Join Our Tour in El Salvador and Guatemala this March!

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Image: alq666

“Kate, can I come traveling with you?”

It’s one of the questions I get the most, and I’m happy to share that the time is finally now.

Leif from The Runaway Guide and I are running a tour to El Salvador and Guatemala this March!

Run Away to Central America With Us

The tour kicks off on March 5 with four days in El Tunco, El Salvador — a fun surf town on El Salvador’s southwest coast. The waves are great for both beginners and experienced surfers.

Next, we move to Antigua, Guatemala — a World Heritage-listed colonial city with beautiful architecture.

We then move on to three destinations on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala — first Panajachel, then Santa Cruz, then Jaibalito. Most people who visit Lake Atitlan stick to one town, but each town has its own personality and attributes. And there will absolutely be a side trip to the world-famous market at Chichicastenango as well (perfect for souvenirs for your family and friends).


Image: Corrado Scropetta

A Chill, Relaxed Tour for Backpackers

I’ll tell you what this tour is not — a breakneck run through as many places as possible with early wakeup calls, long bus rides, and a new hotel every night. Instead, this tour takes in a lot of activities while keeping a relaxing pace. This is your vacation, after all!

There will be adrenaline-infused days with volcano hikes, surfing, motorcycling to coffee plantations. There will be more chilled out days wandering beautiful towns. And there will be a few parties in the evening as well, hopefully with some salsa dancing.

From a price standpoint, you aren’t going to find any tour here cheaper for what we offer. This is a backpacker tour, and at times the travel will be quite simple, basic, and cheap (think dorms and chicken buses). That said, the accommodation is really nice, even when it’s dorms, and we include a few splurges every now and then — five-star restaurants and chic boutique hotels on Lake Atitlan!

This is exactly how I like to travel and I’d love to share that with you.

Bajo el arco (HDR)

Image: Fernando Reyes Palencia

Run Away to El Salvador and Guatemala: The Details

Dates: March 5-20, 2015

Route: El Tunco, El Salvador, to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Cost: $950 USD

Cost includes accommodation (mix of hostel dorms, simple guesthouses, and nicer hotels, all shared), transportation (mix of chicken buses, VIP minibuses, boats, pickup trucks), some activities (surf rentals and lessons, volcano hiking, jungle adventures) and some meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners). Cost does not include airfare, visas ($10 on arrival by air in San Salvador), optional activities (zip-lining, paragliding, motorcycling), meals not specified, and travel insurance.

Participants are required to purchase travel insurance and present proof upon arrival. I use and recommend World Nomads.


Image: Mario Pleitez

Now, some questions you may have:

Is this tour right for me?

If it sounds like fun to you, it’s for you! Other than being over 18, everyone is welcome. This tour is great whether you’re a first-time international traveler or you already have several trips under your belt. You should be fun, easygoing, and ready to try a few things you’ve never done before!

How many people will be on the tour?

No more than 10. We’re keeping things small, cozy and fun.

Why are you running a tour to Central America if you’ve never been there?

That’s true. I don’t know Central America at all. But Leif does — he knows the locations on this tour like the back of his hand and has a lot of contacts there. In fact, he’s there right now, running through the tour itinerary and double-checking that everything is solid.

So Leif will handle the major travel logistics; I’m helping out with the people. On days when people want to do different things, we’ll split the group in two and each do a different activity.

What will the weather be like?

It will be absolutely gorgeous. Get ready for summer temperatures and sunshine, though you should be prepared for cloudy and/or rainy weather on occasion. Also, Guatemala can get chilly at night (think 55-65 F or 12-18 C), so bring warmer clothes for cool evenings and overly air conditioned bus rides.

Before I became a full-time traveler, March was my favorite month to travel. By March, you’re usually sick of winter and ready to do anything for some heat and sunshine! And since it’s after Christmas and before Semana Santa (Holy Week), we’re missing the biggest crowds.

What will the accommodation be like?

It’s a mix of dorms, guesthouses, and boutique hotels. Accommodation will be shared.

Are there any other dates?

This is the only tour that we are running together. However, Leif is running the same tour on his own starting January 18 and has a few spots left. He’s also offering a huge discount for that tour because it’s his inaugural tour.

Which airports should I fly into?

The easiest option is to fly into San Salvador and out of Guatemala City. If you’re coming from the US, Spirit Airlines tends to have the cheapest flights (but keep in mind that they charge you like crazy for baggage). Skyscanner is a great site to check rates.

How do I pay?

Once you email (see below), we’ll arrange payment via Paypal. 50% of the cost is required to hold your spot; the balance is due February 26.

If you change your mind, you can receive a full refund on your deposit through February 5 and 50% refund of your deposit through February 26.

Do I really need to purchase travel insurance?

I could give you a million reasons why you should. The biggest being that if the worst happens and you get seriously ill or injured, you don’t want to bankrupt yourself and your family in the process.

That’s why we require you to purchase it.

My friend Dave recently broke his back in the Peruvian Amazon and had to be medevaced home to Canada. It was a freak accident — he slipped and fell. Anyone can slip and fall. If he and his wife Deb hadn’t had travel insurance, they would have been out at least tens of thousands of dollars.

World Nomads is my travel insurance recommendation for most travelers, along with Clements Worldwide if you’re bringing a lot of expensive gear or electronics. Whichever policy you choose, read through it in depth before purchasing to make sure it’s right for you.

Are you going to do tours to other destinations?

I hope so! I have some tours I’d like to do in the future, especially in Europe, but everything’s in the research phase at the moment.

How to Book

Click over to the tour page on the Runaway Guide and email us through the form at the bottom.

We can’t wait to travel Central America with you! Hope you can join us!

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94 thoughts on “Join Our Tour in El Salvador and Guatemala this March!”

    1. Teachers are a huge priority for me — my mom and some of my best friends are teachers and I know how limited their vacation time is — so when I run future tours, I’m going to try to aim for some teacher-friendly dates!

  1. How awesome is this. Central America feels like home to me, before I left the Runaway Guide has helped me a lot already with his articles. Have fun you guys, I won’t make it unfortunately but great trip!

  2. What a great trip, and the cost is low too!! Too bad I’ll be halfway around the world from there… Congrats on getting it put together, I’m sure it was a ton of work! 🙂

  3. That sounds absolutely lovely, Kate. I would absolutely love to go with you guys to those countries because I’m afraid to go there alone. I’m moving soon though, no spare money. I’d love to go with you guys again sometime, so I hope you have another one!

  4. So so cool…I’m looking at Latin America as an itinerary sometime this year..shame that March is too soon, would have loved to come! I will be following your travels ‘vicariously’ as you share the stories!! Happy travels!

  5. This sounds SOO exciting!! My birthday is March 15th so maybe we will do this instead of going to Paris if you don’t fill up before we make a decision. How long on average per day would we be in a car? I tend to get car sick on some of these tours we have done in the past because we didn’t realize how jam packed every day was going to be. We do love to travel in groups since it’s usually always just Jay and I so I am really excited to have this as an option and looking forward to future tours if I don’t make this one!!
    Do you have a more detailed itinerary you could send me?

    1. Angie, if you come on our trip, we’ll make sure you have the best birthday of your LIFE. We’ll be on Lake Atitlan on the 15th!

      As for the driving, no more than a few hours from El Tunco to Antigua (and that includes a border crossing) and 2.5 hours from Antigua to Atitlan. Those are the only bus journeys. On the lake, it’s all about the boats. Of course, in the developing world transportation often takes a bit longer than they claim it will.

  6. I’ve been following you for close to 3 years now and I’m actually leaving in February for a round the world trip with a friend. We will already be in South America during this time frame and if I wasn’t already booked for Machu Picchu in March, this would be a must. Good luck!

  7. Sounds like a super fun trip! Too bad the dates won’t work for me…. If i wouldn’t be in South Africa, I would definitely love to join. Next time… have fun guys!!!

  8. Looks like fun! I love Guatemala and El Salvador – Antigua was my first Latin American colonial town and it will always hold a special place in my heart!

  9. This sounds amazing!!! I’ve been trying to plan a central or South America trip sometime between February-April. Dates are perfect and would love to join!

  10. This sounds fantastic Kate!! I’m travelling to America in February, so I’m very tempted to come and join this trip! 🙂

  11. Super tempting! I don’t think I could take quite that much time off from work, but I am hoping this trip is just the beginning of a rad new set of gigs for you!

  12. Been looking to go these destinations for awhile now. Would love to be apart of this, I have availability during those dates

  13. This sounds awesome and very reasonably priced. I will actually be in the area already (finally heading out on my own RTW trip in three weeks!!), but moving in the opposite direction — I’ll be starting in Guatemala. Is there any chance you two will host a meetup/happy hour with other travelers who aren’t on the tour somewhere? If something like that happens, I’d love to know about it! Kind of bummed I already have my own travel plans!

    1. If we happen to cross paths at the same time, absolutely let us know and come say hi! I’m sure we’ll be having many a happy hour.

      Good luck with your RTW! I actually fly out three weeks from today as well — to Costa Rica, though!

  14. This is an awesome idea. I just got back from Central America and Guatemala is one of my favourite countries in the world, so I know you’ll have an amazing time! 🙂

  15. Wow sounds so great. Wish I could make it. But alas I can’t. Maybe one day soon I can… All the best, and have a great time. I’ll be looking forward to reading about it in your blog. Cheers.

  16. This is so exciting!! If I wasn’t already going to be down there, I would jump at the chance to travel wit you. Hell, if I had an extra $950 in my budget I would still do it! Good luck!!

  17. Hi Kate. This would absolutely be something for me! I have been thinking about going to central america for a while now, and travel in a group like this would be pretty awesome. I just have to try to arrange a few things before I can confirm. When is the deadline for sign-up?

  18. I would love to join, but I’ll be busy on those dates. I’m hoping to join the succeeding tours (I’m sure this will be a successful one! :D)

    I’ll retweet this post 😀 Happy New Year Kate and Leif!

  19. You will love the beaches of El Salvador! It’s great if you love surfing. You can always chill and relax on the sand 😉

    Guatemala is a wonderful country as well. I was absolutely stunned by Antigua!

    Hope to make it to Panajachel and Lake Atitlan next time.

    Have lots of fun 🙂

  20. The Runaway Guide is just an interesting character, as I’ve just started reading his blog. Your tour together is bound to be an adventurous one!

  21. I’m so pleased that you’re organising a trip Kate. It’s about time!
    I’ve never been to Central America. In fact, I’ve only ever been to the Dominican Republic in that region. I’ve absolutely no idea why! It’s very tempting and I love the price. Very reasonable but I’ll echo Lisa K, in my “real” life I’m a teacher too so if I’m doing “exotic” travel it has to be in the school holiday gap.
    Next time around?!

  22. This looks like a fantastic trip! I was curious though – are you full already? I’ve never gone on a trip like this before and it looks amazing. I fired off an email to Leif but haven’t heard anything. Fingers crossed – it sounds like you’ve had a ton of interest!

  23. Hi Kate!
    I’m happy that you’re coming down to El Salvador and Guatemala. I traveled Central America last year and I’m back again –> to stay some time in El Tunco and El Zonte. I love these two places. I should be there in 2 weeks and definitely in March. I’d be happy to meet you and the rest of the group (I’ve been following your blog for a long time). Let me know if you need help with something, I know the local and the local conditions 🙂
    Safe travels
    Silvia (

  24. Hi Kate, I am very interested in joining you on this tour!
    Id be coming from the UK so what days would I need to be arriving/leaving? So i can look at flight costs.
    I’m also only 18, will I feel like the baby?

    Amy P x

    1. Amy, if you’re interested, send an email to Leif at therunawayguide at yahoo dot com. This tour is sold out but we have two more with spots open. You should arrive on the fifth and depart on the 20th but if you need extra accommodation we can arrange that. So far, most people have ranged about 25-40 but you would be very welcome!

  25. Kate! How come you will be visiting Central América and you did not stop in honduras? it is such a beautiful country with tons of things to do…. it even has the second largest coral reef barrier of the world. What happened?

  26. Sophie-Anne Tremblay

    Hello Kate! Are you planning any other tour like this one next winter ou spring in Central America ?

    I’d really like to join you guys! Looking for an escape to winter!


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