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kfregoso Aug 16th, 2014 09:00 AM

Trip ideas needed please
My husband, 10yr old son and I are in the process of planning a trip over Christmas, we are asking for ideas to traveling in Central America. We are experienced travelers and prefer to travel with locals and to less touristy spots. Any suggestions will be appreciated. We have three weeks to travel. Thank you for your time and help.

volcanogirl Aug 16th, 2014 09:20 AM

What kinds of things do you like to see and do - snorkeling, adventure activities, ruins, hiking, wildlife, and what kind of climate are you looking for? Cooler climate, hot, beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes? Lots of great places, but it will help if you can fill in a few of the details. Do you have an idea of your budget?

kfregoso Aug 16th, 2014 04:21 PM

Thank you for responding. We like to travel light and stay off the beaten path. Any climate will do. We can drive ourselves or take public transportation. We are fluent Spanish speakers. We enjoy all of the things you mentioned, and very easy going travelers. We prefer not to stay in high end resorts. Money is not an issue but we prefer not to travel in luxury... don't know if that really helps... The last trips we have done: Thailand, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, England, Scotland, Australia and Ireland. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. thank you

hopefulist Aug 16th, 2014 04:28 PM

Guatemala is our favorite and we also love Belize and Honduras. Any of those are worth 3 weeks but you could also consider flying into Guatemala and out of either Belize or Honduras for some beach time.

You sound like my kind of travelers! My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there (flying home after a month in Guatemala tomorrow so more photos and blog posts to come).
Happy trails!

kfregoso Aug 16th, 2014 07:32 PM

Hopefulist, thank you so much for your comments and your suggestions. I perused your blog and photos, they are absolutely gorgeous. Great idea of flying into Guatemala and flying home from down south somewhere. We did that in Thailand and it saves a lot of travel time. Any helpful tidbits for this trip would be appreciated, we have decided to go!!! thanks,

RAC Aug 16th, 2014 07:48 PM

I think Chiapas is calling to you. The best Mayan ruins in Mexico (maybe anywhere), fascinating local culture, villages, mountains, rainforest, waterfalls, etc.

Also a possibility is Nicaragua--no American chain restaurants, still emerging as a travel destination, lots of volcanoes, lakes.

kfregoso Aug 16th, 2014 07:54 PM

Been to Chiapas, and you are spot on...wonderful ruins and a beautiful state. Thank you, I will check on Nicaragua.

hopefulist Aug 16th, 2014 10:07 PM

Quick itinerary:
:: GUA to Antigua for 2 or 3 nights (lots of colonial ruins, volcano hike, neighboring villages)
:: Head to Lake Atitlán for 3 or 4 nights (villages, rich Maya culture, kayaking, hiking)
:: Back to Guatemala City and fly to Flores; spend at least a night in the park at Tikal; I am really fond of Yaxhá, also. (You could bus up, spending a few nights in the Rio Dulce area to split the trip)
:: Head by road to western Belize; stay in a jungly lodge for 3-4 nights for hiking, canoing, caving.
:: Head to Caye Caulker for the rest of your stay with a stop at the zoo enroute. Hopkins Village is another favorite for something different.

I have a website I use to put together options to share when I'm trip planning for groups or family - activities, lodging, lots of links. Here are posts that might interest you. Keep in mind that some of the cultural activities were set up specifically for my groups but most of the rest is on offer.


Happy planning!

hopefulist Aug 16th, 2014 10:07 PM

Oh - and Toledo District in the south has lots on offer if you like more off the beaten track.

RAC Aug 17th, 2014 09:27 AM

One other possibility would be to explore the western Panama/eastern Costa Rica area. This area is still fairly "off the beaten path" with not much tourism infrastructure. The big draw would be La Amistad International Park--a huge, stupidly beautiful area with maybe the best cloud forest in Central America. We spent four nights in the Cerro Punta area of Panama, and there was no sign of tourism except for our lodge and a few others--unlike Boquete. The two nights we spent in our own cabin in La Amistad is one of our all-time highlights in Central America (the resplendent quetzal outside our bedroom window was the cherry on top).

volcanogirl Aug 18th, 2014 10:25 AM

The Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is also pretty amazing - wonderful hiking and amazing wildlife there. We saw all 4 kinds of monkeys, sloths, toucans, scarlet macaws, and even an anteater.

Cattail Aug 31st, 2014 07:57 AM

I followed hope's suggestions for lodging in Belize a few years ago, and she is spot-on for our type of travel. Macal River Camp, for example, is a rustic off-shoot of its more opulent parent, Chaa Creek. Hopkins village was another win.

johanna_lee Sep 1st, 2014 12:58 PM

I totally recommend u guys to visit Cancun, christmas is a perfect time to come, you have parks activities, archaeological activities, scuba diving, snorkeling, nightlife( the best ), beautiful beaches, shopping, etc.. that is for fun activities and if you are looking for more relax vacations you can visit Tulum, a lot of people around the world go to Tulum for relaxation..

crosscheck Sep 18th, 2014 05:08 AM

I recommend Ian Anderson's Cave Branch in Belize for fun, nature and true adventure. Make sure you stay in a luxury treehouse. Combine with a few days at the beach and also with Guatemala. Here's my trip report:

We went in March, which was excruciatingly hot - December will be way better.

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