1 independent reviews for Central America small group tour

Reviews for Central America small group tour

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review 13 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

Snorkelling in Caye Caulker, Belize, was an amazing experience! Nurse sharks, stingrays and turtles, not to mention oodles of brightly coloured fish, seemed completely oblivious to our presence, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve, with its dazzling array of corals and fish, was stunning. What a fantastic day! Just as good, but for different reasons, was the memorable Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave - wading through water; scrambling up, over and under rocks; and marvelling at the stalactites, stalagmites and Mayan relics, including the famous crystal maiden skeleton, made for an exhilarating day! The Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala were simply breathtaking. The jungle backdrop offers a chance to see wildlife such as toucans, tarantulas, coatis and howler monkeys, to name but a few! The homestay in Guatemala was wonderful: it offers an insight into some of the realities of life for the Mayan population. My host family was so lovely and keen to chat; you really do need to have at least a basic smattering of Spanish to get the most out of the experience. Also, Suchitoto in El Salvador: gorgeous! Oh, and Granada in Nicaragua, too...was I seriously supposed to pick just one memorable aspect?! No chance!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

(1) Bring US dollars for currency exchange - at every border crossing A Man with a Hat and a Serious Wad of Cash appeared (seemed legit...!), so you can easily exchange USD or offload leftover currency. (2) Note that some ATMs in Guatemala don't seem to like Mastercard or pre-paid travel cards (I don't know which...I had a Mastercard travel card...): you might have to try several attempts on one or more machines, but best to bring a Visa card as a back-up. (3) Try and eat at street stalls or local "comedores" to keep food costs down. If lots of locals are eating there, it's a pretty safe bet! (4) Take probiotics with you in case you do have tummy troubles. (5) Bring a dry bag for your valuables - there's lots of boat travel, and you and your belongings are likely to get wet. (6) If you're worried about the water, drink bottled beer!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local transport and trip providers were used throughout the tour, wherever and whenever possible. The trip seemed especially beneficial to the local communities in Guatemala, particularly at the homestay and visits to Mayan markets and handicraft cooperatives.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

For value for money, and as an introduction to Central America, it was great. The trip really does have everything: history, culture, beaches, colonial cities, nature and great food, not to mention professional tour guides who were keen to impart their local knowledge and ensure we all had a good experience. Be warned though: it is just a taster; you're going to want to go back! Know, however, that once you leave Guatemala, there are some long travel days. The trip from Antigua to Copán, in particular, involved a lot of travel for what was just 24 hours in Honduras (although the ruins are, admittedly, impressive) and everyone felt a bit fed up during the seemingly never-ending trip from El Cuco, El Salvador, to León, Nicaragua!

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