AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Journey Latin America

Central America discovery Traveller Reviews

Reviews of Central America discovery

Overall Holiday Rating
92%
Excellent 15
Good 1
Average 0
Poor 2
Terrible 0
Reviews Submitted: 18
Reviews Accepted: 18
Reviews Rejected: 0
18 reviews
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Central America discovery by A couple from the north of England, 27 Feb 2016
Holiday Rating:

Group tour [15 people] through 6 countries in Central America by bus and boat

Very flexible travel arrangements..able to fly from Manchester via Amsterdam and avoid going through the US. Very varied scenery and places to stay..Panama Canal ,coffee farm tour, an island off the Caribbean coast of Panama, Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica, lots of volcanoes and Spanish Colonial towns. Many border crossings, different buses and changes of currency..all made easy by our superb indefatigable ...

Very flexible travel arrangements..able to fly from Manchester via Amsterdam and avoid going through the US. Very varied scenery and places to stay..Panama Canal ,coffee farm tour, an island off the Caribbean coast of Panama, Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica, lots of volcanoes and Spanish Colonial towns. Many border crossings, different buses and changes of currency..all made easy by our superb indefatigable guide who could not have been more organised or helpful. Would highly recommend both this trip and Journey Latin America.

Rating for tour operator:

As above

Central America discovery by Hils, 31 Jan 2016
Holiday Rating:

Amazing Central America

A group tour of 6 countries in Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. A fantastic taste of the 6 countries with inevitably lots of travelling from place to place. We had a rich variety of forms of transport - private bus, public bus, chicken bus, small water taxis, ferries, tuc tuc, horses and zip-wires! Walked in forests and saw amazing vegetation, birds and animals. We marvelled at volcanoes...

A group tour of 6 countries in Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. A fantastic taste of the 6 countries with inevitably lots of travelling from place to place. We had a rich variety of forms of transport - private bus, public bus, chicken bus, small water taxis, ferries, tuc tuc, horses and zip-wires! Walked in forests and saw amazing vegetation, birds and animals. We marvelled at volcanoes. We ate in many different style restaurants and sampled street food. Visited ruins, museums and saw lots of Spanish colonial architecture.

Rating for tour operator:

Thoroughly friendly, knowledgeable and professional at all points of contact from the initial contact with Alexandra at JLA, through the booking process to being looked after by a world class tour leader - Daniele Binaghi. JLA have an in-depth knowledge of South America and put together really interesting and good value tours.

Central America discovery by Aber Girl., 12 Apr 2015
Holiday Rating:

Wonderful 3 weeks.

We travelled through 6 Central American countries by road starting in Panama and ending in Guatamala. Wonderful scenery, great people and interesting histories. Despite all the cvil wars, each country has a lot to offer although they still seem somewhat unstable. This was an 'experience' holiday, quite tiring but worth every minute. The more you travel, the more you realise how little you have actually seen!

We travelled through 6 Central American countries by road starting in Panama and ending in Guatamala. Wonderful scenery, great people and interesting histories. Despite all the cvil wars, each country has a lot to offer although they still seem somewhat unstable. This was an 'experience' holiday, quite tiring but worth every minute. The more you travel, the more you realise how little you have actually seen!

Rating for tour operator:

Efficient from start to finish during simply booking procedure. An excellent tour leader was the icing on the cake.

Central America discovery by Miss M M 15, 7 Apr 2015
Holiday Rating:

Traveled to Central America 6 countries.A very good itinery.

This holiday covered many things Nature, Volcanoes, Mayan ruins,Beach,different modes of travel,Easter festivities.

This holiday covered many things Nature, Volcanoes, Mayan ruins,Beach,different modes of travel,Easter festivities.

Rating for tour operator:

JLA The itinerary was accurate.

Central America discovery by EK, 16 Feb 2015
Holiday Rating:

overpriced and costly

The description of the hotels used as 'mid-range and well-equipped' was well wide of the mark, half of them were very poor. Panama City hotel was disgusting. I opened my room to find blood stained mattress protector and no sheets, no towels, bins full including the used toilet paper bin ie the room hadn't been prepared at all. A great start to the holiday. The safety deposit box didn't work either and lucky if you got hot water, which turned ...

The description of the hotels used as 'mid-range and well-equipped' was well wide of the mark, half of them were very poor. Panama City hotel was disgusting. I opened my room to find blood stained mattress protector and no sheets, no towels, bins full including the used toilet paper bin ie the room hadn't been prepared at all. A great start to the holiday. The safety deposit box didn't work either and lucky if you got hot water, which turned out to be common factors at most hotels. Hotel in San Jose was also particularly appalling with no direct room ventilation to the outside and a disgusting breakfast of a fried egg and 2 small slices of bread. At the Copan hotel we were kept awake til the early hours by (we discovered the next day)local drug dealers who had occupied the hotel foyer.The extent of the additional costs involved – optional excursions, border taxes, tipping etc - wasn't mentioned until I received the final documents or even on the bus, had I known them before I booked I may have booked elsewhere where these were included in the price. The buses used rarely had seat belts and little leg room for long journeys especially if you had to sit over a wheel.

Rating for tour operator:

1.Though others had the same problem as me of a lack of hot water, having paid a single room supplement of £663 I didn't expect to be given any lesser a room than couples who had booked together but this was overtly the case in the way rooms were allocated in most of the hotels, couples were given the most spacious rooms in the best locations. Having viewed the rates at the hotels stayed at I also consider the amount of the single supplement I was charged excessive and fail to see how the figure could be justified. 2. No indigenous tour leader and few indigenous guides 3. Tour details changed to omit Managua where I expected to be able to take some photos at least. 4. Significant 'hidden' costs not informed about until receipt of itinerary or later.

Journey Latin America responded to this review on 24 Feb 2015:

We are very disappointed you were unhappy with certain aspects of the tour and we shall be responding to you directly once we have fully investigated. We aim to use characterful and authentic properties described in our documentation as a variety of simple hotels and guesthouses which at times may be purely functional. However, I am sorry that the hotel in Panama City initially allocated a room that had not been cleaned. I also regret the room you were assigned in San Jose faced the internal courtyard and that breakfast was not up to scratch. It was also disappointing to read there were external noise issues at the hotel in Copan. Our Central America tour is one of our most popular and well-established trips though in light of recent feedback we will be making changes to the accommodation.
We are always as transparent as possible with regards to additional costs and daily expenditure. We provide daily budget guidelines in our documentation based upon previous client and tour leader feedback alike whilst our group tour trip dossiers and tour webpage list a variety of optional excursions including the approximate cost of participation. Similarly, we present tipping suggestions in our documentation though do try to emphasise it is entirely down to individual discretion based upon the enjoyment of the service provided. As border entrance and exit fees can only be paid in local currency on the ground in person, they are accounted for in the aforementioned daily budget guidelines.
Thank you for raising your concerns regarding the transport used. Our tour leaders always request rear seat belts from transport providers and we will also be following this up and your comments about leg room

Journey Latin America responded to this review on 24 Feb 2015:

1)The single supplement price is an exact calculation of the extra costs we incur from the hotels, though we endeavour to obtain the lowest possible cost for single travellers. In most cases it is the hotel that determines room allocations though in most colonial buildings, the rooms are of different sizes and dimensions. However, when a hotel offers a choice or indeed room upgrades, tour leaders should always designate these fairly among the group. We are in the process of following up your concerns with the tour leader to ensure this continues to remain the case.

2)We employ both UK and Latin American tour leaders to oversee our group trips throughout South and Central America. This tour of Central America covers six different countries though in the varied destinations, we use specialist local and indigenous guides with an in-depth knowledge of the sites and locales.

3)I regret the disappointment of missing out on the brief stop-off in Managua which was the only small change when we published the 2015 tour itinerary. We had felt it to be operationally beneficial by reducing the road transfer time between the key colonial sites of Granada and Leon.

4)We are always as transparent as possible with regards to additional costs and daily expenditure. We provide daily budget guidelines in our documentation based upon previous client and tour leader feedback alike whilst our group tour trip dossiers and tour webpage list a variety of optional excursions including the approximate cost of participation. Similarly, we present tipping suggestions in our documentation though do try to emphasise it is entirely down to individual discretion based upon the enjoyment of the service provided. As border entrance and exit fees can only be paid in local currency on the ground in person, they are accounted for in the aforementioned daily budget guidelines.

Central America discovery by FionainDoha, 30 Jan 2015
Holiday Rating:

Alcion Discovery Tour with Journey Latin America

We were expecting the time of our lives, had paid as a couple £1200 per week with no flights and only breakfast included,for a 3 week trip around the highlights of Central America. We were given the worst accommodation we have ever had on a trip, cold showers, dirty, noisy, dark rooms. three days in Bocas Del Toros also is truly not necessary, a night in Boquete, also a waste of time. Think you could do better than this tour, so would not recommend ...

We were expecting the time of our lives, had paid as a couple £1200 per week with no flights and only breakfast included,for a 3 week trip around the highlights of Central America. We were given the worst accommodation we have ever had on a trip, cold showers, dirty, noisy, dark rooms. three days in Bocas Del Toros also is truly not necessary, a night in Boquete, also a waste of time. Think you could do better than this tour, so would not recommend it, unless perhaps it is your first tour and you don't have any expectations

Rating for tour operator:

The initial comms were very efficient but I have had no response about my dissatisfaction with the tour since returning, no remarks on my poor feedback survey? Guess they are only I terested in you whilst you are about to give them money, the way of the world today, so don't expect anything extra!

Journey Latin America responded to this review on 09 Feb 2015:

We’re most disappointed to read this. On our Discovery Journeys, we use a variety of simple family-run hotels and guesthouses, several with authentic character though, as we endeavour to make clear in our literature for this holiday, we are required to use more functional properties at times in off-the-beaten track areas where tourist infrastructure is more fledgling in nature. That said, we expect all hotels to be comfortable, clean and fit the tour profile. Feedback from this tour is generally very positive. However, on the basis of your feedback we are undertaking a thorough review into the particular properties you were unhappy with.

We’re also sorry to read that you didn’t enjoy two of the destinations in Panama. People do normally enjoy Bocas del Toro (though I understand that your visit unfortunately coincided with torrential rain and high winds). The highland town of Boquete is largely a necessary positioning night.

Journey Latin America responded to this review on 09 Feb 2015:

We’re genuinely sorry you have been left with the impression that we are not interested in your comments. We welcome feedback and observations of every kind, and indeed, it is our policy to investigate and respond in detail to all customer correspondence within 2 weeks. We are currently obtaining updated hotel inspection reports, feedback from the tour leader and liaising with the hotels themselves and will respond to your completed questionnaire directly once our investigation is complete.

Central America discovery by Ms M F 14, 12 Jan 2015
Holiday Rating:

An amazing introduction to Central America

This was a very interesting and well organised visit to 6 countries in 3 weeks. We packed a lot in but it still felt relaxing and unrushed.

This was a very interesting and well organised visit to 6 countries in 3 weeks. We packed a lot in but it still felt relaxing and unrushed.

Rating for tour operator:

All members of staff were helpful, knowledgeable and professional from the planning stages, dealing with last minute flight cancellations due to air traffic control closure, a missed flight connection due to late arrival of flight to Miami, and a brilliant tour - once I arrived!

Central America discovery by dreamingofcentralamerica, 19 Aug 2014
Holiday Rating:

Amazing memories

A very varied trip starting in Panama City and ending in Antigua Guatemala via Bouquete, Bocas del Toro (Panama) Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Copan (Honduras) and finally Antigua. The tip was well organised and gave a taste of the highlights of a number of countries in Central America which is all you could hope to do in 3 weeks. There are too many highlights to mention but an incredible variety of scenery and culture. The tip was a mixture ...

A very varied trip starting in Panama City and ending in Antigua Guatemala via Bouquete, Bocas del Toro (Panama) Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Copan (Honduras) and finally Antigua. The tip was well organised and gave a taste of the highlights of a number of countries in Central America which is all you could hope to do in 3 weeks. There are too many highlights to mention but an incredible variety of scenery and culture. The tip was a mixture of wildlife, nature walks, incredible scenery, culture, places of interest (eg Panama Canal), history, markets, churches, cathedrals and time to browse around places.

Rating for tour operator:

The tip was well organised and the tour leader had a good general knowledge of all the places we visited. The local guides were all excellent and all had an in-depth knowledge of their subjects and areas. It was an incredible trip and I would recommend it to others.