Central America attractions include the Great Blue Hole in Belize, Poás Volcano in Costa Rica, the colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua, Panama Canal cruise, and Copán Maya ruins in Honduras.
Great Blue Hole in Belize is an underwater sinkhole, located just off the country’s coastline, made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who called the location one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world.
The site is known for its beautiful, crystal-clear waters, and marine animals — which you can explore closer during a dive here — including
- gigantic sea serranidae,
- nurse sharks, and
- a variety of reef shark sub-species.
The sinkhole, which is over 300 meters (984 ft) in width and 125 meters (410 ft) in depth, is the largest of its kind in the world…
…and also belongs to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, featured on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.
More specifically, the Great Blue Hole, as a wonder of nature, is part of the Lighthouse Reef system, located about 97 km (60 miles) off the mainland and Belize City, an easy day (boat) trip away.
Central America attractions also include Poás Volcano, one of the most famous natural tourist attractions in Costa Rica, a country world-famous for its many natural wonders.
Poás is an active volcano in central Costa Rica, with its most famous features including crater lakes, on the top section of the volcano.
What makes the volcano especially popular, is that you can (using a guided tour) explore the place up to the edge of the main crater.
These tours, to the edge of the main crater, depart from San Jose.
You can also visit the volcano’s two inactive craters, using the marked walking trails.
Main attraction of the volcano, however, is its main crater, which is 289 meters (948) deep, and, from its edges, you can often see small geysers and lava eruptions.
Keep in mind that the park is often closed to visitors due to sulfuric gas emissions from the volcano, so always check in advance (from your tour operator) that the park is open.
Top Central America attractions feature colonial city of Granada in Nicaragua, the oldest colonial city in the country and in the entire Western Hemisphere.
The city has gained popularity as a tourism destination, due to its idyllic, colorful colonial era buildings and its fascinating colonial history, since 1524.
As a tourist destination, the city is often referred to as the “Great Sultan of the Great Lake,” because it is located in the northwestern shores of Lake Cocibolca, the world’s 20th largest lake.
Main attractions in the city include:
- the finest colonial era architecture in the country,
- six major churches, and
- a cruise to the nearby Isletas (islands), with tour ferries departing from the port of Puerto Asese.
Panama Canal cruise, one of Central America’s top attractions, is a tour on a canal that connects the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
Cruising through the canal is possible in a variety of vessels, ranging from small private yachts to major cruise liners.
Panama Canal was built in a project led by the United State, from 1904-1914, with George Washington Goethals, appointed by the President of the United States, managing the construction work.
History of the Canal has been documented in two museums that you can visit, one at Casco Antiguo and another at Miraflores canal locks.
Of these two museums:
- Casco Antiguo location is more comprehensive, while
- Miraflores Museum (which features a great restaurant on top of the building that has panoramic views of the Canal) offers a more technical approach to the history of the canal.
If you want to explore the canal using a canal cruise tour, these are available as:
- a partial crossing, taking about four hours, or
- a complete crossing through the canal, which takes around eight hours.
Finally, Copán Maya ruins in Honduras are remains of ancient Maya civilization.
Over thousand years ago the Maya civilization had one of its largest centers in Copán, and today, the place is one of the main tourist attractions in Central America.
Most of the tourists coming here depart from the nearby village of the same name, Copan Ruinas, which has a range of hotels and other tourist services available.
In terms of size, the ruins are smaller than the Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala or the Teotihuacan Mayan ruins in Mexico, but Copán has more Maya-period sculptures than any other pre-Columbian destination.
Highlights within the ruins include:
- sculptures, portraying ancient Maya rulers,
- well-preserved hieroglyphics, such as the famous hieroglyphic stairway, and
- Maya Museum, containing a reconstructed Maya temple and artifacts from Mayan culture.