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18 Must Visit Places in Central America

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Planning a trip and want to some of the best places to visit in Central America? The countries in this area are home to some of the most beautiful nature in the world, delicious food, and Caribbean weather and vibes. Here is our list of favorite spots to check out to add to your Central American bucket list!


Where to begin? We suggest going on Skyscanner and putting your city to either Panama, Guatemala, or even Mexico!


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Once you find the cheapest flight you can easily move from one place to another, and explore all that Central America has to offer. We've listed all the best spots to discover from South to North. Enjoy!


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Best Places to Visit in Central America #1: Bocas del Toro, Panama

Located in the North East section of Panama, lies a group of islands in the Caribbean sea. Bocas del Toro is known for its eco-friendly businesses, diverse rainforest, and beautiful beaches.


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This is definitely one of our favorite parts of Panama, as it is a true backpackers' paradise. The vibes are chill, they take care of the environment, and they know how to have fun!

Bocas del Toro, Panama, best places to visit in Central America
Beach Scooter Bocas del Toro, things to do in Panama
Bambuda Lodge, Bocas del Toro, Bambuda Lodge Bocas del Toro, ways to be a more eco-friendly traveler

Bocas del Toro is a backackers' paradise.

Check out the best way to enjoy this island chain by checking the article below.

Bocas del Toro, Panama is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, located in the north western region of the country. What we love about this archipelago is that there's a lot to see, do, and discover through the many different islets.The whole area of Bocas del Toro is

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Want to go to Bocas del Toro? Here are a few different ways to get there:


Best Places to Visit in Central America #2: San Blas Islands, Panama

The San Blas Islands are one of the most underrated, and best places to visit in Central America. These islands are an archipelago comprised of 365 islands, one more beautiful than the next.


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This place is a mix of paradise Caribbean beauty, and the most intriguing indigenous communities. San Blas Islands make a perfect day trip from the mainland of Panama, or a great overnight experience to get away from it all.

best things to do in Panama: San Blas Islands

There are 365 San Bias islands, with the most beautiful beaches.

Looking for a tour to the San Blas Islands? Here are a few great ones:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #3: Pozo Azul, Panama

This place is a true hidden gem in Panama. In the middle of nowhere lie these turquoise pools and series of waterfalls, tucked in a canyon, and surrounded by lush jungle. This place is so remote that its not even found on Google Maps!


Pozo Azul, best things to do in Panama
Pozo Azul, best places to visit in Central America
Pozo Azul, best things to do in Panama

Pozo Azul is a true hidden gem in Panama.

For us, this was one of the best places to visit in Central America when it comes to hidden gems.


For more info on Pozo Azul, check out our Pozo Azul travel guide!

Ever head of Pozo Azul Panama? Chances are you haven't but should definitely visit! There are certain things and places in this world that are worth adding to your bucket list. Many of them (actually, 7 to be precise) were voted a few years ago as 7 natural wonders. But there

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Don't want to go on your own? Here is a group tour that we found:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #4: El Valle del Anton, Panama

El Valle de Anton is a town in central Panama, that is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. This picturesque small town is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, and a cloud forest. Also, it is just two hours from the capital, making it the perfect day trip from the Panama City, or place to stop while heading North.

El Valle de Anton, best places to visit in Central America

El Valle de Anton is home to stunning waterfalls and greenery.

Want to take an organized tour to Valle de Anton? Here are a few options to choose from:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #5: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo, or fully known as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, is a small beach town in the South West of Costa Rica. This backpackers paradise is full of Pura Vida and happy vibes. Just a few hours from San Jose, and lying right near the border of Panama, it makes for the one of the best places to visit in Central America.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, best places to visit in Central America
Playa Negra, Puerto Viejo, best places to visit in Central America
Playa Manzanillo, Puerto Viejo, best places to visit in Central America

Puerto Viejo is full of great beaches and lush jungle.

Check out our favorite things to do, how to get around, and ways of enjoying the area in our Puerto Viejo travel guide.

Welcome to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, or fully known as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This is a small beach town in the South West corner of the country. This backpackers paradise is full of Pura Vida and happy vibes.Just a few hours from San Jose, and lying right near the

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Want to visit Puerto Viejo? Here are a few options for getting there:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #6: La Fortuna, Costa Rica

La Fortuna is a small town located in the North of Costa Rica. With lush rainforest, lakes, and towering volcanoes, there are so many ways to enjoy this awesome place.


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Check out the great waterfall, go canyoning, or go swimming in a crater lake. This beautiful town is the perfect mix for adventure and relaxation, and definitely one of the best places to visit in Central America.

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Free Hot Springs La Fortuna
Cerro Chato crater lake, La Fortuna, best places to visit in Central America

La Fortuna is the perfect place for both adventure and relaxation.

Take a look at the best ways to enjoy La Fortuna by checking our La Fortuna Travel Guide!

La Fortuna is a small town located in the North of Costa Rica. As the gateway to Arenal National Park, there are so many amazing things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.With lush rainforest, massive volcanos, and natural hot springs,  this place is perfect for those looking for a

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Ready for a trip to La Fortuna? Here are some options for getting there:


Best Places to Visit in Central America #7: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Located in the south of Nicaragua, right near the border of Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur was hands down, one of the best places to visit Central America that we encountered.


With its fun beach vibes, delicious food, and great prices, This small surf town is a must for your Central American bucket list, and so is its amazing Sunday Funday pool crawl.

AirBnb San Juan del Sur
San Juan del Sur, best places to visit in Central America

San Juan del Sur is the perfect place for sun, surf, and lots of partying.

Check out the highlights of San Juan del Sur below!

Best Places to Visit in Central America #8: Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Located just an hour away from San Juan del Sur, is the beautiful island of Ometepe. Take a dip in a crystal clear swimming hole, cool off at a waterfall, hike a volcano, or ride around in scooter enjoying the scenery. This island is a must see if you are in the south of Nicaragua

San Ramon Waterfall, Ometepe, best places to visit in Central America
Ojo del Agua, Ometepe Island
Ometepe, Nicaragua, best places to visit in Central America

Ometepe has a ton of natural beauty to discover.

For more info about Ometepe take a look at our Ometepe Travel Guide.

Ometepe is a 107 square mile island located in Lake Cocibolca, Nicaragua. Shaped by two massive volcanoes. this is a true piece of paradise, and a backpackers dream. Here's all you need to know about Ometepe Island.*Please note that this blog post may contain some affiliate links, which we make

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Want to visit Ometepe on a day trip from San Juan del Sur? Here's an option for you:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #9: Granada, Nicaragua

Located on the Shores of Lake Nicaragua, lies the charming and colorful city of Granada.


The city itself has a beautiful main square, delicious food, as well as a cigar making factory, and chocolate making factory. Take a trip outside the city to sail around the 365 islets, or look deep into the crater of the Masaya Volcano.

Granada is a wonderful and colorful city in Nicaragua, very popular on the gringo-track through the country. Full of culture, delicious food, and its fun back-packer vibes, this city is a must stop if you are traveling through Nicaragua. Check out all the best things to do in Granada, Nicaragua!*Please

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Here are some popular routes to get to Granada:


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Best Places to Visit in Central America #10: Leon, Nicaragua

Leon is home to the most stunning cathedral in Central America, some really great food, and lots of culture, Climb the rooftop of the stunning white Leon Cathedral, go sandboarding down the most active volcano in Nicaragua, and feast on all the great options on the street at the central square.


Want to visit Leon from Managua? Here's an option for you:

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Best Places to Visit in Central America #11: Roatan, Honduras

This Caribbean island is a popular cruise port, and located just an hour 20 minute ferry from the mainland. 

Roatan beach for horseback riding
holding sloths in Roatan
Things to do in Roatan, Honduras

Roatan is a popular island for cruises to visit.

While the rest of Honduras can be quite dangerous, Roatan is the safest and most tropical area of the country. Sail through the mangroves, go diving, hold a sloth, or just enjoy the beautiful beaches,

Roatan is one of those places that you really need to explore to see the true beauty. This island that belongs to Honduras can be misinterpreted pretty easily. There are actually a ton of things to do in Roatan, Honduras!Stepping outside of the port (if you are cruising) you are

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Heading to Roatan from Utila? You can prebook your ferry tickets by clicking the link below:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #12: Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole off the coast of Belize, and actually the world's biggest. The best way to see the Blue Hole is to fly above it and admire its beauty from up high, as it is a whopping 300 meters wide. It is also possible to sky dive here, but is only for extremely professional skydivers.


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Best Places to Visit in Central America #13: Islands of Belize

Belize has a total of 450 islands, and each one is a small slice of paradise. Some of the most popular include Caye Caulker, Amberghis Caye, and Goff's Caye.


The best way to get to some of them is on a small plane from the Belize City airport. They are just 9-12 minutes away in flight, and leave you with some seriously jaw-dropping views.

Goff's Caye, Belize, best vacation in the Caribbean

There are so many great places to stay in the Caribbean for better prices than all-inclusive resorts.

Ride around and explore Caye Caulker by golf cart, spend a night enjoying the backpacker vibes of Amberghis Caye, or take a day trip to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Goff's Caye. No need to book in advance! Just show up and hop on the next flight over to your next island paradise.


Here are a few different fun island excursions that you can sign up for:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #14: El Tunco, El Salvador

This relaxed beach town is the perfect place to enjoy the cool vibes of El Salvador. Learn how to surf, hike, jump, and bathe in the gorgeous Tamanique falls, or feast on an endless amount of cheap and delicious pupusas. This destination is definitely one to add to the backpacker's bucket list.

El Tunco, places to visit in El Salvador

We always look for underrated destinations like El Salvador.

Want to visit El Tunco from San Salvador? Here are some organized tours to go there:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #15: Santa Ana, El Salvador 

This charming city is located just an hour outside the capital, and has some great nature right outside the city.


Stop at the gorgeous cathedral, hike above the clouds up to the top of Izalco Volcano, or swim in the turquoise waters of the crater lake Coatepeque. This place is barely touched by tourists, making it a truly authentic place to explore!

Santa Ana, day trips from San Salvador
Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador, Travel Planning in Central America
Coatepeque Lake Santa Ana, best places to visit in Central America

Santa Ana is home to some of the best volcanos is El Salvador.

Want to know all of the best things to do in and around Santa Ana? Simply check the link below for our full article.

Want to book a tour to experience the best of Santa Ana? Here are a few different tours from San Salvador.

Best Places to Visit in Central America #16: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Lake Atitlán is a 50 square mile body of water in a massive volcanic crater in Guatemala’s South Western highlands. Surrounded by rolling hills, Mayan villages, and striking views of its cone-shaped volcanoes, this is a true gem of Guatemala.


Get a villa over the water, shop for authentic Guatemalan souvenirs, or take a kayak or boat out to enjoy the smooth waters.

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Need transportation to Lake Atitlan? Here are a few popular routes:


Best Places to Visit in Central America #17: Acatenango Volcano, Guatemala

Hiking the Acatenango Volcano is a truly unique experience, and definitely one to add to the bucket list. Climb to the top all the way above the clouds, stay overnight camping, and admire the lava spewing from above. Watching the sunrise with this volcano as a backdrop might be one of the most magical experiences of your life.


Ready to book this epic adventure? Here are a few options that you can look into:

Best Places to Visit in Central America #18: Antigua, Guatemala

If you're visiting Guatemala, you can forget about the capital and head straight to Antigua. Located just an hour from Guatemala City, this small town is full of color. Surrounded by volcanoes, this is one of the most beautiful places to stay in the country.


Need to book your way to Antigua? Here are some options:


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