1. In Brief
Combine exciting adventure travel with a project placement and experience the best of Central America on an unforgettable adventure trip with Frontier through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Explore the legendary Mayan ruins set in dense rainforests and swim in azure waters off white sand beaches. Climb to the rim of active volcanoes, learn how local coffee is made, ride horseback down ancient mountain trails, snorkel and dive some of the world's best dive sites, zip-line through the canopies of lush jungles, and dance the night away in the best salsa clubs.
On an incredible journey of discovery through the countries of Latin America you will also have the chance to contribute to both the local community and environmental conservation, spending time helping at a wonderful school in Honduras as well as working on the Frontier Big Cats, Turtles and Primate Conservation project. Travelling to our remote coastal forest camp in Costa Rica, you'll participate (in season) in hands-on turtle conservation, collecting eggs and patrolling beaches. Out of season, you'll survey monkeys and other exotic jungle animals, trekking into the rainforest and tracking along the beach.
What is so fantastic about this journey is that whilst travelling you will benefit from the leadership of a young, friendly, fun but also sensible and well-travelled guide who will take care of all the stress and organisation on the trip, whether it be recovering lost luggage, arranging bus tickets, booking hostels or extra activities, dealing with emergencies or even knowing the best places to go for a great night out! If you want to experience the beauty and adventure of Central America, travelling along with a young and friendly group of companions, without the hassle, then joining this Frontier Ethical Adventure Trail is the perfect solution!
• A unique view of this fascinating part of the world
• Discover local cultures and delicacies
• Immerse yourself in culture as you assist at a local community school
• Learn about the wildlife of this fascinating biodiversity hotspot
• Earn your BTEC (at an additional cost)
Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
You could be:
Exploring ancient ruins
Taking part in hiking tours
Getting involved in watersports including snorkelling, diving, kayaking, swimming in caves, tubing around rivers, boat tours
Visiting traditional Mayan communities
Discover and learn about old beautiful architecture
Eating street food and enjoying delicious fresh juices
Conservation work in Costa Rica
Assisting in a local school in Honduras
Airport pick-up & drop-off (subject to flight dates) and local transport between locations
Varies - May include hostels, host families, camping and more!
Before you go
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
2 basic meals a day per weekday (3 meals a day on the placement in Costa Rica)
Airport pick-up & drop-off (subject to flight dates)
Ground transfers & internal travel
Local orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup
A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.
PADI DIVE TRAINING
On the Frontier Marine Conservation Group Projects, we will train you to PADI Advanced Open Water before you begin undertaking important biological surveys. Depending on how long you spend on the project, you may also have the option to take further courses up to Divemaster!
Please see the "Dates and Costs" tab for dive qualification prices or ask your volunteer advisor for more information.
Find out more about PADI qualifications.
2. The project
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Mexico City: The adventure begins with a whirlwind tour of this leviathan of a city. You'll delve into a history as rich and colourful as any in the world, typified today in magnificent monuments such as the zócalo, the western hemisphere's largest cathedral, the Catedral Metropolitana, the museum of anthropology and, of course, the famous murals of Diego Rivera. You will have the opportunity to get to know the rest of your group. Group sizes range from 2- 12 participants.
San Cristobal: Explore the hills of the legendary Zapatista uprising and trawl markets for crafts inspired by the spirit of revolution. You'll discover how one small group of dedicated villagers brought the whole world's attention to the plight of indigenous Mexicans.
Palenque: Explore local villages in the jungle near to Palenque City where you can visit Palenque Mayan ruins surrounded by monkeys. Explore the dense jungle and cool off in the clear waterfalls at Agua Azul and Misol-Ha.
Tikal: Watch the sun rise over Central America's most famous ruins which have towered over the jungle for thousands of years and learn about the ancient Mayan empire from an experienced local guide.
San Pedro La Laguna: Take a boat tour to explore a local Mayan community, rent kayaks to soak up the sun at this huge and magical lake and hike around the area before relaxing in the hot springs.
Antigua: Sip organic coffee at a roadside café as you take in the magnificence of this ancient UNESCO heritage city. Stand at the edge of Pacaya, Central America's most active volcano. Walk to the top of the highlands to appreciate the impressive view of the city surrounded by volcanos, learn about the colonial architecture and taste the delicious food at the local market.
Copán: Explore mighty Mayan ruins by day and rest your weary bones in warm thermal pools in the evening, before you set out to dance the night away in a hilltop disco. Be enchanted by the beauty of the area while horse riding with a local farmer and enjoy zip-lining on a canopy tour!
Teaching in a local school: Based in a colourful and friendly nearby town outside of San Pedro Sula surrounded by green mountains and tropical cloud forest, you will help out at a local school which aims to help the most disadvantaged children. You may be assisting in classes, leading your own, helping with after school activities and classes, or other duties around the school and within the community where many families appreciate the help and enthusiasm from volunteers. There may also be opportunity to venture into the nearby cloud forests or explore the traditional beach communities of the Caribbean coast at the weekend.
Útila: Central America's diving paradise is an island built solely around exploring the underwater world and is an ideal place to do your PADI dive training (extra costs apply). You'll also go on a day trip to a perfect deserted island, finishing the day with a barbecue on the beach.
León: The echoes of revolution still hang in the air of this exciting city, where you can stroll cobblestone streets amidst murals depicting the heroes of the revolution. To learn more you can visit fascinating museums and art galleries with works found nowhere else on Earth. You can also go volcano-boarding, which is an adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster-ride down soft ash.
Granada: A magnificent colonial town, where tree-lined streets host musicians and entertainers of all sorts is the perfect jump-off point for your visit to the volcanic islands of Ometepe, situated in the middle of the luscious Lake Nicaragua.
San Juan del Sur: A peaceful and beautiful town set in a picturesque cove, where surfing is a way of life.
Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates and Turtle Project (CBP): Depending on the season, join our fight to save critically-endangered sea turtles, or trek through remote rainforest in search of spider monkeys and macaques. You'll spend a month with other eco-warriors on our conservation camp, helping to change the world under the guidance of field experts.
San José: Do some last minute shopping and eat your last gallo pinto before you fly home, alive with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime!*
*This is intended as a sample itinerary only and is subject to change. Don't forget you are travelling through developing countries and you should be prepared for long bus journeys and be patient as delays can be commonplace!
3. What to expect
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?
You will be greeted at Mexico City Airport by your trail leader and escorted by bus to a local hostel where you will spend your first night. If you are arriving before the project start date you will meet at an agreed rendezvous point.
You will have a day in Mexico City to get a taste of the Latin American spirit to come. From there you will soon set off to the next destination on your exciting adventure, so be prepared to throw yourself into the experience once you arrive!
WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?
During the trail you will stay in basic but of course comfortable accommodation such as hostels, sleeping in mixed sex communal dorms or shared rooms, or homestays.
Once on the remote Frontier conservation camp on the peninsula your accommodation will vary from tents, to hammocks under tarpaulin A-frames, and again will be mixed sex and communal style living.
You may also get out and about into the local environment staying overnight in temporary satellite camps close to the National Park, deep in the rainforest or even down on the beach, depending on the work programme. Be prepared for long drop toilets, mosquito nets and open-sided living quarters, while your bucket showers might provide some light entertainment for the local howler monkeys!
WHAT WILL I BE EATING?
You will be provided with two meals a day on weekdays when on the travelling phase of your trail. These will include a variety of local cuisine from markets and food stalls as well as delights cooked up by yourself and other trail members – so don’t forget your recipe book! By using local produce and learning traditional cooking techniques you will be provided with an authentic Central American experience!
When taking part on the conservation project in Costa Rica, you will be involved in catering for yourself and your camp mates and you will discover how to produce three delicious and nutritious meals a day that will provide you with all the energy you'll need for your busy schedule. Costa Rican food is simple but delicious, with a focus on rice, beans and good quality fruit and vegetables.