Going Places
5:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Central America Offers Something For Everyone

There are seven countries in Central America, all smashed into a thousand miles of land between Mexico and Colombia. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says among those seven countries, you can find just about anything you want, from adventures in the wild to full-service resorts.

Why Central America?

Central America is a culturally-rich place that will give you a different perspective on the world. And, Brumley says, there’s something for everyone.

“It’s a perfect place for people who love bird watching, who love culture, who love snorkeling,” he said. “In places like Costa Rica, the kids can go ziplining, canyoning and snorkeling in the morning, and grandparents can go on a nice beach walk, or sit by the pool, or go bird watching.” (Not to limit anyone’s options, we suppose the kids can sit by the pool and the grandparents can go canyoning, too, if they’re so inclined.)

Something For Everyone

For nature, you want Costa Rica, or as Brumley calls it, “the Switzerland of Central America.”

“It’s very safe,” he said. “They don’t have an army. They have a very high literacy rate. The roads are decent. There’s a lot to see there."

Costa Rica is one of the best places on the planet to see animals and birds, with incredible biodiversity. Nicaragua and Panama also have this, and are rapidly becoming popular retirement destinations.

For culture and history, look to Guatemala, where Mayan and colonial ruins and 16th and 17th century cities await.

“It's hard to beat that. It’s completely different than Costa Rica,” he said.

And for diving and beaches, try Belize and Honduras.

“This is some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving outside of Australia," said Brumley.

And what about El Salvador? It’s less stable than its neighbors, politically. The U.S. State Department issued a warning in August because of the country’s high crime rates.

Getting There

American and Taca airlines offer good flights, for around $500 to $900, depending on the season. Also, give yourself time to explore. It’s not a quick trip, but Brumley says you’ll be glad you made it.

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Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" is our new travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Tell us what you think about responsible travel, or suggest topics for future installations of this series. Have a travel hangup or a tip? Let us know in the comments.

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