DAYS 23 – 36: GUATEMALA & EL SALVADOR
Leaving Honduras you will have a full day’s drive and two border crossings as you travel through Guatemala and into El Salvador arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto. Don’t worry, you’ll be visiting Guatemala again in just a few days!
In Suchitoto you will stay in dormitory rooms at the Centro Arte Para La Paz community centre which runs many programs for the local communities to build cultural identity, unity, teaching skills, self-sufficiency, environmental equality and a culture of peace.
After another morning in Suchitoto where you have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses as well as learn more about the incredible work of the Dragoman-supported community centre in which you have stayed, you will then drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park where you will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside.
The next morning you can take an optional guided trek up to the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours), then in the afternoon you will take a short drive to the Pacific coast and the small fishing village of Los Cobanos, a charming town well off the tourist trail. The following day you will have a free day to relax on the coast and take part in optional activities such as boating trips through the mangroves and walks along the beach in search of nesting turtles.
Returning now to Guatemala you will head to the stunning colonial town of Antigua. You will have the afternoon and the next day free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.
After a short drive from Antigua you will arrive at Panajachel, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan. The next day you will have free time to enjoy some optional activities such as a boat on the lake out to some of the small local villages along the shoreline. If possible you will have an included visit to the famous Chichicastenango Market (only open Thursday to Sunday).
From Panajachel you will drive to San Andres Itzapa, a small village located in the mountains around Antigua. You will spend one night at the community centre of Manos Amigas, run by the Italian NGO ‘Mani Amiche’ in support of local women who have been abandoned and abused, and who are staying in the centre with their children.
Heading north you will then drive to Rio Dulce in Guatemala’s beautiful central region. The following day you will have an included boat trip to the village of Livingston on the Caribbean coast, before returning to Rio Dulce where you will be staying in an eco-lodge. On the morning of your departure you will have time to enjoy some optional activities in Rio Dulce before heading on a short drive to another fantastic eco-lodge on a working Guatemalan ranch near Poptun. The following day you will have free time to take part in the many optional activities offered at the eco-lodge.
From the eco-lodge you will have a short drive to the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal where you will have an included guided tour. Enroute you will likely stop briefly at the colonial town of Flores.