Advice: 2 months in Central America
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Q. Hi there. In October I am heading to Central America for 2 months, flying into Guatemala. I am planning on spending 10 nights in Guatemala, 10 in El Salvador and the rest in Nica and Costa Rica.
I pretty much have Nica and Costa Rica sorted but was wanting to know what must see things I could do in Guatemala and El Salvador.
A. October is a cooler month to visit but still warm in our terms, just ensure you've got a rain jacket handy.
Guatemala will inspire you with its many things to do. There's no need to spend any time in Guatemala City, head to Antigua straight away when you fly in - spend a couple of days in this extremely quaint and beautiful town to wander the cobblestone streets and get a feel for Guatemala life.
If hiking interests you then you should definitely hike one of the volcanos surrounding Antigua for superb views, and the option of sleeping overnight on a volcano.
Budget to high-end public minibus transport is readily available throughout Guatemala and suitable for tourists. Private transport is obviously also available.
Lake Atitlan is worth visiting for at least one night. It's considered the most beautiful lake in the world, offers plenty of villages and cultural experiences on the lakeside to enjoy, and where local artists bide their time finding inspiration.
Chichicastenango is a small and religious town but it makes a huge impact on your experience in Central America. You should definitely stop here for the day or overnight to experience the largest markets in Central America on Thursday and Sunday.
Tikal are extremely important and famous Mayan ruins, certainly worth the trip into northern Guatemala. Visit other sites while there as there are hundreds, like Yaxha and El Mirador, that allow you to truly grasp the Mayan history.
Sunrises and sunsets in this region are worth climbing a temple to enjoy, and experience with your own senses the powerful sights and sounds of toucans, howler monkeys and other unique jungle residents.
You can fly or take the minibus from Guatemala to El Salvador easily enough, and after a lot of adventurous activities in Guatemala you might appreciate beachside days in El Salvador.
El Tunco is a great option if you'd like to try surfing, there's a good surf school here and the waves are great for beginners.
La Libertad is another great beach to visit but it offers expert waves, so this could be more of a spectator activity, unless you're a pro!
San Salvador City is a great story to wander the streets and turn its pages, there have been many reconstructions after eruptions and earthquakes as its built at the foot of a volcano.
El Salvador is also riddled with a long Mayan history, namely Nahuizalco, so you'll find interesting links between all the Central American countries you visit.
Aside from these ideas, take part in a cooking class at some point in your travels, they are offered everywhere, and the shopping throughout Central America brings your bargaining skills to life, just remind yourself that this is their bread and butter, appreciate the handiwork behind some of the pieces.
Katie Searle, Africa & Latin America Product Executive, House of Travel.
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