If you’re itching for some international adventure but don’t have a month to take off for travel, it’s time to plan a spring vacation to Central America. Costa Rica’s pristine beaches and Guatemala’s incredible Maya history have all the magic and lore of Latin America without the longer flights further south to Peru or Brazil. Book a convenient flight to Central America and spend more time adventuring and relaxing in our best places to visit in Central America this spring.
♦ Guatemala: Antigua, Tikal & Lake Atitlán
Guatemala is a revelation when it comes to safely and affordably experiencing authentic indigenous culture. From the colonial streets of Antigua and towering Mayan temples of Tikal to the glistening waters of Lake Atitlán,; Guatemala has something truly extraordinary for every family member to enjoy.
Antigua’s cobblestone streets and volcanic surroundings are particularly enchanting in the spring as the city prepares for it’s world famous Semana Santa (Easter week). The UNESCO World Heritage Center transforms with colorful processions of intricately made textiles and art – a sight that, if you’re lucky enough to see, is sure to awaken all of your senses.
If it’s ancient history you’re after, the ancient Mayan citadel of Tikal is to the northern Guatemalan rainforests as the Inca Machu Picchu is to Peru. Nuzzled in dense greenery, the iconic Lost World Pyramid, Temple of the Jaguar, and Temple IV are beautifully preserved pre-Columbian treasures that will have you second-guessing the disappearance of their original peoples.
Continue the Mayan adventure with a tour to Guatemala’s most impressive landscape, Lake Atitlán. A tour across the unbelievably blue lake surrounded by volcanoes takes visitors to surrounding Maya villages where they can experience intricate Mayan traditions that have lasted the test of time.
The best part of Guatemala is that it’s only a five hour flight from Los Angeles! By saving all of that travel time, you might even want to add a short trip across the border to explore Belize’s Cayo District for jungles, caves, and unforgettable white sand beaches.
♦ Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast: Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio & the Osa Peninsula
Regardless of how old you are, nothing says “spring break” more than Costa Rica during dry season. The Pacific Coast is particularly spectacular at this time of year because it’s rugged shores and low hanging tropical forests are freshly green and full of otherworldly wildlife. For thrilling zip-lining adventures through canopies and relaxing on the pristine beaches, plan for these amazing Costa Rican destinations during the spring.
Never-ending golden sand beaches and some of the most impressive sunsets you’ll ever see make Tamarindo the perfect place to rest and relax. Nature-lovers will gush over a kayak trip through the Mangrove Wildlife Reserve, and how you can spot the occasional endangered Leatherback turtle through it’s crystal clear water.
Further along the central coast and just a few hours drive from the capital of San José, the white shores of Manual Antonio National Park echo the sounds of the jungle. Monkeys, armadillos, and toucans are just some 109 mammal and 184 bird species you can find in Costa Rica’s smallest national park. Don’t be fooled by size though, action and adventure swing from every tree with the park’s renowned zip-lines.
If adventure to you means exploring something unexplored, the Osa Peninsula, often referred to as the “last wild frontier of Costa Rica,” will surely meet the challenge. The relatively untouched beaches, forests, and wide range of wildlife, gives visitors a glimpse into Costa Rica’s nature at its core. For a good adrenalin rush to send you home smiling, try a noctural walk through the jungle or a rappelling class down the region’s impressive waterfalls.