Best places to see in central america
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 15, 2012 1:03 PM Last Post By: Marielisse
Jul 24, 2012 6:26 AM
Best places to see in central americaHi,
My friend and I are travelling through central america in december/january. We would love some trip and travel advice on the area. We did south east asia last year and had a ball. We are both wonem in our early 30's and want to see cultural and intersting sights as well as having a good time and being able to have a party at night time!! Our idea is to start in Mexico and make our way down to Panama within three weeks. We have looked at the option of a guided tour but aren't sure if we want to be suck to a strick schedule. If anyone one has any ideas about where to go and the best places to see that would be great. Tips for cheap hotels and cheap travel advice would be great!! Cheers Bec and Kat!!
Jul 24, 2012 7:14 AM
1That's a very long way to go in just 3 weeks. You want flexibility but there won't be much room for manoeuvre in that schedule, you'll be spending a lot of time on buses. I'm in Panama City right now and it's just taken me almost 6 months to get here from Cancun in Mexico, and I STILL didn't see everything I wanted to see along the way!
Why not focus on just a few countries, for example you could loop through Guatemala and Belize, or Yucatan/Chiapas/Guatemala, or Guatemala/El Salvador/Honduras.
Jul 24, 2012 7:44 AM
2I agree that three weeks is not nearly enough time to see all seven countries in Central America, or even most of them. I'd cut back on bus time and just visit two or three countries at most.
Jul 24, 2012 7:51 AM
33 weeks for 6 countries? That is 2.5 days per country...Pick 1 country, two at most, depending on your interest. Best places to see, you dont have time to see the best places in hardly 1 country.
CA is not as cheap as SE Asia, nor as exotic, the food is not as good, and the safety issues far greater, especially at night.
You need 3 weeks to properly see Guatemala. You need 10 days to 2 weeks for Nicaragua. You need 3 weeks to see Costa Rica, and same for Panama. Thats skipping Belize and El Salvador, and not including the Yucatan...this would be a 3 month minimum trip for most. And 7 countries in 12 weeks, is less than 2 weeks per country..still a rush...
Consider Yucatan/Guatemala, Guatemala/Honduras, Belize/Guatemala, Nicaragua/Costa Rica, Costa Rica/Panama.
You must of rushed thru SE Asia, as you need2 weeks for Thailand, 10 days for Laos, 1 week for Cambodia and 3 weeks for Vietnam, and 3 weeks for Burma. 5 trips to SE Asia and I still have places to see and explore on my list.
Jul 24, 2012 11:32 AM
4Head down to Oaxaca, then over to Playa del Carmen and Tulum. That should use up most of your 3 weeks. I'd suggest skipping Belize, but if you're on the Caribbean coast, you'll have to travel through Belize to get further south. If you want to see Mayan sites, head to Tikal. If you want beach, head to Roatan/Utila.
Jul 24, 2012 3:17 PM
53 weeks is enough for one country...or a part of Mexico.
Where are you thinking of flying into?
Jul 24, 2012 5:13 PM
6If you want to start in Mexico, flying to Cancun might be the best idea -- probably cheaper flight and the Yucatan region might suit you.
However, if you want to see Central American countries, maybe you should fly to Guatemala City and head south from there. The shortest path suitable for 3 weeks would be via the (Pacific) coastal regions of El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.
Jul 24, 2012 5:47 PM
7Good advice from all. In 3 weeks you could see a bit of Mexico or 1-2 CA countries.
Jul 24, 2012 5:56 PM
8Thanks for the advice everyone, I guess now we are just going to focus on seeing two or three countries at the most, that will give us a week in each. We have to fly into LA, then we are thinking of getting a flight to Cancun, staying one or two days there, then heading down to somewhere a bit more interesting and less touristy. So Belize, Guatemala and Honduras look like the closest options for us. Does anyone have any tips on which of these countries are the best and what to see and do? Also can we get some advice on which countries have the nicest beaches for swimming and snorkelling. Thanks everyone :)
Jul 25, 2012 4:59 PM
9Of those countries you mention,the best snorkelling I've done has been in Belize (Caye Caulker and Ambergris) and in Honduras (Cayos Cochinos in particular).
If your priority is beaches and snorkelling I wouldn't do Guatemala....you have enough time for a trip down the coast from Mexico as far as northern Honduras/Bay Islands.
Nov 13, 2012 10:13 PM
10I have done Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and even further down the Riviera Maya, though the water is beautiful, it did not compare to my time in Costa Rica! I loved it so much I am heading back for my 5th time in 2 years. Beautiful beaches, jungle, waterfalls, monkey's in the trees... my first visit was 2 weeks on the Nicoya Peninsula (Montezuma&Santa Teresa), including surf and yoga camp it cost me only $200 more than 4 days in Hawaii. Any questions, just ask! Happy travels!
Nov 15, 2012 1:03 PM
11If you want the most beautiful beaches (clear water and soft sand) go to the Bay Islands, Honduras. You can take scuba diving classes there.
Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica each have their own beauty, it would depend on what you like to see when you visit places (architecture, local food, history, etc). But all of these countries have security issues right now, amplified by the drug trafficking war going on in some regions of these nations.
Because of that, I would highly recommend Nicaragua. No safety issues there right now. You can walk at night everywhere without concern. I've done it myself. Plus there is a lot to see: have amazing scenery (remember those huge lakes and volcanoes), beautiful colonial towns (like Granada), beautiful beaches in the Pacific coast, very friendly honest people and delicious food. You won't regret it, Nicaragua is a gem. It holds great value for your money too . You can stay at a beautiful colonial hotel in Granada for US$35. Tourims has picked up greatly in the past years, though, and I hope prices don't go up as much as in Costa Rica. So go there while it is still not too pricey!
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