MEETING OF THE MAYANS WEEK FOUR:
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 9 - SUNDAY FEBRUARY 18 2024
Central America just sounds exotic doesn't it?
You can choose your favorite week, come back and take a different leg each year, or join us for the entire expedition at once. Whatever you choose, I promise you will return home with a completely new outlook on one of the most incredible places on earth and the people who call it home. Put Meeting of the Mayans on your yearly vacation list and let us blow your mind!
NEW ARRIVALS: Friday February 9, 2024
NEW ARRIVALS FOR WEEK 4: You'll need to book your one way flight from the US into Liberia Costa Rica (LIR) and your departing one way flight home from Managua Nicaragua (MGA) and we'll take care of the rest! All major US carriers fly to Liberia and most fly from Managua. On arrival, LIR is a small airport and easy to navigate. We recommend booking with Southwest Airlines at least for your arrival (sorry Southwest does not currently fly to Managua) as they do not charge for international baggage and most of our group would be on the same flight arriving at the same time, but you are free to book whichever US carrier you'd like. Most flights from the U.S. land around noon to 1pm and there are only a couple of incoming flights a day, so book what works for you and we will work around your schedule. We will have shuttle drivers who will meet you at the customs exit and handle your luggage for the 20min ride to our sea side resort to get your vacation started!
TIP: If you can't find reasonable flight from Managua to home, try searching American Air (or any others) to Miami and then a subsequent flight to where you need to go. MIA is the gateway to Latin America for a reason!
Southwest: If you don't already have a Southwest Rewards credit card you can enough free points from their signup bonuses to cover round trip for two on any of these flights for our event. We use ours all the time and in our opinion, it's one of the best points cards on the market. If you're thinking about signing up, please use this link and we'll get some bonus points for referring you. Thanks!
WEEK 3 STOWAWAYS CONTINUING FROM BELIZE
If you are continuing from week 3 you will have spent the last five days bouncing around Central America to eventually meet up with us in Liberia or have connected directly to the resort in Playas Del Coco on Friday February 9th. We have drivers meeting the new arrivals and any of you who flew into LIR on Friday afternoon and we'll all meet up at the resort Friday evening to get our week 4 started!
*please make sure you book your week 4 U.S. return flight from Managua Nicaragua (MGA) whatever date you plan on leaving (the group leaves Sunday February 18th).
Please click the "week 3 stowaway" box on your order form so we know who you are for our planning.
WEEK #4 RESORT: THE PALMS HOTEL, PLAYAS DEL COCO COSTA RICA
Welcome to the land of enchantment and Pura Vida! Week 4's hotel the perfect home base for our incredible first six days of adventure! With only 24 rooms, we typically end up owning the entire hotel which makes our week that much more enjoyable. Playas Del Coco is a quaint village located on the shores of the Pacific in northwest Costa Rica and offers a tropical nostalgic feel with its dirt roads and bamboo shacks, married perfectly with modern restaurants, bars, shops and accommodations. The entire town is only 5 blocks long by 6 blocks wide and The Palms Hotel is located right in the heart of it all, within walking distance of everything. Our boutique hotel has a large pool, lots of jungle vegetation throughout, an on-site bar and restaurant with plenty of seating areas, and so much more! Each of our standard package rooms comes with a minimum of 2 double beds, varying views of the hotel property (all rooms have pretty much the same view of the hotel grounds), spacious closet, safe, refrigerator and microwave, flat screen TV and air conditioning. These rooms are perfect for our trip and you won't be spending much time in them anyway! Please note that we hand out the rooms on a first come basis, but we do have room upgrades if you desire more space or a larger bed. We also have economy room packages available if you're on a budget; please see the "room packages" section at the bottom of this page.
WEEK 4 ITINERARY
Friday February 9- Arrival Day
After arriving at the resort, you will have a few hours to relax and get into vacation mode. Friday night we waste no time getting the party started though with a Mike Nash show and welcome party at what's sure to be your favorite bar in town, Coconutz. The best part is the bar is only a block from the resort!
Saturday February 10- Blue River Waterfalls, Nature Hike and Hot Springs
Included activity: The hiking on this excursion is not required and they do have an upgrade to travel the trail by vehicle you can pay at the gate. We will begin your Costa Rica adventure on Saturday with a visit to the heart of the cloud forest at the Blue River Eco Adventure at Rincon De La Viejo Volcano. Here we will spend the day exploring the rain forest, botanical gardens, butterfly reserve and bird watching- along with a horseback ride (optional) to the Cathedral Waterfalls and Rio Azul. There is even an option to hit the life size dinosaur exhibits in the jungle that are Jurassic Park come to life! If hiking isn't your thing, you can enjoy a relaxing day of chilling in the hot springs, freshwater pool and waterslide, or grab a spa treatment while the rest of the group explores. This is a perfect day to make what you want of your vacation with lunch included and an on site bar. We will return to the hotel in the evening for a group dinner (not included) in town and local music.
Sunday February 11- Rincon De La Viejo Volcano Zip Line Tour
Optional activity: We hope you'll join us for an incredible fun filled day but please note this is an optional activity and not a good activity for those with mobility issues. We'll start the day with a short ride to base of the Rincon De La Vieja Volcano with a zip line tour like no other-straight through the heart of the Costa Rican rain forest. Next we'll get a guided tour on horseback (optional) of the country side and trails which will bring us to the inner tube floating tour of the Rio Negro volcanic river and ending the day with a visit to the volcanic mud pits and a warm dip in the volcanic hot springs. The day includes a local lunch at the camp restaurant. Though we hope you'll join us for all of the activities, if you aren't able to participate in some of the activities or they just aren't quite your thing, there are also incredible hiking trails here that'll put you directly in touch with nature. Waterfalls, steam pits, and a bar to enjoy. Whether you choose the adventure activities or want to just explore and do your own thing, this is guaranteed to be a day full of memories you'll be talking about for the rest of your life!
*If zip-lines and river rafting aren't your thing, this will be a free day to explore Playas Del Coco, book a fishing trip on the Pacific or other excursion through the hotel, chill at the beach, or just relax at the pool bar all day.
Sunday night we will have group dinner (not included) at a local restaurant.
Monday February 12: Sloth Sanctuary, Cortez Waterfall, Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano Hike
Optional activity: This group day trip is not recommended for those with mobility issues, we will be hiking over rough terrain in the jungle. We will begin with a comfortable bus ride to visit the Cortez waterfall. Once we're there, it's a ten minute hike down the trail which is man made with concrete steps, a little tricky at times, and can definitely be a little strenuous to walk back up...but the reward of the waterfall is worth it and you can certainly take your time ascending when we're done. (our apologies but there is no handicap access to the waterfall.)
Here at this beautiful natural waterfall you can swim, relax on the beach, or do a little exploring of the dry rain forest! We will spend a little time here before changing out of our wet bathing suits (changing room on site) and heading another hour's drive to visit yet another gem of Costa Rica, Tenorio Volcano and Rio Celeste. The legend says that when the Gods were painting the sky, they dipped their brushes in the Rio Celeste. Volcanic minerals in the water make the river as blue as the sky and set against the lush green of the rain forest, it is a sight to behold. Here we will have lunch and a few hours to hike (the amount of hiking you choose is optional) and explore the Volcano trails and river and then we will visit the Sloth Sanctuary on the way back to the hotel.
NOTE: It is typically warm at Cortez Falls where you can swim and sunbathe. However, in Tenorio Volcano National Park, you will hike through multiple microclimates on the way to Rio Celeste, including a cloud forest which can be very chilly and rainy. We suggest wearing hiking pants or jeans. Rain boots are available for rent at the park entrance or we suggest bringing shoes you do not mind getting wet that are also secure for hiking uneven and slippery terrain
*If you choose not to do Monday's trip, this will be an open day to relax at the hotel pool or book a fishing trip. For those who may not be up for hiking, but would still love to see sloths, monkeys and other animals, we suggest Diamante Animal Sanctuary which is an easy afternoon excursion we can help you book when you get there.
Tuesday February 13- Free Day
Well for those of you who've done our last three day's excursions, today is the perfect day to do nothing at all. Or use this day to schedule a scuba or fishing trip, relax in the pool, recharge at the bar or rejuvenate on the beach and enjoy a vacation from your vacation!
Wednesday February 14- Afternoon Sail on the Pacific
Included activity: Any trip to achieve tranquil pura vida would certainly not be complete without a day on the water, so now that you've explored the jungles, waterfalls and rivers of the rain forest- that's Pacific-ly where our Cost Rica adventure leads next!. The 60 foot catamaran will pick us up in early afternoon (tender boats, no dock) just outside the hotel and slow roll us out to our own private beach for the day. Jump in the water and snorkel (gear provided), or just lay out on the boat and enjoy a cocktail or cold one (all drinks included) . We'll have a fresh lunch served on-board and enjoy a perfect sunset on the Pacific as we return in the early evening.
Wednesday night: enjoy an open dinner with your Valentine and last night in Coco!
Thursday February 15- Moving Day: Granada, Nicaragua
Thursday we pack out of our beachside home of Coco and take off for what will certainly be one of the greatest adventures of your life....Nicaragua! After a two hour bus ride to the border, we'll stamp out of Costa Rica, technically be illegal aliens for about 100 yards, and check into Nicaragua for our final passport stamp of the expedition! From the border, its another two hour bus ride to check into our new home for the next few days-Hotel Real La Merced-in the beautiful Colonial city of Granada Nicaragua. Granada celebrates its 500 year anniversary in 2024 and this hotel is a spectacular historic gem. After check in we will have a horse drawn carriage tour of this amazing city-very reminiscent of New Orleans-with plenty of time to explore and start getting aquatinted with our new home for the next three days. Thursday night we will have a group dinner (not included) at a local restaurant with local entertainment and you're going to be shocked at how cheap things are in Nicaragua!
Friday February 16- Kayaking Lake Nicaragua and Masaya Volcano
Included activity: Friday morning we will begin with kayak tour of Lake Nicaragua and Las Isletas as well as monkey island (kayaks optional, there is also a panga boat guided tour). This is one of the most breathtaking places you'll see on your entire trip. Many of Nicaragua's wealthy have homes here on the lake. Here in the shadow of Mombacho Volcano, we'll spend the morning kayaking all the beautiful hidden gems of the islands and we'll even be visiting an island full of monkey's who'll come right up to the boats for pictures and hand feeding! (careful though, if you've watched our video from 2018, you'll see that sometimes they even make it on the boat!). After the morning kayaking, we'll take a short bus ride to visit a crater lake in an extinct volcano for lunch and do some souvenir shopping for the afternoon before finishing the day at the absolute most amazing thing you'll see the entire week-we're going right up to the crater's edge of the Masaya Volcano at sunset! This can hardly be put into words...you'll be standing right at the edge of Masaya's massive crater looking down inside the volcano at the actual magma lake boiling up over a thousand feet below as the sun is setting. One of the handful of places on the planet where this is actually possible! The phrase once in a lifetime barely does this one justice. It's truly breathtaking. After a while here we will head back to the hotel for a free night in town.
Saturday February 17- Ometepe Island Day Trip
Included activity: Saturday morning we will take a ferry boat ride to visit Ometepe Island, a place admired by both local and international tourists for its twin volcanos Concepción and Maderas in the middle of Lake Nicaragua. Here we will spend the day exploring the island's nature, hospitality, beautiful landscapes, volcanoes, archeological background, relaxing beaches, and natural reserves and forests. Learn about how the 2 volcanoes that created this island which is a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve. Upon arriving, spend your day exploring this sanctuary inhabited by a mix of different tribes and cultures, and observe the many petroglyphs, ceramics, and statues that can be found all around. Observe locals taking part in the island's industries of fishing and agriculture. Keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot some of the varieties of monkeys living on the island. You may choose to check out the shops, eat a traditional meal, hike around the island, or simply relax on the beach for the day. We will return in the late afternoon for our last group dinner of the trip and one last night in Granada with one last show from Mike Nash .
Sunday February 18- End of Meeting of the Mayans and flying home
Staying on your own private island for a few more days: Sunday is the official end of week 4 and Meeting of the Mayans. However, there is a fun opportunity to stretch out your vacation and stay on your own private island in Las Isletas on Lake Nicaragua for a few more days if you'd like. Most of the private homes on the private islands in Granada do rent out and the best part is that they are very cheap for owning your own private island a few days! When the rest of the group leaves Granada Sunday, you can easily grab a 10 minute cab ride down to the boat dock and catch a boat ride to your island rental for as long as you'd like to stay. Then when you're ready to leave, shuttles are available to take you the 45 minutes to Managua Airport for your flight home. A basic Google search for "Las Isletas Nicaragua homes for rent" will put you in the right direction, or here is a direct link to AirBnB's page. We can easily help connect you to the shuttle driver's you'll need to pull it off and by this point, you'll be more than comfortable finding your way around.
Please check the box for "Nicaragua extended stay" if you are interested in this option and we will help you plan.
Returning home Sunday: We will board the shuttle Sunday morning at 11am and head a 45 minute drive to Managua International Airport (MGA). We will be there to help with your luggage and get you to the check in counter. Unfortunately Southwest does not fly here as of yet, but American, Untied and others do and there are plenty of flights to get you where you need to go. Most flights leave in the afternoon and you'll have plenty of time, but if you need to take an earlier flight, we can help get you a cheap cab. Thanks for joining us for week 4 and any other leg of our trip that you did! We hope we've inspired you to come back and spend more time in this amazing part of the world...now get out there and see the rest of it before you leave it!!
NOTE: if the flight you're looking for is really expensive, try booking AA or United one way to Miami or Houston and then a separate flight from there to home ;)
Continuing onward on your own: You do have the option to continue your trip from this point if you'd like, and we'd be happy to help you plan. You can rent a car in Nicaragua to explore more, spend a few more days in the capitol city of Managua, or take a return bus to Costa Rica and head out on your own to visit Arenal Volcano, Tamarindo, or San Jose-or grab a hop flight to many other Central American destinations on SANSA Air from Managua to just about anywhere you'd like. Just let us know how we can help you plan!
Please email us at: Tropications@gmail.com with any questions.
ALL IN ONE PRICING: WEEK 4
As with all of our trips, we like to package everything together to make your vacation planning a lot easier. This out the door price includes your standard hotel room (2 double beds) for the 6 nights in Playas Del Coco, your airport transfers and ground transport, Saturday Bluewater Eco trip, Wednesday day sail, Thursday thru Sunday hotel room in Nicaragua, Friday's kayak trip, Saturday's Ometepe Island trip, all group activities, and event tee shirt for each person in your booking (new week 4 guests only). Your expenses beyond this will be your US flights, all non-included meals, tips, drinks and shopping you do on your own. All taxes and fees are included. Please note that all of our pricing is in US dollars.
10 Day Standard Package Price for two $2750 (for one $2350)
COCO ROOM PACKAGE INCLUDES:
Each of our standard package rooms has a minimum of 2 double beds, varying views of the hotel property (all rooms have pretty much the same view of the hotel grounds), spacious closet, safe, refrigerator and microwave, flat screen TV and air conditioning and are located primarily on the 1st floor. These are already included in the price. If you would like to upgrade to a king suite (or save a little money and downgrade to an economy room) please make your choice under the "room packages" tab on your order form.
COCO UPGRADES AND SAVINGS AVAILABLE:
King Suite (1 available): This spacious room offers more space for you to make yourself at home in. King-size bed, a spacious bathtub-style bathroom and main floor access to our Bar and Restaurant area by the courtyard pool and fountain. This room includes wet bar, a spacious closet, safe, coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave, flat screen TV and air conditioning.
adds $400 to your package
Economy Room (2 available): Located on the second floor (some with balcony). Equipped with a full bed and a shower-style bathroom. This room includes a closet, safe, refrigerator and flat screen TV and air conditioning as well as personal hygiene amenities in the bathroom. It does not include a microwave or refrigerator. This is a small, cozy room best suited for short stays or those who intend to spend their days out adventuring. (deducts $175 from your package)
Optional Excursions (add on's)
Sunday Feb 11th- Rincon Zipline Adventure Day ($150pp)
Monday Feb 12th- Cortez Waterfall and Rio Celeste Hike ($150pp)
THINGS TO BRING
PACK LIGHT: It's 85 degrees and sunny just about every day of the year in these destinations! You don't need to bring nearly as much as you think. We recommend packing as light as possible (a smaller suitcase is even better) not only for ease of carrying your luggage around (especially for the WEEK 3 folks as we are moving around quite a bit) but it will also leave room to take home souvenirs. There are cheap laundry services at every location as well if you have the need.
SNACKS: If you're like me and love your American snacks, I recommend packing them in your suitcase or carry on (yes you can bring food on to a plane, just not liquids). They have grocery stores in these countries(not exactly like a Wal Mart mind you) but most American things are tourist priced accordingly as the locals don't eat what we eat. Also I like to bring my own coffee just cause I'm a coffee snob like that....feel free to bring anything you think you can't live without for a week. There are plenty of food trucks, restaurants and grocery stores around with pretty much the same selection you'll find back home.
BUG SPRAY: It's expensive here for a reason. Bring it...you'll thank me on a breezeless day!
(by the way, it's better if it has deet in it)
SUNSCREEN: (see bug spray above..bring it!)
SLEEP: Eye blinders can be a big plus when traveling to these destinations. The sun goes down at 6pm and comes up at 6am every day of the year and some of the rooms don't have much in the way of black out drapes. You'll thank me!
LIQUOR: Duty Free on your way is is the cheapest place you'll find top shelf brands. We personally drink the local rum and vodka as well as beers and rum, and they are cheap. If you drink anything else you'll want to hit duty free on the way in and bring it as it can be pricey in town at these places.
BACKPACK COOLER OR SMALL COLLAPSIBLE COOLER YOU CAN FIT IN YOUR SUITCASE: This one pretty much explains itself!
MONEY: The exchange rate is pinned at 2 Belizean dollars for 1 US for cash and Costa Rica is around 550:1 (don't get too excited though, they price things accordingly). There isn't much need to exchange your US dollars as they are accepted right along side of the local currency everywhere we will go. They might give you change in the local currency, and of course they won't always be able to break a hundred, so I'd recommend bringing smaller bills if you're going the cash route. $20's and below are fine. US credit cards are accepted nearly everywhere (with the exception of street vendors and some souvenir shops) but keep in mind you'll want to bring cash for tips and things you cannot buy with credit card. You can usually add a tip to the credit card bill as well but it's always good to have a little cash on hand. Do check your bill before tipping though as many bars and restaurants will add a 10% gratuity automatically which is a fair amount for this trip. Don't forget to make sure you have "no foreign transaction fees" on the card you'll be using and call to let your cc company know you'll be traveling abroad. Credit cards in Belize actually run a bit less than 2:1 but it's not a big issue unless you're making a large purchase. Roatan and the other countries run concurrently with the daily exchange rate at the bank.
SNORKEL GEAR: If you've got room, feel free to bring it. You can of course rent it at the places we go, but if you have your own you can just jump in the water and swim out a bit to the reef...it's not that far from shore.
WATER SHOES/HIKING GEAR: You will want to bring comfortable walking shoes for our group excursions and Maya ruins exploring. Bring water shoes if you plan to zip-line and river raft. For the Costa Rica week, these are a must.
STAYING CONNECTED: The arrival airports do have free wi-fi (though it can be spotty) so you shouldn't need to turn your phone off of airplane mode the entire trip unless you just want to. Most US carriers will work in all of the countries we will visit (Verizon for $10, AT&T and T-mobile are free) but we've found we rarely need the actual phone and there's free high speed wi-fi everywhere so (as much as it sucks not to take off that electronic leash) you won't have to worry about being un-connected very often.
please note that there will be no cancellations allowed after September 1, 2023. If you anticipate any issues, we recommend purchasing travel insurance from an independent source.