Costa Rica, Nicaragua & El Salvador – Three Peaks in Three Weeks

21 Days
TYPOLOGIES
DIFFICULTY

Medium

MIN. AGE

18 Years

£ 3995

Crater Adventure

Inspired by the UK’s Three Peeks Challenge we thought we’d create our own three peak adventure without the pressure of a race but not without some testing treks! We’ve allowed a leisurely three weeks to explore several varied and beautiful volcanic landscapes and interspersed them with a heavy dose of wildlife, jungle, lakes, rivers, colonial cities and cloud cloud forests. Short on time- you can always do two weeks, even one – but our three themed trip in full also covers three countries in three weeks including the delightful, undiscovered paradise of El Salvador’s volcanic national parks.

Whist Costa Rica has some spectacular volcanoes many of the highest summits have restricted or irregular access and, or are also active or precariously dormant. Volcanologists are constantly monitoring activity so the government, along with national park rangers, are advised as and when a volcano is safe to access. For this reason we currently ease you in to our trip with some fantastic natural sights and walks in Costa Rica to get you limbered up for  three of the highest and most stunning peaks in Nicaragua and El Salvador ( Concepcion or Maderas, San Cristobel and Santa Ana volcanoes)

All are spectacular and doable if you are reasonably fit but will still challenge you even if you have a higher level of fitness!

Price £3,995 / $4,550

Based on 4 pax (Supplement applies if 2 pax of £500pp)

Excludes international flights.

Extension: Price on request

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Day by Day

WEL​COME TO COSTA RICA!

Our driver waits you outside the airport building holding a sign with your name on it. From him you will receive the vouchers that you will need for your trip in Costa Rica as well as a map and information about the country. In about 40 minutes he takes you to your hotel in the center of San José.

Shuttle transfer from San José to La Fortuna
After pick up in the morning you will drive over the PanAmerican Highway for about an hour before turning northward into the highlands. A beautiful through the rural countryside follows. At the end of the morning the mighty silouhette of the Arenal volcano looms in the background. Distance: 140 km. Average travel time: 3 hrs. This is a shared service.

Hike over the Hanging Bridges: a trail of 3.2 kilometer make a loop through the secondary forest and lead over 16 fixed and hanging bridges of different heights. These bridges allow you to experience the rainforest at different levels: from the ground to the canopy.

The following options can also be arranged

  • Visit one of the hot-springs around the volcano and have a relaxing couple of hours.
  • Make a tour by kayak over Lake Arenal and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings
  • Set out for a search of the sloth, one of the most emblematic animals of Costa Rica. It is almost guaranteed that you will find one: either the two toed, or the three toed sloth.
  • Waterfall Tour: Take a refreshing dip near the majestic waterfall of La Fortuna after the steep descent
Shuttle transfer from La Fortuna to Rincón de la Vieja
A beautiful ride today with much contrasts. You drive all along the northern shore of the artificial Lake Arenal. At the town of Tilarán you already have crossed the watershed that divides the Atlantic and Pacific side of the country. Then you take the Panamerican Highway heading northward in the direction of Nicaragua.

After having passed the capital of the province of Guanacaste, Liberia, you ascend on the flanks of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano with its spectacular vegetation.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park Las Pailas hike , Rio Negro Hot Spring & Hot Mud included.

Private Transfer around 08.00 from Rincón de la Vieja to Peñas Blancas 

Welcome to the country of lakes and volcanoes! At the beginning, one of our representatives will meet you in Peñas Blancas to transfer you to San Jorge's port. Upon arrival in San Jorge you will receive assistance to board the ferry to Ometepe Island and stayed in your hotel.

After breakfast at your hotel we give you an option of Maderas or Conception volcano. Both are challenging but with a reasonable level of fitness both are achievable. Concepcion is a lot more exposed and generally considered the more challenging of the two.

Maderas Volcano Hike

The adventure starts at 5:30 in the morning with the pick up at the hotel, in order to head towards Finca Magdalena, where the hike to the dormant Maderas volcano begins, a traditional community farm situated at the eastern slope of the volcano. While in the farm and the property, several pre-Columbian remnants are encountered. The climb is quite steep and difficult, but the trail is well-kept, a good physical condition is required, as the hike to the summit takes around four hours. At the summit you can oversee the mystical crater lake, and on a clear day you have wonderful views of the island; moreover, during the climb white-faced and howler monkeys may accompany you, rustling in the leaves, curiously observing hiking humans!. Once it’s time to ascend, prepare for another 4 hours of hike to get to the base of the volcano, then you are taken to the hotel.

Concepcion Volcano Hike

Early in the morning you head for the foot of the impressive and active volcano Concepción. From Urbaite, you start the climb, passing coffee and banana plantations. Stunning nature and great views can be expected on the way up, but be prepared for a tough day of climbing. After passing the treeline, the sun can be very strong so important to take protection but the views get even better. It is necessary to climb over rocks for the last part, as the trail gets rather rough and difficult. From the summit , the sky is clear and the views are superb. Seeing sulfur smoke getting up from the crater is a magnificent and satisfactory thrill.

At the end of your stay in Ometepe, you are transferred to your hotel in the city of Granada.

In the afternoon, enjoy some relaxation time while kayaking around the Granada's beautiful islets.

Las Isletas Kayak Adventure

Explore the stunning Las Isletas archipelago by kayak, along with an experienced local guide. As you navigate through the calm waters around these 365 islets, you can spot species of birds and other wildlife that lives around this vast lake, and you'll also pass by local fishing communities and see their daily lives unfold. As you reach the quiet canals, you'll find yourself surrounded by lush vegetation, with kingfishers, white and grey herons and white throated magpie jays living in the trees. It's the perfect way to see this spectacular part of Nicaragua.

Free time to explore the city of Granada and its historic streets.

In the evening, you will be impressed by the sight of lava coming from the Masaya Volcano

Lava Night Tour

Masaya Volcano National Park is one of the most famous volcanoes in the pacific region of Nicaragua due to its constant activity, and was known to the Spanish at the "Mouth of Hell". It offers the unique experience of seeing an active volcano up close, and watching as molten lava glows in crater just meters away from you. It's an awe-inspiring experience allowing visitors to experience a phenomenon once sacred to the pre-Columbian Nicaraguans, who were inspired by the raw power and beauty of nature.

This day you are transferred to your hotel in Leon city "The university city "

The afternoon is left free for you to explore or take an additional trip. Leon also has a high number of very good eateries and welcoming bars ( don’t overdo it though as you have a spectacular but tough hike the next day!)

Hiking the highest volcano in Nicaragua " San Cristobal volcano". Get a wonderful landscape. Transfer roundtrip from Leon to Chinandega included.

San Cristóbal, the highest (and also one of the most active) volcano in Nicaragua, stands symmetrically proudly at 1,745 meters (5725 ft) above sea level. The youngest volcano in San Cristóbal complex, San Cristóbal Volcano (capped by a massive 500 x 600m wide crater, 1640 x 1968 ft) is accompanied by adjacent less-active volcanoes in the range, namely La Casita, El Choncho, Moyotepe and La Pelona. These other volcanoes make the view unbelievably beautiful once you reach the peak of San Cristóbal. Not only will you see these gargantuan summits, you will also see the beauty of the breathtaking scenery displaying the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras and El Salvador. The passage to the top is not considered easy. It is actually the most challenging volcano in Nicaragua to climb. It will take you one whole day to do the ascending and descending trip. The volcanos steep slopes are one of the reasons why climbing San Cristóbal is rather challenging. In fact, a decent level of fitness and stamina is recommended for you to hike San Cristóbal.

Today you get more adventurous . Early departure to Padre ramos for kayaking. Lunch en route. Then continue Climb the Cerro Negro volcano to feel the adrenaline of descending this volcano.

Kayaking in Padre Ramos Estuary

Upon arrival at Estero Padre Ramos, and after receiving our guide instructions we begin the tour kayaking into the mangroves a circular route around a branch of the estuary. Halfway, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the reserve in a natural viewpoint called Chichihualtepe where during this quiet trip you could have the opportunity to watch the most common birds, you can observe: With more than 175 species of birds, 3 species of sea turtles, iguanas, conch, mollusks, crabs, caimans, crocodiles, butterflies, tubeworms, and fish galore, this protected wildlife sanctuary is also a nature lover’s paradise. Note: Most birdlife watching during early in the morning and during sunset time (when sea level start to rise) * The Padre Ramos Nature Reserve includes more than 22,500 acres (9000 hectares) of mangrove forests, mudflats, sandy beaches, rocky reef, and estuarine waters, measuring between 3 to 5 miles across and 18 miles long. * The Estero’s shoreline is home to approximately 150 dispersed families who rely on the local natural resources for their livelihoods. Fishing, clamming, and harvesting wood is crucial to the survival of these rural communities.

After San Cristobal don’t be put off by another volcano- this is a lot of fun and the climb is not a tough one!

Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro

Take on one of Nicaragua's most iconic experiences as you go boarding down the side of an active volcano! The experience starts with an off-road transfer from Leon city, followed by a one-hour hike to the top of the Cerro Negro volcano, during which your guide will teach you some of the geology of the area. Once at the top, safety instructions and a short practical training are given before starting your thrilling descent. No experience is necessary, but we recommend sitting down only!

Juan Venado Island Motorboat Tour

You will be transferred from León to the Pacific bay of Las Peñitas, where you can find wetland, famous for its turtle and bird nesting. Your guide will find the best way to cut through the inlet to the Pacific Ocean, where you can walk or swim.

Welcome to the “Golfo de Fonseca”. Transfer by boat from the Potosi Pier(Nicaragua), sailing through islands and volcanoes to the La Union Port (El Salvador). During our ride, you can admire the volcanoes and villas of artisanal fishermen who inhabit one of the more than 20 islands that make up the golf and the exotic flora and fauna of the region.

On route, we will stop at Zacatillo Island for lunch, an excellent opportunity to contact the locals and learn about their laid-back lifestyle.

Arrive at the Port of La Union and transfer to the hotel. At night, transfer to the colonial town of Conchagua. Here we visited the central square, famous for its local gastronomic offer, especially the pupusas, a typical dish of El Salvador.

After breakfast, transfer to Jiquilisco Bay, the primary marine ecosystem of El Salvador and the main region for the spawning of hawksbill turtles in all of the country. In addition, this natural reserve possesses a system of natural canals formed by islands and exotic mangrove forests, which serve as a refuge for a vast diversity of birds and reptiles. Arrival at the lodge. Today, we will have the opportunity to visit a cacao plantation to discover the plant processing of cacao, its drying methods, and its fermentation for exporting one of the finest cacao seeds in the world, criollo. Then, the visitor can taste the fruit of cacao, toast cacao after the drying process, and back in our restaurant, can taste a cup of hot chocolate. Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the sun or participate in a Protecting the Sea Turtles project (optional).

Today, we will drive to the colonial town of Suchitoto. On route, we'll stop at Alegria town; here, we will set off for the Laguna de Alegria (Happiness Lagoon), located within the crater of the dormant volcano Tecapa. The lagoon glows a brilliant green color due to sulfur and other minerals. We'll stay to soak up the views before continuing to a familyrun coffee farm beneath the volcano Tecapa. We'll stop for a drink and learn more about the farm's small-scale coffee production. After de visit, we continue to Suchitoto.

We will dedicate the morning to visiting El Salvador's most preserved colonial town, important for its indigo trade during the colonial period. Afternoon at leisure for optional activities like taking a walk through the cobblestone streets between portals and ancient houses or enjoying a pleasant boat ride to watch the sunset by Lake Suchitlan.

We set out towards the archeological site of Joya de Ceren, aptly known as the Pompeii of the Americas. It is considered the most important archaeological discovery in Latin America and has been declared a World Heritage of Human Kind by Unesco. After the visit, we will continue to Cerro Verde National Park, a dormant volcano covered by dense and bio-diverse cloud forest foliage. During our stay, we will explore its crater and admire the spectacular panoramic views of the Izalco volcano, Ilamatepec volcano, and Coatepeque Lake.Tonight we will be glamping in the national park: our camp is made up of large fixed tents, each on a wooden base and with two full single beds inside. Sheets, duvets, pillows, and towels are provided, and there's even a bedside table with an electric lamp. Bathrooms are shared, with showers available.

Today we will climb the Santa Ana volcano, the highest in El Salvador, at approximately 2300 m high. Our camp is already 1800m, so the ascent is only a moderate grade; it is a one-hour hike to the summit and our great reward: the Llamatepec crater lake, whose emerald green color and spectacular views of the El Salvador volcanic chain. After our return, we head to the base camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we visited Lake Coatepeque, having free time to rest, sunbathe and regain strength. Then, return to base camp to participate in local food dinner.

After breakfast, we set out to explore the "Ruta de las Flores"; we pass through a quaint village to finally arrive at the colonial gem of Ataco, set between mountains and coffee plantations. Later this afternoon, we will drive along the coast until we reach our beach hotel, in front of the impressive black sand beaches of volcanic origin.

Day at leisure to enjoy the sun and the warm pacific ocean temperatures.

Breakfast. Morning at leisure to enjoy the beach. At the pre-arranged time, we depart for San Salvador international airport to board your flight back home.

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