5 Central American Destinations That Should Be On Your Travel Bucket List
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
There is no shortage of iconic destinations around the world. However, Central America is home to numerous lesser known locations that offer ancient culture, gorgeous natural beauty, and abundant wildlife. From indigenous islands to cloud forests, it’s time to make some room on your travel bucket list for these stunning Central American destinations.
San Blas Islands, Panama
The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the Archipelago de San Blas that boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Located in the Northwest of Panama, there are 378 islands total, most of which are uninhabited. The best way to get around the archipelago is by sailing from island to island to explore the local culture and scenery. The natives of San Blas call themselves Kunas or Gunas. According to sanblas-islands.com, the indigenous group is a “community of proud people that have their own laws, norms and values that go with their culture, which is by the way totally different than the traditional Panamanian culture.”
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize. San Pedro Town is the only town on the island, and it is where you will find the best restaurants and accommodations. Getting around on a golf cart is the best way to explore it all. If you have time, about 40 miles from the island is The Great Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole and the largest sea-hole in the world. Whether you pass over it by plane or take the dive, it is certainly worth seeing.
Bay Islands, Honduras
For snorkeling and diving junkies, Bay Islands consists of three main tropical islands: Roatán, Utila and Guanaja, whose reefs are part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world. The crystal blue Caribbean waters are teeming with fish and exotic aquatic life. The Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center in Utila offers ocean safaris where you can search for unique marine life including the whale shark with a team of experts.
La Ruta Maya, Guatemala
One of the most popular travel itineraries through Central American is La Ruta Maya, or the Maya Route. Starting in Mexico, the route takes you through several Central American countries to explore unspoiled ancient Mayan sites. With giant pyramids and vast temples, Guatemala offers some of the most impressive sites on the route. Be sure to visit Tikal, one of the largest and most popular Mayan sites. Tikal was one of the most powerful Mayan kingdoms founded in 4th century BCE and is home to a legendary temple and historical site.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Although Central American is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, it also offers a look into incredible wildlife and forests. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve houses more than 2.5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Enjoy a walk across the famous red bridge to take in the sites and sounds of the forest that expands across nearly 26,000 acres where 100 kinds of mammals, 500 birds, and 120 amphibians and reptiles can be found.