Central America is comprised of seven countries located between Mexico and South America. Surrounded by the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the shorelines are full of coral reefs filled with colorful tropical fish. The warm, crystal clear seawater draws surfers and divers throughout the year.
Belize has the second largest coral reef in the world. The rainforests hide the mystic ruins of four-thousand-year-old Mayan civilizations.
Explore Mayan archaeological sites in Costa Rica, El Salvador or Honduras, and visit the many museums. They also carry fine artifacts of these past civilizations.
See the ruins of Spanish forts, and enjoy spicy, delicious Mexican cuisine.
Hike through the rainforests and up one of the more than three hundred volcanoes around the area. Zipline through the treetops, or take a walk on a treetop boardwalk.
Countries in Central America
Belize, the smallest country in Central America, is a land of splendid landscapes, underwater magnificence and Mayan mystery. Here the remains of Mayan cities and temples to their gods peep through the tropical rainforests that cover the interior.
For nature lover’s Belize is paradise on earth. It has more than six hundred bird species, many with glorious plumage. Here you will find Central America’s first jaguar sanctuary, the highest waterfall and the most extensive cave system.
Belize has a gorgeous coastline, with white sand beaches and warm, clear Caribbean waters.
The Belize barrier reef, the second biggest on earth, boasts hundreds of species of coral, colorful tropical fish, stingrays and Caribbean reef sharks. This and the presence of the famous Blue Hole make Belize and her four hundred cays and islands one of the world’s foremost dive sites.
Containing about five percent of the world’s species, beautiful Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. It is flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other. The sandy beaches attract surfers and sports fishermen whilst the tropical fish that swim in the rich surrounding waters beckon divers.
About a quarter of the land is under forest, and under government protection. This is a nature lover’s paradise. The steamy rain and cloud forests are filled with colorful birds such as macaws, and animals as diverse as sloths, anteaters, spider monkeys and howler monkeys.
Visitors can get up close to these animals by hiking on the canopy walks that crisscross the forest treetops then they can zipline down and hike amongst the trees.
Here volcanoes punch holes in the forest canopy. The Arenal Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and warm thermal waters flow through the rivers around her.
As welcoming as the locals are El Salvador, still retains the title as the most dangerous country in Central America. This is due to high crime rates, and it’s a pity because this small country has much to offer the tourist.
It has a reputation amongst surfers as one of the best surf destinations in the world. The water is warm all year round, and the surf is consistent.
The country boasts volcanoes, crater lakes, cloud forests, and more than five hundred bird species. Lush coffee plantations grace the slopes of the volcanoes, and in some places cloud forests cloak the peaks.
Find the beautiful Caldera Coatepeque. It is ten miles in diameter and was formed 72000 years ago with the collapse of an erupting volcano.
Here you can find the remains of a Mayan village recently extracted from the ash of a 640AD volcanic eruption and a cluster of Mayan step pyramids or explore the towns for colonial gems.
Once the home of the ancient Maya, still home to the modern Maya Guatemala is situated in Central America. Here you can find the best preserved ancient Mayan towns and the largest Mayan Stelae ever discovered. These enormous stone slabs are intricately carved with drawings and hieroglyphics.
In the highlands modern Maya still live and practice their ancient traditions. Here churches share ground with pagan temples, and here you’ll find the largest native market in North America.
Guatemala boasts twenty-three active volcanoes. A volcano regularly spews ash clouds over the beautiful city of Antigua, established at its base. Antigua is typical Spanish colonial city with cobbled plazas, churches, houses and lovely gardens. It is as pretty as a picture postcard.
Beautiful Lake Atitlán, in the crater of a volcano, is surrounded by three volcanoes and encircled by little villages. Coffee plantations grow in the surrounding valleys.
Honduras in Central America has a reputation for high crime and until recently considerable unrest, but it has in recent years become a popular holiday destination and for good cause.
This is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. The Rio Plantana biosphere reserve is home to indigenous people, contains Mayan ruins and is home to jaguar, giant anteaters and sloths.
Hike in a cloud forest that reaches altitudes of almost ten thousand feet, or visit a butterfly garden. Zip line above the trees in the rain forests or go white water rafting in the mighty rivers.
Floating as it does in the world’s second largest coral reef. The Bay Islands offer some of the best diving sites in Central America. Here you can swim with dolphins and watch the whale sharks at play or just soak in the sun on palm-fringed white Caribbean beaches.
Honduras also boasts some of the finest remains of ancient Mayan civilizations. Take a couple of days out to explore the Copan ruins. It is a full and beautifully built city which features underground tunnels which are a must to visit.
A visit to Honduras is inexpensive and you’ll be greeted by a vibrant people, unspoiled wilderness areas and charming cities filled with colonial architecture.
Home to magnificent Mayan temples and Aztec pyramids, Mexico is a land of mixed history and culture. The Mayan archaeological site on the Yucatan Peninsula is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The Spanish too have left their mark in the many towns and cities that boast pretty cobbled plazas, stately colonial homes and splendid Catholic Cathedrals.
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world and has much to offer the visitor. Besides delicious Mexican food and tequila, it has well stocked museums, colorful art galleries, one of the biggest city parks in the world and vibrant markets.
With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other Mexico is blessed with beautiful white and golden sandy beaches perfect for diving or surfing. The country has more than thirty active volcanoes, two mountain ranges, a desert and a cloud forest.
Between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Nicaragua in Central American is one of the largest and least visited countries in the area.
Nicaragua cannot boast of the ancient ruins of some of its neighbors, and years of war and civil rest have resulted in the loss of many of its museums, but it does have a wealth of natural beauty boasting several volcanoes, wrapped in rainforest, lakes, rivers and mountains.
Hike through cloud forests and get a view of the beautiful rivers and waterfalls around the area, or through the splendid Somoto Canyon, only discovered in 2004.
In Nicaragua the waves are constant and the water is warm making this a popular surfing spot and if surfing the waves is not for you take a surf down the slopes of a volcano. In this country, it is a national sport.
Granada, the capital, is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas. On the banks of Lake Granada, it boasts splendid colonial architecture, a looming volcano and a chain of small islands.
At the junction of two continents and intersected by a marvel of engineering – a canal that joins two oceans, Panama has all the modern infrastructure of a booming economy.
A narrow country edged on one side by the Caribbean Sea and on the other by the Pacific, it is blessed with beaches that are a beach comber’s dream. Whether snorkeling in the colorful Caribbean reefs, surfing in some of the best surf in the world, or boating out to the isolated beaches of nearby islands, the beautiful white sun kissed coast is a tourist drawcard.
As in many other South American countries the Spanish have left traces of their long occupation and here on the Caribbean you can explore the ruins of a complete Spanish trading town.