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Mexico and Central America
Travel Guide

Playa La Audiencia which includes a beach, tropical scenes and landscape views

Wedged between two polar opposite continents, this subcontinent offers the best of both worlds: rural villages, modern cities, beach resorts and thrilling attractions.

For a relatively small subcontinent, Mexico and Central America have a surprising diversity of natural treasures. The white Caribbean beaches of the east coast contrast nicely with the volcanic sands of the west coast, with the Panama Canal conveniently connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With its cloud forests, volcanoes, crater lakes, jungles and forested mountains, the interior of Central America puts on a show as well.

Even if you exclude Mexico, which many see as part of North America, Central America still has seven other wonderful nations to discover. As diverse and unique as each of these compact countries is, there are shared traditions in the spicy cuisine, Catholic religion, indigenous roots, Spanish language, colorful hand-woven clothing and of course the “mañana mañana” approach to life.

Before setting out, it’s handy to learn some basic Spanish first. Mexico City is great for this and so is Antigua in Guatemala, which has language schools and Western-style cafés lining its cobblestoned streets. Take a “chicken bus” to Lago de Atitlán, a massive volcanic crater lake surrounded by colorful villages.

Another good choice to ease yourself into things is Costa Rica. Traveling around this relatively peaceful, safe and modern tropical country is a breeze, even by bus. If zip lining or whitewater rafting don’t appeal, then enjoy the laid-back vibe along the Caribbean beaches of the Limón Province.

Got the hang of it? Then visit the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá in Mexico and Tikal in Guatemala. For epic self-drive tours, check out Belize’s Hummingbird Highway and El Salvador’s Ruta de Flores. Real adventurers will be drawn to the jungle-clad Miskito Coast of Honduras and Nicaragua.

Don’t limit yourself to the mainland though. You’ve got to see the Great Blue Hole in Belize which, along with the islands of Bay Islands of Honduras and Bocas del Toro of Panama, is a scuba diver’s dream.

It’s easy to love the humble lifestyle, artistic flair and traditional customs of the spirited peoples of Mexico and Central America. This back-to-basics approach is all about “la pura vida,” living the good life.

Popular cities in Mexico and Central America

Palacio de Bellas Artes showing heritage architecture, night scenes and a park
Mexico City
Known for Historical, Museums and Cathedrals
Experience the infectious energy, superb culinary scene, intriguing museums and top-rate cultural and historic sights of Mexico’s sprawling, cosmopolitan capital.

Reasons to visit

  • Paseo de la Reforma
  • Chapultepec Park
  • Zocalo
Museo Nacional de Antropologia featuring interior views and art
Mexico City
Known for Historical, Museums and Cathedrals
Find out what makes Mexico’s capital city pulse by exploring its lively neighborhoods, expansive parks, museums and ancient ruins.

Reasons to visit

  • Paseo de la Reforma
  • Chapultepec Park
  • Zocalo
Palacio de Gobierno showing an administrative buidling, a square or plaza and a city
Guadalajara
Known for Shopping, Cathedrals and Museums
Intriguing architecture, mariachi music and mouthwatering food will have you falling in love with one of Mexico’s largest cities.

Reasons to visit

  • Avienda Chapultepec
  • Plaza de los Mariachis
  • Mercado Libertad
Cancun which includes a sandy beach, landscape views and general coastal views
Cancun
Known for Dining, Beach View and Sea
Relax by the pool, dive through subaquatic caves and learn about the region’s fascinating past through museums and archeological sites.

Reasons to visit

  • La Isla Shopping Mall
  • Cancun Interactive Aquarium
  • Cancun Convention Center
Marina Cabo San Lucas which includes a marina, a coastal town and night scenes
Los Cabos
Known for Beach View, Sea and Marinas
Beach resorts, local culture, surf, nightlife, golf, and breathtaking whale and dolphin encounters make this part of Mexico an irresistible destination.

Reasons to visit

  • San Lucas Bay
  • Marina Cabo San Lucas
  • Cabo Dolphins
Puerto Vallarta showing a beach, general coastal views and kayaking or canoeing
Puerto Vallarta
Known for Beach View, Sea and Relaxing
Swim, snorkel or just relax on one of the beautiful beaches at Puerto Vallarta, one of the most popular vacation spots in sunny Mexico.

Reasons to visit

  • Playa de los Muertos
  • Marietas Islands