Central America Travel: Variety is the Spice
In a word: vibrancy. Perhaps more well-known for its brutally war-torn past, Central America has ... read more »
Political unrest and violence have largely subsided in Central America, but traveling the region ... read more »
You can fly in from the United States relatively easily and inexpensively. All seven countries have ... read more »
You don't have to rough it-but you can. Tourism is strong and growing across the region, which ... read more »
You can travel around the region cheaply, and there is a good chance that your ride will be entertaining. Organization, regarding time schedules and seat reservations, depends on the country and mode of transportation. Driving yourself from place to place might be a better option if you plan to travel to remote areas, but you'll need to be aware of varying road conditions depending on season and country. We've found some Web sites that can help you determine your best course.
- Central America's major airline is El Salvador-based TACA, which flies to all seven countries. However, because the region is so compact you might find buses and cars more efficient than flying between cities.
- Flights and car rentals can be booked online but that's not the case with bus rides. Instead you can use the Web (particularly the sites recommended below) to get a better sense of where bus stations are and plan around those locations to ease your mind before you go.
- Be prepared for some crowding and disorganization when you travel around Central America. In some countries, you may be flagging buses down from the side of the road, or squeezing into a seat next to a vendor selling food and drink. Patience and a sense of humor should make things easier.
- As we mentioned in the "How will I get to Central America?" section of this guide, train travel in the region is sparse. Where it does exist, train travel in Central America is unfavorable. You won't find many lines for passengers, as most were built to transport produce to harbors and markets. Alternate methods of transportation are generally more convenient and available.
- In Guatemala, you'll find what are known as chicken buses. These boisterous school buses pack in people and, at times, chickens. First-class Greyhound buses also run here, and both modes are inexpensive. But the chicken buses, although less comfortable, may offer a better glimpse of Guatemalan culture. See these articles about endearingly unpredictable buses in Guatemala: