Top things to do in Central America

Top Choice Monastery in Antigua

Iglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo

Founded by Dominican friars in 1542, Santo Domingo became the biggest and richest monastery in Antigua. Following three 18th-century earthquakes, the buildings were pillaged for construction material. The site was a…
Top Choice Volcano in Masaya & Los Pueblos Blancos

Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya

Described by the Spaniards as the gates of hell, the craters that comprise Volcán Masaya National Park are the most easily accessible active volcanoes in the country. The two volcanoes at the park, Masaya and Nindir…
Top Choice Market in Chichicastenango

Market

Some villagers still walk for hours carrying their wares to reach Chichi's market, one of Guatemala's largest and a highlight of many people's trips to the country. It's a rich mix of the traditional and the tourist…
Top Choice Dive Site in Ambergris Caye

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

At the southern tip of Ambergris, the 6.5-sq-mile Hol Chan Marine Reserve is probably Belize's most oft-visited diving and snorkeling site. It offers spectacular coral formations, plus a rich abundance and diversity…
Top Choice Notable Building in San José

Teatro Nacional

On the southern side of the Plaza de la Cultura resides the Teatro Nacional, San José’s most revered building. Constructed in 1897, it features a columned neoclassical facade that is flanked by statues of Beethoven …
Top Choice Fusion in Tortuguero Village

Wild Ginger

On a dirt path near the beach north of town, the simple, tucked-away place could be straight out of California or Portland (the owner has lived in both cities). It's dimly lit with paper lanterns, has a striking pai…
Top Choice European in San José

Park Café

At this felicitous fusion of antique shop and French restaurant, Michelin-starred chef Richard Neat offers an exquisite menu of smaller sampling plates (Spanish tapas–style), normal-sized mains, and a thoughtful win…
Top Choice Religious in Antigua

Semana Santa

In the week leading up to Easter, hundreds of devotees garbed in deep purple and white robes bear revered icons from their churches in daily street processions in remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion. It's one of the…
Top Choice Archaeological Site in Copán Ruinas

Copán Archaeological Site Ruins

One of the most important of all Maya civilizations lived, prospered, then mysteriously crumbled around the Copán archaeological ruins, a Unesco World Heritage Site. During the Classic period (AD 250–900), the city …
Top Choice Religious Site in Zunil

Cofradia San Simón

While you're in Zunil, visit the image of San Simón, the name given here to the much-venerated Mayan deity known elsewhere as Maximón. His effigy, propped up in a chair, is moved each year to a different house durin…