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NI2 EL SALVADOR & NICARAGUA TOUR

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The 'NEW' Highlights of Central America

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

No visa's required; No jet lag; 2 UNESCO sites; Mayan ruins; Volcanic cones; Craters and lakes; Colonial charm

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Sun 01 Nov 2015Fri 13 Nov 2015 $3240
Sun 07 Feb 2016Fri 19 Feb 2016 $3240
Sun 10 Jul 2016Fri 22 Jul 2016 $3240
Sun 06 Nov 2016Fri 18 Nov 2016 $3240

Optional Single Supplement: $570 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Regions visited: Central America And Caribbean
Countries visited: El Salvador and Nicaragua


Testimonials


We were happy with the trip. enjoyed the walking to and eating out at many different local restaurants with such good food.

Pablo is perfect for this area of the world. Obviously, he speaks spanish but he also understands the local ambience and the history/sights

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in San Salvador
Today we arrive in San Salvador.

The smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador adjoins the Pacific in a narrow coastal plain, backed by a volcanic mountain chain, and a fertile plateau. The origins of the city of San Salvador can be traced to before the Spanish Conquest. It is near the present location of San Salvador that the Pipil groups established their capital of Cuscatlan. Little is known about this city since its inhabitants abandoned it in an effort to avoid Spanish rule.

Overnight in San Salvador.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 La Ruta De Las Flores
Today's journey will take us through what is probably one of the most beautiful regions of El Salvador, where we visit the towns that are part of the 'Route of the Flowers.' This route received this title because of the many beautiful flowers and plants you can see and the stunning little mountain towns that you can visit. Every town has it's own charm and character, with their churches, markets and crafts. This route takes us along the road between the city of Sonsonate to Ahuachapan. Here we find a series of towns with a wealth of cultural traditions.

The first town will be Nahuizalco, characterized for having strong pre-Columbian traditions. This is one of the country's most important indigenous and crafts populations. Baskets and furniture woven from natural fibers such as "Tule" and wicker dress up the streets. In the heart of the route we find Salcoatitan. Its white colonial church in front of the Central Plaza is one of its main attractions. It was here where the first coffee tree was planted, a profitable item that supports the local economy. We continue our tour towards Juayua, famous for its Black Christ. This beautiful town is of coffee tradition and it envelops an extraordinary climate and nature.

We will also visit the town of Apaneca before ending our day with a visit to Concepcion de Ataco, a pre-Columbian town established by the Piples tribe and located in the heart of the mountain where its cobblestone streets and lanterns provide a unique atmosphere. Somewhere along today's route we will visit a coffee plantation.

Overnight in Apaneca.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 3 Apaneca - Tazumal - Casa Blanca - San Andres - Joya de Ceren - Suchitoto
Today we visit is the colonial city of Chalchuapa, built partly in the premises of the Tazumal pyramid complex during the colonial period. In the historical center is one of the oldest churches in El Salvador.

Tazumal is one of the most important pre-columbian sites in El Salavador with construction starting in the pre-classic period. We will also stop at the nearby Casa Blanca to observe the influences left by the Olmecs as well as tour the small museum with Mayan ceramics on display.

This afternoon we will enjoy another tour of a Pre-Columbian site, San Andres before touring Joya de Ceren, a village covered by the Laguna Caldera volcano 1,400 years ago. Today, this preserved city is considered to be a jewel of history and is known as the 'Pompeii of the Americas'.

After our sightseeing we drive to Suchitoto for our overnight stay.

Overnight in Suchitoto.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Suchitoto: Town Tour
We continue our tour in the small beautiful town of Suchitoto. This is one of the true hidden gems of El Salvador. Known for its central church and cobblestone road, Suchitoto is a place where one takes a step back in time. Originally a Pipil town, Suchitoto was the nation's capital for 15 years beginning in 1528. Today it's a quaint colonial town with several tourist attractions along its cobblestone streets and rich in cultural and artistic attractions. The town offers fantastic views of the Lake Suchitlan and Volcan Guazapa. On our tour through the city center, we will learn about history and architecture of Suchitoto. The town has a very relaxed feel and is often referred to as the 'Antigua of El Salvador'.

This afternoon is yours to discover and your tour guide can assist you in planning your afternoon. You may chose to go to an indigo workshop where we can witness the making of typical clothing, or venture out bird watching or walk to the Salto du Cubo waterfall. Walking trails are easily accessible within 5 minutes of Suchitoto’s town centre.

Overnight in Suchitoto.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Suchitoto - San Salvador, El Salvador - Managua, Nicaragua - Leon
This morning we will drive back to San Salvador for our flight to Managua, Nicaragua. The country's name is derived from Nicaro, the name of the Nahuatl-speaking tribe which inhabited the shores of Lago de Nicaragua before the Spanish conquest of the Americas, and the Spanish word Agua, meaning water, due to the presence of the large lakes Lago de Nicaragua and Lago de Managua, as well as lagoons and rivers in the region. At the time of the Spanish conquest, Nicaragua was the name given to the narrow strip of land between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean. This is the largest yet most sparsely populated country in Central America.

On arrival in Managua we transfer by road to Leon, which is home to more than 12 colonial period churches, including Central America's largest church. Leon is also the cradle of Nicaragua's 20th century revolutionary movement. Founded by the Spaniards as Santiago de los Caballeros de Leon, it rivals Granada in its number of historic colonial homes and churches.

Overnight in Leon.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Leon: Walking Tour
Our day will begin with a guided sightseeing tour of Leon with its interesting center featuring many old colonial houses, monuments, and churches. We will see the National University of Nicaragua, Leon Cathedral, the Plaza of Poets, the plaza of the Revolution, the local marketplace, as well as many colourful political murals. Leon Cathedral is the most prominent building of Leon and is the largest cathedral in Central America. Situated in the central plaza, the first construction of this huge building started over two centuries ago. From the rooftop we will have a superb view of the city.

The Ruben Dario Museum is housed inside the former home of Nicaragua's most beloved poet. We will also visit the 300-year-old Subtiava Indian Church in the Subtiava Indian neighborhood of Leon. Your afternoon is free to explore Leon, where the people are very friendly, warm-hearted and generous.

Overnight in Leon.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Leon - San Jacinto Hotsprings - Matagalpa
Today we depart Leon and travel towards the region north of Managua known as Matagalpa. En route we stop at San Jacinto, a little town about 20 kilometers northeast of Leon. Behind the village lie boiling mud holes, connected probably to the Telica volcano. The field is not big but it is interesting to walk around and see the fiercely bubbling holes, which differ in size and colour. Take care as the mud sometimes throws little rocks in the air and steam is continuously emitted.

Matagalpa is known for its cool weather, cloud forests, and coffee. Here we will walk through a mixed tropical forest and tour the organic shade coffee hacienda and coffee processing facilities. Our overnight accommodation is within the Selva Negra cloud forest.

Overnight in Matagalpa.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Matagalpa - Granada
After a morning at leisure to enjoy the cloud forest, perhaps doing some walks and birdwatching, our journey continues by road to Granada.

Granada is one of Latin America's most beautiful colonial cities. Located on the shores of mighty Lake Nicaragua, Granada is one of the oldest European settlements in the Western Hemisphere. Actually, it is the oldest city founded by Europeans on mainland America that still exist in its original location. Veracruz in Mexico was founded prior to Granada, but was relocated from its original location due to its destruction by natural disaster. Granada is historically one of Nicaragua's most important cities both economically and politically.

As with all colonial cities in Central America, Granada is built around its main square (Parque Central), which represents the city's social, cultural, and economic hub. Around the Parque Central visitors find Granada's cathedral, the city hall, important banks, cultural centres, as well as myriad small shops and stalls selling traditional foods and handicrafts.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 9 Granada City Tour
Today we will enjoy a private boat cruise on Lake Nicaragua. This journey will take us through the Granada Isletas, an exotic tropical archipelago of 365 tiny volcanic islands. Granada is a port on giant Lake Nicaragua, and a boat journey to visit Las Isletas just offshore is a must for any visitor. Some of the 365 islands are inhabited and most are covered with a vast variety of unusual vegetation. This is also an area rich in bird life.

Canals separate many of the isletas where fishermen, seated patiently on Indian rafts, wait for a bite. Of archaeological interest is the Fortress of San Pablo, placed strategically on an island opposite the city. The fortress was built in the mid-18th century to protect Granada from the marauding pirates. Pre-Columbian archaeological stone pieces were found on Pensacola Islet and are on exhibit in the Museum of the San Francisco Convent.

Later in the day we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of Granada to cover what we did not see yesterday afternoon. We will visit the Casa de Tres Mundos, Granada Cathedral, San Francisco Convent, City Hall, and other historical monuments.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Granada: Ometepe Island Excursion
Today we will enjoy a full-day excursion to Nicaragua's famous Ometepe Island, one of the most impressive sights in Central America. The name Ometepe means 'two hills' in the native Nahuatl language. The island measures 276 square kilometers and it houses two majestic volcanoes connected through a small strip of land. The two volcanoes, Concepcion and Maderas, are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass. Concepcion Volcano is still active, and most recently erupted on December 5, 2007.

Ometepe is somewhat isolated from the rest of Nicaragua and therefore maintains its special mystery and charm. After driving along the southern shore of the lake to the boat dock, we will board the ferry for the 1.5 hours ferry ride on Lake Nicaragua to Ometepe Island. When we arrive at Ometepe Island we will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the island, including some petroglyphs.

For lunch we will make a break at Santo Domingo Beach, and then we will explore the harbour town of Moyogalpa. At the end of our day we will then travel by ferry back to the shore where we begin our drive back to Granada.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch

Day 11 Masaya Volcano National Park, Masaya Market & White Towns
Today's touring includes a visit to Masaya Volcano National Park, Nicaragua's first national park, established in 1979 and considered one of Nicaragua's most interesting and beautiful natural phenomena. We will explore the crater rim of this active volcano, which resembles a lunar landscape, and will visit the park museum.

We will also visit the Masaya Marketplace, well known for it's local handicraft selection, such as leather goods, artistic weavings, and colourful traditional clothing. Here we will see a large selection of beautiful and inexpensive paintings in the Nicaragua Solentiname artist styles.

Los Pueblos de la Meseta is a series of tiny villages that was once the ancient center of the great Chorotega Indian empire that for centuries stretched from Costa Rica to Honduras. These old Indian settlements are home to some of Central America's most skilled artisans. Nicaragua's northern mountains have been the site of many rebellions against colonial, post-colonial and 20th century rulers. The region is also home to Nicaragua's most important crop coffee, fine hand rolled cigars, and an ancient method of gold mining. Our sightseeing will also take us to the famous 'White Towns' of Caterina, Diria, Masatepe and San Juan del Oriente. At the Caterina lookout we will have a great panorama over the Laguna de Apoyo volcanic crater lake and the city of Granada.

Overnight in Granada.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Granada - Managua: City Tour
Today travel back to Managua and have a city tour on arrival.

We will begin with a visit to the Acahualinca Footprints Museum, showing us footprints from humans and animals escaping from a volcanic eruption between 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. The tracks are petrified Paleo-Indian human footprints left behind in volcanic ash and mud. The Acahualinca tracks are the oldest human footprints and prehistoric record of human existence in Managua. We will also visit historical sites such as the Old Cathedral, destroyed by the earthquake of 1972; the Presidential House, the National Palace of Culture, and the waterfront.

Overnight in Managua.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Departure
Departure from Managua.

BUEN VIAJE!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Courtyard by Marriott

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: San Salvador
Country: El Salvador

Located in El Salvador's new financial & commercial district in the most exclusive and safe area of the city, the
... by Marriott is centrally located, within walking distance to fine restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping. Our San Salvador hotel features spacious guest rooms with luxurious bedding, with complimentary high-speed Internet access, air-conditioning.
Read More.

Hotel Los Almendros De San Lorenzo

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Suchitoto
Country: El Salvador

The Hotel is located in one of the typical old colonial houses in the heart of the historical city of
... The hacienda has been entirely restored with a central patio surrounded by open hallways, a gran salon, a bar. The luxurious accommodation features air-conditioning and private bathroom.

Read More.

Hotel El Convento

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Leon
Country: Nicaragua

This charming historical building has 31 rooms, all with air-conditioning and private facilities. Laundry service, internet, TV, hot water also
... />

Read More.

Hotel El Patio del Malinche

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Granada
Country: Nicaragua

Hotel El Patio del Malinche is situated in a renovated, colonial house where the original style of houses from Granada
... been combined with modern hotel amenities like wireless internet, a pool, and air conditioning. There are two interior patios in the hotel. The central location, only a few blocks from Granada's central park, makes it possible to easily reach the interesting sites in town.

Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and local restaurants). All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, hotel porters (if available). Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuity, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), departure taxes, and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs, shopping, and locally paid departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

Temperature can vary greatly depending on elevation. Cloud forest / mountain areas can be quite cool and misty, while coastal areas are much hotter and humid. The "green" season runs May-December. The warm dry season is Dec-May, though temperature differences between seasons are slight.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Road transport by private air-conditioned motor coach, 12-30 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). The countries' roads are generally good though we do have some long (though scenic) road journeys. Numerous nature walks and walking tours on uneven surfaces. Internal flights via scheduled carriers.

Accommodation

Well-located, heated / air-conditioned, mid-range (3 star) hotels with en suite toilet and bath throughout (probably shower only). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than doubles. Hotel porter service is sometimes available (see 'Inclusions') though you should be independent with your luggage, especially at airports. Some hotels have outdoor swimming pools.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver/s, and local step-on guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 (plus Tour Leader)

NI2 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION13 days

TOUR STARTSan Salvador

TOUR ENDManagua