The Real Deal: Multicity airfare on a Taca carrier arriving in San Salvador, El Salvador, and departing from Belize City; a local flight on an American/Delta/Taca carrier from Guatemala City to Flores, Guatemala; 13 nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, eight lunches, six dinners, daily tours, all local transportation, the services of an English-speaking trip leader, baggage handling for one piece of luggage per person (including tips), and hotel taxes, from $1,895 per person—plus airport taxes and fees of $87.
When: July 20, 22, Aug. 6, 13, 18, 27, 2009. Add $100 for June 23, Sept. 1, 9, 11, 15, 17, 23; $500 for Oct. 2, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20, 26, 29, Nov. 6, 13, 18, 22, 24; $600 for Dec. 1, 4, 8, 10, 11, 17, 28, 29.
Gateways: Dallas, Denver, L.A., Miami; add $100 for Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle; $400 for Phoenix; additional gateways are available.
The fine print: Taxes and fees are an additional $87 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is normally $495, but with this special there is no single supplement for new bookings. You also receive a 5 percent frequent-traveler credit towards your next Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) trip. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Overseas Adventure Travel, 800/493-6824, oattravel.com.
Why it's a deal: To give you an idea how much you save, we did an airfare search on Kayak. The lowest multicity fare—from Miami to San Salvador, from Guatemala City to Flores, and from Belize City to Miami—is $1,685 in mid to late July (multiple carriers). For an additional $297, this OAT package covers airfare as well as 13 nights' accommodations, 27 meals, daily sightseeing tours, all local transportation, the services of an English-speaking tour guide, and all taxes. The savings are even greater for solo travelers because the single supplement of $495 is waived for this trip.
Tour highlights: A tour of San Salvador, including the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Take an excursion to the Joya de Cerén archaeological area and then cross the border into Honduras to visit the Mayan ruins at Copán, including the impressive 63-step Hieroglyphic Stairway. Continue to Guatemala City, Guatemala, for a bus tour of the city and a visit the National Palace and the Metropolitan Cathedral. On your way to Antigua, Guatemala, stop at a farming village, an elementary school, and a family's home for a lunch of soup, corn tortillas, and other traditional fare.
In Antigua, drop into an arts center and meet the artists, go on a walking tour of the city—which is brimming with Spanish colonial architecture—and visit a factory that processes jade. You'll tour a macadamia nut plantation before leaving Antigua for Panajachel near the shores of Lake Atitlán, stopping by a market in the town of Sololá. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Atitlán and learn about the art of weaving in San Antonio Palopó. Then head back to Guatemala City to catch a flight to Flores, Guatemala; from there you'll visit Tikal National Park in the Petén jungle. See the Mayan ruins at Yaxha en route from Flores to Belize. While in Belize City, visit the ruins of Lamanai and take a guided sightseeing tour of the city.
Lodging: One night at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in San Salvador. Two nights at the Hotel Posada Real de Copán. One night at the Best Western Stofella in Guatemala City. Three nights at Porta Hotel Antigua. Two nights each at Porta Hotel del Lago in Panajachel, Villa Maya in Flores, and Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City. Note that the hotels are subject to change.
More: You can choose from a selection of optional tours, including a horseback ride along the Copán River to La Pintada Indian village ($65 per person), a museum-hopping tour in Antigua ($40 per person), or a canopy and hanging bridges tour at Atitlán Nature Reserve ($50 per person). Land-only tours start at $1,345 for 13 nights. If you'd like to extend your stay, you can book a pre-trip tour in Panama City ($745 per person for four nights and air from Panama City to San Salvador; single supplement is $225). Or choose a post-trip extension to Belize's glittering cays ($645 for three nights and a ferry from Belize City to Ambergris Cay; single supplement is $225).