Sorry! There are no remaining departures for "Backroads of Central America" (CRBR), but here are some similar trips.
Please note that this tour has been extended by one more day in 2014. Please click here to see the new itinerary and dates.

Backroads of Central America

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2013 - January 1st, 2014 Last Updated:
Download PDF

Introduction

Take the road less travelled through Central America with other travellers your own age—so you can be sure to get down with other adventurers that’ll keep up. This is one of our most exciting trips, filled with breathtaking scenery—from tropical rainforests alive with jungle melodies to colonial cities bouncing to a decidedly more human beat. You'll blaze your own path as you discover a region of volcanoes, craters, beaches and lush forests. Sticking to budget accommodation and public transport will keep costs down and you rooted in local life.

  • Connecting with your hosts in an Ometepe homestay experience
  • Laughing with the locals during a journey on a chicken bus
  • Blissing out on a stretch of remote Nicaraguan beach
  • Strolling through Antigua's colonial streets
  • Exploring Mayan ruins
  • Hiking through a cloud forest
  • Sampling local cuisine.
Duration: 17 days
Start/Finish City: San José to Antigua
Service Level: Basic
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Simple and clean hotels, guesthouses and hostels chosen for location and character
  • Affordable public and private transport for maximum cultural interaction
  • Plenty of optional activities tailored to your interests and budget
Physical Grading: 3
Trips may include activities like hiking, biking, rafting or kayaking. No sweat, right?
Travel Style: Yolo
Fast, fresh and fun adventures that never slow down

Designed for young, budget-minded travellers, Yolo trips maximize time and money by squeezing the most out of a destination. This ain't your typical big-bus tour, though. Small groups, insider access and personal freedom to follow the whim of the moment are the order of the day, every day.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Backroads of Central America (CRBR)

Day 1 San José

Arrive at any time. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members.

As it is located in the central highlands, San José enjoys a moderate climate. The heat and humidity of the coast and lowland areas may affect you with a general sense of lethargy and/or loss of appetite. This is no cause for alarm, it is simply a reaction to the heat. Be sure to drink plenty of water (cold bottled water is available everywhere) and do not attempt too much in any given day. We prefer fan-cooled rather than air conditioned rooms to avoid having to acclimatize to the heat and humidity every time you go outside.

Like most cities, San José has its good and bad sides. It is the centre of government, theatre, and art, as well as of air pollution and congestion. It has beautiful parks and museums, and a few beggers on the streets. It is big and often noisy, but even from its crowded downtown streets, you’ll often enjoy a view of the surrounding lush mountains.

Probably the hardest thing you will do in San José, other than get safely across busy streets, is keep the street numbering systems straight. Street and avenue numbers are posted on buildings at the corners of some intersections. Keep looking as you walk, and you will eventually find one.

Day 2-3 La Fortuna/Arenal

Set on the northern plains of Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano sits on the southeast shore of artificial Lake Arenal (77 square kilometres, or 48 square miles). Separating the mountain ranges of Guanacaste and Tilarán, the lake was created by a hydroelectric dam. Winds sweeping off the Caribbean Sea reach speeds of 48 to 72 km/hr (30 to 45 mph), across Lake Arenal you can find one of the best locations in the world to go windsurfing. The volcano, once quite active, has been in a dormant state since the beginning of 2011 but still is a dramatic backdrop to the town of La Fortuna.

If you have pre-booked the Costa Rica Adrenaline Theme Pack, your rafting and canyoneering adventures will be on Day 3.

La Fortuna, the town near the foot of the volcano is an excellent base for adventure. Take an unforgettable night hike around the base of the volcano, accompanied by a soundtrack of monkeys and the rumblings of the volcano in the distance. Hike the area’s nature trails, swim in chilly La Fortuna waterfall or join a canopy tour and catch a bird’s eye view of the forest greenery. Other optional activities include full-day Class III & IV white water rafting on the Toro or Arenal Rivers, mountain biking, caving, horseback riding, or a tour of the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge. Like much of Costa Rica, the area is a birders’ paradise, with over 600 species as permanent residents. . After a long day of exploring, the Baldi Hot Springs might just be the answer to your tired muscles. Soak in one of the natural thermal baths and hope for the clouds to part long enough for a glimpse of Arenal´s slopes shaped by multiple eruptions.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 150 km

Day 4-5 Monteverde

Costa Rica is a natural gem because of its breathtaking flora and fauna. Travelling into the cool cloud and rainforests of Monteverde, we have a glimpse of how lush ecosystems truly are works of art. Take time to bird watch, ride a horse, mountain bike, or ride a zip line over the rainforest canopy.

Spend two days exploring Monteverde and the Forest Reserve, truly a nature lover's paradise. Local guides are extremely knowledgeable about the area and passionate about conservation of this precious ecosystem. The unique community has several local co-operatives worth visiting including artist collectives and a cheese factory. If you're there at the right time of year, you may be lucky enough to see the Resplendent Quetzal, one of the most beautiful and elusive birds in the world. Optional activities include walking across a series of suspension bridges through the jungle canopy, a butterfly garden and a thrilling canopy zip line.

If you have pre-booked the Costa Rica Adrenaline Theme Pack, your ziplining experience will be on either Day 4 or 5.

Monteverde or "Green Mountain", is exactly what you find at the end of the long, rutted dirt road through the mountains. The surrounding pastures were once covered with dense forest, but today only a small piece of it remains. That piece of forest has been preserved as the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Cloud forest is much like a rainforest, but much of the moisture comes not from falling rain but from the condensation left by the nearly constant cloud cover that blankets the tops of mountains in many parts of the tropics. Monteverde Reserve covers 1600 hectares of forest and is home to a great variety of wildlife. More than 2,000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different species of mammals inhabit this small area. The Santa Elena Reserve, another park contiguous with Monteverde, is less well known and visited but also worth seeing. All proceeds from this park profit the local community.

The village of Monteverde was founded in the 1950s by Quakers from the United States. Looking to leave behind the constant fear of war and objecting to being forced to support continued militarism through their taxes, the Quakers chose Costa Rica because of its commitment to a non-militaristic economic path - Costa Rica’s army was dissolved in the 1940s. Since its founding, Monteverde has grown slowly as others who shared the original Quaker founders’ ideals moved to the area. Although the Quakers came here to farm the land, they recognized the need to preserve the rare cloud forest that covers the mountain slopes above their fields. The community is very different from those on the coast, and offers several souvenir shops and the Quaker cheese factory, which is definitely worth a visit. Make sure to try their ice cream!

Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours
Approximate Distance: 50 km

Day 6-7 Ometepe (1B,2D)

From the town of San Jorge, we cross Lake Nicaragua by ferry to arrive at Ometepe Island, and our Planeterra-supported homestay. The group will be split up amongst different families who will host them in their homes in a small community during their stay on the island. Breakfast and dinner will be provided in the home.

The Planeterra Project - the community homestay program Puesta del Sol in the village of La Paloma on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, is now receiving at least two groups per week from G Adventures increasing income for the community. Planeterra is strengthening the organization with training on how to run their small businesses and is investing in solutions to reduce environmental impacts. We are also working on developing other small businesses in the area to be linked to the home stay, creating a sustainable supply chain - and more positive local economic benefits.

Also known as La Mar Dulce (the Sweet Sea) and Lake Cocibolca, Lake Nicaragua is the largest lake in Central America and the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world. Forty-five rivers flow into the lake and it is home to the world’s only species of freshwater shark. The setting is dramatic, with two towering volcanoes dominating the island's landscape; Volcán Concepción at 1610 m (5281 feet), and Volcán Maderas, at 1340m (4395 feet). The wildlife on this island is abundant and includes several species of monkeys and green parrots. Howler monkeys are especially interesting; their scary roar (you’ll think it’s a jaguar) can be heard for several miles.

Exploring the island, you´ll see plantain plantations and small villages, giving you a chance to see how rural Nicaraguans live. If you enjoy a challenge, hiking Concepcion Volcano might be the right optional activity for you! If not, check out the pre-Colombian petroglyphs, try out the Tarzan swing at a nearby jungle swimming hole or enjoy the beach.

Estimated Travel Time: 10 hours
Approximate Distance: 240 km

Day 8-9 Granada (1B)

Nicaragua has flourished in the past few years and boasts both incredibly friendly people as well as impressive natural beauty. Granada’s colonial charm is complimented by the surrounding active volcanoes and lakes, making day trips a fun and easy option. Hike, cruise, or just explore the city’s markets and museums. Walking is probably the easiest way to see all the sights of Granada, your Chief Experience Officer will give you an initial orientation walk in the city, after which you will have plenty of time to explore in more depth.

Granada is Nicaragua’s third largest and oldest city and retains its traditional Spanish colonial character. It´s sometimes called ¨The Great Sultana¨ because of it´s beautiful colonial architecture. In the warm evenings you can usually find friendly neighbors visiting and chatting with each other from rocking chairs in the open front room of their homes. You´ll walk along cobblestone streets and see brightly painted buildings. Frequently live local music is played in the square, and good nightlife is easy to find. Granada is located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and has a long park ideal for strolling. For a relaxing afternoon, you can spend a couple of hours in a boat touring some of the 350+ ¨Isletas¨ or little islands by found nearby Granada in Lake Nicaragua. Other optional activities include visiting the nearby extinct volcano Mombacho, now shrouded in vegetation, or Masaya Volcano National Park, which is home to an active volcano. The nearby markets of Masaya house vendors selling great Nicaraguan handicrafts such as hammocks, pottery, and paintings.

Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours
Approximate Distance: 70 km

Day 10-11 Poneloya

Travel by private van to Poneloya for a couple of days of R & R on a remote beach. Surfing, swimming and relaxing on the sand awaits. Opt to hike Cerro Negro or check out the city of León. Our accommodation is right on the beach and has an attached bar and restaurant. There's not much on our stretch of beach, but that's part of the beauty of Nicaragua's northern Pacific coast.

Estimated Travel Time: 4 hours
Approximate Distance: 150 km

Day 12 Suchitoto

After a long day of travel via bus, boat and van, arrive to the colonial town of Suchitoto. Don't forget to eat the delicious pupusas, a local Salvadorian speciality.

Nestled in the mountains of the north of the country, Suchitoto is perched on the edge of an impressive artificial lake called Suchitlan Lake, also known as Embalse Cerron Grande.

Hike a short distance along the road to the waterfall "Los Tercios", famed for its unique composition of hexagonal blocks of stone along a vertical wall. You can also opt to head to Cinquera, a nearby town that was destroyed during the civil war that is now rebuilding. Learn a bit about the tragic history of this small town before setting off into the nature preserve that is near the town to hike to a lookout overlooking miles of forest from above. The preserve is also home to waterfalls and what is left of an old guerrilla encampment that still has an old log table where emergency surgeries were performed.

Or, if you like, you can just enjoy the laid back atmosphere of this colonial town. During the entire month of February, Suchitoto hosts an International Art Festival.

Estimated Travel Time: 9 hours
Approximate Distance: 450 km

Day 13-14 Concepción de Ataco

Explore the "Ruta de las Flores" area with its quaint Salvadorian towns and many artisans. This small town is the home to some talented artisans who have painted bright murals throughout town. Day hikes, a coffee tour and shopping are some of many options for your time here. Hike El Impossible National Park, swim in the pools of Atzumpa, check out some of the other nearby quaint towns or just explore tiny Ataco. This is a coffee producing region of El Salvador, so be sure to sample some delicious coffee in a local café.

Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours
Approximate Distance: 120 km

Day 15-16 Copán/Antigua

Travel into Honduras and opt to visit the Mayan ruins of Copán. The Mayan ruins of Copán are fascinating, beautiful and unique among Mayan cities. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980, Copán contains some of the most important Mayan ruins found to date, and many unusual artistic features. Visitors walk through grassy plazas filled with intricately carved and decorated monuments, statues and staircases. Huge carved faces stare at you from ancient walls and bring the place to life, causing renewed wonder at the mysterious disappearance of such a creative civilization.

The colonial highland town of Copán Ruinas is a charming and relaxing place. This town has a lot more to offer than just the ruins. Opt to explore the nearby hills on horseback and check out some lesser known Mayan sites along the way or check out a local private macaw reserve that is also home to a large variety of other birds on the property. If neither of those appeal, you can journey to some local hot springs for a relaxing soak.

After a long travel day on Day 16, arrive to Antigua, where you'll enjoy an orientation walk with your CEO. Once the third largest city in all of Spanish America, Antigua served as Guatemala's capital city for more than 200 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Modern Antigua is a peaceful, partially restored colonial city that is a pleasure to explore. Enjoy the beautiful architecture of this UNESCO-designated, World Heritage Site. Take a mountain bike ride out into the countryside or explore the fascinating markets, shops and museums within the city. Walk through quiet cobblestone streets past rebuilt stucco homes with heavy, beautifully carved wooden entrances.

The point of reference for finding one's way around Antigua is the Central Park, which is directly in the centre of town and the place to be in the late afternoon/ early evening. You can pick up a map from the tourist office located on the ground floor of the Palace of the Captains General on the south side of the Central Park. Explore the museums, the colonial buildings and other sites in this delightful town.

If you have extra time at the end of your trip, 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 rarer back strap loom. Jade, in the form of carved statues and jewellery, is sold in several factories and shops in town and silver jewellery is sold in the better shops and also in a silver factory in nearby San Felipe de Jesus. The city offers good buys in ceramics and antiques as well.

This tour arrives to Antigua early evening on Day 16. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional post-trip accommodation nights.

Concepción de Ataco to Copán:
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours
Approximate Distance: 400 km

Copán to Antigua:
Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours
Approximate Distance: 200 km

Day 17 Antigua

Depart at any time.

What's Included

Orientation walk around Granada and Antigua, overnight Planeterra-supported homestay experience on Ometepe

Highlights

Connecting with your hosts in an Ometepe homestay experience, laughing with the locals during a journey on a chicken bus, blissing out on a stretch of remote Nicaraguan beach, strolling through Antigua's colonial streets, exploring Mayan ruins, hiking through a cloud forest, sampling local cuisine.

Dossier Disclaimer

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.

Itinerary Disclaimer

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.

Important Notes

1. As this trip crosses national borders, please be prepared to pay some border fees for certain countries ranging from $1 to $10 USD. Please check with your local embassy or consulate for up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent.

2. Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may continue on traveling together with G Adventures after your tour finishes.

3. This tour arrives to Antigua early evening on Day 16. If you are interested in exploring the city and its nearby attractions, it is recommended you book additional post-trip accommodation nights.

4. Looking to add to your experience? Check out our Theme Packs! Specially designed for travellers with unique interests, theme packs are optional add-ons to your G adventures trip that make your adventure more you-centric. Theme Packs must be booked prior to departure, please see details in our optional activities field and ask you sales CEO.

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 16, avg 10.

Meals Included

2 breakfasts, 2 dinners.

Meals

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. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Meal Budget

Allow USD360-450 for meals not included.

Transport

Public bus, boat, van, taxi, walking.

Solo Travellers

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.

Accommodation

Simple hotels (14 nts), homestay (2 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, with the following exceptions: Nights 6-7 Ometepe, Nights 10-11 Poneloya, Nights 13-14 Ataco.

About Accommodation

Please note if you are a single traveller, you can expect to share accommodation with one or two other travelers of the same sex for the duration of your trip. Using multi-share accommodation when available helps us to keep our operating cost down, and these savings are passed onto you. If you are traveling with a friend or companion, we will attempt to keep your accommodation on a twin or double basis, however, ask you to be open to the idea of occasional multi-share rooms.

We will be travelling through countries where cold water showers are the accepted norm. In keeping with our authentic tours, most of our hotels will not have hot water showers.

Joining Hotel

Boutique Hotel Casa Las Orquideas
75 mts. oeste del Auto Mercado Los Yoses
P.O. Box #1101-2050
San Jose
Costa Rica
TEL: (506) 2283-0095

Joining Instructions

The best way to get to the arrival point hotel is via taxi from the airport. There are fixed (official) rates at the airport counter. It is a 25-30 minute drive (depending on traffic) into the city.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.

Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. Your Leader will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.

Arrival Complications

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 pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, 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.

Emergency Contact

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.

AIRPORT TRANSFER
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: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
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 the use of a duffel bag or backpack (whichever you find easiest to carry). A good size daypack is also essential.

Checklist

- 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, reading/writing material, binoculars, cover for backpacks, pocketknife, moneybelt
- Fleece top
- Windproof/waterproof jacket
- Small towel and swim wear
- 4 shirts/t-shirts
- Sun hat
- 2 pairs of shorts
- 2 pairs of long trousers
- 1 pair hiking pants/track pants
- Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
- Sport sandals (suitable for water if you are planning on rafting and/or waterfall rappelling/abseiling)
- Sunblock
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries (biodegradable)
- Watch or alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Flashlight
- 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 needed, DEET bug repellant, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Laundry

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

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.

Spending Money

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.

Money Exchange

The currency in Costa Rica is the Colon (CRC), in Nicaragua the Cordoba (NIO), in Honduras the Lempira (HNL), in El Salvador the US Dollar (USD), in Guatemala the Quetzal (QTQ).

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 is best. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds.

We do not recommend you bring travellers cheques, as it is very difficult to exchange them in each country.

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).

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

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!

Departure Tax

Costa Rica exit tax: $5USD
Nicaragua entrance tax: $13USD
Nicaragua exit tax: $2USD
Honduras entrance tax: $3USD
Honduras exit tax: $3USD
Guatemala entrance tax: 10Q ($1.25USD)
Guatemala airport exit tax: 20Q ($3USD)

Tipping

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.

Optional Activities

CUSTOMIZE YOUR ADVENTURE
Our trip designers work very hard to assemble the life-altering experiences that fill this brochure. That said, our travellers are a diverse group driven by all sorts of different tastes, motivations and interests. What’s a trip designer to do? The solution? Theme Packs! Specially designed for travellers with unique interests, theme packs are optional add-ons to your G adventures trip that make your adventure more you-centric. Theme Packs must be booked prior to departure.

Theme Packs available on this trip:

COSTA RICA ADRENALINE PACK
Loaded with high-adrenaline pursuits like waterfall-rappelling, rainforest-ziplining, canyon-trekking and other so-amazing-they-need-a-hypen activities, the Adrenaline pack pushes Costa Rica to the limit and beyond.

Choose your adventure:
Arenal (La Fortuna), Half day
Choose one of the following popular activities in the adventure capital of Costa Rica: Venado Cave walk, Kayaking on Lake Arenal, Cerro Chato Volcano extreme hike, or Stand-up paddling on Lake Arenal (you will receive an activity briefing upon arrival in La Fortuna and you can choose your activity at that time).

CANYONEERING
Arenal, Half-day
Rappel, down-climb, river-trace and descend huge waterfalls in the rugged mountains and lush rainforests around Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano.

ZIPLINING
Monteverde, Half-day
Get a true bird’s-eye view of the rainforest canopy as you soar through the trees on a Tarzan swing, a giant rappel and a 450-foot-high zipline.

---------------------------
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES ON TOUR
All prices are per person, in USD amounts and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.

Antigua:
City tour $20
Climb volcanoes $12-15
Bicycle rental/tour $5 - $35
Coffee /Macadamia nut Plantation tour $20
Group Salsa lessons $5/hr
Massages $10 - $25
Mayan Horoscopes $40
Community Visit - $10

Copan:
Copan ruins entrance $15
Copan guide $25 for the group or usually about $5 per person depending on how many want a guide.
Copan Museum $7
Horseback riding $15/3 hrs

Suchitoto
Casa de Museo de Don Alejandro Cotto $4
El salto ¨Los Tercios¨ & Mirador Combine with tour of the pueblos for around $15
Hike Volcan Guazapa $20
Suchitlan lake tour $50
$50 for the whole group for transport to the lake in his pickup truck and a tour on the lake (to several islands: Isla de Pajaros, Isla de los Enamorados

Ataco
Tour cayonning and waterfalls: $45
4x4 Imposible NationalPark and beach tour $75
4x4 Apaneca mountainrange tour

Granada:
Masaya Volcano $25 (night)
Las Isleatas Boat tour $15
Laguana Apoyo & Mirador Caterina $15
Kayaking $30
Taxi to/from Masaya market $15
Tour of Mombacho volcano $25
Volunteer at Proyecto Mosaico: $10 donation to EcoARTE Project
Learn how to make handicrafts from recycled materials and help local children put it into practice in Granada's neighborhoods.

Ometepe:
Climb Volcan Concepcion with a guide $25
Climb Volcan Madera with a guide $25
Bike Rentals $12
Ojo de Agua spring $2
Petroglyphs & Chaco Verde $25
Horseback riding $20 (4 hours)

La Fortuna/ Arenal:
Rafting Class III and IV (Full day – 7 hours) $77 (includes fruit on the river and lunch)
Rafting Class II and III (half day – 4.5 hours) $62 (includes fruit on the river and lunch)
Canyoning/Rappelling tour $86 (includes breakfast or lunch depending on tour time – 4 hours)
Mambo Combo (Rafting II and III with Canyoning) $135 (8 hours)
Venado Cave Spelunking $68 (4 hours)
Stand up Paddle $59 (4 hours)
Mountain biking $59 (4 hours)
Caño Negro Reserve $59 (8 hours)
Volcano walk/viewpoint/dinner and entrance to hot springs $44 (incl. transportation)
Hot springs with dinner $32
Cerro Chato Extreme Hike (6 hours) $68
Safari float $50 (4 hours)
Horse trip to waterfall $59 (4 hours)
Bike Rental $15/day

Monteverde:
Ziplining $45
Hanging bridges $30
Horseback riding ($25 for 1 ½ hours, $30 for 2 hours, $45 for 3 hours)
Butterfly garden $12
Trapiche Tour $32
Frog Pond $12
Serpentarium $10
ATV $60 for a single, $85 for a double
Night Walk $22
Orchid Garden $10
Cheese Factory $10
Bat Jungle $10
Bungee $60

San José:
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Horseback Riding) (L) $107
Adventure Combo (Canopy & Rafting) (L) $107
Combo Tour ( Doka - Poas - Cataratas) (B,L) $96
La Paz Waterfall Gardens (Late departure) $75
Manuel Antonio National Park
(Tues,Thurs,Sat and Sun)(B)(L) $99
Poas Volcano ( Half Day ) $46
San Jose City Tour $39
The Best of the Pacific ( Punta Leona) (B)(L) $115
Rafting Class IV Pacuare (B)(L) $99
Irazu, Orosi and Lankaster Gardens(L) $81
RAM LUNA ( Show and Dinner) $69

Health

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.

As of November 1st, 2007, the Costa Rica government, requires those entering Costa Rica from certain countries in South America and Sub-Sahara Africa, to have an International Certificate of Vaccination against Yellow Fever. Those affected countries are: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

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.

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.

Petty theft, bag snatching and muggings have been on the rise in San Jose. Though not common, there are certain precautions you should take when visiting the city. Although the cities visited on our tours 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, as they are the safest and easiest way to avoid any issues one might encounter on the streets after dark. In addition, always leave your passport (It’s better to carry a photocopy of it instead), credit cards and money that you won't be using in the hotel. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes in the room, or a general one at reception, this is always the safest method of storing your valuables. 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. Remember that like in any other city, you should never leave your bags unattended, nor flaunt jewellery, cameras etc
. 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. Stick to the main streets only during the day, and after sundown, please take a taxi. Taxis can be organized from reception of your hotel. Also, take the address of the hotel with you.

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:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

Like any city where tourism is on the increase, crime also tends to increase and while San José is not a noticeably dangerous city, there are certain precautions you should take. Make sure that you are aware of your things at all times and don't go out carrying expensive gear or jewellery.

Medical Form

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.
Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

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: 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.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that you'll receive a special discount code for free online prints and 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 customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.