The latest insider information on Central America from our recent discussion with Jennifer Rakowski.
Q: How would you describe the region of Central America for visitors who haven’t been there?
The Central America region is the natural bridge between North and South America which contains a high concentration of the world’s biodiversity. It is noted for lush verdant rain forests teeming with wildlife and flora, active volcanos, rich history and culture — both ancient and modern — Mayan and Spanish ruins, barrier reefs and dual oceans. The region’s practice of sustainability, with Costa Rica as its leader, protects all these natural wonders and promotes positive and enriching travel.
Costa Rica is an oasis of calm and an ecotourism heaven. Whether you are looking for a city full of nightlife, adventure in the jungle or relaxation on the white sand beaches — this country has something appealing to every kind of person looking for an ideal vacation destination.
Belize is a country full of history, exotic nature and adventure. Whether it is visiting the Mayan temples or experiencing the natural wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef, we can customize a package to fit your needs.
Panama is a hidden treasure in Central America. The footprints of thousands of years, the world’s most important land bridge and an area rich in nature await you. For those seeking flora and fauna, experiencing the unchanged culture of seven indigenous tribes or enjoying the vibrant metropolis of Panama City, you will not be disappointed.
Nicaragua and its unparalleled natural beauty is further enriched by its strong cultural heritage and legacy of warm and friendly hospitality. Nicaragua’s multi-ethnic and multi-lingual people take great pride in their culture and their country, and welcome visitors with open arms.
Q: When is the best time to visit and why?
The countries in the region generally follow a pattern of High Season, from Dec 15-April 30 and Green Season thereafter. The High Season is dryer while the Green Season is enjoyed for its tropical afternoon rains which brings active animal life and full and lush foliage. Prices generally drop 10-20% during the Green Season.
Q: What are the top sights, hidden gems and activities in the region?
Visitors can expect an abundance of adventure activities for all levels of expertise from a gentle stroll on hanging bridges overlooking the rain forest to rappelling down a waterfall. Or, learn about the history of the region by touring a Colonial city, visiting a coffee plantation or taking a boat ride through the Panama Canal locks. These would be considered the top sights and hidden gems:
Q: How would you describe the people and the culture?
The Central American is mostly Spanish speaking with the exception of Belize which is English speaking. In Costa Rica, there is a high concentration of people in the tourism industry that are bilingual. The people are incredibly friendly and proud of their country. They welcome tourism with open arms. The generosity and attention to service is easily seen in all the destinations. Each region’s traditions include special dances, music, foods with a Latin or Indigenous flair. With little to no crime encountered with travelers, these Central American countries offer safe travels for tourists exploring.
Q: What are some cultural etiquettes visitors should be aware of?
As the practice of Sustainability is prevalent in all the countries, the etiquette follows the program.
Q: What foods would you recommend people try?
Q: Can you describe your most unique culinary tour?
You can experience the local flavors of all destinations by "going local". We highly recommend dining out as there are so many fantastic local options in all the countries.
One option for a culinary tour is Costa Rica — Dining meets adventure through the tropical forests. This tour combines adventure activities with fine dining in distinctive restaurants.
The tour includes a private meet and greet in San Jose followed by:
Q: In your opinion, where is the best scenery views and why is it the best?
Sunset at the Villa Caletas Amphitheater with lush vistas of the rainforest, Pacific Ocean, soothing tunes and delightful surroundings.
Partial Transit through the canal underneath the Centennial Bridge, a beautiful transition of old and new cultures with rainforest at your fingertips.
Helicopter aerial view of the Blue Hole, a large marine sinkhole that seems perfect yet unique in nature.
Afternoon coffee by the Granada Cathedral, the beautiful canary yellow colonial church with a bustling square in the background.
Please send us a message if you have any questions or comments about anything you see in the e-zine. We'd love to hear from you!