In the best places to visit in Central America, you’ll discover pristine beaches, dynamic cultures, and diverse scenery full of adventures.
Kayak through rainforests and explore verdant jungles. Lounge on white sands and sample authentic Latin American cuisine. Experience indigenous cultures and ancient ruins.
From the picturesque town of Antigua, Guatemala to the famous Panama Canal, these are some of the best places to go in Central America.
An island all its own, Roatán is known for its glittering bays, lush tropical jungles, and colorful coral reefs, perfect for outdoor adventures like snorkeling and scuba diving.
This Honduran island is a playground for lovers of water sports and ecotourism, from zip-lining to deep-sea fishing to exploring the military-protected archipelago of Cayos Cochinos.
One of the most unforgettable things to do in Roatan is to take a guided tour to discover the treasures of the island. Get an exclusive view of past shipwrecks and beautiful mangrove forests. Watch a traditional Junkanoo dance performance.
Discover your own private paradise when visiting Maya Key. Relax on pristine beaches, snorkel off the pier, and soak in the rays while floating in the enormous pool.
Fly through the jungle on a zip-lining adventure filled with the unique sights of nature and get a bird’s-eye view of the untouched habitat. Cross hanging bridges and fly across 12 separate traverses to explore the heart of the island.
Roatan is one of the best places to visit in Central America for scuba lovers. You can explore the waters of the Bay Islands and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef in the world.
Take a beach break with your family at Tabyana Beach. Shady palm trees and white-sand beaches give you the option to do as much or as little as you desire.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
If you’re seeking an authentic glimpse into the culture of Costa Rica, it’s tough to find a better example than Puerto Limón. This city is filled with fascinating sites and staples of Costa Rican culture.
Visit an authentic, family-owned hacienda and learn time-honored sugarcane and coffee production methods while sampling the region’s flavors. Enjoy a ride to a coffee plantation with a journey through the region’s lush landscape in the mountains of Turrialba.
To see the best of Costa Rica’s nature, kayak through the stunning rainforest and paddle up a serene river, followed by a scenic hike with some of the best views of all the wildlife and nature this Costa Rican gem has to offer.
Soak up the rich culture and history of Puerto Limon with a tour into the heart of the city. Discover churches that withstood the test of time, flashbacks of Christopher Columbus’ landing, and local handcrafts offered at the beachfront shops.
Explore the natural wonders and flavors that Costa Rica is known for on a jungle cruise through the Tortuguero Canals, and find out why it’s one of the best countries to visit in Central America.
Uncover the secrets of cocoa production with a local producer. You may even set your eyes on some of the wildlife of Puerto Limon, including monkeys, sloths, caimans, lizards, and birds.
If a day at the beach is what you are seeking, be sure to visit Puerto Viejo’s turquoise waters. Enjoy a serene day in the sand while admiring the breathtaking views of some of the best beaches in Central America.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Puntarenas is a convenient jumping-off point for exploring Costa Rica’s natural wonders. See the region from above with an aerial tram ride in Monteverde.
Take an even more unique approach to exploring the lush ecosystem of Puntarenas with a walk in the clouds. Trek through the trees on a series of suspension bridges, stretching up to 253 feet and rising over 125 feet high.
Get ready for an explosion of flavors when you indulge in a culinary lesson introducing you to authentic Costa Rican cuisine, giving you a hands-on experience you’ll never forget.
Soar over treetops from a unique cable system, ride horseback through the jungle, and embark on a crocodile boat tour for the ultimate adventure.
Read: An Insider’s Guide to Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Panama’s second-largest city and gateway to the Panama Canal boasts remarkable shopping, stunning natural attractions, and authentic cultural experiences.
In Colón, take an eco-cruise to Gatun Lake and explore a series of island habitats created during the building of the Panama Canal when the valley was flooded and animals were forced into the mountains.
One of the best things to do in Panama is to set off on an expedition to an authentic Embera village. Discover the ancient traditions of the Embera people, who have maintained their rich culture throughout the years. The tribe members will greet you with a ride in a wood-carved canoe and ceremonial dance before giving you time to wander the grounds at your own pace.
If you are looking for a sun-filled escape, take a day trip to a private island. Kick back in a beach chair with your toes into the soft sand, or try out some of the great water sports available, like a Zayak–a surfboard you paddle with your arms.
Spend a day discovering the inner workings of the engineering masterpiece that is the Panama Canal. Embark on a tour that gives you a view into both the present and the future of the canal with visits to the Miraflores Locks and Expansion Observation Center.
Read: Ultimate Panamanian Food Guide
Belize City, Belize
Belize City, the largest city in Belize, is nestled between Guatemala and Mexico. The only English-speaking country in Central America is the perfect place to experience Caribbean culture in its entirety.
Belize dates back to 1500 B.C. Take the day to discover its history with a visit to local Mayan ruins. Learn about Mayan history and culture, and climb to the top of one of the tallest ceremonial temples in Mesoamerica.
Embark on an aquatic Belize adventure to the Crystal Caves and drift through the underworld that Mayans once considered sacred. Finish the day with a dip in a hidden lagoon and waterfall visit.
Get your adrenaline pumping with an exciting zip-lining course. Soar up to 700 feet across the lush jungle for a fantastic view of the world below you.
A quick boat ride past Belize’s barrier islands brings you to Caye Caulker, one of the best islands to go snorkeling in Belize. You’ll learn about the ecological impact of the reef, then snorkel among a myriad of tropical fish and stunning coral formations. Join professional marine guides for a swim with the gentle rays and sharks in their natural habitat.
Read: Best Beaches in Belize
Hop aboard an aquatic flying machine for the ride of your life. Zip out to Almond Hill Lagoon, where your guide will shut off the engines and drift in search of manatees, the gentle giants of the sea. You’ll venture deep into the marshland with hopeful views of crocodiles, turtles, water lilies, and wading birds.
If you want to take an unconventional approach to a city tour, why not try a horse-drawn carriage? Whether you’re looking for a romantic experience or want to dive into all the history Belize City offers, your four-legged companion will be there to take you on your journey. You’ll visit historical points of interest, including Memorial Park and Her Majesty’s Prison, which has been beautifully transformed into a museum.
Discover Belize’s wildlife with a bird-watching tour. You’ll explore the region’s array of habitats, from secluded mangrove forests to the bustling streets of Belize City, all from the comfort of an open-air safari bus. Be sure to bring your camera to capture tropical and migrant birds in their natural habitats.
When visiting Guatemala, a trip to Antigua can’t be missed. Lined with colorful Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture, 16th-century ruins, and volcanoes surrounding it, few cities can match the beauty of Antigua, making it one of the best places to visit in Central America.
Discover the heart of the historical city while sampling local craft beer at a brewery. You’ll enjoy stunning views of this colonial jewel and even meet the master brewer, who might teach you a thing or two when it comes to the fine art of crafting beer.
Get a taste of Guatemala with a historical journey into Antigua’s heart that will indulge both your culinary and cultural senses. Wander through the cobblestone streets to a candy shop to treat your sweet tooth.
In a local restaurant, learn how to make an enchilada, a skill you’ll be sure to take home with you. Visit a local coffee plantation and learn how to create a delicious cup before enjoying one for yourself.
Take a journey to the highlands of Guatemala for breathtaking views of volcanic mountains. Pass the fertile farmlands and unique coastal villages as you travel to the small town of San Lucas. There, you can begin a panoramic voyage across Lake Atitlán to Panajachel for a chance to explore local shops, galleries, and culture.
Discover the immensely influential role of religion in San Juan del Obispo by touring Bishop’s Palace, which was once a colonial residence and is now home to a community of nuns. While there, sip on a cup of chocolate, the town’s favorite sweet treat.
Can’t decide which Central American destination you’d most like to visit? On a cruise to Central America, you can visit them all during one unforgettable vacation.
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