyday items that provide a window into well-to-do Nicaraguan life in the late 1800s to handwritten manuscripts of Darío’s famous works. His bible, the bed where he died ‘an agonizing death’ and the fancy duds he wore as the ambassador to Spain are just highlights among the historic bric-a-brac.” – Lonely Planet
* As always this entire trip will be amazing for photography and our tour director will be on hand to help those who want to learn more about using their camera’s, composing better images, etc. (PhotoFly Travel Club adventures are laid back when it comes to photography. They are not workshop style based tours and you do not need to be an avid photographer to join. All are welcome!)
* All Transfers Included
* Regional Airfare Guatemala → Costa Rica Included
* International airfare not included but we’re happy to help you find the best flights as always. (Flying into Guatemala City (GUA) and out of Managua (MGA) )
** Check out our awesome pre-extension to Tikal in Guatemala!
**Don’t forget to e-mail us for the daily itinerary of our Central America group tours at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancellation Policy & Refunds
*There is a $100.00 administrative fee for all cancellations. Cancellations made 90 days or more prior to departure are fully refundable except for the $100 fee. Cancellations less than 90 days prior to departure date will receive no refund of full amount due. No refunds on unused portions of the tour. After airline tickets are issued, airline cancellations are per the airline’s policy and are usually non-refundable and changeable with a fee plus new ticket price.
*Hotels subject to change based on availability
CST # 2101181-40