central america (21)

15611480090_388d5a8a34_b.jpg?profile=RESIZE_1200xHarry D.

 You've of course heard of Tikal, Antigua, and Guatemala City. But 2,330 metres (7,644 feet) up in the western highlands just two or so hours from the capital, this country’s second largest city (pop. around 225,000) is a dynamic, untouristy trove that not only has a lot to offer on its own terms but is also a great jumping off point for other attractions, including Lake Atitlán and several of Guatemala's awesome ecotourism wonders


 Originally the pre-Columbian Mayan city

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Panama: the Canal & the Capital



We were up at silly o'clock for this trip  ... but we caught the Bridge of the Americas at sunrise, and that's quite a sight.

It is written, somewhere, that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That might be true for dates, job interviews and the like, but it doesn’t necessarily apply to places. We’ve visited a number of cities we weren’t too impressed with at first sight, but grew to like.

Panama City struck us as a warren of high rise: the guide said they weren't quit

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7 Ecotourism Stars of Honduras


Though Costa Rica is Central America´s (and perhaps all of Latin America´s) premier star when it comes to ecotourism, there´s also an undersung but incredibly rich trove of eco treasures to be explored next door in Honduras, with lush rainforests and stunning coastlines, among other things. On the marine side – exploring the richness of the world´s second largest coral reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the islands of Roatán and Utila are better known. But here are a few mo

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Reluctantly, we left Tortuguero, and, once more, cruised down the river to meet the coach that was to take us up into the hills to La Fortuna. On the way, at one place, we came across a level crossing sign. I thought Costa Rica had no railways? But here was a narrow gauge track, which didn't seem to have been used for some considerable time. Indeed, at one point, a bridge had disappeared completely, but the track remained. I found later that the railway had been used in former times to transp

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12130786258?profile=RESIZE_930xMatthew Paulsen

Beginning in the 1990s, this small Central American country essentially pioneered the ecotourism boom that has spread across the globe. Besides its vaunted Pacific and Caribbean beaches, packed into just 19,730 square miles -  a good bit smaller than West Virginia and a bit over twice the size of Wales - Costa Rica boasts 29 national parks, 19 wildlife refuges, eight biological reserves, and an additional slew of protected areas. And here are a dozen of its most prized eco oppo

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Tortuguero, Costa Rica's Watery Eco-Enclave

We were up at silly o' clock in our hotel in San Jose, for our trip to Tortuguero. We just had time for a coffee and some pastries for breakfast, but were promised a much more substantial second breakfast en route. At Guapiles, we stopped for our first substantial meal in Costa Rica; scrambled eggs, corn hearts and fried plantain. Unusual, but very tasty. This was followed by a short walk through the woodland behind the restaurant.


The Laguna Lodge, where we were staying, can only be reached by

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The quiet village of Monkey River in southern Belize is habitat to a plethora of flora and fauna, and as a result the nature tour conducted around herehas been rated one of the top in the country. Exotic tropical birds, butterflies, crocodiles, iguanas, and especially howler monkeys are just some of the wildlife that visitors will spot on this tour.



The tour will stop at various locations to give visitors an opportunity to explore the jungle on foot, keeping an eye out for snakes and spiders

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Stranded by Hurricane Tomás in Costa Rica

Here's how bad Hurricane Tomás is: The outside world barely notices that Costa Rica has been hit – and hit hard – because Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and other countries are getting hit even harder. It's an eco disaster and a human disaster, and I can see it from the window.

I'm writing this from an office in Puerto Jiménez, in Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, where they've been kind enough to let me crib some wi-fi waves. I'm stranded in this tiny, tumble-down Pacific Coast village. Just outsid

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800px-Plaza-libertad-san-salvador.png?profile=RESIZE_710xIdea SV


Central America's smallest country (tinier than the US state of West Virginia and just a bit bigger than Wales) gets a bad, exagerrated rap because of gang violence that's limited to a handful of the capital's rougher neighborhoods. But in fact El Salvador does offer visitors a safe a varied menu of beaches (including some surprising surfing), ecotourism, adventure, charming colonial towns, and even several interesting Mayan archaeological sites such as San Andrés, the "Pompeii of the

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Astonishing Sea-Turtle Spotting in Guatemala

Steven Zwerink

Giant marine turtles are truly one of nature's most moving miracles throughout their life cycles - babies hatch from beach sands and endure a frantic rush to the ocean before being devoured by ravenous, swooping sea birds, growing up in the ocean, then the females instinctively finding their way by back thousands of kilometres to their birth beaches to lay eggs, thus keeping this amazing cycle in motion. And Central America is one of the world's premier regions to witness this

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Honduras' Most Marvelous Places

800px-Cop%C3%A1n_Ballcourt.jpg?profile=RESIZE_930xAdalberto Hernandez Vega


Holidays in Honduras are truly economical and holds a wide range of beautiful places to see and do, including Mayan ruins, jungle adventure and ecotourism, Caribbean isles, and lively towns and cities. Here are its top highlights:



Dating back to around 100 AD, the capital of a powerful dynasty during the Mayan Classical period, ruling much of the surrounding area, is one of the Mayan world's greatest archaeological sites (top) because though while it's far

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Water Magic on Guatemala's Lake Atitlán

by José Alejandro Adamuz



Central America's largest and perhaps most diverse country has many dramatic spots that evoke a marked sense of place - the spectacular Mayan ruins of Tikal; the colonial splendour of Antigua; the castaway Caribbean vibe of Livingston; and much more. But Lake Atitlán, in the highlands a 2 1/2-hour drive north of Guatemala City, does that and more - it evokes something akin to an interior emotion and energy, a soaring of the soul, even a sense of the sublime.



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Diving into Roatán, Honduras

TBP-pic-Honduras-Roatan-West-End-Beach-Renee-Vititoe-shutterstock_171623777-640x419.jpg?profile=RESIZE_930xRenee Vititoe


Right astride the Caribbean's largest barrier reef – also the world’s second largest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – this small island (just 83 square kilometres/32 sq. miles) off the coast of Honduras has become not only this country’s top visitor draw (outstripping the other main one, the impressive Mayan archaeological site Copán) but also, unsurprisingly, a star among the world’s diving community.

Actually the largest of seven Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands)

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Some Wicked Surf's Up in...El Salvador?

11018882254?profile=RESIZE_930xRené Mayorga

Not too long ago, who would’ve predicted it? The Central American country of El Salvador, once known mostly for being both poverty-stricken and war-torn, has become a surfing power of sorts, attracting millions of surfers to its Pacific beaches.  

Despite its past trials and tribulations, both internal and external, this land just a tad smaller than New Jersey and a bit bigger than Wales has many of the key ingredients of a tropical paradise, including dramatic volcanoes and lands

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In Costa Rica, Arenal = Adventure

12129947663?profile=RESIZE_930xRobert Cicchetti


Since the 1980s, Costa Rica has of course made a huge name for itself as not only a beach but also ecotourism and soft-adventure destination.  And it’s especially this last that has become a specialty of a region of Alajuela province in the country’s Central Valley, about a couple of hours north of capital San José, called Arenal. For adrenaline and the great outdoors, it doesn’t get much better.

The area takes its name from an active volcano and the lake beneath it. At 5,35

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6 Fun Water Adventures in Guanacaste, Costa Rica



Costa Rica Tubing Tours on Rio Negro

There’s nothing like a day of exciting fun bouncing and splashing down a cool, crystal clear tropical river under the hot Guanacaste sun. On the Rio Negro (Black River) Tubing Adventure at Hacienda Guachipelin, you ride five kilometers (three  miles) of class II and III rapids in special, individual river tube rafts that are designed with handles and protective bottoms. Guides are with you the whole time to ensure your safety.


Waterfall Canyoning


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León, Nicaragua's Most Venerable City


When it comes to tourism in Central America’s largest country, the city that tends to get most of the attention is Granada (while ironically, capital Managua is pretty much avoided by all but business people). But in many ways I find its traditional – and less tarted up for tourists/expats – rival Santiago de los Caballeros de León, even more fascinating, beginning with the fact that despite its somewhat lower contemporary profile among foreigners, Nicaragua's second largest city (aft

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Another Great Granada - in Nicaragua



One of Central America’s most atmospheric cities, named upon founding in 1524 after the original Granada in southern Spain’s Andalusia region, this city on the shores of Lake Nicaragua (aka Lake Concibolca) in the west of Nicaragua is the oldest on the the Americas’ continental mainland. About 40 minutes by road from capital Managua and its airport, this Granada (pop.  1118,000) is also one of CentAm’s loveliest and most popular with visitors (quite on a par with its colonial sister capital A

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Manuel-Antonio-1-300x194.jpg?width=300Calm seas and abundant marine life in the spectacular Pacific Ocean at Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica create an ideal environment for fun activities.

For instance, now through the end of December is humpback whale-watching season in Costa Rica; and you can nearly always see large pods of dolphins while out sailing, boating or kayaking.

Quepos is a top spot for world-class sportfishing in Costa Rica,, and where the April World Offshore Fishing Championship brings in hundreds of internation

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10915004701?profile=RESIZE_930xChris Oakley

If you find should yourself spending New Year’s Eve in a Spanish-speaking country, you may notice that the locals have an interesting tradition of their own for this special night. As the big moment nears, participants will suspend clusters of grapes over their mouths (or have a loose handful of them) and eat one with each clock strike of midnight. These are “las doce uvas de la suerte” (the twelve grapes of fortune), which of course is what everyone wishes themselves and others f

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