Central America is a fascinating region to travel where you can see spectacular beaches, visit ancient Aztec and Mayan temples and get close to exotic wildlife. You can be more than just a tourist with One World 365, view our travel guide and gap year programs today.
Find travel inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to go travelling, backpacking or take a gap year in Central America.
Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting Central America.
There are so many options available too which include seeing volcanoes and the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica, visiting the Panama Canal and the relaxing Bocas del Toro Islands in Panama, seeing ruins in Mexico and Guatemala or going in search of culture and tradition in Cuba. Highlights include the ancient ruins in Mexico and travelling to Teotihuacan, a beautiful Mexican Mayan site with temples and pyramids in Belize is highly recommended.
On some trips you can go in search of the old Mayan civilisations and see spectacular ruins of Palenque, Chicken Itza and Copán. Our top recommendation is to see Tikal in Guatemala, lots of tour operators offer trips here and these are some of the best ruins in the world which are located deep in the jungle. Try to learn some basic Spanish phrases before arriving, this will really help you on your trip talking to local people, booking transport and accommodation and also random things like asking for directions.
Ever thought about the importance of travel? Regardless of the purpose of your journey, it brings a great exploration and meaning to your life. Traveling educates, relaxes and inspires. Taking out some time from your busy schedule and travel to some peaceful places give great relaxation and encouragement to mind. Travel is a way to explore your ideas and thoughts. It shakes up your world enough to make it more enthralling, fun and adventurous. Planning a gap year to Central America wil be the best decision you will ever make!
On a gap year in Central America you can expect diverse culture, countries might be located close together but all are very different, this continent is also one of the best value regions of the world to travel in. You will get to see amazing beaches, ancient, ruins, bustling cities, pretty little towns and also meet friendly people and sample the local tasty cuisine.
You can make a list of fun things that you want to do and then travel exciting places where you will discover ancient civilizations and incredible beaches. There are so many activities like swimming, photography, trekking, etc. If you book a gap year program you will usually be in a group or if you go solo you will be able to make friends along the way. The key to enjoying your gap year in Central America is to book rewarding traveling experiences that make you feel happy. Whatever your thing is, it's maybe time to give yourself to it. From exploring nature to bungee jumping, aim for experiences that will revitalize your passion and energy.
You can find hundreds of experiences which cater for everyone, you will travel in a group usually no more than 15 people. You could venture into mountains, interact and experience the ancient wisdom teachings, sacred art and deep ceremonial way of life of the very remote indigenous Indian tribe of the Huicholes (or the Wixarika in their native tongue):- who are believed to be the descendants of the Aztecs, and due to their incredible isolation are still living in most part, the way they have always lived for hundreds of years.
There are so many gap year placements in Central America, these include wildlife and marine based conservation / community programs, educational and teaching placements, medical / healthcare electives and more. There are short and long term structured gap year programs in Central America - summer programs are popular and most placements can be booked in advance. There are different opportunities which include helping saving sea turtles in Mexico and Costa Rica which are highly recommended.
Organised Central America gap year programs are a great way to travel especially if you don't speak good Spanish! You could start in Mexico, then travel south through Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicarague, Costa Rica and Panana. A lot of overland adventures in Central America include adventure sport activities and can be booked far in advance. This is a continent which offers so much and there are so many magical places to visit. Be open minded and embrace this continent and you will not be disappointed.
Are you going travelling or backpacking in Central America? Check out our top tips below:
Internal flights can be quite expensive even by Western standards, if you are not on a budget and are only interested in seeing specific places this might be your best choice. There is good public transport system in Central America, local buses are really cheap, but don't expect a luxury trip though conditions can be uncomfortable for long journeys. You will usually find other tourists on public buses and generally speaking this is a safe way to travel.
If you are looking to travel by bus we recommend the Tika bus, this is a service which connects most countries in Central America and is cheap and flexible. On the Tika bus you will be able to travel throughout Central America, you can travel from Mexico down to Panama. The Tika bus is a step up from the public bus and has air conditioning, is safe, food is provided and it is also comfortable. At border crossings everything is taken care of by the on board guide. Some travellers also choose to hitch hike through this region, this is the cheapest way to travel but not always the safest. We would recommend sticking to the beaten path and taking public or private services.
Planning a short break on a budget to Central America? This region might look like a small continent on a map, but trust us there are so many countries and different experiences to be had. If you don't have months to spare and want to do more than just sitting on a beach we have some great recommendations. Our top two destinations you If you have some free time you might want to consider visiting Costa Rica, this country has everything like beaches, jungles, volcanoes but it is also the more expensive countries with Panama (still cheap for us though).
Costa Rica would be our best recommendation for a week break its a beautiful country & if you know basic Spanish you will be able to use public transport which is cheap from the capital San Jose to the beaches. There is tons to do for tourists! Another option is to fly to Cancun, head down the coast into Belize & Caye Culker (stunning) then visit the Tikal ruins in Guatemala which are spectacular and (then bus back to Cancun) this will take around a week too. You could fly to San Jose in CR then go up to the North to see volcanoes and cross into Nicaragua (San Juan Del Sur) is a popular place where there are beaches etc & this country is really cheap but more rustic than others.