DAYS 70 – 83: GUATEMALA & EL SALVADOR
A short drive will take you across the border from Belize into Guatemala and the phenomenal Mayan ruins of Tikal where you will have an included guided tour.
From Tikal it is another short drive to a fantastic eco-lodge on an 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 Poptun you will 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.
A full day’s drive will take you from Poptun 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.
After spending the following morning at the Manos Manos Amigas project you will head off on a short drive to 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).
The stunning colonial town of Antigua will be your next stop on this overland tour of North & Central America. You will have the afternoon and the next day free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.
Exiting Guatemala for now, your overland journey crosses into El Salvador and then heads for 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.
You will then drive to the the stunning Cerro Verde National Park where you will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside and you have the option to take a guided trek up to the nearby Santa Ana volcano (approximately 4 hours).
From Cerro Verde it is a short drive to the beautiful town of Suchitoto where you will have a free afternoon to explore its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses and to learn about the incredible work of the Dragoman-supported community centre in which you stay.
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.