Central America – the centre of the action!

Starting in southern Mexico, the jumping-off point for many travellers to the region, Lonely Planet’s updated and expanded Central America on a shoestring is a goldmine of information for budget travellers, covering Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Whether you want a tropical holiday, fancy exploring magnificent Mayan ruins, Lonely Planet will show you how to do it all without blowing your budget. Written with a focus on the cheap and cheerful, Central America on a shoestring will help travellers find their feet in this exciting part of the world with suggested itineraries to from two weeks to ten weeks, north to south, Pacific to Caribbean and back.

Lonely Planet gets you started with a full-colour map of the region with easy-to-use page references of not-to-be-missed places.

Relaxed and affordable, Central America is an attractive alternative for travellers. Discover colourful markets, lush rainforests teeming with wildlife, exciting cities, quiet villages, and beautiful beaches. There are grand old haciendas and breathtaking ancient pyramids, and a heady mix of cultural influences.

The Highlights section reveals the Best Beaches ‘n’ Reefs, Colonial Towns, Ruins, Wildlife, Activities and Off-the-Beaten-Tracks and boasts an extensive Directory with advice on accommodation, eateries and local knowledge for all areas.

Best of all, it’s not all hostels. When you want a little luxury the guide’s Splurge pointers will help you find a comfortable hotel with some character – stay in a room where Frida Kahlo once slept (p59), or spoil yourself with a three course meal at the Wet Lizard, a Greek seafood restaurant on the Belize City watefront (p227).

Plus there is comprehensive coverage of Study/Work/Volunteer opportunities in the region, for that up-close-and-personal Central American experience.

Practical tips are peppered throughout the guide from the authors with some personal anecdotes. Coordinating Author Robert Reid admits that, even on his 10th trip to Mexico and fourth to Central America, he made a ‘few classic boos-boos’ like leaving town without his passport, forgetting to drink plenty of water and dehydrating in the heat, and not having cash or travellers’ cheques in areas without ATMs – necessitating sleeping and eating in over-budget places that accepted his credit card!

Scale Mayan temples, worship the sun on palm-fringed shores and feel the heat of active volcanoes. Whatever your passion, Central America is jam-packed with possibilities just waiting to be discovered.

* * *

Win a trip for two to South America with Lonely Planet, Intrepid and LAN. Purchase a Lonely Planet Americas guidebook* at participating booksellers across Australia between 11 June and 16 July 2004 to enter. *Conditions apply.