Warning: although this might seem like the best time to buy airline tickets at a huge discount, it may not be a great idea to travel abroad right now due to the current pandemic situation and all the travel restrictions in place. Especially considering that most of the countries we are about to discuss are far from having the current pandemic under control. If you think it is safe to fly and decide to travel during the next few months, we advise you to buy airline insurance to protect yourself against possible last-minute flight cancellations. Stay safe!
Central America is a region of extraordinary and very diverse natural beauty, filled with landscapes that can amaze even the most experienced travelers. The countries located in this region of the globe are also of a vast (and fascinating) cultural richness, which is quite different from the so-called western culture in almost every aspect. Therefore, it arouses the curiosity of countless western tourists every year.
However, there are still many safety concerns that make countless travelers extremely reluctant to visit some of these travel destinations. Political and social instability, a high number of violent crimes like kidnappings and murders, and an increased incidence of crimes against tourists are some of the worrying factors that must be considered before buying airline tickets. This doesn’t mean you should just discard all the countries in Central America from your traveling bucket list. It is all a matter of knowing where to go, what places to avoid, and being aware of some important travel safety tips.
Here are some of the safest places in Central America that you will surely want to visit:
Guatemala is considered a moderately dangerous country, largely because of the conflicts between drug cartels and the high crime rate. However, with proper planning and some caution when moving around the country, you probably won’t have any problems whatsoever if you decide to visit this country.
• Tikal: if you find archaeological travel sites fascinating and you have always wanted to know more about the Mayan culture, you certainly won’t want to miss the city of Tikal – one of the largest Mayan archaeological sites in existence. The ruins are in an excellent state of preservation that lets you get a glimpse of what life was like between 600 BC and 900 AD – and the surrounding green spaces are simply wonderful.
• Semuc Champey: it can be a little bit tricky to get to this remote spot located deep in the jungle, but it is well worth it. With natural pools of turquoise colors surrounded by a dense forest rich in wildlife, Semuc Champey is becoming an incredibly popular location among tourists.
• Pacaya: with an elevation of more 8,300 ft, this active volcano located within the Pacaya National Park is another point of great interest.
3. Costa Rica
This country stands out precisely for its security. So much so that it can your next family vacation destination. Nevertheless, you should protect yourself by having your belongings always near you and out of reach of potential pickpocketers.
• Manuel Antonio National Park: if you want to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach while at the same time watching an incredible diversity of birds, monkeys, and other wild animals, this park is definitely the place to go!
• Arenal: exploring one of the many hiking trails near the Arenal Volcano is something any adventurous traveler visiting Costa Rica should do. Those who are lucky enough might even see glowing lava falling down the volcano.
• Monteverde and Santa Elena: have you ever imagined what it would be like to walk through a dense forest full of biodiversity near the top of trees? Just visit the high altitudes trails in the Cloud Forests near the cities of Monteverde and Santa Elena. You won’t be disappointed.
You can rightfully call Belize paradise on Earth. With exotic and relaxing landscapes, this small Caribbean country is the perfect place for people who love scuba diving, snorkeling, or any other similar sea activities.
• Great Blue Hole: you’ve probably seen countless pictures of this amazing marine sinkhole all over the internet. The Great Blue Hole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Natural Monument that is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System and is among the best scuba diving sites in the entire world.
• Hol Chan Marine Reserve: this is another spot that any diver dreams of exploring. Don’t miss that unique opportunity!
Although it is a country where most tourists claim they have felt insecure every now and then, most of the crimes against tourists that take place in Panama are the so-called petty crimes, like pick-pocketing and scams. So watch out for those!
• Miraflores: the Panama Canal is a very popular tourist attraction. It connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is a marvelous work of modern engineering. Miraflores is the perfect place to admire the canal and watch the massive ships going through the locks.
• Panamá Viejo: another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Panama is the remaining part of the ancient Panama City and a location of great archeological value.
Pro travel tip: no matter which country you decide to visit, it is always important to do extensive research beforehand. Contact a trustworthy local tourism company and ask them for advice if needed. It’s also a good idea to buy travel insurance and hire a local professional guide to help you out during your time abroad.
Not only will you have someone to show you and your travel companions the most iconic places in the city and explain to you some particularities about them, but theoretically, it is also a good way to stay safe while traveling. These people are extremely experienced and know the city like no one else, so they know perfectly which places to avoid and how to get out of a potentially threatening situation.