Photo source: Flickr
Travelers to Central America sing the region’s praises for its abundance of adventure activities. Hiking is one of the popular pastimes for visitors, with trails that range from mild to wild. If you’re planning on doing some hiking on your Central America holiday, it’s important to research the trail’s difficulty level and what permits and/or special equipment are required prior to departure.
Acatenango Volcano National Park is one of the most popular hikes in Guatemala, but it’s often an overnight tour. If you’re looking for something more moderate, consider Pacaya Volcano. It’s one of three active volcanos in Guatemala, and you’ll walk on top of lava rivers that have since solidified. You can get within a few meters of the active crater, and you may see lava flows coming out through holes in the rivers.
In Belize, you’ll find the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to the only jaguar preserve in the world. While spotting a jaguar, especially during the day, is extremely rare, there are plenty of other wildlife spotting opportunities along with several picturesque trails. Outside of hoping to spot a jaguar, you may see cats like ocelot, jaguarondi, and pumas. Birders will delight in the chance to spot some of the over 300 different bird species that call Belize home.
Costa Rica is home to a variety of stellar hiking trails, including the Rincón de La Vieja Volcano National Park. Climbing to the summit is the most adventurous and challenging option, but you can also try less strenuous hikes like the two-mile Las Pailas loop or the Blue Lake and Congrejo Falls trail. The crater trail runs about 10 miles round trip and, on a super clear day, you can see both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean.
Established in 1987, Pico Bonito National Park is part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. Pico Bonito means “beautiful peak”, and if you’re up for a real challenge, this hike is considered one of the best in Honduras. There are over 300 species of birds, howler monkeys, and jungle cats like jaguars and pumas that call Pico Bonito National Park home. If you’re not up for such a challenging hike, you can still visit the area and enjoy other adventure activities like rafting and kayaking.
Lake Nicaragua, Cocibolca, is the largest lake in Central America, and there you’ll find a small island known as Ometepe. Concepción is one of the two volcanoes that formed Ometepe Island. It’s a tough climb that can take you 10 to 11 hours to ascend and descend, but the views are said to be among some of the best, and most unique, in Nicaragua. For those who are wondering, Concepción is an active volcano, but the last eruption was in 2010 and it has been deemed safe to visit.
Santa Ana, or Ilamatepec, Volcano is an option for those looking for a short, moderately strenuous hike in El Salvador. It’s only 2,381 meters above sea level, but it’s the tallest volcano in the country. It’s an active volcano, but it hasn’t erupted since 2005. The reward for hiking Santa Ana volcano is the turquoise lake that sits at its crater.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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