Central America Explorer
The ultimate exploration of Mayan culture for those who want the complete experience but prefer a more comfortable option. Explore the ruins at Copán and Tikal, walk the cobblestones in the colonial city of Antigua, learn the ancient art of chocolate making and take part in a Mayan tree-planting ceremony after a local lunch on breathtaking Lake Atitlán. From the Caribbean flavour of Livingston to soaring volcano views, your CEO will show you the region’s hidden gems and make sure your trip burns brightly in your memory long after you’ve left this crossroads of Mayan culture.
National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Antigua Cultural Walking Tour, Antigua Guatemala
G Adventures for Good: Lake Atitlán Boat Ride and Community Visit, Lago de Atitlán
Hands-On: ChocoMuseo Tour and Workshop, Antigua Guatemala. Arrival transfer. Visit a chocolate museum and take a hands-on workshop. Guided tour of the ruins of Copán. Guided visit of the ruins of Quirigua. Scenic boat ride from Rio Dulce to Livingston. Guided tour of the ruins of Tikal. Boat ride around Lake Atitlán, with visit to San Juan la Laguna community including a local Mayan lunch and a tree-planting ceremony. Visit small community co-ops for demonstrations of traditional arts ands crafts. Guided cultural walking tour of Antigua. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Explore ancient Mayan ruins and UNESCO World Heritage sites, visit modern day Mayan communities and participate in a Mayan tree-planting ceremony, visit local artisan co-ops for hands-on demonstrations, take a chocolate workshop and enjoy the tasty results.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Antigua’s nearest airport is approx. 1 hr away in Guatemala City.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 15, Avg 10.
13 breakfasts, 2 lunches
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Private van, boat, flight, walking.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure. Please note that there is a 25 pound limit on the Flores to Guatemala City flight. You may be charged by the airline for any weight over this limit.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Comfort hotels (13 nts).
My Own Room
Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1 (or earlier if you have booked pre-accommodation with us), an arrival transfer to the joining hotel is included. When you arrive at the airport, look for the driver holding a G Adventures sign. Please approach them, and ask them who they are supposed to be picking up (do not tell them your name, they should have this information already). Once they give you the correct name, have your passport ready to show them and you will be on your way!
Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1 (usually between 5pm and 7pm), where you will get a chance to meet your CEO and other travellers, as well as learn more about how the tour will run. If you don’t see a note, please ask reception for details!
If you are arriving later and will miss the Welcome Meeting, your CEO will leave a note at reception for you with any information you may need, and with morning instructions for the next day.
**Please note, the arrival transfer included occurs on day 1 of the tour. If you plan to arrive prior to day 1, you will be required to arrange pre-tour accommodation through G Adventures to be eligible for the transport from the airport. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.
Please note that Antigua’s nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don’t get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua; it’s nowhere near the start of this tour!
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration for your airport transfer, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Operator (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office San Jose, Costa Rica
During Office hours (Weekdays 9am-5pm Local Time): +506 2224 5560
After hours emergency number: +506 8322 9140
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.
- USD cash
- Credit and/or debit card (see spending money)
- G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and trip details
- Passport (with photocopies)
- Travel insurance (with photocopies)
- Airline tickets (with photocopies)
- Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
- Camera and film
- Reading/writing material
- Cover for backpacks
- hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 1 pair of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals – very useful!
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, motion sickness tablets if need, DEET bug repellant, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
- You may also wish to bring a Spanish – English phrase book or dictionary
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
There is a mandatory $10USD tourist card for most foreigners arriving into the San Salvador airport, payable upon arrival.
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances. Visa cards are the most widely accepted cards. While ATMs are widely available, there are no guarantees that your credit or debit cards will actually work in Latin America. Check with your bank. You should be aware that to purchase products or services on a credit card a fee of 5%-10% usually applies. Do not rely on credit or debit cards as your only source of money. A combination of US dollars cash and cards with travellers cheques as backup is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.
CURRENCY EXCHANGE TIP: Please be advised that slightly torn notes, notes that have been heavily marked or are faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than 100USD (or equivalent).
GUATEMALA ATMs: Please note that daily withdrawal limits in this country are extremely low, currently set at 1000 quetzales – less than 140 USD. It is advisable to arrive with enough cash, if your daily needs exceed this amount.
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
It is customary in Latin America to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is an expected – though not compulsory – component of your tour program and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $5-10 USD per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture.
Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Salsa Lesson (5-12USD per person)
- Finca Filidelfia Coffee Tour (18-25USD per person)
- Finca Valhalla Visit (5-10USD per person)
- Pacaya Volcano Hike (Half-Day) (15-70USD per person)
- Luna Jaguar Hot Springs Visit (45USD per person)
- Horseback Riding (25USD per person)
- Horseback Riding Rio Dulce
- San Felipe Fort Visit (5USD per person)
- Sunrise Monkey Kayak (23USD per person)
- Chocón-Machacas Nature Reserve Hike
Lago Petén Itzá
- Lake Petén Itzá Boat Tour (10-20USD per person)
Lago de Atitlán
San Juan La Laguna
- La Nariz del Indio Hike (15-23USD per person)
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
PRODUCT_LINE: CGCA, ID: 23011
Day 1 Guatemala City/Antigua Guatemala
There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and enjoy this charming city.
Antigua’s nearest airport is Guatemala City, Guatemala. Don’t get caught flying into the Caribbean island nation of Antigua; it’s nowhere near the start of this tour!
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Arrival Airport Transfer (0.75-1.00 hours, 45km)
Day 2 Antigua Guatemala (1B)
Walk through quiet cobblestone streets past restored Spanish colonial stucco homes with heavy, beautifully carved wooden entrances. Explore the museums and churches, then have an ice cream and people-watch in the central park.
ChocoMuseo Tour and Workshop
Day 3 Antigua Guatemala/Copán (1B)
The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place, with an almost-perfect climate. Besides the Mayan ruins this town is famous for, there are many other things to explore.
Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras)
Private Vehicle (8.00-9.00 hours, 280km)
Day 4 Copán (1B)
The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place, with an almost-perfect climate. Besides the Mayan ruins this town is famous for, there are many other things to explore.
Copán Ruins Guided Tour
Day 5 Copán/Rio Dulce (1B)
Cross into Guatemala and arrive at Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters around the globe, on their way to/from Livingston and the Caribbean coast.
There are plenty of opportunities for R & R. Aside from boating on Lake Izabal, you may opt to horseback ride through a rubber plantation, explore San Felipe fort, take the morning monkey kayak tour, relax at the hot waterfall or hike through the jungle trails of the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve area.
Border Crossing (Guatemala-Honduras)
Mayan Ruins of Quirigua Visit
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours, 160km)
Day 6 Rio Dulce (1B)
Enjoy free time in Rio Dulce with optional activities that include: horseback riding, San Felipe fort, monkey kayak tour, relaxing at the hot waterfall or hiking through the jungle trails of the Chocón-Machacas Natural Reserve area.
Day 7 Rio Dulce/Flores (1B, 1L)
In the morning, board a motorboat and journey towards the coast on a beautiful ride past cliffs, hot springs and a few small communities. Enjoy an included lunch in the small town of Livingston before heading off to Flores. Livingston is famous for its seafood soup called Tapado. Make sure to try it for lunch! After, journey overland to Flores in the Petén region of Guatemala.
Boat (4.00-5.00 hours, 55km)
Day 8 Flores (1B)
This charming town, with its pastel-coloured buildings, enjoys a scenic setting on Lake Petén Itzá. There will be time to stroll through the streets, buy local handicrafts or take a swim in the lake.
Tikal Ruins Guided Tour
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours, 64km)
Day 9 Flores/Jaibalito (1B)
Head to the small Flores airport early in the morning before boarding a flight to Guatemala City. From there, transfer by private van to the beautiful Lake Atitlán. Your home at the lake will be in the tranquil town of Jaibalito. This tiny village sits on the north shores of breathtaking Lake Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes. There are no paved roads leading into Jaibalito, but the paths weaving across the slopes offer rewarding views of the lake.
Plane (1.00-1.50 hours, 550km)
Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 115km)
Boat (0.50 hour(s))
Day 10 Jaibalito (1B, 1L)
Test your communication and bargaining skills in the colourful local markets, of which there are many. There are also a number of weaving cooperatives that you may wish to visit. The proceeds from the sales return directly to the community and are a significant contribution to the local economy.
Lake Atitlán Boat Ride and Community Visit
Day 11 Jaibalito (1B)
Free time for outdoor pursuits such as swimming, fishing, wind surfing, hiking, bird watching, and kayaking.
Day 12 Jaibalito/Antigua Guatemala (1B)
Antigua offers three specialties that make shopping here very worthwhile. Textiles sold here and in the nearby towns are of the highest quality, beautifully designed and woven on foot looms or the traditional back strap loom. Jade, in carved statues and jewelry, is sold in several factories and shops in town and silver jewelry is also sold in the better shops and a nearby silver factory in San Felipe de Jesus. The city offers good buys in ceramics and antiques as well.
Boat (0.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 13 Antigua Guatemala (1B)
Explore Antigua on a guided cultural walking tour with a local expert, including the museums at Paseo de los Museos. Opt to go on a volcano trek, or an excursion to a macadamia nut plantation or coffee farm.
Antigua Cultural Walking Tour
Day 14 Antigua Guatemala (1B)
Depart at any time.