When it comes to luxury vacations, sunbathing on the French Riviera in Nice, France in my skimpy bikini wearing my designer sunglasses would be the perfect dream comes true. Maybe take a scene right out of “lifestyles of the rich and Famous”.
Nowadays, discretionary travel spending dollars even for the luxury vacation spender are slowly getting tight. On top of that it’s getting harder to find an airline that won’t nickel and dime you to death.
For just a short plane ride from anywhere in North America you can choose one of 7 Central American destinations each with its unique blend of fun and adventure and a melting pot of fascinating cultures.
A round trip ticket from Miami to Paris will set you back $ 450.00 each way. On the other hand a round trip ticket from New York to Managua, Nicaragua makes my wallet feel warm and fuzzy at $497.00.
If you’re like me, as much as I enjoy kicking back on the beach and soaking up the sand and sun, I do get a little bored after awhile and love discovering other relaxing but fun activities. I have loved the fact that while travelling to different Central American destinations, I had the luxury of a picturesque beach and usually just a short hike away from a paradise hidden in the mountains with volcanic rivers, horesbackriding, bird watching and some of the most beautiful botanical gardens you could ever imagine.
Beaches, Beaches and more!
Now let’s talk about beaches! Some of the most magnificent beaches can be found in Central America. The isthmus of Central America has the geographical luxury of sitting in between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Much to your delight you’ll revel in consistently warm waters, thriving marine life, and soft sands across two diverse coastlines, the Pacifc Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the Central America tourism industry is focused along the edges. The second largest barrier reef in the world runs along Central America’s Caribbean side. And you can surround yourself with coconut palms, reggae beats, lots of nightlife, and offer lodging, dining, and nightlife options for every budget.
The Central America vibe on the Pacific side is no less vibrant. You’ll find most of your luxury hotels on this side. The Pacific side is where you’ll find most prime surfing and fishing locations. Something you won’t find while vacationing in Rio de Janeiro. A word of caution here… The closer you get to the equator, the more intense the UV rays so strong sunscreen will be a daily requirement.
I would say, the drawback with vacationing on most of the more popular islands like Jamaica, Bahamas etc. is basically the cost. The average hotel stay in Dominican Republic will run you about $250.00 per night per person on average. In Central America, You’ll find a variety of lodging options, from all inclusive resorts to quaint bed and breakfasts overlooking the ocean You could spend a night in a beautiful beachside bungalow in Nicaragua for around $70.00 per night.
Luxury Central America travel is also relatively new in Honduras and Belize. For five-star accommodations in Honduras, you will find InterContinental properties here, including the Real San Pedro Sula and the Real Tegucigalpa, but there are some good beach and diving resorts on the beaches. Belize is fast becoming known for its intimate eco lodges.
Luxury Central America travel is also possible by boat, as numerous international cruise lines offer cruises that stop at ports here. A number of the cruise lines utilize luxurious smaller ship with capacities of only 60 to 150 passengers. Many of the cruises transit through the Panama Canal.
NEW HOT TOURIST DESTINATIONS
Another up-and-coming destination for an affordable luxury vacation is Nicaragua, one of my favorite destinations. The country features beautiful beaches, spectacular active volcanoes that provide great places to hike, and historical cities featuring vibrant nightlife, lots of festivals, and bargain filled shopping opportunities. Nicaragua has the advantages of many attractions combined with beaches that rival those of more popular destinations. This country, the largest in Central America has an extensive coastline. Most beach-hunters migrate to San Juan Del Sur close to the border with Costa Rica. Although small by most beach community standards, San Juan del Sur offers lots of attractions: surfing, sailing, sport fishing, and sunbathing, along with amazing ecological beauty. Palm trees, lagoons, and wildlife all a part of the landscape and each year you’ll find sea turtles that nest in San Juan del Sur’s sands.
Today, an affordable luxury Central American vacation is even possible in tiny El Salvador, which is known primarily for its excellent Pacific Ocean surfing.
Most of Central America is safer than ever before. However, some countries are safer than others. And certain parts of each country are more (and less) safe than the rest.
Nicaragua was once a country that was considered dangerous to tourists, but because of a change in leadership and a long period of peace, Nicaragua is a new favorite of tourists all over the world.
Best Times to Visit
While Central America benefits from a tropical climate year-round, the dry season is the most pleasant time to visit the region. The main part of dry season runs from January to March, with the months of December and April varying in weather conditions from country to country. At the beginning of dry season, prepare for cool morning and evening weather. In Belize and Panama, the season starts later — in February — but Nicaragua and Honduras have a longer dry season, beginning in December. Outside the dry season, in addition to humidity, travelers may face, heavy rain, and infrequent tropical storms You probably want to just skip the holiday season from Christmas through New Year’s and around Easter week — these are beach crowded times when local residents head out on vacation. One of the really cool things about vacationing in Central America is the fact that you can have an affordable luxury vacation that combines rainforest expeditions, water sports, pristine beaches, jaw dropping sunsets, all combined. To me, it just makes dollars and sense.