Must-see attractions in Central America

  • Laguna Miraflor

    Northern Highlands

    The lovely lake that gives its name to the entire area has an attractive position surrounded by farmland. Sadly, however, the use of chemicals by some…

  • Edificio Metálico

    San José

    One of downtown San José's most striking buildings, this century-old two-story metal edifice on Parque España's western edge was prefabricated in Belgium,…

  • Plaza de la Independencia


    North of Parque Central is Plaza de la Independencia, also known as the 'Plaza de los Leones.' The obelisk is dedicated to the heroes of the 1821 struggle…

  • Museo de la Nación Guna

    Comarca de Guna Yala

    This badly maintained, privately owned collection of Guna artefacts over two floors includes the usual baskets, molas and gammu burwi (bamboo flutes),…

  • Town Hall


    The Town Hall (Municipalidad), which stands behind the church in the center of town, is Panajachel's seat of government and handles administrative…

  • Iglesia de los Angeles

    Northern Highlands

    This modern concrete church has a high, rectangular bell tower that looks at first glance like a water storage facility. It's a popular reference point…

  • Río Frio Cave

    Cayo District

    In Douglas D'Silva (Augustine), on the way to or from Caracol, look for the signed turnoff to Río Frio Cave, less than 1 mile away. The river gurgles…

  • Parque Balboa

    Central El Salvador

    The pupusas here are famous in San Salvador. Can you make it to double figures? If you're not hungry, it's still a pleasant place to hang out, with…

  • Parque Reyes

    Caribbean Coast

    Bluefields' best green space is a popular meeting point with impressive 25m-high trees sprouting bromeliads in the canopy and a monument to the six ethnic…

  • Parque Japon


    This not-particularly Japanese park, nestled in the back blocks of the Metrocentro area, is a great place for a bit of time out. There are plenty of trees…

  • Casa de Cultura Leonel Rugama


    In the bullet-hole-marked former home of a high-ranking Somoza official, the Casa de Cultura offers a range of art, dance and music classes to locals …

  • Fort Barlee

    Northern Belize

    At the center of town, this fort was built in 1849 by Caste War refugees for protection from attacks by hostile Maya. Only the remains of the brick corner…

  • Iglesia El Calvario

    Western El Salvador

    El Calvario has undergone numerous hardships and catastrophes since its initial construction in the early 19th century. Today it's an imposing place that…

  • Belize Archives Department


    This local history collection is mainly a reading room and research facility with computers for public use. You can stop by and chat with the researchers…

  • Asamblea Legislativa

    San José

    Costa Rica's congress meets in this grand structure – known as the 'blue castle' – in the center of San José. It's scheduled to be replaced by a…

  • Monumento a San Francisco

    Northern Highlands

    This simple monument is a popular teenage hangout at night, but also remains a vessel for many an abuelita’s (grandmother’s) humble prayers. The views…

  • Iglesia San Pedro

    Western Highlands

    This immense new church with two basilicas dominates the centre of Soloma – its immense gaudy statues on the exterior of the Virgin, St Peter and recent…

  • Iglesia El Carmen

    Western El Salvador

    Santa Ana's trifecta of Catholic churches is rounded out by El Carmen, which was damaged during the 2001 earthquake after nearly two centuries of…

  • Instituto Nacional de Cultura

    Panama City

    INAC is responsible for maintaining the country’s museums and other cultural institutions. There is a small gallery on the 1st floor that displays works…

  • Hospital de San Juan de Dios

    Panama City

    There's not much left of Panamá Viejo's sole hospital, Hospital de San Juan de Dios. Much of the remains were scattered when Av Cincuentenario and a side…

  • Seventh-Day Adventist Church

    Caribbean Coast

    The beautiful wooden church has been replaced by a concrete structure, but it's still worth swinging past for Saturday-morning services to listen to the…

  • Battlefield Park

    Belize City

    Battlefield Park is on the right across from the Court House. It's always busy with vendors, loungers, con artists and other slice-of-life segments of…

  • Yarborough Cemetery

    Belize City

    A narrow graveyard between two roads where you'll see the graves of early citizens of Belize who were not prominent enough to be buried in the nearby St…

  • Edificio Rivera


    A neoclassical structure near the northeast corner of Parque Centro América, the Edificio Rivera has been handsomely renovated (complete with fast-food…

  • La Gobernación


    This old municipal building is little more than a landmark in the center of town, but it occasionally hosts interesting exhibitions or live music…

  • House of Culture

    San Ignacio

    In the former hospital behind the town hall, the House of Culture has regular art, history and cultural exhibitions, as well as being a local meeting…

  • UNAN


    The Managua branch of Nicaragua’s oldest university (the original is in León, the former capital) was founded in 1958 and has more than 24,000 students.

  • Iglesia de Chalatenango

    El Salvador

    The Iglesia de Chalatenango, with its squat bell tower and bright chalky facade, sits on the east side of the Parque Central, near the military garrison.

  • Monumento León Cortés

    San José

    This bronze statue of the 1930s Costa Rican president stands regally at the eastern entrance to La Sabana park.

  • Fort George Lighthouse

    Belize City

    This diminutive lighthouse guides boats into Haulover Creek and was constructed with funds from the estate of Baron Bliss, who is buried at its foot.

  • Museo de Ciencias Naturales

    Panama City

    Museo de Ciencias Naturales has sections on geology, paleontology, entomology and marine biology, as well as an impressive display of taxidermy.

  • Flagpole Plaza

    Northern Belize

    A small plaza behind the Town Hall that was once the site of Fort Cairnes, a British military post during the War of the Castes conflict.

  • Iglesia de la Sagrada Familia


    The Church of the Sacred Heart, facing downtown's central Parque de Cervantes, has a bell tower and dates largely from the 19th century.

  • La Vicky


    The grocery store called 'La Vicky' doesn't stand here anymore, but locals still use it as a point of reference for navigating the town.

  • Jimmy Lever Beach

    Little Corn Island

    On the southern side of the island, this remote beach faces the open water, which has quite a few rocks. Scenic rather than idyllic.

  • Monumento a la Marimba


    The Altiplano's signature instrument is given pride of place at the center of this iconic traffic circle on the east end of town.

  • Catholic Church

    Caye Caulker

    The island's Latin roots can be observed at the simple Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion church which serves the Catholic community.

  • Río Sábalo Bridge

    Darién Province

    Cross the Río Sábalo bridge to reach Sambú's twin indigenous village of Puerto Indio.

  • Ebenezer Baptist Church

    Corn Islands

    This diminutive church with its singular tower was founded in the 1850s and is a local landmark on the north side of the island.

More destinations you need to see