Colonial Cities and Lava Lakes
Our small group tour to Central America’s biggest and smallest countries shows a different side to this fascinating region. We travel to relaxed bohemian towns and archaeological marvels in El Salvador then take in Nicaragua’s charming colonial beauty and pristine jungles.
We start our journey in El Salvador with a visit to Cerro Verde National Park, known for its three volcanoes and dramatic scenery. We then drive along the flower route to the traditional town of Nahuizalco and the colourful village of Ataco, before arriving at Joya de Ceren, a miraculously well-preserved archaeological site. We move on to the town of Suchitoto, with its picturesque cobblestone streets and candy-coloured houses, before visiting the rural community of Cinquera. Here we take a forest walk into the past with an ex-guerilla soldier for an insight into the Salvadoran Civil War based on personal experience. Our last stop in El Salvador is Jiquilisco, where we explore the mangroves to look for wildlife and participate in a turtle conservation project.
Crossing the Gulf of Fonseca we enter Nicaragua and transfer to the attractive colonial city of Leon, known for its beautiful architecture. We climb a nearby volcano before continuing to the Juan Venado Wildlife Refuge where we help reforest the reserve and learn about their green iguana conservation project.
From here we move on to Granada – the oldest colonial city of the Americas – before spending an evening climbing to the active lava crater of Masaya volcano. On the nearby island of Ometepe we try to spot monkeys and birds in the Charco Verde Reserve. We meet local communities on the Solentiname Islands next, before continuing to Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge and Indio Maiz for three days of wildlife utopia. We’ll meet a local biologist and may be lucky to spot a sloth or even a jaguar. Rounding off our journey, we travel through rural landscapes back to Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.
Travelling through Central America’s most beautiful landscapes, we have many opportunities to meet local people and learn about life here in this little-visited corner of the continent. Often neglected by more ‘standard’ itineraries, both Nicaragua and El Salvador have much to offer the intrepid traveller.