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7 amazing sights to see in Central America

Despite Mexico’s soaring popularity as a holiday destination, the rest of Central America seems to have fallen by the wayside. Years of turmoil may have put visitors off, but there are so many sites to see from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific Ring of Fire that have gone unnoticed. Here are 7 places to add to your bucket list. Semuc Champey, Lanquin, Guatemala Nestled in the mountains of Guatemala’s Alta Veraspaz region, Semuc Champey really is a sight to behold. A natural water park of clear, cold pools, winding caves and gentle rivers, you could easily spend a couple of days here. Take a tour through the Lanquin cave system and tube down the river before climbing the mountainside to take in the view. Semuc Champey Tikal, near Flores, Guatemala Whilst Chichen Itza holds the title of most famous Mayan site, Tikal is arguably the most impressive. Once a sprawling city, it is now a mass of deep jungle with stone temples perforating the canopy. There are so brilliant local guides who will show all the secrets of the place – from the acoustics of the temples to the trees used to create weapons. Tikal Copan, Honduras Copan is another Mayan site worthy of more visitors. Once ruled over by Mayan ruler and fan of the arts 18 Rabbit, Copan is home to some incredible works of Mayan sculpture from detailed stelae to the amazing Hieroglyphic staircase. Copan The Great Blue Hole, Belize Famous amongst divers, The Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole some 300m across. Situated in the middle of Lighthouse Reef it offers great snorkeling opportunities, too, and a chance to meet some very friendly stingrays. Blue Hole Ik Kil Cenote, Yucatan, Mexico There are thousands of cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, but this one is something special. A cenote is formed when the roof of a cave collapses, exposing the pool inside, and Ik Kil is a perfect example of this. Stairs lead down to the pool, and you can swim beneath the lush vegetation growing from the walls. Ik Kil Cenote Leon, Nicaragua Nicaragua is a country with a turbulent past, and nowhere is this more visible than in the city of Leon. It was originally built in 1524 but abandoned some 100 years later after a series of earthquakes decimated the region. Modern Leon lies 30km from this original site, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Leon, Nicaragua Pacaya Volcano, Antigua, Guatemala Whilst the city of Antigua in Guatemala offers plenty for travelers to see and do, one cannot miss a hike to the summit of active volcano Pacaya – that is, if it isn’t erupting. At ‘quiet’ times, local guides lead groups to the crater and if the volcano is behaving well, you can even poke the lava with a long stick. If not, then the climb is worth it for the views alone. Pacaya Volcano Images: Shutterstock

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  1. How i wish if i could swim in the pool at Ik Kil Cenote, looks like a paradise to me:) But Mexico is too far for us from Asia to visit, i dont think we can find similar one in Asia…

    Simon Lee

  2. Maybe there is no pool in Asia like Ik Kil Cenote but there are a couple of stunning places in China. One is Jiuzhaigou with beautiful waterfalls,lakes etc and Huanglong with its stunning aqua and green coloured pools.

  3. Great article! I spent the better part of the last year or so travelling through Central America. Managed to tick most of those sites off the list! Love this part of the world :)

  4. FYI Mexico is part of North America. In Guatemala you can find so many stunning places, just to mention: La Antigua, El Mirador, Livingston, and the list continues. If you have the chance to travel over my country, don’t miss the opportunity!

  5. I really believe that the Caribbean and Central America have many interesting
    Places lately I’m re discovering my own country especially the city of Punta Cana
    Beautiful beaches and really a never forget scenery make sure you contact us so we can
    Prepare a unforgettable excursion package.

  6. It easily could be more than 7 places, for instance, Lake Atitlan, beautiful in every aspect, surround it by 3 volcanoes, more than 5 Guatemalan ethics, that means more than 5 traditional “cortes”, more than 5 mayan languages. And I personally know 4 luxury villages around the lake.

  7. Awesome List! I’ve been to every one but Semuc Champey and I totally agree. I went to Pacaya years ago and jumped over all of the lava rivers and poked the lava with a stick. A completely unique experience until the soles of my shoes melted off and stuck to the rocks but that’s another story.

  8. Hello Emma,

    Thanks so much for sharing these amazing spots in Central AMerica. Such diversity!

    Although I’ve been traveling the world solo since 1998, I haven’t been to Central America or MExico yet. Believe it or not, I haven’t heard of any of the places you’ve mentioned except for the Blue Hole in Belize. (only because I’m a dive instructor)

    I plan to head to that part of the world next year or the year after, so I’ll make note of these recommendations. I always love hearing about new exciting places to visit!

    Thanks again. Re-Tweeted just now. :)

    cheers, Lash

  9. I was not fond of Guatemala especially Antigua and especially the bank machines. I did like Lake Atitlan.
    Nicaragua, I have been to Nica 3 times and going back in January. Love the people, wish fewer gringos were discovering it.
    Copan was fun,but you should mention the Macaw park. Macaws are now my spirit bird.

  10. You say “Despite Mexico’s soaring popularity as a holiday destination, the rest of Central America seems to have fallen by the wayside.” Just FYI, Mexico is North American, not Central! :-) That said, I can vouch for Semuc Champey, Blue Hole, cenotes in general, and Pacaya Volcano!

  11. Not sure how you’d pick where to go first out of these, but I’ve always liked the idea of going to some parts of Mexico. I’ve never seen anything like that cenote in the photo before, absolutely amazing. It’d be a shame to go to Yucatan and not see this. You’d want a good camera and some back up batteries for any of these places because there are so many good photo opportunities.

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