From the Pacific to the Caribbean

The best of Central America; Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras

14

days

Discovery

Multi

From $2,740 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Visit the Mayan ruins of San Andres and Copan in Honduras
  • Multi-active: Surfing, ash boarding, canopy tour & jungle walks
  • Explore colonial Granada, lively Leon and colourful Suchitoto
  • Kayaking through mangroves and with crocodiles in Honduras
Featured in Wanderlust Magazine's 50 Best Trips for 2014 and in National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime, this unique adventure and multi-activity holiday takes us on a whirlwind Central American discovery tour, from Nicaragua, through El Salvador, to finally end up on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. We fit a lot into this amazing holiday, including; sightseeing, exploring, easy jungle hiking, a canopy-level tour, volcano-boarding, surfing and wildlife spotting, as well as chilling out in peaceful cafes in brightly painted provincial towns. Starting in Nicaragua we stay in the beautiful colonial town of Granada where we start the action with a zipwire tour through the forested slopes of Volcan Mombacho, before enjoying a boat tour of Lake Nicaragua’s islets, and on to the waterfalls & twin volcanoes of Ometepe Island. A stop in Leon allows us to walk up the volcano of Cerro Negro and then ash board down! We arrive into El Salvador by boat and then enjoy a couple of nights in the sleepy and laid back surf town of El Cuco with its white sandy beaches, where we can relax in hammocks or take the opportunity to learn to surf! Travelling inland we visit coffee plantations and the colourful town of La Palma. Once in Honduras, our first stop is the famous Mayan ruins of Copan and before we transfer to the Caribbean coast for three days with activities, including kayaking through the mangroves in search of crocodiles! Sign up for a wonderful insight to the delights of vibrant Central America!
Is this holiday for you?
Walking, surfing, kayaking and canopy tours in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras; with activities almost every day, this Central American adventure holiday has something for everybody. The surf lesson and kayaking are at a level where previous experience is not required (although you must be able to swim at least 25m unaided). The walks are mostly quite short (2-3hrs), but can be hot in the humid climes. The canopy tour and zip wires are between 3 and 30m high from platform to platform and you are required to climb a ladder to get to some of the platforms. Safety harnesses and karabiners are used for the duration of the canopy tour, no previous experience is required but you should not be afraid of heights! Again, no experience is required for the ash boarding on Cerro Negro, but you have to be prepared for a hot hike up the volcano whilst carrying your equipment. The majority of the activities are included in the price, although some are at an additional cost; please see the detailed itinerary for further information. You can of course opt out of any activity. In order to cover the best of these three countries in just two weeks, we have a lot of distance to cover and there will be a reasonable amount of driving. The longest day's drive is 7-8hours, but the majority of the others are around 3-4hrs. We’ve tried to balance the driving with activities and, where ever possible, relaxation time to ensure you can get the most out of your holiday. Tourism is still in its infancy in Central America and you need to be prepared for unexpected delays, especially when crossing borders. Participants should be fit and active and most importantly have a spirit of adventure.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Granada, Nicaragua. A single transfer from Managua Airport is provided.
  • Cloud forest zip wire canopy tour. Local project. Boat trip on Lake Nicaragua, Las Isletas.
  • Walking tour of Granada. Ferry to Isla de Ometepe.
  • Exploring on Isla de Ometepe; walk to San Ramon waterfall. Afternoon free to relax or explore at our own steam.
  • Boat and transfer to the town of Leon. Optional ash boarding down Cerro Negro volcano.
  • Boat trip across Gulf of Fonseca and into El Salvador. Drive to El Cuco on the beach.
  • Free day to relax and enjoy the beach. Optional surf lesson or kayaking through mangroves.
  • Visit Laguna de Alegria, Coffee plantation walk/tour, lunch and coffee demonstration at Berlin. Drive to Suchitoto.
  • Explore colonial Suchitoto on foot. Visit Joya de Ceren the 'Pompeii of America' and the Mayan ruins of San Andres.
  • Leave El Salvador and transfer to Copan in Honduras. Visit the colourful art town of La Palma enroute.
  • Morning visit to the Maya Ruins at Copan. Afternoon drive to the town of Tela on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.
  • Speed boat journey, walking tour of Jeanette Kawas National Park. Traditional lunch on secluded beach with opportunity to snorkel.
  • Visit Lancetilla botanical gardens. Afternoon kayak through forest and mangroves in Punta Izopo NP.
  • Departure day. A single transfer to San Pedro Sula Airport is provided.
2016
Sat 19 Mar - Fri 01 Apr Code NEH /02/16/ Adult$2,740 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • From the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • The departure reference for this tour is NEH /02/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 19 Mar and departs on Fri 01 Apr
  • This departure is guaranteed and departs within weeks. Secure your place today with full payment
  • Single Supplement $560 - single accommodation on all nights
Sat 06 Aug - Fri 19 Aug Code NEH /03/16/ Adult$2,740 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • From the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • The departure reference for this tour is NEH /03/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 06 Aug and departs on Fri 19 Aug
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $560 - single accommodation on all nights
Sat 17 Dec - Fri 30 Dec Code NEH /04/16/ Adult$2,740 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • From the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • The departure reference for this tour is NEH /04/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 17 Dec and departs on Fri 30 Dec
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $560 - single accommodation on all nights
2017
Sat 04 Feb - Fri 17 Feb Code NEH /01/17/ Adult$2,740 Status Available Book now
More information
  • From the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • The departure reference for this tour is NEH /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 04 Feb and departs on Fri 17 Feb
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $560 - single accommodation on all nights
Sat 01 Apr - Fri 14 Apr Code NEH /02/17/ Adult$2,740 Status Available Book now
More information
  • From the Pacific to the Caribbean
  • The departure reference for this tour is NEH /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sat 01 Apr and departs on Fri 14 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $560 - single accommodation on all nights
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Managua, Nicaragua and ending from San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras. For clients making their own flight arrangements, these airports are the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Granada, Nicaragua. A single transfer from Managua Airport is provided.

    We arrive in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. KE Land Only package services begin with a single timed transfer from the airport to our overnight accommodation in Granada. Founded in 1524 during the Spanish Conquest, Granada is one of the oldest established cities in the New World. During colonial times Granada saw much unrest, with the city being attacked by pirates on several occasions. Nowadays Granada is most famous for its striking, multihued Spanish-colonial architecture, which decorates the city centre. We check into our hotel. Drive time: 1hr.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Cloud forest zip wire canopy tour. Local project. Boat trip on Lake Nicaragua, Las Isletas.

    A reasonably early morning and a busy first day as we head off after breakfast at 8am to the Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve, just 18km from Granada. This dormant volcano is home to more than 700 different plants, 173 species of bird, 46 species of reptile and amphibians and 47 different mammals. We will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the views on our adventurous canopy tour. We follow 2 km of zip wires through the tree tops as we proceed from platform to platform (17 in total) ranging in height from 10 to 100 feet above the canopy floor! Next we will visit a local project which provides education for children on the volcano of Mombacho or in the suburbs of Granada. These projects aim to break cycles of poverty, violence, social and gender injustices. We spend some time with the children and take lunch there. We return to the hotel after lunch, where we should have a little free time. Your guide will be able to accompany you to exchange currency, or pick up any forgotten items from shops/pharmacy etc.. Meeting our bus, we then drive to the main port on Lake Nicaragua. With an area of 8,264 square km, this is the largest lake in Central America and reaches a depth of some 26 metres. Despite being a fresh water lake, the waters are bursting sawfish, tarpon, sharks and numerous other species of fish; including at least 16 endemic species of chichlids. Boarding our boat we head out on a 1-2hr tour of the Islets of Granada; 365, volcano made, islets make up this miniature archipelago. The islands are teeming with colourful vegetation and are a haven for bird and animal life. We should look out for Castillo San Pablo, built in the 18th century to protect Granada against English pirates; and we can also try and spot the friendly residents of Isla de Los Monos, or Monkey Island, a small sanctuary for monkeys previously held as pets but now released into the wild. We return to Granada and spend a second night in the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

  • Walking tour of Granada. Ferry to Isla de Ometepe.

    We'll rendezvous for breakfast at hotel before meeting our local guide in the morning for our walking tour of the city. We'll see the beautiful Merced Church, the town hall, the brightly coloured Cathedral of Granada before ending at the the San Francisco Church and neighbouring San Francisco Convent built in 1529. Now functioning as a museum, the Convent is home to an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art. From here there is a beautiful view across the city to Volcan Mombacho. After lunch we take the 1hr 30min drive to the port of San Jorge, Lake Cocibolca, and take the ferry journey to the Isla de Ometepe, the journey takes just under 2hrs. This beautiful island is integral to many native legends; the name Ometepe, means "Two Hills" in native nahuatl and the island houses two immense volcanoes, which seem to magically hover above the lake´s surface. Life on Ometepe revolves around its "Two Hills" and, though separated by a small isthmus, each impressive volcano has its own unique climate and vegetation, making each side of the island different from the other. Arriving on the island we have a further 1-2hr drive to our accommodation. After checking in to our island accommodation we have the late afternoon free to relax or enjoy the beach. Drive time: 3-4hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Exploring on Isla de Ometepe; walk to San Ramon waterfall. Afternoon free to relax or explore at our own steam.

    Ometepe is an island best explored on foot. Today we have the chance to take the 2-3hr walk up to the beautiful San Ramon waterfall. We transfer to the trailhead by 4x4 before starting our walk at the forested foot of the southern slope of Maderas volcano as we follow a steep but well marked path up to the 50m waterfall. The reward for our efforts is a dip in the pools as we cool off under the force of the falls. We've a picnic lunch today so we can choose to stop and eat this during the walk, or stop somewhere lakeside and scenic on the way back to the hotel. We return to the hotel and have the afternoon free to explore or relax. Drive time: 3hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 430m

    • Distance 4km

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 430m

    • Time 2 - 3hrs walking

  • Boat and transfer to the town of Leon. Optional ash boarding down Cerro Negro volcano.

    We're up early to catch the first ferry of the day back to the mainland. We leave Ometepe and take the ferry back to the mainland (1-2hrs) before meeting our vehicle and driving to Leon. This thriving university town, the original capital city of Nicaragua, is seeped in history. Less visited than Granada, the Leonese ambiance is quiet and gentle offering more opportunities to connect with the locals. With much to do in the surrounding areas, Leon is a wonderful place to spend time. After checking into our central hotel and taking lunch we have the option to stay and explore this fascinating city or visit the nearby volcano Cerro Negro; formed in 1850, this is one of the youngest volcanoes in the world! This exciting optional (payable locally) tour, beginning in the late afternoon, is not for the fainthearted! Cerro Negro last erupted in 1999 and we have the opportunity to ash board down the slopes of this active volcano (220m ascent/3km/50mins walking). After the boarding we have time to enjoy the sunset before returning to Leon. There is always something to do at night in this bustling town and those with enough energy can head out to enjoy the atmosphere. Drive time: 4-5hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Boat trip across Gulf of Fonseca and into El Salvador. Drive to El Cuco on the beach.

    Another early start and after breakfast we check out of our hotel and make the 2.5hr drive to the tiny harbour of Potosi. After negotiating the border formalities (delays are possible!), we leave Nicaragua behind us and take the 2-3hr boat trip across the Gulf of Fonseca to La Union in El Salvador; stopping en route to take lunch on the Island of Zacatillo. During the journey we may chance to see migrating birds, turtles, dolphins, pelicans and occasionally even whales! La Union, a small but busy commercial port, is the main access to the Gulf Islands. On arrival here we head to immigration to officially enter El Salvador. It is a further 1hr drive to our accommodation at El Cuco on the Pacific Coast, where we will stay for the next 2 nights. Drive time: 4 - 5hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Free day to relax and enjoy the beach. Optional surf lesson or kayaking through mangroves.

    Today is free to relax and enjoy the beach. Those keen to take advantage of the optional surf lessons (payable locally) will have their first surf class from a professional surf instructor. This will unusally be in the morning. If surfing is not your think, you may want to take advantage of the alternative option, some guided kayaking through the mangroves (payable locally). However, you may prefer just to relax in a hammock and recharge your batteries today! We spend a second night at our accommodation.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Visit Laguna de Alegria, Coffee plantation walk/tour, lunch and coffee demonstration at Berlin. Drive to Suchitoto.

    This morning we take a 2-3hrs drive to the Laguna de Alegria, inside the crater of the now dormant Volcan Tecapa, where we can hop out and stretch our legs with a walk around this vivid green and sulphurous lake. The silt and clay from the lake is believed to have special healing qualities, though the water in the lagoon has a high sulphur content, which gives the water a bright turquoise hue (and the air a pungent aroma!) and means that it is unable to support fish or other life forms. After a little time to walk around we have back to our vehicles and on to the picture perfect town of Alegria where we can have a wander around the colourful stalls, cobbled streets and mural decorated walls. Alegria has a population of 15,000, and holds a territorial extension of 40.4 km². Though surrounded by coffee plantations, which constitute its main source of income, Algeria is also famous for the export of vibrant ornamental plants and the colourful evidence is everywhere to be seen. Heading on to Berlin, we have the option to walk to a nearby coffee plantation/processing plant where we will have a tour and learn about how the coffee is processed. This is a uphill walk and it will be hot and dusty. You will need sturdy walking shoes, sunhat, water and sunscreen. Those opting not to walk can have some time to look around Berlin, where we will all rendezvous for lunch in a local coffee shop. Here we can sample some of the locally grown coffee and enjoy a demonstration from a trained barista. We then depart for the charming colonial town of Suchitoto (drive time 1.5hrs), where we will overnight. Dinner is not included tonight, but we can recommend heading out to a 'pupuseria'' to sample some pupusas - a must when is El Salvador! Drive time: 4 -5hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 300m

    • Distance 6km

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 300m

    • Time 1 - 2hrs walking

  • Explore colonial Suchitoto on foot. Visit Joya de Ceren the 'Pompeii of America' and the Mayan ruins of San Andres.

    Suchitoto, around 47 km north of San Salvador, is brimming with colonial buildings and cobblestone streets and after breakfast we have a chance to enjoy a short walking tour with our guide. We explore the town centre with its impressive colonial church, the Iglesia Santa Lucia, and we'll get some lovely views down to Lake Suchitlan. Suchitoto is known as a cultural capital and we will also and, if there's time, we might want to pop into a couple of art galleries during our tour. Afterwards we drive across to the archaeological site of Joya de Ceren, which was declared a world heritage by UNESCO in 1993. Discovered buried under 5 meters of volcanic ash, Joya de Ceren has become known as the 'Pompeii of America'; the artefacts found here have given a unique insight into day to day life in a Mayan community. We will also visit another of El Salvador's Mayan ruins, the step pyramid of San Andres, which was inhabited by the Mayans between AD 600 and 900 and we will have a little time to take a look around the small museum. We'll enjoy a late lunch at a nearby restaurant before returning to our hotel in Suchitoto. Depending on how long we choose to spend at the ruins we may have some free time in the late afternoon. Drive time: 2.5hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Leave El Salvador and transfer to Copan in Honduras. Visit the colourful art town of La Palma enroute.

    This will be our longest driving day as we drive for 7-8hrs from Suchitoto, El Salvador to Copan, Honduras; stopping off briefly in the mountain village of La Palma on the way (Suchitoto to La Palma approx 1.5 hrs drive). Salvadorian painter, Fernando Llort moved to La Palma in 1977 and his colourful and childlike images of village life can be seen all over the town, adorning the walls and buildings. These days the majority of the population make their living from reproducing this art, which is available all over town in the local art shops. We will have a few minutes to look around before we board our minibus again and head on to Copan (a further 6hrs drive plus time to negotiate border formalities). Today may be protracted as we will have several border crossing to contend with and timings can be unpredictable. It may be that we decide cross into Guatemala to take advantage of the better roads and then back into Honduras - an excellent opportunity to pick up a few more stamps in our passports! We arrive into the tourist town of Copan in the late afternoon/early evening where we spend our first night in Honduras. Because of the unpredictability of the timings today, we will travel with a packed lunch to avoid any unnecessary delays. Drive time: 8-9hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bl

  • Morning visit to the Maya Ruins at Copan. Afternoon drive to the town of Tela on the Caribbean coast of Honduras.

    The town of Copan Ruinas is a hive of activity year round, with travelers from around the globe coming to discover the secrets of the Maya civilization and enjoy the beautiful scenery surrounding this small town. We take breakfast at the hotel and drop our packed bags in reception before heading on foot to the Mayan ruins of Copan; the most important cultural destination in Honduras, Copan is believed to have been the capital city of the kingdom from the 5th to 9th centuries. We have a guided tour followed by a little free time to explore the monuments and temples. Heading back to the entrance our bus and bags will be there to meet us in the car park and we head straight off on our drive to the Caribbean town of Tela, on the north coast, we'll stop somewhere en route to pick up some lunch. Arriving into Tela we check into the accommodation that will be our base for the next 3 nights. Drive time: 6-7hrs.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Speed boat journey, walking tour of Jeanette Kawas National Park. Traditional lunch on secluded beach with opportunity to snorkel.

    After breakfast we head to the dock and set of on our boat tour to Jeanette Kawas National Park. The park was renamed in 1995 in honour of the heroic activist Jeanette Kawas, who lost her life during the campaign to prevent the palm plantations from destroying the park. Formally known as Punta Sal, the park exhibits a diverse array of both marine life and tropical forest ecosystem. On our fast boat we journey across the Bay of Tela (1.5hrs) to one of the most protected parts of the National Park; we may be lucky enough to see dolphin en route. Arriving in the bay we traverse the peninsula on foot, through mangrove and tropical forest, and we should be on the lookout for both white-faced and howler monkeys. Returning to our boats we head a short distance on to a secluded beach at Cocalito where we can enjoy a traditional Garifuna lunch and some time to relax on the beach Caribbean style. Snorkels will be provided and those keen for a swim can head out into the turquoise waters of the coral reef. We take our boat back to Tela in the late afternoon.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 90m

    • Meals bl

    • Descent 90m

    • Time 1hr walking

  • Visit Lancetilla botanical gardens. Afternoon kayak through forest and mangroves in Punta Izopo NP.

    This morning we visit Lancetilla Botanical Garden, the 2nd largest tropical botanical garden in the world! We'll learn all about the exotic fruits growing in the park, and even get to sample a few. Returning to Tela we have lunch and early afternoon at our leisure before we head to the Punta Izopo National Park, where we have the option to explore the mangroves by Kayak. This exciting excursion involves kayaking through the maze of mangrove creeks and rivers, which make up the Río Plátano and the Río Hicaque Lagoon, in the central zone of the Park. The wildlife in the mangroves is most lively during sunset and sunrise and our late afternoon/evening tour takes advantage of this. As well as countless species of bird we will hope to have the chance to observe (from a safe distance!) the crocodiles that inhabit the canals and mangroves. We'll want to have our head torches with us and our guide will also have a powerful torch, hoping help us catch a glimpse of those reptilian eyes shining back from us from in amongst the mangroves! On the way back to the hotel we stop a traditional eatery in the village of Triunfo de La Cruz to enjoy a celebratory Garifuna dinner with the sound of the Caribbean sea providing the sound track. We return to our hotel in Tela for one last night. Drive time: 1hr.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Departure day. A single transfer to San Pedro Sula Airport is provided.

    After breakfast there will be a single group transfer to San Pedro Sula Airport. KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Time permitting we can enjoy a last swim and a coffee in the small town of Tela. Drive time: 1-2hrs.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • English-speaking local guide
  • Group airport transfers
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All land transport required by the itinerary
  • National park entrance fees
  • All excursions mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and tourist cards if applicable
  • Airport taxes
  • Airport transfers other than group transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Optional activities and excursions
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous personal expenditure

The cuisines of Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras have a strong reliance on indigenous foods like corn, beans, squash, tomatoes and tropical fruits such as mango and papaya. We can expect a diverse and tasty experience during the trip as we experience the flavours of the Mayan, Creole and Caribbean cultures as well as the tastes of Spain. Corn will be the main staple, as in most Central American countries, and the tortilla will feature heavily! As we travel towards the Caribbean coast we will enjoy more seafood, the taste of coconut and plenty or rice and bean dishes.

All breakfasts, 5 lunches and 3 dinners are included in the holiday price.
A single group transfer between Managua and the group hotel in Granada is provided on Day 1 of the trip itinerary. This transfer will be in the evening of day 1. On the final day of the land only itinerary there will be a single group transfer from the hotel to San Pedro Sula Airport, Honduras. This transfer will arrive at the airport mid morning. Hotel contact details together with an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.
This group will spend 2 nights in a centrally located hotel in Granada. 2 nights in cabins on Ometepe Island, 1 night hotel in Leon, 2 nights hotel near the beach in El Cuco, 2 nights hotel in Suchitoto, 1 night hotel in Copan, 3 nights hotel in the town of Tela on the Caribbean coast. International tourism is still in its infancy in Central America and some of the accommodation used will be small and simple but comfortable and well located. Whilst on the coast of El Salvador and Honduras it is common for small hotels to shut down in the evening with staff going home after dinner has been served; we should be prepared to enjoy some quiet evenings - all part of the laid back coastal life in these amazing countries. A pack of cards and a good book are excellent packing ideas! All accommodation is en suite and based on twin sharing, with the exception of the 2 nights at El Cuco where it may be necessary to triple share and the 3 nights in Tela where you may have to share a bathroom. Please note that it is also common for hotel rooms in Central America to contain multiple beds as these establishments are also used for domestic tourism where it is common for families to share rooms. Though the rooms contain multiple beds you will only be asked to use them on a twin share basis, with the occasional exception of the hotel at El Cuco. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired with other travellers of the same sex.

Due to limited rooms at some of the accommodations it is not possible to guarantee a single supplement for the 2 nights in El Cuco or the 3 nights in Tela.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The group will be accompanied throughout by a professional English-speaking local tour leader.

A total of US $250 - $300 should be sufficient to cover your personal spending including tips for drivers and local staff, miscellaneous expenditure on drinks, souvenirs etc, and border fees and airport departure tax (if applicable – this is dependent on which airline you fly with as it maybe included in your ticket). It is possible to use credit and debit cards to withdraw money from ATMs in banks and petrol stations in most towns. If you are bringing your travel money with you it is best to bring this as cash US dollars, with as many small denominations as possible. Credit cards are accepted in most stores and restaurants, and dollars are generally accepted, though not everywhere and not necessarily for small items, you will be able to change small amounts of currency at the borders. Note that many of the activities on this tour are optional, and depending on which you choose to participate in, you will need to budget accordingly in addition to the sum we recommend above. Please see the separate section on Optional Activities for further information. Optional Activity Costs: Please note that these prices are correct at time of writing, but are subject to change without warning. CERRO NEGRA Hike & Ash Boarding, $35 El CUCO SURF LESSON $40 per person for 1.5hrs, including surf board, bilingual instructor, EL CUCO MANGROVE KAYAK EXCURSION $40.

Tips are an accepted way of saying thank you to your local staff. They do not form part of their wages. KE always pays local crews the best rates of pay, no matter what country they are in and any tips they receive are seen as a personal thank you from the group. On a group holiday of this nature, where you may have multiple local guides and drivers, tipping can be difficult to arrange. To make things easier for you we would suggest that, with the help of your guide, you arrange a ‘tipping kitty’ to which everyone contributes around $40. Your guide can then make all the necessary tipping arrangements, keeping a record of these so you know how your money has been spent. Please note that this will not cover restaurant tips. As a simple guide you should look to tip $2-4 a day per person for additional local guides and $1-2 a day per person for your drivers.

 

In addition to the above you may want to consider tipping your Tour Leader for a job well done. This is not compulsory and amount is entirely up to your personal preference and should be given to reflect your thanks for the service received throughout your trip. As a rough guide, $2-5 a day per person is a reasonable amount for your tour guide; you are of course free to adjust this amount how you see fit.

There is no restriction on the weight of your trek bag other than that imposed by your airline. However, you will have a more comfortable travel experience if you pack as light as possible. We do ask you to restrict your luggage to one main bag and a small day pack. We recognise that for some of our holidays and for some of our travellers, the KE Trek Bag (see below) may not provide the best solution when packing for your trip. A bag with fitted wheels or a large backpack maybe more appropriate. On this holiday there are a number of occasions when you will need to carry your luggage for short distances (i.e. from the vehicle to a boat transfer or a short pedestrian street to the hotel). We have no problem if you choose to use an alternative bag to the KE kitbag.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Walking boots

  • Trainers for travelling

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Shorts

  • Underwear

  • Casual shirts and/or T-shirts

  • 1 light fleece – warm jumper and jacket

  • Light weight waterproof jacket

  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers

  • Sunhat

  • Sunglasses

  • Daypack 25 litres

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x 2

  • Travel clothes

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Swimwear

  • Beach towel

  • Insect repellent

  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)

  • Basic First Aid Kit including the following: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea

The following items are optional:

  • Sandals

  • Spare laces

  • Gaiters

  • Trekking poles

  • Pen-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

  • Camera

Notes

During this holiday there are a number of occasions when you will need to carry your luggage for short distances. It is preferable that a piece of luggage with wheels or a large backpack, or something that you can easily carry, makes sense for this holiday and is more user friendly for this type of holiday than a duffle bag or holdall.

 

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa El Salvador

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

Visa Nicaragua

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

Visa Honduras

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

Transit via USA

You will require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any US-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is USD$14 and you should apply for it at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. With the ESTA complete, the majority of British Citizen passport holders can enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme, VWP. As of 1st April 2016 you will be required to have a passport with an intergrated chip. Note that if you have travelled to Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan in the last 5yrs you will have to apply for a visa.

NOTE: This is required if you are transiting through the USA 

Transit via Canada

From 15 March 2016

All citizens (except for USA citizens) will require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorisation), and you must get this before boarding any Canada-bound aircraft or ship, or entering on a land border. The fee is CAD$7 and you should apply for it at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp

NOTE: This is required if you are transiting through Canada

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis are required. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

The unit of currency in El Salvador is the US Dollar. 

The unit of currency in Nicaragua is the Cordoba.

The unit of currency in Honduras is the Lempiras.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on an active holiday getting some additional exercise. Whilst regular hiking in hill or back country is the best preparation, running, cycling and swimming are also good for developing better cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Nicaragua and El Salvador have tropical climates with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Almost all the annual rainfall occurs during the rainy season, which extends from May to October/November. From November through to April, the northeast trade winds control weather patterns. During these months, air flowing from the Caribbean has had most of the precipitation removed by the mountains of Honduras and by the time this air reaches Nicaragua and El Salvador, it is dry, hot, and hazy. This season is known locally as verano, or summer. Temperatures vary little with the season and elevation is the primary determinant of temperature. The coastal lowlands of the Pacific and Caribbean are the hottest regions, with annual averages ranging from 25°C to 32°C. San Salvador is representative of the central plateau, with an annual average temperature of 23°C and absolute high and low readings of 38°C and 7°C, respectively. Mountain areas are the coolest, with annual averages from 12°C to 23°C and minimum temperatures sometimes approaching freezing.

  • Lonely Planet Nicaragua & El Salvador

  • Lonely Planet Guide, Honduras & the Bay Islands

  • The History of El Salvador: Christopher M. White

  • Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. Stephen Kinzer

  • The Jaguar Smile. Salman Rushdie

Nicaragua & El Salvador - ITMB - International Travel Maps

Very detail, double sided map. One side is Nicaragua 1: 700 000 and the other is El Salvador 1: 250 000. Printed in water proof paper. It include: Border Crossing points, Place of interests, Ferries.... Also have insets of Isla De Ometepe, Leon, San Juan Del Sur, San Salvador.

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