There is an image conjured up in many people’s minds when you talk about Central America. If you were around in the 70s and 80s, it’s not necessarily a positive one. It’s certainly not one that would make you leap out of your seat to book a holiday there. And that is a colossal shame. While it is coming more to the surface as a holiday destination, at present Central America is still something of a quiet jewel.

That may not be the case for much longer, as word is spreading with increasing rapidity. It’s not at a Dubai level of ubiquity, thankfully, and probably won’t get there. Huge malls and skyscrapers are not what you’ll be looking for here. What you’ll find instead is a part of the world which is in no way backward. It is, however, a natural jewel that allows you to leave the breakneck pace of the world behind. Just as importantly, it’s something a little different.

Costa Rica: One Of The World’s Happiest Places

A Treasure Trove Of Natural Beauty Magical Breaks In Central America - Costa RicaPhoto: pixabay

Harking back to the older image of Central America as being at conflict, it would be easy to assume that that area is still uneasy. But Costa Rica has never been at the center of armed conflict. In fact, it doesn’t even have an army. And the peaceful nature of the country, along with the relaxed lifestyle of its population, makes it a perfect destination.

Perpetually towards the top of happiness surveys, this is a place to come if you want to spend a week or two relaxing. You won’t want for places to see and things to do – but if you don’t want to do much, that’s fine too. If there’s one thing you can’t not do while here, it’s seeing the Poás Volcano National Park.

A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama

A Treasure Trove Of Natural Beauty Magical Breaks In Central America - PanamaPhoto: Flickr

Part of one of the longest palindromes in the English language, Panama is indeed most famous worldwide for its canal. Its history with the United States has not, in fairness, been without discord. However, those days are in the past, and it has become a place to go for fun and relaxation.

All tours of Panama will include a cruise along the canal, which passes through some magnificent scenery. It will take you through rainforest settings and jungle terrain. Its utterly beguiling wildlife features a local monkey population – spider and howler breeds included. The hotels you’ll stay in, by contrast, are a picture of modernity.

Guatemala: Casting Off The Shackles Of The Past

Photo: Flickr

It is tricky these days to find a holiday location that has not had its times of conflict. Guatemala was in a state of civil war up to twenty years ago. But in those two decades, it has risen like a phoenix to be somewhere you’d be well advised to visit.

Archaeology will feature prominently in your trip, where you will see impeccably-preserved Mayan ruins at Tikal and Miraflores. Also, if you happen to be a fan of coffee, you’ll be able to experience at its freshest the Guatemalan variety. Considered to be among the best in the world, it’s something of which the locals are rightly proud.

Anyone looking for a unique travel experience in a new destination really couldn’t do better. A break in the natural locations of Central America is one that will have you yearning to return.

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