In comparison to ginormous South America, Central America is a tiddler! We were so happy to be able to cut down on travel times and enjoy more time exploring. We spent 4 months in Central America, which was nowhere near long enough, but it did give us a good chance to absorb some of the colour and vitality of this beautiful continent. Central America packs a punch, as it is just teeming with volcanoes and exotic wildlife and its people are wonderfully chilled out and friendly. As always, this is our opinion, based on personal experience, but we hope that we have covered the very best bits that this continent has to offer in our ultimate top 10 destinations in Central America.
Be sure to follow the links to individual posts in order read about everything in more detail.
Apart from flying, the only way to cross the border between South and Central America is by ocean. This wonderful archipelago is inhabited by the Guna people who know the islands and the sea like the back of their hands. These little islands are real paradises on earth, but hurry up as they are bound to disappear within the next 20 years due to rising sea levels.
A Caribbean paradise consisting of pristine beaches, bath tub temperature waters, nature reserves and a colourful Rasta culture. A great place to relax, soak up the sun and work your way through the cocktail menu.
Despite having rough and dangerous beaches, the wild black sanded Caribbean coast is abundant with life such as several species of sea turtle. The protected zone’s many low-lying canals surrounded by dense jungle are a safe haven for the animal and bird life that make Costa Rica so famous.
If you ever needed evidence that nature is a complicated web of interdependencies then a visit to the cloud forest of Costa Rica is required. The beauty and perfection of our planet can be found in just a square inch of this lush and green forest which supports a unique and endangered ecosystem.
Howler monkeys roam this jungle covered island and simple farming villages cover the lowlands of this island, which happens to made out of two volcanoes. Oh yeah, and it is situated dramatically in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, what’s not to like!
The colonial jewel of Central America, this beautifully preserved town has everything you can ask for; sumptuous architecture, volcanoes to climb, lakes, coffee plantations and a lively international vibe and food scene that attracts many gringo tourists, some of whom never leave!
The Maya empire reached much further than Mexico and remnants of important cities and ceremonial centres can be found in Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. Copan in Honduras is home to a magnificent display of carved stone stelae and, set amongst wildlife rich pristine jungle, the ruins of Tikal in Guatemala are magical, toweringly magnificent and exciting. You’ll feel like a proper explorer picking your way through jungle and discovering relics of an empire which was both vast and filled with glory.
The Caribbean at its best, this tiny caye off the cost of Belize is located near the Great Blue Hole, one of the best coral reefs in the world and the variety of marine life to see is only comparable to that of The Galapagos. The welcoming and chilled Rasta community and their motto of “Go Slow” make it all the more special.
It’s safe to say that peeking into an active volcano of bubbling molten lava is quite an extreme activity, but visiting Volcan Masaya, near the historic colonial city of Granada must be one of the easiest things we’ve ever done. All you have to do is drive up a pathway, park the car (facing downhill, just in case), walk 5 meters and look over the edge of the crater into the abyss!
A couple of hours drive from Antigua, this ancient town is home to one of the most famous artisan markets in the world. The colourful textiles and traditionally dressed people will charm you…or pester you to purchase their products, but the experience of such an alive traditional market is not to be missed.
Central America really is distinct from South America; it may not have quite as many striking landscapes, but it more than makes up for this with the diversity and richness of its flora and fauna and the vitality and spirit of its people. Whether you are looking for beaches and relaxation, hiking and nature or archaeology and culture, there is something for everyone in Central America.