Central America is the kind of place that will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you a worn out mess. In the very best way possible.
This is a region with serious adventure potential, but more than that, it’s also rich in heavenly beaches and the kind of cultural triumphs that will leave you awestruck. We’re all looking for those moments that will, quite literally, leave us speechless and Central America is over flowing with them.
Belize, Coast Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, the countries that make up Central America, are spoilt with Mayan temples, imposing volcanoes, thick jungles, vibrant cities and traditional villages – where residents still farm coffee and sugar as they did hundreds of years ago. There’s a huge amount to see, so we’re handily helping you out with our very own High Five of Central America’s best bits.
Our choice of the best five things to do in Central America
Wander the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Guatemala
One of the largest archaeological sites of the ancient Mayan civilisation, the ruins found in Tikal National Park, Peten, Northern Guatemala, date back as far as the 4th Century BC.
Dense jungle surrounds the remains of a life that once was, as the tall stone monuments eerily peak above the trees. You won’t be able to help but feel taken aback by the impressive significance of such a historic spot, a definite must see.
Catch some sun in San Blas, Panama
A tropical haven of beautiful islands scattered through the Caribbean Sea, East Panama, San Blas is the place to go for some secluded and untouched beach time in Central America.
Head to Kuanidup and Kuna Yala for quiet days, divine beaches, incredible snorkelling and swinging beach hammocks. If turquoise waters and floury sand float your boat then this is a waiting paradise.
Climb Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Around 90kms from the capital San Jose is Arenal Volcano, a famous, active volcano in the heart of the Costa Rican landscape.
One of the best ways to experience its imposing presence is by hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park, travelling through the rolling, green hillsides and up the volcano towards the peak – which regularly spits out cloud and dust – exciting!
Surf’s up in Nicaragua
Did you know that Nicaragua is an amazing place to surf? Well it is. In fact, it’s probably the best place to catch a wave in Central America.
There are over 20 great surf spots in the country, with the best being at Playa Maderas, Popoyo, Playa Colorado and Asterillo beach. Constant offshore winds mean that whatever time of the year you plan on visiting, you’re almost guaranteed to be in surf heaven, and whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there will be somewhere suitable to your skills (or lack of them).
Snorkel with Sharks in Belize
Hol Chan Marine Reserve can be found off the coast of northern Belize, and, thanks to the masses of coral reefs and wildlife that call the area home, is one of the best places to go snorkelling and diving in the region.
It’s possible to come face to face with sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, dolphins, over 160 species of fish and, if you’re really lucky manatees as you travel through the clear waters. If you’re brave enough, take a dive at Shark Ray Alley, a stretch of water south of Ambergris Caye where the presence of fishermen has for a long time attracted the attention of nurse sharks and southern sting rays, it makes for a pretty amazing and knee knocking swimming experience.