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Central America is one of the most interesting places to travel as it acts as a land bridge between Mexico and South America and is surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans on either side. You will find 7 different countries that make up central America which include Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
There are very few areas on the planet that have such a broad range of biodiversity available including rainforests, mountain ranges with steamy volcanoes, and some of the best surfing beaches to catch a wave.
There are so many places to visit across Central America, but we’ve narrowed down the best highlights, so you know where to focus your time and attention.
- Mayan Ruins: If you’re headed to Central America seeing the different Mayan pyramids, cave dwellings, and different carvings on mountains and walls makes some really great Instagrammable moments. The different Mayan ruins run all across Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and make for very affordable destinations.
- Chasing Volcanoes: There are many different active and dormant volcanoes spread across Central American. Some of the most famous include the current active Pacaya volcano in Guatemala which regularly still spews smoke. Poas in Costa Rica is also famous among backpackers with it’s mile long crater lake as well many smaller geothermal lakes and springs.
- Panama Canal: For just over 100 years now the Panama Canal has connected the middle of the Americas with a canal spreading over 5 miles of land using 3 different locks including the Miguel Pedro and Miraflores locks on the Pacific side and the Gatun locks on the Atlantic gulf side. We suggest visiting the Miraflores locks to see them in action.
Here’s our top tips to ensure you have an awesome time in Central America:
- Typically December to April is the dry season, so we suggest going during that time so you don’t get rained out on all your activities.
- While there is quite a bit of internal conflict between the countries as their founding and history are all unique and different, each country is very receptive to tourists and it’s considered a perfect region to go backpacking through.
- While malaria is said to be a risk in Central America, it is a very low risk and mostly found in a small region within Costa Rica. It is advised to ensure you check each local region’s suggested vaccines at least 8 weeks prior to visiting.