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Second Half Central America Gold Tour
14 days duration (18 days including travel days to and from Central America).
Today you depart on your flight to Santiago in South America. As you cross the Date Line you 'gain' a day so you arrive in Chile later the same day. On arrival you will be met and taken to your hotel for the night. This provides the opportunity to acclimatise to the new time zone and also breaks the long flight from Australia to Panama. (Meals Inflight)
Following a leisurely breakfast you are returned to Santiago Airport for your flight to Panama City.
On arrival into Panama City you are met and taken to your hotel where you stay for two nights. Here at the hotel you meet up with your Tour Conductor and the other members of your Inca Gold Tour. (B & Meals Inflight)
Early this morning we will be transferred to the pier to board our vessel for a visit to the greatest engineering masterpiece of last century —the Panama Canal, considered the Eighth Wonder of the Modern World! This afternoon we will be taken on a fascinating city tour of Panama City.
The Spaniards’ efforts to settle colonies in the Atlantic Region of Darien failed due to the unhealthy location and food scarcity. This led to a move to the Pacific Ocean, founding Old Panama City on 15th August 1519. Panama rapidly became an expensive, rich, legendary place, attracting buccaneers who roved along its coasts. The pirate-captain Henry Morgan attacked and ‘sacked’ the old city in 1671. Today’s tour visits many historical sites. (BL)
Early this morning we will be transferred to Panama City Airport for our flight to San Jose in Costa Rica. On arrival, we will be met and taken on a scenic drive across the Cordillera Tillaran to the Arenal Volcano Region.
Passing through quaint villages, rolling mountains and dense tropical jungle, we will stop for lunch enroute. We then travel along the shores of Lake Arenal, from where we will be afforded spectacular views of the beautiful and classic cone shaped 1633 metre high volcano. The Arenal Volcano has three active craters and has been continuously active since 1968. At night (weather permitting) you may hear the loud rumbles and see the red hot lava as it is spewed from the volcano and tumbles down. (BL)
Costa Rica’s main attraction is its countryside, nature and wildlife. With 23% of this tiny country preserved in national parks and wildlife conservation areas, a trip to Costa Rica would not be complete without visiting Cano Nego National Wildlife Refuge. This is Costa Rica’s most important wetland.
Today we drive north towards Nicaragua before taking a boat trip through dense, tropical vegetation into this wildlife paradise. An endless variety of birdlife live here along with caimans, turtles, monkeys, sloths, iguanas and lizards. Our local guides will point out all manner of wildlife as we slowly cruise the lake. On return to our Arenal hotel tonight, we may have the opportunity to visit the hot springs to soak in their natural thermal waters. (BL)
This morning we depart Arenal and travel to Santa Elena, where the famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is situated. This private reserve is home to the shy and very rare Resplendent Quetzal. This afternoon we enjoy a canopy walk along suspended bridges through and high above the tree tops of the cloud forest. You can usually see monkeys, sloths and a variety of birds, but the most striking feature is the forest itself and the myriad shades of green. Tonight we will visit the Frog Pond where you can view many of Costa Rica’s colourful and varied frogs. (BL)
This morning we undertake a guided walk through the cloud forest. We will hear about the fauna and flora of the reserve from our expert naturalist guide and may be lucky enough to view the spectacular and rare Resplendent Quetzal. After lunch we depart Santa Elena for Manuel Antonio.
Descending from the cool climate of the cloud forest, we travel back down to sea level and along the Pacific Coast to the port town of Quepos. Our destination is the beach-side village of Manuel Antonio with its beautiful beaches, views and national park. Tonight we will dine high above the Manuel Antonio cliff face, with Pacific Ocean sunset views. (BLD)
Early this morning we take a guided walk in the Manuel Antonio National Park. Our naturalist guide will point out the many and varied iguanas that call this park home. We may encounter troupes of playful monkeys, sloths, caimans, agouties, woodpeckers, toucans and a variety of other wildlife, which can sometimes be seen in this beach-side national park. (B)
This morning we will be transferred by land to San Jose Airport for our flight to San Jose where we connect with our international flight to Guatemala City. On arrival we will be met and taken to Antigua, Guatemala’s cultural centre, located one hour’s drive from Guatemala City Airport. On arrival we check into our hotel for two nights. (B)
This beautiful Colonial City was founded in 1543 and then partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes, providing a dramatic backdrop to this quaint town. It overflows with fine churches, beautiful Colonial architecture, ruins and great shopping opportunities. This morning we undertake a city tour including the Main Square, the Cathedral Palace of the Captain General, the Arms Museum and the University. This afternoon is at leisure. (B)
This morning we commence our overnight excursion to visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal. We transfer back to Guatemala City Airport for our flight to Flores. On arrival we will be met and taken to our Tikal hotel where we will stay tonight. (B)
Early this morning we visit the Tikal National Park. We will see the ‘Q’ Complex, the Great Plaza, squared-off with the pyramids of the Grand Jaguar and the Masks, the Palace of the Nobles and Pyramid IV. This is the highest of the Mayan Pyramids, from the top of which, a complete view of Tikal and its surrounding jungle can be enjoyed. We also visit the Lost World Complex, recently discovered structures from the late Pre-Classical period, more recent than Tikal itself. After lunch we transfer back to Flores Airport for our flight to Guatemala City and then return to our Antigua hotel for the night. (BL)
This morning we drive to Chichicastenango, the centre of the Maya-Quiche Highlands. We will visit the magnificent Church of Santo Tomas with its famous markets offering a variety of handmade textiles, pottery and crafts. As we wander around the square, we may also witness the ancient incense-burning ritual on the steps of the Santo Tomas Church. We will then continue on to Lake Atitlan, considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Here we will spend two relaxing nights in the bohemian lakeside village of Panajachel. (BL)
Today is at leisure. Tonight we will meet for sunset drinks and an End of Tour Dinner. (BD)
This morning we bid farewell to Lake Atitlan as we are returned to Guatemala City Airport for our flight to Mexico City. On arrival we will enjoy dinner, later we will return to the airport for our flight to Santiago. Tonight is inflight. (BD)
On arrival in Santiago you will be met and taken to your hotel for tonight. The remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening we will be transferred to Santiago Airport for our flight to Auckland, departing soon before midnight. You will have full use of your hotel room until our transfer this evening. (B)
Today is spent inflight as we recross the International Date Line and ‘lose’ one day. (Meals Inflight)
This morning we will arrive into Auckland before continuing on to Sydney. (B)
All prices are subject to currency fluctuations, additional airline charges and changes in costs from ground suppliers. We reserve the right to vary any part of the tour at our sole discretion as circumstances may require.
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