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Destinations Central America

Holidays to Central America

Introduction to Central America including Mexico 

At first glance, the countries of Central America can seem to blend into one - the thin strip of land that connects North and South America being separated almost at random into countries that appear to have similar histories and culture. But delving a little deeper, there is so much amazing variety and cultural difference between the eight small countries that stretch between Mexico and Panama. 
 

Wildlife and adventure 

A highlight for wildlife lovers would certainly be exploring the lush green rainforests of Costa Rica in search for birdlife, lazy sloths and playful spider monkeys residing in the tree tops. An overwhelming 6% of the world's biodiversity is contained here, within only 0.03% of the earth's surface, and the National Parks and hotels are proud of their efforts to keep the tropical forests and coastal regions pristeen. Costa Rica will also wow you with it's appetite for adventure - fly through the tree tops on a zip wire, climb up a volcano or go whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, all while being surrounded by stunning nature. 
 

Ancient cultures and modern history 

On an Explore trip to Central America you will find an incredible contrast between the old and new. There are hundreds of ancient Maya sites between the Yucatan Peninsula and Honduras, with Copan and Chichen Itza being two of the best known, while in Guatemala we find the ancient culture still alive in their colourful dress and use of the Maya language. Journeying through Central America you come to Nicaragua's modern history, a tale of bloody revolution and civil war which contrasts sharply with Costa Rica, a country that doesn't even have an army. 
 

White-sand beaches 

The Caribbean coastline stretches throughout Central America, creating some beautiful beach locations to break up your adventures. The islands of Bocas del Toro in Panama and Roatan in Honduras are the idyllic white-sand experiences that you expect from a Caribbean beach holiday, while the hidden gem Belize has a Barrier Reef to rival Australia's, with snorkelling to match.
 

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Travelling to Central America with Explore at any time of year is a fascinating experience, and in reality there is no 'best time' to visit the region, as each country differs so massively from top to bottom.

In some countries, like Costa Rica, the different coasts and rainforest areas have different climates even within the same month. On an Explore holiday to Costa Rica we tend to see the majority of travellers during December to March, which is commonly seen as the 'Dry Season' in Central America. However, the 'Rainy Season' months of April to July can still be a great time to visit Costa Rica with only showers punctuating the day, and the rest of the time the jungles are beautifully green.

September to early November is often the hurricane season for the Caribbean coast areas of Belize down to Costa Rica, and the weather at this time is often hot and humid. However, that's not to say that it isn't a good time to visit the interiors of these countries.

The Easter period can often be a busy time to visit Central American cities, but very worthwhile to see the colourful festivities particularly in Guatemala.

In sum, a holiday to Central America will fit your requirements at any time of year, with a country for every season!

Latin America's colonial roots has brought about a blend of Spanish Catholicism and indigenous beliefs, resulting in many vibrant, colourful festivals throughout the continent. Visiting South America at certain times of year can guarantee that you get to join in and experience some of the action. 

Festivals in Guatemala 

Guatemala is a hidden gem of a country, with some of the largest contemporary Mayan communities in the world. At the famous market of Chichicastenango, the colours, languages and weavings of the Mayan people circulate around you as you weave through the crowds. In December we visit the town during the Santo Tomas Festival, which is a fusion of Mayan and Christian traditions. The festival includes colourful processions and dancing, with one highlight being the 'Palo Volador', where locals throw themselves from a huge pole, attached only by a rope that unravels and spins them around the pole at high speed. Not for the faint-hearted! 

Guatemalenos also have lots of processions and fiestas going on around the Semana Santa (Easter Week), and with Explore we get caught up in the excitement in the colonial cobbled streets of Antigua Guatemala. Thousands of beautiful flowers can be seen lining the streets in intricate carpets, created by local communities, school groups and churches.

Mexico's Day of the Dead 

Visiting Mexico with Explore during the 31st October gives you a chance to discover the unmissable and iconic festival of Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Focusing on the remembrance of loved ones who have died, one of the best places to celebrate is the city of Oaxaca, where families and friends prepare altars, and many of the cemetery festivities continue until late into the night. The city comes alive with face-painted people dancing and parading, and flowers and local delicacies fill the air with colour and perfume from the local market stalls.

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