Poised at the convergence of two continents, Central America lures the intrepid traveler with a centuries-old weave of unique cultural and environment forces.You can explore ancient Mayan temples or worship the sun on Caribbean shores, climb to the summit of a smoldering volcano or dive amid spectacular coral reefs. Central America consists of Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Costa Rica has lush tropical forests, loaded with plant and animal life. With over 25% of the country preserved for its biological diversity and beauty. Costa Rica offers hundreds of great trekking locations still undiscovered. With two coastlines, both stretching beyond the horizon, Costa Rica is the land of endless beaches. Action adventure from hot air ballooning to bungee jumping, Costa Rica has more adventure activities available than most of Latin America.
Belize is an underwater Mecca. Crystal clear water for sea kayaking and snorkeling, and spectacular diving.Sitting adjacent to the second largest barrier reef in the world. Deep Caverns and caves, miles below ground, await your exploration. Some of these caves still hold relics and artifacts from the ceremonies of Mayan priests from over 1,000 years ago. Vast pine forests and 1,000 foot waterfalls high up in the Maya Mountains are great for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking.
Guatemala is probably the most colorful Country in all of Latin America. Rich in history of ancient Mayan ruins, as well as present day Maya culture, Guatemala is filled with cobblestone streets, 16th century convents, and other interesting colonial architecture.
El Salvador is not geared to independent travelers. What it does offer is a whole new experience of watching a country strive to redefine itself. Organizations from the US, Europe and Australia are helping to rebuild El Salvador through programs devoted to education, agricultural reform, reforestation, human rights and health care. Participating in these developments and talking to the locals about their experiences and hopes is one of the most productive ways to visit.
Honduras was the original banana republic and is still one of the least developed and industrialized countries in Central America. Despite its turbulent political history, the poor cousin of the region has barely registered on the Western radar, apart from its short role in the 1980s as a breeding ground for US covert operations. The slow pace, natural beauty and low-profile tourism make it particularly appealing to travelers (well-armed with insect repellent) who enjoy getting off the beaten track.
Nicaragua is a fascinating destination for those travelers who shun seeing 'sights,' have an awareness of history and enjoy getting to know a country on a grassroots level.
While Panama is known mostly for its famous canal, the country's natural attractions offer an irresistible lure to far-sighted travelers. Panama offers some of the finest birding, snorkeling and deep-sea fishing in the Americas. It is a proud nation that offers astounding wildlife adventures, that respects its seven indigenous peoples and that celebrates its Spanish heritage with frequent and colorful festivals.
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