Central America highlights tour

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Date
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07 Jan 2020
£2720
including UK flights
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06 Feb 2020
£2650
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21 Feb 2020
£2740
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19 Mar 2020
£2720
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03 Apr 2020
£3120
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05 Nov 2020
£2860
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20 Nov 2020
£2870
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22 Dec 2020
£3105
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Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure.

Responsible tourism

Central America highlights tour

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

On our Central America overland tours we visit a number of national parks, including the Sarapiqui Protected Zone and Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica, and Masaya Volcano National Park in Nicaragua. With thousands of visitors each year, good administration and management of parks is essential in order to preserve these delicate eco-systems and fragile environments.

We actively encourage clients to carry all waste out of parks, walk only on designated paths, and not to pick flowers or disturb the natural resources. When staying within these parks we use locally owned accommodations which minimise the negative impact of tourism on the surrounding area through conserving water and electricity and employing local staff instead of hiring from the bigger cities. In Sarapiqui we stay in a fixed tent camp in the forest, an accommodation that prides itself on its environmental policies. The local tour leader and guides that we use in these areas are instrumental in educating tourists on how to make their visit positive for the environment and surrounding communities.

At Copan, we give our customers the opportunity to visit Macaw Mountain, a Bird Park and Reserve that started off simply as a place to care for abused, hunted or smuggled birds, but which has now begun to develop release programs for Scarlet Macaws, as well as working with the communities to educate and raise awareness of the need for environmental protection. This program has already started to increase cooperation and a sense of pride in the local area, and in 2016 an area of 870 square km around Copan and the ruins was legally declared a protected area for the Macaw, as well as being a symbol for many other projects such as reforestation. A visit to the Macaw Mountain Reserve contributes to their projects.

As a company we support Cool Earth. Protecting rainforest is one of the most effective actions to tackle climate breakdown. CoolEarth work with indigenous communities empowering them to conserve their forest; keeping CO2 locked in.

Community

Throughout the trip we also visit several small communities where we encourage our groups to shop and buy produce from the local people - at the Masaya Market for example, the stallholders earn a living from selling their handmade goods. On the tour of Lake Atitlan we visit various local villages offering the chance for passengers to interact with the local communities and buy textiles from the women’s cooperatives in each village. We also visit a pottery workshop in one of the local villages where we have the opportunity to buy straight from the source - you'll see this pottery in shops around the area.

This off-the-beaten-track holiday visits El Salvador; a country that has only recently come through a series of political upheavals. Here, our visit is directly contributing to the local economy as the country discovers the importance of tourism in their financial recovery. In the small village of Suchitoto we hope to encourage local entrepreneurs by visiting their shops and taking part in cultural activities such as indigo dye-making workshops or pupusa (a type of filled tortilla) making classes.

In addition to the above, we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key and so all staff, Tour leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage. As well as this, we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of UK travel industry bodies Tourism Concern and AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.

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