Two weeks covering the best of El Salvador and Nicaragua. Highlights include El Boqueron National Park, Joya de Ceren, Suchitoto and more.
Lost World Adventures itineraries can be tailor-made according to your plans and preferences: budget, hotel selections, travel dates, optional excursions, length of trip, etc.
Arrive San Salvador Airport. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the capital of San Salvador.
Overnight Arbol de Fuego (3-star) or Hotel Sheraton (4-star), breakfast included.
In the morning before leaving San Salvador you visit the Anthropology Museum David J. Guzman with most archeological finds displayed and gives a good idea of El Salvador's history.
Then you drive to El Boquerón National Park where a big and steep crater is located. The crater of the Boquerón Volcano is 500 meters deep and 5 km in diameter. The northwest fissure has been the most active recently, with such significant eruptive events, such as the Loma Caldera eruption which buried the ancient village of Joya de Ceren and the eruption of El Playon (1658–71) which buried the town of Nexapa. The citizens relocated to Nejapa and nowadays the eruption is celebrated annually.
Lunch at Cafe Miranda with great views from the volcano to the valley. You will have a workshop making your own tortillas for by the lunch, eaten with almost every traditional Salvadoran dish. In the afternoon off to Joya de Ceren, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993 for being the only location in the whole Mayan culture where you can appreciate the day-to-day living styles of the popular pre-Columbian inhabitants. Also called the Pompeii of Central America, Joya de Ceren and the village were buried under 14 layers of ash by several eruptions of volcanoes.
The villagers were apparently able to flee in time – no bodies have been found – although they left behind utensils, ceramics, furniture, and even half-eaten food in their haste to escape. Afterward, continue to Concepcion de Ataco.
Overnight Fleur de Lis (3-star) or Hotel Casa Degraciela (4-star), breakfast included – 2 nights.
Ruta de Las Flores is famous for its abundance of wild growing flowers.
This region has beautiful panoramic views of the mountainside coffee plantations, lagoons and dense cloud forests. Visit the town of Ataco, having become a door for all the artistic community with the traditional production of colorful textiles and the artistic murals painted on the walls of the colonial style houses.
Check out the looms where they demonstrate how they make still colorful textiles.
Take a look around the little town of Juayua, with colorfully decorated authentic arts and crafts shops.
You will have the opportunity to learn about coffee shrubs, coffee growing, coffee production and agro-forestry at Finca El Carmen. El Carmen produces “Designer” coffee, also known as “Gourmet, High Altitude” coffee (4,000 to 5,700 feet altitude). Your guide will describe each stage of coffee production and explain how the “cherry” coffee bean is transformed into a premium coffee for export to companies like Starbucks, among many others.
In the afternoon you will visit the thermal hot spring of Santa Teresa where you will be able to relax, swim and reflect on your day. Overnight Concepcion de Ataco.
Suchitoto is about 47 km north of San Salvador, a city of colonial homes, buildings and cobblestone streets. You can check out several local art galleries during the walking tour through the town.
Various locations in town have great views over Lake Suchitlan, a former river that was dammed and has an ecosystem that offers much ornithological interest for the abundance as well as for the variety of species, including pelicans, herons and stork.
Indigo is a natural colorant extracted from the Xiquilite plant. It was a very important element for the Mayans since they used it for magical/religious rituals, as a medical plant, for pottery and for painting. When the Spanish “Conquistadores” arrived to El Salvador in 1524, Indigo became the new source of wealth in the region when indigo was being exported to Spain. During a Indigo workshop you will learn all about the process and enjoy designing your own scarf.
Overnight in Suchitoto at El Tejado (3-star) or Hotel Los Almendros de San Lorenzo (4-star), breakfast included.
From Suchitoto depart for adventure on Jiquilisco Bay, a natural treasure in the eastern part of the country that is home to abundant biodiversity, declared a RAMSAR site and a Biosphere Reserve.
Here you will take a boat ride through the mangroves to see all different types of birds, sea life and caimans. You will also visit a reserve of spider monkeys, an endangered species protected in this area. After lunch continue El Cocu beach, on the Pacific coast.
Overnight Hotel Miraflores (3-star) or Hotel Los Mangos (4-star), breakfast included – 2 nights.
Day at leisure.
Overnight El Cuco.
Transfer to La Union, one of El Salvador's main ports. You leave La Union by boat for the crossing of the Gulf of Fonseca to Potosí, Nicaragua. (Boat crossing operates twice a week.)
During this scenic boat trip you have splendid views of the coastline of Nicaragua and El Salvador. You will spot aquatic birds and see fishermen on their daily fishing trips.
Upon arrival in Potosí you will continue by vehicle to León, a lively university town boasting two UNESCO sites: the huge Cathedral on the main square and the foundations of Old León, some 40 kms from the present location. The city of León is a cultural-historical attraction that really deserves a visit as well.
Moreover, the direct surroundings offer plenty of opportunities for interesting day tours which makes Leon a great place to base oneself for a couple of days. The fact that León is not so well-known to the general public has its advantages:
it is in a way more authentic than Granada, giving visitors an opportunity to more easily connect with locals.
Overnight Hotel Azul (3-star) or Hotel Convento (4-star), breakfast included – 2 nights.
Morning hike on the slopes of the Cerro Negro, one of Nicaragua’s many volcanoes.
The loose rocks and steep inclination make the hike a challenge, though we do make frequent stops to inform you about the history of the volcano and point out features such as the craters and lava fields.
Before heading to the steeper and outer rim for the point of descent, you can do a short test run inside the crater. Cerro Negro is the youngest volcano in Central America (formed in 1850) as well as one of the most active. It last erupted in 1999 and experts think a new eruption is only a matter of time.
Afternoon guided walking tour of Leon. Explore the rich cultural and political history of one of Nicaragua's oldest and most influential cities. Defined by its graceful Spanish colonial architecture and fascinating political history, you will soon discover why León is considered to be Nicaragua's historical, cultural, educational and religious capital. Overnight Leon.
The Masaya Volcano is actually a volcanic complex composed of a nested set of calderas and craters.
The massive outer Nindiri cone host the pit craters of Masaya, Santiago, Nindiri and San Pedro, and is considered as one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. You will see the smoking crater and if lucky, the extremely rare Green Parakeets (Chocoyo) which, strangely, call the volcano their home.
The Masaya Volcano is the only volcano in the western hemisphere where you are able to drive to the rim. After visiting the volcanic complex, you will visit the famous Masaya Market, the very heart of Nicaraguan handicrafts. Aside from unique Nicaraguan products such as hand woven hammocks, embroidered blouses, wood carvings, leather goods, ceramics, paintings and hemp weaving the market is very diverse.
Granada was founded in 1524 and is believed to be the second oldest city established in mainland Latin America by the Spanish conquest. During colonial times, Granada saw much unrest as the city was attacked several times by pirates. Nowadays Granada is characterized by bright-colored Spanish-colonial architecture, visible throughout the city center.
Before heading to the last stop of the tour, the Pueblos Blancos, you have lunch in the romantic village of Catarina from where you can enjoy spectacular views over the enormous crater lake of Apoyo which is said to have the clearest water in Central America.
After lunch, you will have the opportunity to walk through the village for a while. San Juan de Oriente, one of the so called ‘Pueblos Blancos’ (White Villages), is the last destination on today’s itinerary.
Overnight Hotel Con Corazon (3-star) or Hotel Plaza Colon (4-star), breakfast included – 2 nights.
A boat trip through the Isletas of Granada is a great way to explore Lake Cocibolca, also known as Lake Nicaragua.
This 365-island archipelago formed when Volcán Mombacho erupted some 20,000 years ago, hurling its top half into the nearby lake in giant masses of rock, ash, and lava. Today, the islands are inhabited by a few hundred ‘campesinos´ and an ever-increasing number of wealthy Nicaraguans and foreigners.
As you navigate through the calm waters with your bilingual guide, with Volcán Mombacho as your backdrop, be sure to keep an eye out for the many species of birds and wildlife that inhabit the lake and its surroundings.
Stop for a drink at one of the islands, and visit the San Pablo fort, built in the 18th century to protect Granada against English pirates. Afternoon at leisure.
San Juan del Sur is one of the most popular destinations in Nicaragua. It used to be a quiet fishing village and has now emerged into one of the country's leading coast destinations, but has still maintained its charm and unique culture.
Before heading to your hotel you will stop by the local social project Barrio Planta Project.
The Barrio Planta Project is an education initiative created to empower low-income children and adults living in San Juan del Sur. Through supplementary schooling with an emphasis on English as a Second Language and the creative arts, BPP provides means for international communication and exposure to enriching cultural activities that enhance confidence and facilitate community development. You will interact with students through activities like dancing, talking, painting, etc.
The city is home to a wide selection of hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs with great nightlife. The beaches are great for surfing almost all year long. Snorkeling, diving or sailing trips are offered along the coast.
You can do a canopy tour just outside the town and enjoy nice views of the surrounding landscapes. Also the protected La Flor beach and wildlife reserve should not be left out of any itinerary, especially for those who are keen to see turtles.
Overnight Hotel Posada Azul (3-star) or Hotel Pelican Eye (4-star), breakfast included – 2 nights.
Day at leisure in San Juan del Sur. You can enjoy the beach, take surfing lessons, do a canopy tour, or witness a very special natural phenomenon: the arribadas, or mass arrivals, of endangered olive ridley sea turtles on nearby La Flor beach (in season only, August to January).
Overnight San Juan del Sur.
Enjoy the morning at the beach. Transfer to Managua in the afternoon for your last night in Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s capital of Managua is home to almost two million inhabitants and the largest city in Nicaragua.
Managua has a lot to offer its visitors: theaters, restaurants, night clubs, bars, and cinemas to name a few. At Roberto Huembes market, you can experience an authentic Nicaraguan street market and buy well-made souvenirs and handicrafts.
Overnight Hotel Best Western Las Mercedes (3-star) or Hotel Intercontinental (4-star), breakfast included.
You will be met at your hotel and transferred to the airport.
|Price from||$2,695.00 per person, based on double occupancy|
Overnight accommodations, breakfast included (based on 3-star listing)
Salvadoran 13% value-added tax (IVA) and 5% tourism tax
Public boat service to Nicaragua (Tuesdays and Saturdays)
Tips/gratuities for guides, drivers, baggage handlers
They followed our wants and budget and were able to plan a great trip for us.
They were quick to respond and adjust the itinerary based on our suggestions. Our agency was also very helpful with informing us what we would be required to complete before our trip. The tours and private guides were always on time and very helpful.
We made a lot of memories on the trip because of how organized this travel agency was with the daily tour planning. Overall it was a pleasant experience working with this company.
We would recommend them to any of our friends and family that are planning to travel to South America.
- Julie K, Jan 2015