Where to Go in Central America
By Kirsten Hubbard, About.com Guide
- Beaches and Islands
- Travel Itineraries
- Costa Rica Destinations
- Nicaragua Destinations
- Belize Destinations
- Guatemala Destinations
- El Salvador Destinations
- Honduras Destinations
- Panama Destinations
- Top Destination Photos
- Backpacking and Surfing in Central America
Beaches and Islands
Although there is no end to Central America’s attractions, most travelers make a beeline straight to the best Central America beaches and islands. Because of the isthmus's warm waters, flourishing marine life, and soft sands spanning two diverse coastlines, the epicenter of the Central America tourism industry is along the edges. From rollicking Pacific shores to outlying Caribbean isles, the beaches of Central America are truly unbeatable.
- The Best Central America Beaches
- Costa Rica's Top 10 Beaches
- The Islands of Central America
- Most Popular Islands
- Lesser-Known Island Escapes
- The Islands of Costa Rica
- Atolls and Archipelagos
- Nicoya Peninsula Beaches, Costa Rica
- Top Surfing Beaches
- El Salvador Beaches
- Guatemala Beaches
If you want to see a great deal in a limited amount of time during your next vacation, Central America is the perfect destination. Here, we've compiled several tried-and-true itineraries for you to peruse, from Maya Magic to the Scenic South.
Costa Rica Destinations
Costa Rica is the most popular destination in Central America for a reason. Though small in size, the country contains 5 percent of the world's biodiversity. For travelers, that means countless pristine beaches, tumbling jungles, and abundant flora and fauna. To top it all off, Costa Rica boasts a amiable society founded upon kicking back and enjoying the scenery.
- Costa Rica - Before you Go
- Top 10 Costa Rica Beaches
- Top Costa Rica Vacations
- Costa Rica National Parks
- The Islands of Costa Rica
- San Jose, Costa Rica's Capital
- Nicoya Peninsula Beaches
- Manuel Antonio National Park
- Tamarindo Beach
- Jaco Beach
- Santa Elena & Monteverde
- Pictures of Costa Rica
Nicaragua is off the beaten path for the typical traveler, and yet contains some of the world's most captivating scenery. Home to the second largest rainforest in the Americas, and the largest freshwater volcanic island in the world, Nicaragua's land mass holds 7 percent of the earth's biodiversity. After years of unrest, Nicaragua is emerging as the new Costa Rica, at a fraction of the expense
Although Belize is docked upon Central America's mainland, it’s an island of diversity. The country’s tiny fingernail of land is a natural and cultural wonderland, a thriving swirl of jungles, rivers, and beaches peopled by Mayans and the Garifuna. Yet travelers spend as much time off the coast, among Belize's brilliant waters, far-flung cayes, and the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Guatemala is truly one-of-a-kind, a country of impossible vistas and staggering beauty. Over 40 percent of its population is of Mayan descent, the majority of which still don multicolored indigenous apparel. Travelers are enchanted by Guatemala's gracious and fascinating culture, as well as the towering volcanoes, forested mountains, and Mayan ruins of unsurpassed quality.
El Salvador Destinations
El Salvador, though one of the world's smaller countries, holds numerous elements of the rest of the Central American region -- in miniature. Many travelers claim that the country's ancient Maya sites, volcanoes, jungles, and beaches rival those of its neighbors, while the hospitality of its people is unmatched anywhere in the world. And because of its size, every attraction is easily accessible.
- El Salvador - Before You Go
- Pictures of El Salvador
- San Salvador, El Salvador's Capital
- La Libertad
- El Salvador Beaches
Though Honduras has a history of conflict, an ever-increasing amount of travelers are discovering the country's abundant attractions. Drawing the most visitors are the Caribbean Bay Islands, Utila, Roatan, and Guanaja, each boasting some of the cheapest and best Scuba Diving in the world. Honduras is also home to the captivating Mayan ruins at Copan, a stunning natural landscape, and a welcoming population.
Panama's location alone is intriguing – it literally serves as a land bridge between North and South America. However, the country’s natural attractions are equally intriguing, from its virgin white sand beaches to its impenetrable rainforest, as well as its less natural: the Panama canal, topping every traveler’s itinerary, is an astonishing manifestation of human ingenuity.
Top Destination Photos
Pictures are the best decision-makers! We've got photo galleries for every country in Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Backpacking and Surfing in Central America
Traveling on a shoestring might mean sacrificing luxuries, but it also means instant camaraderie with open-minded travelers from all over the world, and often, unequaled cultural immersion.