Leg 14, August 2021: Panama City to Antigua
Border information: if you are starting in Panama City, you will most likely enter Panama at Panama City Tocumen International Airport (IATA code: PTY).
August 2nd: Free day in Panama City. We can drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning about its incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century. After our included visit we will complete the drive to the capital, Panama City.
August 3rd: Today we will drive to the Miraflores Visitor Centre at the world-famous Panama Canal, learning about its incredible role in shaping trade and world politics in the 20th century.
We will then continue to Chagres National Park and explore the Grandfather of the Panama Canal: the Camino Real, a cobble stoned road from the Caribbean to the Pacific through the rain forests of Panama, established as the transport route of gold and silver by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th Century. The Camino Real was rediscovered only recently, and we will visit and stay overnight at a community, which worked together with researcher Christian Strassnig to identify the original route of the Camino Real in the jungle.
At Alajuela Lake we take a dugout boat to observe the remains of the Camino Real at the lakeshore, before heading to our Community stay to enjoy a typical Panamanian lunch and see then a presentation of authentic folklore. We will then hike some of the Camino Real, see the original cobblestone and be fascinated by stories of the mule trains, gold and pirates.
August 4th: After early morning coffee we can go for an optional birdwatching hike on a trail with plenty of tropical birds, followed by a hearty breakfast. Afterwards we will drive up into the Chiriqui highlands, arriving at the town of Boquete.
August 5th: Today we will have a free day to take part in some of the many optional outdoor activities which the town is famous for, including the opportunity to take the strenuous trek to the 3,478m summit of Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.
August 6th: Today we will drive across the border into Costa Rica, and arrive at the spectacular beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast.
Border information: Exit Panama at Paso Canoas, enter Costa Rica at Paso Canoas.
August 7th: Today we will have an included guided walk through some of the beautiful trails within park, learning all about its flora and fauna and immersing ourselves in the idyllic landscape. We will have free time in the afternoon to take part in some optional activities or relax on the wonderful beaches.
August 8th: Today we will drive to the town of Tilarán, where we will leave our overland vehicle behind and transfer by taxi to the dense cloud forests and coffee plantations of Monteverde, a stunning area offering an incredible diversity of flora and fauna.
August 9th: Today we will have an included guided walk on the trails of the Monteverde Cloud Forest National Reserve, followed by a free afternoon to visit some of the town's highlights or enjoy some adventurous activities such as canyoning or horse riding.
August 10th: Today we will continue by taxi and boat to La Fortuna, a stunning town under the shadow of the mighty Arenal volcano.
August 11th: Today we will have a free day to take optional treks through the incredible surrounding volcanic landscapes or forest canopies, or get involved in many different adventure activities such as zip-lining, white-water rafting, and canyoning. La Fortuna is also famous for its outstanding hot springs, which we will have the opportunity to visit.
August 12th: This morning we drive across the Nicaraguan border and to the small town of San Jorge on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Central America's largest lake. Here we will board a ferry to the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe, where we base ourselves in the port village of Moyogalpa and enjoy free time to explore on arrival.
Border information: Exit Costa Rica at Peñas Blancas, enter Nicaragua at Peñas Blancas
August 13th: Today we will have free time to explore and take part in optional activities such as the challenging trek to the summit of the Concepción volcano that dominates the island, or seeing some of the mysterious ancient petroglyphs that are dotted through the landscape.
August 14th: Today we will take the ferry back to San Jorge to rejoin our overland vehicle and take a short drive to Nicaraguas's oldest city of Granada, a beautiful town which oozes with colonial charm! We will have free time to explore the city upon arrival.
August 15th: Today we will have free time to explore the historic streets of Granada's old town, or take part in some of the myriad of optional activities that are available here.
August 16th: Today we drive to the university town of León. En route we can have a visit to the traditional markets in the small town of Masaya, and witness the incredible active caldera of the nearby Masaya volcano (if its volcanic activity isn't too high).
August 17th: Today we will have free time to explore the town's wonderful colonial architecture or to take part in the many optional activities available here.
August 18th: This morning we will drive to the Somoto Canyon, where we will have an included Canyon tour, or village tour if you prefer.
August 19th: Today we will have a a full day's drive across the border into Honduras and to the beautiful countryside of Lake Yojoa.
Border information: Exit Nicaragua at Las Manos, enter Honduras at Las Manos.
August 20th: Today we will take a short drive to the town of San Pedro Sula and board a short local flight to Roatán, the largest of the famous tropical Bay Islands. On arrival we will transfer to the area of the West End Bay, where we base ourselves for our stay.
August 21st: Today we will enjoy some free time to take part in the wealth of optional activities available on Roatán, and of course to relax and swim on the stunning Caribbean beaches here!
August 22nd: Relax on the beach or head out on some activities on our second full day on Roatan.
August 23rd: Today we will start early to transfer back to Roatán's airport and catch our flight back to the mainland, rejoining our overland car! We will then continue our journey west through Honduras, arriving at the small village of Copán.
August 24th: Today we will have a visit to the spectacular Mayan ruins of Copán, followed by a free afternoon to explore some of the other highlights in the area.
August 25th: Today we will have a full day drive into Guatemala and then through to El Salvador, arriving at the beautiful town of Suchitoto.
In Suchitoto we 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.
Border information: Exit Honduras at El Florido, enter Guatemala at El Florido. Exit Guatemala at Anguiatú, enter El Salvador at Anguiatú.
August 26th: Today we will have the chance to explore the town with its cobbled streets and whitewashed houses.
August 27th: Today we will drive to the stunning Cerro Verde National Park, where we will be surrounded by awe-inspiring volcanoes and countryside. In the afternoon we can take a guided hike up the Santa Ana Volcano.
August 28th: Today we will cross the Guatemalan border to arrive in the stunning colonial city of Antigua. The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful colonial city and its dramatic surroundings.
Border information: Exit El Salvador at La Hachadura, enter Guatemala at Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado.
August 29th: Free day to explore Guatemala City or Antigua
August 30th: Antigua is a lovely city to spend some time in. There are lots of activities around that you can do.
August 31st: Last day in Antigua.