Best Places to Visit in Central America
Central America is the thin section of land that links the North American continent with the South American continent. The region is made up of seven small, mostly tropical countries that would be easy to skip on a map. Yet they represent a complex mixture of cultures, ancient ruins, tropical wildlife, active volcanoes and great beaches. Mexico is occasionally considered part of Central America due to the language and cultural heritage it shares with several of its southern neighbours. This list of best places to visit in Central America however, focuses only on the countries of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
A thriving university town and one of Nicaragua’s oldest cities, Leon is the country’s political and intellectual center. Situated along the Chiquito River, Leon is rich in Spanish colonial architecture as well as arts and culture, and teeming in students and backpackers. Located just a few miles inland of the Pacific Ocean, Leon is also home to popular beaches like Poneloya and Las Peñitas, which offer water activities and nightlife options.
Once an important Mayan center of government, art, culture and astronomy, Copan today is a large complex consisting of two large pyramids, several plazas, a ball court and numerous stone temples, altars and stelae, which are famous for their hieroglyphics and intricate carvings that depict history, events, beliefs and customs of the ancient Mayans.
Until the past few years, Arenal was the most active volcano in Costa Rica, and it’s frequent, small explosions once provided incredible shows of spewing lava. However, in 2010, Arenal’s cycle entered into a resting phase, putting an indeterminate pause on the eruptions. Nevertheless, the area surrounding Arenal still offers plenty of outstanding sights and exciting activities.
One of Nicaragua’s largest cities, Granada is also one of the country’s oldest and most historically important centers, featuring a wealth of Spanish history and well-preserved colonial architecture. Located in western Nicaragua along the shores of Lake Nicaragua, Granada offers tourists plenty to see and do from sightseeing to outdoor recreation and arts and culture.
Panama’s capital and largest city, Panama City, is a concentration of modern high-rise towers rising up from a surrounding tropical rainforest. A vibrant, cosmopolitan city made prosperous by the development of the Panama Canal, Panama City is one of the best places to visit in Central America. While a visit to the city’s most famous attraction, the Panama Canal, ranks at the top of most sightseeing itineraries, exploring the cobblestone streets and colonial buildings of the historic quarter, Casco Viejo, is also a must-do.