This 18 day holiday combines a visit to the magical ruins of Tikal, the beautiful and colourful highland towns of Antigua and Lake Atitlan, the Costa Rican capital San Jose, the fantastic jungle of Tortuguero, the beautiful cloud forest of Monteverde, and the active Arenal volcano.
Grand Tour of Guatemala and Costa Rica
Day 1 (Thursday) - Fly from the UK to Antigua Meals included: Meal included on the transatlantic flight.
Fly from the UK to Guatemala City, where you are met and taken to your hotel in Antigua, a beautiful colonial town in the Guatemalan highlands. Founded by the Spanish in 1543 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its colonial architecture is some of the most impressive in all of Latin America. The transfer to Antigua takes approximately one hour by road, and you have the evening free to settle in and soak up the beautiful surroundings. Day 2 (Friday) - Take the optional Colonial Antigua excursion Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
Spend the day getting to know this fascinating city. Explore the beautiful cobbled streets and ancient monuments on your own or take our optional Colonial Antigua excursion. This half-day guided tour visits the ruins of the cathedral of Santiago, La Merced church and the iconic Santa Catarina Arch, where you can enjoy the lovely view of the cloud-shrouded volcanoes rising up behind the charming, colourful streets. Day 3 (Saturday) - Transfer to Lake Atitlán in central Guatemala. Spend the day visiting lakeside villages by boat Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included at a restaurant in Santiago Atitlán.
Set off early on a beautiful two and a half-hour journey to Lake Atitlán, which is one of the most picturesque areas in Guatemala, surrounded by volcanoes and 12 small traditional towns. In many of the towns, locals are fiercely proud of their culture, and traditional dress is still worn. You cross the lake by boat, visiting some of the villages on the lakeshore. First you stop in San Juan La Laguna, famous for its weaving. Then continue to Santiago Atitlán, where you enjoy lunch in a restaurant before exploring the town and seeing the home of the local saint Maximón. In the late afternoon you take a boat trip back to the town of Panajachel where you spend the next two nights. Day 4 (Sunday) - Take the optional Chichicastenango Market excursion Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Chichicastenango Market excursion.
Spend a free day venturing to more villages and sights around Lake Atitlán, or take our optional Chichicastenango market excursion. Setting off after breakfast, you drive through the lush Guatemalan countryside for around an hour, arriving when the market is in full swing. Chichicastenango is one of the most vibrant and engrossing markets in Latin America, where local residents in colourful traditional dress sell flowers, handicrafts, textiles, fruits, vegetables and grains on the narrow cobbled streets and the church steps. You have a brief tour of the village, including a visit to the Santo Tomas Church, where the local Maya-Quiché people honour their gods through ancient customs and rituals. After lunch in a local restaurant, you have some free time to explore independently before returning to Lake Atitlán, arriving in the mid-afternoon Day 5 (Monday) - Fly to Flores, via Guatemala City Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
Enjoy a free morning to take in the beautiful views of the lake, or visit one of the other villages around the lake. In the afternoon, take a three-hour drive back to Guatemala City from where you fly to the jungle town of Flores on Lake Petén Itzá. The flight to Flores takes approximately one hour. Day 6 (Tuesday) - Full-day tour of Tikal Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the tour of Tikal.
Tikal is arguably the most impressive of all the Maya sites. The ruins are located in the low lying jungle, giving them a spectacular setting and a tour of Tikal is one of the highlights of a visit to Guatemala. You arrive at the ruins to observe the wildlife, including spider monkeys and howler monkeys that inhabit this magical jungle-clad labyrinth of pyramids, temples, plazas and palace complexes. A guided tour takes you to the Central Plaza, Mundo Perdido (Lost World), the Plaza of the Seven Temples and the Twin Pyramid. It is possible to climb to the top of several of the temples, where you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding jungle. Lunch is included at a restaurant in the park. In the afternoon, further explore the ruins on your own before returning to your hotel. Day 7 (Wednesday) - Take the optional Maya Yaxha excursion, returning to Guatemala City in the evening Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the Maya Yaxha excursion.
A free day, perhaps return to Tikal to explore the site further, or take the optional Maya Yaxha excursion to a lesser known and quieter Maya ruin close to the Belizean border. Yaxha was an important site during the Maya Classic Period, and was occupied from 600BC-900AD. Today the site does not attract many visitors; however, the views from the tops of the temples and pyramids are stunning. Explore the impressive pyramids and central complex of the site before lunch at a local restaurant. Catch an evening flight to back to Guatemala City, then transfer to your hotel. Day 8 (Thursday) - Fly to San Jose in Costa Rica Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
Transfer to the airport your flight to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica is a bustling and lively city. On arrival you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Day 9 (Friday) - Take the optional La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Coffee Plantation excursion Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch included on the La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Coffee Plantation excursion.
Spend the day exploring San Jose, or escape the city on our optional full-day La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Coffee Plantation excursion. Enjoy a tour of the Doka plantation, and see how some of the best coffee in the world is grown and produced. After lunch visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, to explore the cloud and rainforest.
Day 10 (Saturday) - Transfer to Tortuguero and visit the community of Tortuguero Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch and dinner at the lodge.
Begin the day with a beautiful four-hour coach journey, partly on an unpaved road, through the Braulio Carillo National Park. Then take a two-hour boat ride to your jungle lodge in Tortuguero, cruising down jungle waterways inhabited by monkeys and varied birdlife. Located on the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero is a beautiful national park, thriving with all kinds of wildlife. After lunch and some time to settle at the lodge, visit the community of Tortuguero and learn about the extraordinary efforts made locally to protect the sea turtles, which nest here at certain times of the year. Day 11 (Sunday) - Take jungle excursions at Tortuguero Meals included: All meals included at the lodge.
Explore the secondary canals of the jungle by boat, from where you will hopefully be able to spot some of Tortuguero’s amazing wildlife, including sloths, caimans, spider and howler monkeys and a huge variety of birds. From April to November, it may be possible to arrange a turtle-watching tour to see sea turtles arriving to lay eggs at night. Day 12 (Monday) - Take a scenic transfer by boat and road to Arenal Meals included: Breakfast at the lodge. Lunch on route to Arenal.
Enjoy a morning boat ride back along the canals to Caño Blanco. After lunch, take a scenic road journey to Arenal, arriving in the late afternoon. Arenal is famous for its active and picture-perfect volcano and the many hot springs. Day 13 (Tuesday) - Take the optional Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner is included on the Arenal Volcano & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion and the Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursion.
On the optional Hanging Bridges & Tabacón Hot Springs excursions, in the afternoon you visit a network of suspension bridges, which are positioned at different heights, providing a glimpse of the forest and its wildlife from different levels. Your naturalist guide is on hand to explain the various forest ecosystems. Afterwards continue onto the Tabacon Hot Springs in the early evening. These very beautiful springs consist of many large and small pools of mineral waters heated by Arenal Volcano, set in tropical gardens. Hot water rivers, between 27ºC and 42ºC, run throughout the grounds, forming natural waterfalls and pools, some secluded, where you can bathe. A buffet dinner is included. Don’t forget your swimwear. Day 14 (Wednesday) - Take the optional Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike excursion Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel. Lunch is included on the Rio Celeste waterfall excursion.
On the optional Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike excursion, the day begins with a morning transfer to the entrance to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. From the entrance, hike approximately two kilometres to the viewpoint overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of the Rio Celeste waterfall. The prominent explanation for the blue waters is the volcanic-mineral coated rocks at the bottom of the river, which interact with the sunlight to give the impression of such vibrantly coloured water. Walk back to the park entrance and travel onwards to a nearby scenic restaurant for lunch, before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon. Day 15 (Thursday) - Transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest and take part one of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
Take a two hour transfer to the Villa Blanca cloud forest hotel. Situated within the larger Los Angeles Cloud Forest Reserve, the forest here sits at an altitude between 700 and 1770 metres, which creates a unique cloud forest habitat that supports myriad species. The hotel here is the only one around, so this cloud forest is extremely well-preserved. Numerous endemic flora can be found on the reserve, such as bromeliads and orchids, while there are over 280 bird species to spot, and a range of amphibians and mammals like howler monkeys and sloths. Arrive in time for lunch and in the evening take part one of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. At this time of day the monkeys and birds go to sleep, and nocturnal species take to the stage, along with fascinating nocturnal plants. Alternatively enjoy a free afternoon and evening. Day 16 (Friday) - Take part two of the optional Villa Blanca Day and Night excursion. Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel.
On part two of the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Day and Night excursion, set off in the morning on a two hour walk along established trails in the reserve. Thanks to the hotel’s isolation, you will have the forest to yourself. Spot species like toucans, quetzals, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths and a variety of flora too. Take note of how the forest changes from night to day, with different plants and animals taking the stage at different times, along with a different soundtrack. Return to the hotel mid-morning and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.On part two of the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Day and Night excursion, set off in the morning on a two hour walk along established trails in the reserve. Thanks to the hotel’s isolation, you will have the forest to yourself. Spot species like toucans, quetzals, hummingbirds, howler monkeys, sloths and a variety of flora too. Take note of how the forest changes from night to day, with different plants and animals taking the stage at different times, along with a different soundtrack. Return to the hotel mid-morning and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 17 (Saturday) - Transfer to San Jose for your flight to the UK. Meals included: Breakfast at the hotel, meals on the transatlantic flight.
Take a two hour journey from Villa Blanca to San Jose to catch your flight to the UK.
Day 18 (Sunday) - Arrival in the UK
Your flight arrives in the UK.
Date of Departure & Approximate Holiday Prices
Prices are in £ per person
November, 2021 - £2999
January, 2022 - £3049
February, 2022 - £3049
March, 2022 - £3049
November, 2022 - £3349
Single Supplement - £700
Full Excursion Package from £449, please visit our website or contact us for more details
Please visit our website or contact us for more details.