10 hidden treasures of Central America

From the acclaimed Mayan Temples in Belize to the Lake of Yojoa in Honduras and The Redonda Mountain in The Dominican Republic, there are some yet undiscovered off-the-beaten-track natural sites and cultural heritage locations in Central America which are not to be missed.


Here are 10 spots to take note of for your next adventure to Central America...


Belize

Maya Temple

Not to be missed the plethora of Mayan ruins in Belize. Although none boasts the sheer size of Tikal, each is worth exploring individual. Caracol is the largest site; located within Chiquibil Forest Reserve, it includes a 136-foot-high pyramid that remains Belize's highest building to this day. Visit Xunantunich to see Belize's second-largest structure, a temple perched on a cavern, and explore smaller temples at Altun Ha and Lamanai.

Costa Rica


Bajos del Toro (Pictured)

Bajos del Toro is located in a stunning mountainous valley tucked away between extinct volcanoes, luscious green landscapes and stunning hidden waterfall and forest trails, it is well worth a visit to this undiscovered beautiful site


Tortuguero National Park

A must visit while in Costa Rica. Discover its network of canals, lagoons and dense rainforests and see the turtles hatch.The park stretches north along the Caribbean coast up to the village of Tortuguero, which has a small population of around 500, no cars, and is located on a relatively narrow spit of land between the beach and a canal. Apart from taking a boat tour along the canals of the national park (or even beyond), you can walk along the pristine beach, or if you're in for a challange, you can climb the only hill in the area, the short but steep 150m high Cerro Tortuguero, for a great scenic view of the canals and ocean.



Dominican Republic

Redonda Mountain (Pictured)

Recently discovered, the Redonda Mountains has locals and travellers in awe, with its dramatic mountain top views and stunning sea views over beaches. It’s well worth the drive to the top for a stunning 360-degree mountain and sea view!


Los Haitises National Park

Preserved since 1976, Los Haitises – which translates as “highlands” in Taíno – is home to rainforest, mangroves of varying species, over 200 species of birds, multiple caves, and some of the highest numbers of Taíno petroglyphs and pictographs in the country. The protected area of Los Haitises National Park is accessible to tourists only by boat.

Once across, you’ll enter a world lush with tropical vegetation, cliffs and seabirds.


El Salvador

Parque Nacional El Imposible

The Parque Nacional El Imposible is a tropical forest and El Salvador’s largest national park. Named the Impossible for its perilous gorge – now spanned by a bridge, it was decreed a national park in 1989. It encompasses eight rivers, mangrove forests along the coastline and sits in the Apaneca Ilamatepec mountain range.

Guatemala


Laguna Lachuá

Known for its turquoise coloured pristine lakes, Laguna Lachua is located in the middle of Cobán national park covered by a tropical rain forest, northwest of Cobán. This Guatemalan Gem has only recently been discovered by travellers and is now a hot new destination for locals. The lake is near circular in shape and is 200m deep. The lake water has a slightly sulphurous smell, as the water contains a relatively high degree of calcite tree branches fallen into the lake are quickly covered with a white calcite layer.


Honduras

Lago Yojoa

The largest lake in Honduras is fast becoming a hot destination for travellers to Central America to visit this biodiverse region. It is truly a spectacular wonder of nature surrounded by mountains and covered in misty cloud, the lake lies deep in a volcano valley. It’s the perfect place for an off-the-beaten track tours.

Panama


Santa Catalina Beach

There are several choices to discover Panama and off the beaten path places namely Volcan, Pinas Bay and Coco Blanco Island, all outside of Panama City. There are friendly small communities, jungle retreats and isolated beaches. One of the less frequented beaches we think is worth a visit is Santa Catalina, to experience some of the country’s best Scuba Dive sites and surfing.

Nicaragua


Corn Island

The tranquil beauty of Nicaragua’s Corn Island, of stunning Turquoise blue water and swaying palm trees this island is an off-the-radar location, but that’s what we like about it. Located 50 miles off the East coast of Nicaragua, there are two islands: Big Corn and Little Corn, both perfect for a hidden getaway, most visitors stay on Little Corn where there are no paved streets just tranquil peaceful beaches that envelope the islands.

Central America is now made up of 8 countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.


Flights from Europe take approximately 14 hours and it’s worth planning an itinerary around at least 3-4 countries over a 3 week period in order to explore some of the less visited and surprising locations.


www.visitcentroamerica.com


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