Ask the Experts: 3 weeks in Central America

It’s shaping up to be a busy old week here at STA Travel HQ, but our Experts are never too busy to answer your questions. They’ve been hard at it, pulling their biggest travel tricks out the bag, and conjuring up some solutions to your travel queries.

They’re here every week, so if you’ve got a travel related question you just can’t get outta your head, let us know about it! Email us, and we’ll pass your question onto the Experts.

This week’s question comes courtesy of Lisa from Aberdeen. Take it away, Lisa:

Hi Experts! My boyfriend and I are flying to Mexico City this September and have 3 weeks in which we would like to see some of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Can you offer any advice on the best way to see all of these countries in the time that we have? Lisa, Aberdeen

Claire Whittington at STA Travel Brighton says…

I’d grab a hop-on hop-off bus pass, Lisa, and travel around on the fantastic Bamba Bus! Why? Here’s a quick run-down:

With a hop-on hop-off bus pass, you get the authentic experience of travelling around Central America, as you use local transport to get around.

Discover Central America, including beautiful Belize, on the Bamba Bus

What you don’t have to encounter is 2 hours at the bus station trying to book a journey using your rusty GCSE Spanish, with a Mexican man staring blankly at you who, to be honest, doesn’t really care if you get to Chichen Itza or not!

Even better, you get complete flexibility – just let Bamba know by phone, Skype, web chat, email or MSN when you want to take each journey, and they’ll get it booked for you.

You also get loads of cool freebies included in the pass. How does a Mayan Homestay in Guatemala sound? Or a boat trip to waterfalls and mystical caves at Sumidero Canyon, or volcano trekking in Antigua? And, of course, all the must-see historical sites in Mexico are included too, such as Chichen Itza, Teotihuacan and Mitla.

You get a free travel guide with reliable, honest and up to date recommendations, from where to stay to the best places to eat to the hidden gems along the way and all the must-do activities.

The Bamba Bus is also a great way to meet other travellers when doing your freebie trips, or staying in the recommended accommodation – but you don’t have to spend any more time with them if you don’t want to. This is especially important if you find yourself stuck with someone called Dave, who has endless stories about the dodgy tummy he’s had since arriving over a month ago.

Putting it simply, you get to travel your own way, in your own time, doing what you want to do – Bamba will just do all the boring stuff for you.

Since you only have a few weeks, I’m pretty sure you’d rather be exploring the limestone caves of Kanba than queueing at the bus station! There are loads of passes which would suit your time frame. Check out the Full Monty Ways which sounds like it was made for you – recommended travel time of 20 days, taking in Mexico, Guatamala and Belize and starting and finishing in Mexico City.

If you still can’t find your perfect pass, we can even help you taylor-make your own bus pass.

Sarah Jones at STA Travel Covent Garden says…

Mexico City is a great place to start, Lisa! A historical hub, cosmopolitan and down right crazy at times, there is a part of Mexico City to please all.

After spending a few days getting a taster of Mexico City, why not travel by bus down to Acapulco and the Pacific beaches, via the popular city getaway of Xochimilco just outside of Mexico City. Soak up the sun on the plush beaches and crystal waters before moving east through the rest of the country.

Head to Playa del Carmen and more plush beaches in Mexico

As you’ve only got 3 weeks and a fair few destinations in mind, you’d benefit from doing something slightly organised to make the most of your time. As Claire suggested, the Bamba Bus is a perfect choice for that mix of organised with flexibility, great for those that wish to travel at their own pace.

The Real Bamba Ways or Mezkal Ways are also great passes. They travel from Mexico City to Cancun via Guatemala and Belize, so are winning choices for your itinerary. The recommended trip time is 22 days, fitting in perfectly with your allotted holiday time, and with 14+ optional stops to choose from there’s plenty to keep you occupied.

Alternatively, if you wanted to try something a bit more inclusive, you could try the 16-day Mayan Sun trip, starting in the tropical party town of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, then working south to beautiful Belize, before ending in Antigua, Guatemala.

At £699, this trip is a bit more expensive than a Bamba pass, but it includes hotel accommodation as well as a homestay in Lake Atitlan, where you can sample the Guatamalan village way of life. This option would give you the best of both travel experiences; a week or two of independent travel up to Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and then hassle-free organised travel until the end.

Have a great time!

Brilliant stuff, thanks Experts! There’s a few ideas for Lisa to toy with. Do you want the Experts to solve your own travel problems? Then email us!Have you been to Central America? Let us know about it in the comments thread below.