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Central America 3 week trip

Calgary, Canada
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Central America 3 week trip

Me and some friends are wanting to travel central america in August. We have about 3 weeks as we will be staying at a resort for the first week of august in Cuba for a wedding. I am just wonedering if someone could provide a breakdown of what can be expected from each country in Central America? Such as beaches, mayan ruins, snorkeling, fishing, rainforests etc. I have already found out the costs of each country per day and they don't seem to vary to much. Also, how realistic would it be to try and get to two countries in 3 weeks? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks!

1. Re: Central America 3 week trip

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Managua, Nicaragua
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2. Re: Central America 3 week trip

There is a pretty big difference in cost between countries. Especially when comparing Nicaragua to Costa Rica.

It also depends on where you go or what you want to do. Cost, and things vary depending on the kind of traveler you are, and what your budget is, etc.

The places listed above are the tourist hotspots in each place, and are by far the most traveled areas.

Things vary even in the same country too. For instance, there is a big difference in the cities on the pacific side of Honduras, versus Roatan, and the islands on the carribean side.

The east side of central america is more carribean or native. More english is spoken. The people and culture are also different for the most part. Belize, Roatan, Honduras, Bluefields/Corn Islands, Nicaragua, Limon, Costa Rica....Are worlds away from the spanish side.

You also have luxury tourist resorts, modern metropolis and urban areas, in the same countries as jungles, empty beaches, and dirt floor backpacker rooms in small indigenous villages in the same countries.

Its hard to classify each county in one specific way.

Technically you could visit every central american country in 3 weeks if you wanted to see one place a day. Depends on the type oftraveler you are. Some spend 3 weeks in one country and still think they just got started and wished they had more time. Others make it from Mexico to Panama in a month, and feel satisfied like they saw enough.

As for things you mentioned. Snorkeling is best on carribean side, as the pacific is generally too rough for good diving. However, the fishing is great on the pacific side, and the surfing is world class, especially the farther south in central america you go. Mayan ruins are mostly in the north. guatemala, some in el salvador, and parts of Honduras. Not much for ancient mayan ruins farther south in central america. In general, many people feel the beaches get better as you go south. I know there are exceptions to the rule, but far more people travel to costa rica and panama to go to the beach than go to guatemala or el salvador for the sole purpose of a beach vacation. There are volcanos and mountains in each country, though i believe belize is the flattest and Guatemala is the most mountainous...height wise.

Mi Wuk Village...
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3. Re: Central America 3 week trip

Yeh...could list everything. But that is called a guidebook. Already done that. Buy a guidebook. You need to really narrow down. 3 weeks...unless your goal is to collect passport stamps, at most one country plus a glance at another. Big difference in costs. You mention Mayan ruins. That limits you to Guatemala...Tikal and Quirigua are the tops. Just across the border from Guat in Honduras is Copan. All countries have what you would call jungle. Sadly all have zip lines. Snorkeling...the Bay Islands or Costa Rica. What is most important to you? Post that and we'll detail.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Central America 3 week trip

Thanks for the replies, I guess I could be a bit more specific about budget etc. I am planning to be a backpacker so no fancy resorts or hotels for me a hostel or cheap hotel would be just fine. I think beaches and rainforest are what we are aiming for as well. As for budget, looking to spend 2000ish for the month, give or take a couple hundred. Also, do not want to be moving around from place to place every day. Would like to be able to enjoy the areas and culture for a couple days before moving on

Thanks again,

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Central America 3 week trip

I am starting to think Panama and then to NIcaragua, but would skipping costa rica be a mistake? I just don't want to aim for too much in too little of time ( I did thailand for a month and only the southern part although we did it quite leisurely ). I think three countries in three works is perhaps being a bit too ambitious? But as Ive never been there I really do not know. I could buy a guide book but I just find there is so much information in them I really do not need! And figured some fellow travelers could help me narrow it down :)

Mi Wuk Village...
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6. Re: Central America 3 week trip

There is a lot of info in guide books that you do need. plus maps of countries and cities. Stops you from missing something neat that may be on the next street. Just avoid Lonely Planet. Based on your priorities I'd say just Costa Rica. Nice beaches. Rain forest and cloud forest. High levels of biodiversity. No ruins. The only Indians didn't build temples and the Spaniards turned them into domestics. Costs more than Nica...but still in your budget.

Managua, Nicaragua
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7. Re: Central America 3 week trip

The thing is that you are asking about a relatively large chunk of the earth. So there are literally thousands of things to do, and thousands of different opinions.

For instance, the poster above me recommends to just go to costa rica. I on the other hand, have the opposite opinion, and say dont bother with costa rica, and i recommend skipping it completely. Both are valid opinions, but neither get you closer to what your desires for a good vacation are.

With all the info online, you really dont need to buy a guidebook in my opinion, though it may be more detailed. But i recommenddoing your research. Read old posts on various forums. Google search blogs, and review sites, etc. Look at pictures. See what grabs your eye, and then go from there. Then you can come back and ask specific questions in regards to your specific desires.

While each country is different, to a short stay tourist, much will be the same. They all have volcanos to climb (except maybe belize), and mountains with great views. They all have historical cities. they all have snorkeling (except maybe el salvador), they all have great fishing, they all have luxury resorts and poor villages you can backpack through for cheap. They all have great beaches. They all have big cities with nightlife. etc. They all have nature reserves to see exotic wildlife.

If central america appeals to you in general, you will have a great time in any area.

The good thing about having an open itinerary and 3 weeks....if you get somewhere and dont really like the town you are in, you can always just head to another place!

Edmonton, Canada
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8. Re: Central America 3 week trip

Three weeks = ONE small Central American country.

They're not so small once you're on the ground. And travel takes time. Do you want to feel like you're in the Amazing Race?

Bourne...
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9. Re: Central America 3 week trip

I would recommend flying into 1 countries capital and flying out from another countries capital. This way you are guaranteed to see at least 2 countries on your trip. You could say fly into san jose costa rica and stay for 1 day and then head over to the pacific side and check out the puntareanas area for 1 week. Then back to san jose and over to the carribean side with a stop if you wish in the mountains. Then to perto viejo where you could stay for a few days, then off to panama and bocas del toro before flying out of panama city... This was one of my last trip options but I went to nicaragua and the corn islands for fly fishing...

10. Re: Central America 3 week trip

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Removed on: 12:17 am, October 13, 2014