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month trip trying to choose countries

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Hi, my friend and I are going to take a trip to Central America from post-Thanksgiving to pre-Christmas this year and we're trying to decide where to go. We were thinking of sticking to two countries, so that we can truly experience the places we go to. We're experienced travelers and can get by in Spanish (we know each other from living previously in Buenos Aires), so off the beaten path places with less tourists are always great (though if something is really worth dealing with the tourists, we don't want to miss that).

From what we've heard, Guatemala seems to be at the top of a lot of peoples lists, as well as Costa Rica. Would you recommend those two or another two? Possibly Belize instead of Costa Rica? We'd probably bus from place to place, since we are on a budget. If we did Guatemala and wanted to do Costa Rica, would you recommend spending a couple days in Nicaragua and Honduras on the way, or to just stick with two neighboring countries?

Thanks for the help!!

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