This time last year, I was flying back to the USA after four months spent in one of my favorite pockets of planet earth: Central America. Over the course of five different trips, I’ve now been lucky enough to visit each of the seven countries making up this sub-continent — some of them multiple times! A rough calculation reveals I’ve dedicated over six months to the region. This part of the world captivates me and should I ever decide I need a change of pace from calling Thailand my home base, you better believe I’ll be headed to one of the destinations below.
Just remember — what’s tops for me might be a flop for you, and vice versa! But here are the picks of one sun-chasing, beach-bumming, Vitamin D-addicted travel blogger. Want to read more about a certain spot? Just click the linked-to destination name for all posts in that category…
Tops: Panama City, Panama
Could I be any more obsessed with this metropolis? The eight days I spent in the Casco Viejo quarter of Panama City had me straight up looking at apartment listings. I loved the crumbling charm of the old quarter (hello, charming bars and gorgeous skyline views!), the modern amenities of the shiny downtown district (hello, fancy movie theaters and Thai restaurants!), and the city’s seemingly endless list of things to do, see and eat. Be right back, I think I need to check on some flights…
Flops: La Ceiba, Honduras
Actually, La Ceiba isn’t so bad if you head for the hills — technically not the city itself but the charming river lodges that dot the Rio Cangrejal. The city center itself is a dump, and, if you listen to the locals, crawling with danger around every corner. Just cross your fingers you don’t get stuck here coming to or from The Bay Islands.
Tops: Granada, Nicaragua
Endearing little Granada is beloved by backpackers everywhere for its charming colonial core, sprawling squares, and beautiful weather. The one major downside? Granada is home to the absolute worst street harassment I’ve experienced anywhere in the world, an aspect of it that almost turned me off the city entirely.
Flops: San Jose, Costa Rica
I have to admit I feel really guilty saying anything bad about San Jose, a city where I did a student exchange in high school and was hosted by one of the kindest, warmest families in all of Central America! But the truth is we spent most of our time escaping the city, and there’s little here to entire your average traveler. Costa Rica is an absolutely fantastic country — San Jose just isn’t its biggest draw.
Tops: Guatemala City, Guatemala
This ranking might be the biggest surprise on the list — Guatemala City gets little love from travelers, but I was lucky enough to experience it alongside some temporary locals who showed me the absolute best side of the funky, artistic community that calls Zona Cuatro home. I didn’t want to leave!
Tops Honorable Mentions: León, Nicaragua / Antigua, Guatemala
Tops: Boquete, Panama
Rainbows, waterfalls, and lush rolling hills — Boquete is a lush spot to slow down and break up the journey between Panama’s two coasts. I loved discovering the winding mountain town by motorbike, horseback, and my own two feet.
Tops: Copan, Honduras
A super charming teeny town in the hills of Honduras, perfect for a short visit to the Copan Ruins, a phenomenal macaw rescue, and natural hot springs. The only issue? Copan is surprisingly unconnected to other major tourism destinations in the region.
Flops: Semuc Champey, Guatemala
Admitting so is akin to committing travel hearsay, but I was completely underwhelmed by Lanquin, Guatemala. Perhaps it had just been overhyped, perhaps it all felt overly scripted after my spontaneous adventures in nearby Rio Dulce, or perhaps there was a tarantula in my dorm room — or, ya know, all of the above. I planned to stay several nights around Semuc Champey, but ended up leaving early — something I basically never do.
Tops: Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Technically more under the category of “volcanoes” than “mountains,” I found Lake Atitlán to be the most captivating destination in Guatemala. Ringed by tiny towns each with their own distinct personality, you could easily spend a few weeks getting lost on the this high altitude, low key lake.
Tops: San Ignacio, Belize
The second smallest country in Central America may be mostly coastline, but stunning San Ignacio is a reminder that there’s more to Belize than just beach. Gorgeous Mayan ruins, adrenaline-fueled jungle trips and opportunities for yoga classes, spa treatments, local cooking classes and more make San Ignacio a must-do.
Tops Honorable Mentions: El Valle, Panama / Flores, Guatemala / Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Tops: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Of all the beautiful beaches I’ve encountered in Central America, San Juan del Sur captured my heart and imagination the strongest. I spent two and a half weeks here doing yoga, taste-testing mojitos, hanging on the beach, and making a mockery of the sport of surfing. San Juan is infamous for its weekly Sunday Funday bar crawl, but don’t forget to stick around the rest of the week.
Tops: El Cuco and El Tunco, El Salvador
Often overlooked by travelers, El Salvador still qualifies as a hidden gem. Sister surf towns El Cuco and El Tunco complement each other perfectly — microscopic El Cuco has an end-of-the-world, last beach on earth kind of feel, while tiny El Tunco has just the right amount of buzz.
Tops Honorable Mentions: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica / Monterrico, Guatemala / Hopkins, Belize
I’ll be honest — I didn’t meet a beach town in Central America that I didn’t like! Spots like Santa Catalina, Panama and Livingston, Guatemala had me a little less starry-eyed than the above, but I can’t say anything negative about my time there.
Top: Bocas del Toro, Panama
The archipelago of Bocas del Toro has a certain magic about it — the islands have the jaw-dropping beauty of the Caribbean with the very palatable prices of Central America, and each little spit of sand has its own distinct personality. My ten days here were full of diving, partying, beach hopping, bike riding, acro-yogaing, and all the other things paradise dreams are made of.
Flop: Ambergris Caye, Belize
I tried — I really tried — to like Belize’s tourism powerhouse. But in my eyes, Ambergris Caye paled in comparison to neighboring isle Caye Caulker, which stole my heart from the moment I stepped on the sand. Ambergris Caye may be a great choice for luxury or family travelers, but backpackers and those with a more bohemian lean will feel right at home on Caye Caulker, pictured below.
Tops: Isla de Coiba, Panama
Haven’t heard of Isla de Coiba? You’re not alone. Yet the former-prison-colony-turned-National-Park is surrounded by waters that draw advanced divers from all over the world. Scuba shops here guarantee shark sighting or give you your money back — and I saw plenty on my four day camping and diving trip here, including the elusive whale shark.
Tops Honorable Mentions: Caye Caulker, Belize / Utila, Honduras / Roatan, Honduras
There are still so many places I have left in Central America to see, and so many I’m already itching to return to. I’ve yet to hit up the Corn Islands in Nicaragua, the San Blas Islands in Panama, the Cocos Islands in Costa Rica… the list goes on, and I have a feeling this is a corner of the world I’ll never be done exploring. Is there anywhere I missed and need to make happen next time? Let me know in the comments — I want to hear your favorites!
I love Central America, and the culture, food, and beauty it delivers. Caye Caulker has a spot in my heart as well! I lived in El Salvador for 6 months a few years ago, and found San Salvador to be extremely dangerous. I was pretty small, so i don’t remember other regions quite well. Did you get that impression?
Hey Cate! El Cuco is so blink-and-you’ll-miss-it that my time there was really confined to La Tortuga resort — a paradise for backpackers! — and the beach that surrounded it. I felt very safe there. In El Tunco I also felt very safe, though again I was confined to just a few streets in a small beach town and I wasn’t going out much in the evenings as I was recovering from severe food poisoning. But overall, I felt very at ease in those two destinations in El Salvador!
Aw, what a good roundup! Your enthusiasm about Central America was part of the reason I decided to spend three months there this past winter. I loved reading about these places after I’ve been to visit some of them myself. One thing I have to say is that I spent almost a week in San Jose, and really enjoyed myself! It’s definitely not super happening for the average tourist, as you said, but for a longer term traveler I was pleasantly surprised. Try staying in Barrio Escalante if you ever go back to San Jose (and I really recommend staying at TripOn Hostel if you do!) and check out some of the cute restaurants in the area. I would also recommend the highland area of Nicaragua. I spent a week in Matagalpa and loved it. I also spent a week on Little Corn Island, and while it was picturesque a lot of things about the sudden boom in tourism really turned me off. The locals just aren’t treated very well by the businesses that have come in to try to capitalize on the island paradise. It is still VERY beautiful, though, so I would check it out for yourself and see what you think!
Actually, Ian spent some time in San Jose last year and really loved it too, so I don’t doubt there is some appeal there! I’ve spent about two and a half weeks there in total and since I have friends there I’m sure I will be back. I’m always up for second (well, in this case third) chances 🙂
Love love love that you did a roundup post on your Central America experiences. Now we just need one of your gorgeous photos to be pinnable graphic so we can save it for later! 😉
(No pressure of course)
It’s in the works 😉
I am dying to make it to the Corn Islands myself as well as Bocas del Toro. I did go to San Blas and although there are some stunning untouched islands there, there are also overcrowded rubbish dump islands too. I wasn’t so keen to swim at beaches full of rubbish or where long drop toilets were on platforms above the ocean nearby…
Eeek! Yeah that doesn’t sound so nice. I guess you don’t see that in the Instagram photos, ha….
I loved Roatan, and was glad to see it made your honorable mentions list. 🙂 I haven’t been to any of the other destinations on your list, but love the diving the Caribbean, so I’ll bookmark this post for future inspiration! I’m headed to Guadeloupe in November after snagging some cheap Norwegian Air flights…have you visited and been diving there?
Unfortunately I have not yet been there… but certainly hope to someday 🙂 Enjoy! And yes — get some Central American diving under your belt, it’s amazing!
El Salvador for me remains such an under-visited little gem, and the small mountain town of Alegria is truly a hidden delight (I do love that El Cuco got a mention)!
Portobelo is a cute little place on Panama’s Caribbean coast, and apparently there is a small plane wreck you can dive nearby as well (we didn’t get the chance to do so).
Little Corn in Nicaragua is a place I think you’d really dig, just think twice about getting on board one of the pangas (the but that runs from Big Corn) if the seas are rough.
We almost capsized twice, and apparently one had done so 2 weeks earlier killing 2 people!
Yikes! I will definitely keep that in mind when I get there. Little Corn is probably one of the highest places left on my Central American wishlist, but I’d also love to return to El Salvador and see some of the colonial towns and cities.
Amazing photos!! I absolutely loved Granada, Nicaragua! I was only there on a day trip from Costa Rica but it won me over immediately. I can’t wait to have a chance to go back!
Indeed! I think a lot of people just spend a day or two there and you can definitely see the main sites that way but I found it an awesome place to chill for a week. I would go back for the zumba alone, lol!
Now that I have left Ghana and live in Bogota, Colombia, I can finally start exploring Central America. There are tonnes of jobs in international development in the capital of El Salvador and Guatemala City, so who knows, maybe after Colombia I will end up there. Or I will just go on holidays anyway, as I am dying to explore Central America, especially after this round-up.
I think you would really like Guatemala City — I remember you mentioning that you could end up there someday when I first posted about it! And if you were in San Salvador you could spend every weekend in El Tunco, so I’d count that as a win too 🙂
Hey there, interesting post! You’ve got some great photos and I now have many new places to look into as I plan a Central America trip 🙂 I am curious about your description of La Ceiba, Honduras as a dump, though… This is harsh language, considering this city is the place that many people call home. It also assumes that in a city that is struggling, there is no culture to be found – but what about food, art, architecture, music, dance, language, etc.? I think it’s valid to discuss why you didn’t enjoy your time there, but instead of writing off a city as a dump, it’s a good opportunity for you to have an honest discussion with your readers about why the situation is the way it is in Honduras… especially because the United States’ foreign policy and interest in the resources in the country have directly contributed to the crime and violence in the country. Anyway, those were some thoughts that came to mind upon seeing that word. I think as travel writers, we have a great deal of responsibility not to use language that could alienate people of other cultures, so I figured I would point this out!
Hey Alissa! First of all, thank you for being super polite while being constructively critical — it is a rare trait on the interwebs 🙂 In retrospect, yes, I could definitely have used more diplomatic language and hopefully in the future will be more thoughtful. That said, my sentiments would be the same. While delving into the geo-political influences on this region might have provided more insight into why it’s such an unappealing city, I don’t think a “tops and flops” travel destination roundup is the place for that. This post was already over 1,200 words and I was trying to include a lot of information about a lot of places — there just wasn’t room for, as you suggested, an honest discussion with my readers about why the situation is the way it is in Honduras.
I wrote a pretty detailed account of why I wouldn’t recommend the city center of La Ceiba to travelers here, but the short version is that no less than Honduran locals and ex-residents of the city itself begged me to risk missing my international flight rather than stay the night in La Ceiba alone. Some sources list it as the murder capital of Honduras, already one of the most violent countries in the world. There are few to no attractions in the city core to warrant travelers visiting there (though, as I pointed out in the post, the nearby river lodges are lovely and I greatly enjoyed visiting them!) and I felt on edge while spending a tense twenty-four hours there. I am a big proponent of travel to Honduras and recommended three other Honduras destinations within this post. All that said, again, you’re right — I could use more diplomatic words. I won’t alter the original post as I don’t want to confuse readers who go through the comments after the fact, but if I were, I would perhaps swap “dump” for “devoid of charm.” Thanks for reading!
Hi Alex. Thanks for your response, and my apologies for taking a few days to get back to you. I also appreciate your receptiveness to my feedback and your respectful response. I’ve had some recurring thoughts and wanted to follow up.
I think that “devoid of charm” in place of dump is still problematic, though. Does it really say anything different? My critique here is not to tell you that you can’t have an opinion, because you certainly can. And I think that you expressed your opinion well in your above comment to me – you expressed that you didn’t feel comfortable in Ceiba (which is fair), and you didn’t find it to be a very tourist friendly city (also fair). Both of those observations are valid, and neither are malicious. But I think that labeling a city as a dump, devoid of charm, or any other inherently negative descriptor is unfair, especially because we are outsiders to the city and I don’t know what right we have to make that kind of determination.
I am a proponent of being honest through writing without being hurtful (though I understand that the comment was not intended to be hurtful), while also keeping in mind that there are complex intersections of power and privilege at play when white writers write about Brown cultures. We cannot separate race from travel and travel writing, and I feel that as white travel writers, it is important to hold ourselves accountable to not alienate or diminish other cultures.
Anyway, this is a big conversation, and I appreciate being given the space to dialogue about it. I strongly recommend checking out Bani Amor’s writing (of the blog “everywhere all the time”) as they have done a lot of work surrounding these topics (race, travel culture, decolonization). I have learned a lot reading their work, although it’s not always comfortable! But it’s been a super helpful resource for me, so I figured I would pass along to you 🙂
All the best,
Well, “devoid of charm” might not say anything different, but it does say it a bit more politely. And really, again, given the word count and the fact that this is a pretty surface level roundup piece, polite is as good as it is going to get. I DO think travelers have the right to make assessments of the places they visit, even negative ones, as long as they keep in mind their limitations in terms of outsiders who have invested relatively little time in said destination. (I definitely roll my eyes at some of the analysis I read from week long visitors to Thailand, where I’ve lived on and off for years — I’m sure lifelong residents do the same to mine.)
I still don’t believe the body of this post the place to delve into the bigger topics you’ve brought up here, but I’m glad they came up in the comments and perhaps I’ll try to tackle them in a bigger way in future writings! Thanks again for reading and for the great reading suggestions!
I was just telling my friends that Central America is going to be my next area of exploration because I loved Belize!! We spent 4 nights on Caye Caulker after I read your fabulous posts about the island, and I am definitely adding Lake Atitlan and Isla de Coiba to my list of must-sees. As always, great tips on where to go and what to see!!
Thanks Rachel! Glad to hear you’re going to keep exploring Central America 🙂 I really need to plot my next trip!
My boyfriend and I backpacked from Mexico to Panama over 3 months and we’d agree with a lot of this list. The one area missing here that we absolutely loved was Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua! We holed up on the lush peaceful property of Finca Magdelena and rented scooters to explore this livestock ridden volcanic gem, swimming in Ojo de Agua natural mineral springs, finding petroglyphs, and hiking!
I was SO tempted to go to Isla de Ometepe! The only thing that stopped me was I was super dedicated at that moment to doing more time in less places 🙂 And so I focused on Granada and San Juan del Sur instead. But I’ll definitely be back someday!
Bocas Del Toro was my absolute favourite place in Panama, so good in fact that I decided to spend two weeks there instead of touring through the country during that time. I guess that says it all right?
In Costa Rica I really like Santa Elena and El Arenal (if only it would’ve stopped raining… 🙂 ) Jaco was my absolute worst place of the whole the country.
There’s so much left to explore for me though! This is a great post and I’ll definitely use it when planning future trips in the region!
What didn’t you like about Jaco, Dominique? I’ll be honest, I haven’t heard of it, ha — so enlighten me!
It’s very touristy and not in a good and chill way; more in a we-only-come-to-drink-and-party-way. There’s also too much real estate (big blocks of cement) around the beaches. I prefer to feel like I’m in the country I’m in and Jaco in my opinion is nothing like the rest of Costa Rica I’ve seen.
Aw, that’s too bad! Well… thanks for the warning! 🙂
This is such a great roundup, really valuable for anyone going to Central America… Although I don’t have any trip planned to go there, the post together with the amazing pictures (some sceneries are just too beautiful to believe that they really exist) made me search for flights 😀 (my bank account said no though haha)
Tell your bank account… okay fair enough you can’t really talk back to a bank account ha ha. But I hope one of these days it cooperates with your idea for a Central America trip!
I love this post! Your round-up style posts are always great for daydreaming/planning where I want to go. I haven’t managed to get to anywhere in Central America yet, but some of these places are definitely on my list now. Lake Atitlan has long been one of my top must-see places.
I’d go back there in a heartbeat — it’s so serene. I did a lot of great writing/reading/thinking there!
Those photos are amazing! I really love it when you have posts with tons of photos like these. I don’t get to travel much and looking at them makes me feel so happy 🙂 (Yes, even the photos of those that are your flops)
Even flops can be quite pretty 🙂
I love your photos – Central America looks so colorful! I have heard great things about Panama City. I also heard it was expensive though!
We had a little sticker shock arriving there from Ecuador, but overall we thought everything was of great value! I adored it!
These are the kind of posts that keep me coming back to your website – high-level overview which is a great place to start when considering an area, followed up by links to more in depth posts. I love it! I have only spent a long weekend in Panama City, in part thanks to reassurance from your blog, but a return to Central America is definitely in the cards for me!
Aw, thanks Leigh! Visiting all of these countries was an exciting milestone for me and I wanted to commemorate it somehow 🙂 Someday I’ll do the same for Southeast Asia!
Great read, its informative being that you not only show the highlights but you also show that sometimes you can have a few flops but that doesn’t mean the trip is ruined 🙂 Lovely read
Indeed! The lowlights make the highlights all the greater!
Great post! It was already high on my list and now it’s even higher!!
Thanks so much! Fingers crossed I get to do a similar post for Southeast Asia someday (just three more countries to go!)
Alex, incredible post! I always love the ones with lots of pictures and also the flops (warnings are always welcome, right?)
After this one, I read your street harassment post and since you said you were in Brazil last month, it made me curious: have you experienced any of that here? (yes, brazilian reader here :D)
Hey Jess, great question! Another blogger had given me a heads up that the street harassment in Rio could be really awful and so my guard was way up. Maybe it’s just because I was bracing myself for worse or maybe I was just lucky, but I really wasn’t hit with anything too bad. A little bit of hissing or catcalls here or there but nothing compared to what I experienced in Nicaragua. Very grateful for that!
Wow- this is the first time in a while I have had to bookmark a travel blog post for future reference! Thank you so much for sharing.
I’m leaving one of my first big long-term trips in a week and will definitely be using your blog for tips!
Thank you again and keep it up 🙂
That’s lovely to hear Jess! Thanks so much for reading and for following along!
My friend and I will be bouncing around Central America this winter after finishing up our Peace Corps services. We both dive but are also working with VERY small budgets. What would be your 2 top diving locations in Central America? There are just too many to pick from!
Isla de Coiba was my absolute favorite but would be a bit of a splurge (not a crazy one like Cocos in Costa Rica, though!) Bocas del Toro and Utila are the cheapest but probably won’t blow away experienced divers. Lake Atitlan is also crazy unique and well worth a dive if you’re in Guatemala. I’d say go to Utila or Roatan first for some cheaper dive bills and then finish off with a splash at Isla de Coiba! Hope that helps!
Such a great post about these beautiful destinations in Central America! Especially glad you enjoyed San Ignacio, Belize is amazing, so much beauty and culture. If anyone is going to be doing any holiday travel to the area, I highly recommend this guide to some off-beat places to drink in Belize!: https://www.alcoholprofessor.com/blog/2014/10/10/boozing-in-belize/
I always love me some offbeat places to drink 🙂 Thanks for sharing Kara!
hi we just booked a long weekend in February to Panama City. Any recs on food? We are staying at the Hard Rock
Hey Denise! You’re going to have such a great time! I stayed in Casco Viejo so pretty much all my recommendations are centered there, but I’d check out Granclement for ice cream, Tantalo restaurant and rooftop bar for a fancy night out, Sukhi Thai for good value downtown, and Super Gourmet for the best cafe ever. Definitely try ropa vieja, my favorite Panamanian dish! Enjoy your trip.
Thanks so much! Reading your posts has me excited for our 1st trip there. Your pics are amazing! Happy new year! And happy traveling in 2017
Awesome Denise! Enjoy your trip!
Hey there! Love the blog. I’m going to Central America for 2 or 3 weeks soon and was looking at Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The flight to Managua is about $200 more expensive than the one to San Jose, but I read your piece about CR being super pricey and was wondering if the higher flight cost to Nicaragua would be worth it to keep my daily costs lower. Since it’s a fairly short trip, I’m not sure how it will balance out. I would love to get your opinion on the situation! Thanks!
Hey Rachel! Based on my experience I’m about 100% sure you’ll overall spend less in Nicaragua. The price differences are astounding! Have fun — 2-3 weeks is enough to have a blast and see a lot!
Well, this post is excellent with nice and detailed descriptions and beautiful photos ( including the author… Lol…)
Thanks for this fresh lecture..!
Ha, thanks Ben 😉
Hey Alex! Planning a trip to Nicaragua but ill be travelling solo, how is it for solo female? Is it a place that’s easy to meet other backpackers? Thanks!
Hey Kirstie! I LOVED traveling Nicaragua as a solo female! Between the fun hostels and cool tours and pretty established backpacker trail, it was super easy to meet other travelers. The one thing you should really be mentally prepared for is the catcalling is out of control. But if you can find a way to cope with that, you’ll have the time of your life.
Good info and Costa Rica is nice place too, but Costa Rica is the most expensive place. Please tell also best ways to enjoy Costa Rica on a budget.
Hey Daniel! Sorry, haven’t figured that one out yet, ha ha. It’s a pricey place!
Hey Alex! I’ve been enjoying your blog for over a year now and first, I wanted to tell you how obsessed with it I am. I love your honesty, your photos, and the exquisite blog design in general. I tend to agree with pretty much all of your city/destination opinions 🙂
That being said, I’m looking for your advice on Central America – what were your favorite places/cities that you’d recommend for a longer stay, whether you visited them or not? I’m looking for a home base with a great vibe (health conscious, yoga, great food, etc.) and a decent (fairly reliable) internet connection. Could you help me out with some ideas for a home base (or even just your top 3 must-see places in Central America)? I’d be extremely appreciative!
Thanks so much – keep doin you!
Thank you so much for the kind words Brittany! So, to answer your question I first have to ask… how important is it to you to be by the beach? Diving? Surfing? Let me know and I’ll give you some ideas!
The beach is pretty important – at least being pretty close to one! Diving is great, but not a necessity. And I don’t surf (although I wish I could!).
Thanks so much for the help!
I’d look into Panama City, Panama; Bocas del Toro, Panama; Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica; Samara, Costa Rica; San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua; El Tunco, El Salvador; and Caye Caulker, Belize! Hope that gives you a bunch of jumping off points!
I just stumbled across your site and love it to pieces. Our family is headed in a couple of weeks to a long awaited vacation to Belize and intended to stay on Ambergis Caye, but have fallen in love with Caye Caulker. We have done so much research we barely need to go to feel as though we’ve been. I would love any specifics on lodging or must-sees there. We are also doing a couple of days in the jungle that we didn’t originally plan. I”m a little concerned about the jungle bugs I’ve read about, but otherwise can hardly wait! Wish I had scheduled more time because there is so much more to do than I realized. Thank you to your site for getting me even more excited.
Hey Tracy! Thank you so much for your kind words! Have you read all my posts on Caye Caulker? I definitely didn’t hold back any secrets, so all my must-sees will be right there! Unfortunately I didn’t have the best lodging experience (my Airbnb was a little weird) so I can’t really recommend a place to stay.) I do LOVE San Ignacio in the jungle though so if you are heading there I think you’ll have a great time! Enjoy your trip — sounds like it will be blast!
love love love all of this!! 🙂 San Ignacio, Belize owns a huuuge piece of my heart <3
I love that place! And this comment reminds me — I want to do a similar tops and flops for Southeast Asia!
Hey, I stumbled across this old post while doing a little research for a future trip!
I’m debating going to either Panama or Costa Rica with my boyfriend for about a week. I know Costa Rica is more expensive, but I love the amount of activities to do there. Would you say Panama also has a good amount of both beaches, hiking/mountains, snorkeling, and historical sites?
One rough itinerary I was throwing around was Panama City (with a day trip to the San Blas Islands!), Boquete for about 2 nights, then Bocas for 2-3 nights. Trying to cram so much into only a week!! The overwater bungalows in Bocas are also tempting me…
Personally, I’d go for Panama all the way. I love Costa Rica, but Panama is one of my favorite countries — way more exotic for a fraction of the price!