Central America is the bridge between North America and South America. Seven countries comprise Central America. Guatemala and Belize are in the north. Descending towards South America is El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Until the 1990s, this region was full of unrest. After the end of Cold War, these countries are now in peace.
Things To Do In Central America
Compared to the rest of the continent, Central America is an affordable destination. Belize City, San Josè, Managua, Guatemala, Panama City, Tegucigalpa, and San Pedro Sula are important cities in this region. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a beautiful natural destination. Moreover, natural reserves like Corcovado National Park, Cocos Island National Park, and Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve are the best places to view the vibrant forests of Central America.
The spectacular Cloud Forest is rich in biodiversity. Lake Atitlan is a unique volcanic lake, fringed by three volcanoes. Mysterious Cloud Forests in Boquete has hotels integrated within the reserve. You can relish the lush forests draped in clouds.
Some medieval towns have colonial remains. For example, Panama City, Antigua, Gracias, Leon, Granada, and Guatemala are charming colonial cities to visit. Furthermore, historical ruins in El Salvador and Honduras are insightful for any history buff.
Central America connects the two continents; consequently, it has many stunning beaches. San Juan del Sur, Bay Islands, Limon, and La Flor are must see beaches. You can go camping in the Lanquin caves. Plus, the Rainforest in Nicaragua has lots of adventurous options like trekking, fishing, and camping.
Central America was once a Spanish colony. Therefore, Spanish is spoken widely in this area. You can communicate using English. However, you should learn some basic Spanish before your visit.
Tica Bus is the least expensive and most comfortable option to get around in Central America. Otherwise, you can use TOCA or COPA Air, which are a tad bit more expensive than the bus services.
Some of the most memorable moments of your trip will come from bus rides. Bus service is well developed throughout the region, though not always comfortable. While some buses are air-conditioned with reserved seats that may recline, many others are colorfully repainted former US school buses (aka ‘chicken buses’), with a liberal policy toward lugging merchandise (though it’s unlikely you’ll have to share your seat with a chicken).
Avoid night buses throughout the region (with the possible exception of Mexico and Panama), as these have been popular targets for highway robbers.
First-class and some 2nd-class buses depart on scheduled times from a terminal de autobuses (long-distance bus station); others leave from parking-lot bus terminals once they are full (these stop to collect more passengers all along the way – so you’re likely to be able to get a lift from the highway if need be). Be aware that many cities have more than one bus station. Bus companies can have their own terminals as well. Departure frequency varies.
Luggage may be stored in a lower compartment or piled on the roof of the bus. Keep an eye on your luggage if you can, particularly on the easily accessible racks in a packed bus. Always keep your valuables tucked away on your person. Watch out for pickpockets on crowded buses and in bus stations.
In some places, travel agents run private shuttle services (mostly vans with air-con) to popular destinations. They’re more comfortable and more expensive than public buses.
Popular Bus Routes
- Cancún, Mexico to Belize City 10 hours
- Flores, Guatemala to Guatemala City 10 hours
- Guatemala City to Copán Ruinas, Honduras 5 hours
- Managua, Nicaragua to San José, Costa Rica 9 hours
- San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico to Antigua, Guatemala 11 hours
- San José, Costa Rica to Panama City, Panama 14 hours
- San Salvador, El Salvador to Tegucigalpa, Honduras 8 hours
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras to Managua, Nicaragua 8 hours
Note: Remember that bus connections and border-crossing formalities can add extra time to the trip.
December 4, 2016 8:56 am
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