HOW TO CHOOSE A CENTRAL AMERICA OVERLAND HOLIDAY
The ins & outs
Overland vacations through Central America vary in style, but the one thing they have in common is that they are at least two weeks in length. Traveling in a small group, usually around 16 people maximum, there are plenty of solo travelers and a mixture of age groups although the minimum age tends to be 16. In Central America the majority of overland trips use public transport, in particular buses, and boats when necessary – making them overwater trips too in most cases. What with two coastlines and a wonderful collection of islands, cays and peninsulas to explore, ferries are often the only way. So, how to choose a Central America overland vacation?
Are we nearly there yet?
Not surprisingly, there may be long days of travel, or border crossings that involve some patience, but this is all part of the adventure. The itineraries are planned so that after a long travel day you will have time to chill in some beautiful place, but these are still trips where you can justify investing in a good travel pillow and a top refillable water bottle. If you are booking a month’s trip, do check with your tour operator how many days might be spent on the road, and how many days you will be stopping to really enjoy what each country has to offer.
Choosing an overland trip in Central America
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL ASKS THE EXPERTS
Tom Smith from our supplier, Intrepid Travel: “Guatemala as a whole needs to be on more people’s bucket lists (or maybe not – it’ll get too busy!). Tikal is simply stunning, as is Lake Atitlán in the highlands. Caye Caulker in Belize is well regarded, and with good reason; the relaxed Caribbean vibe and amazing snorkelling and diving make this Belizean hideaway a must. And of course El Salvador. It’s a country with a bad reputation but the people are wonderful, and are always trying to ensure that guests leave with a better impression of this tiny country.”
Jess Millett, from our supplier, Tucan Travel, shares her advice on Central America overland trips: “To make the most of an overland tour you need to be very flexible, quite patient, and up for a really good adventure. Due to the very nature of these tours, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong – like a tyre blowing, or a break down – so you need to be able to shrug that off and make the most of it. An overland trip is ideal for solo travelers as it’s a very sociable style of travel; you’re mucking in together, you’re cooking together, you’re cleaning together, so there’s a definite community spirit. You’re almost guaranteed to make some really good friends and share some incredible memories.”
Nancy Ableser, from our supplier Tucan Travel: “Panama has a large indigenous population. The Kuna are known for their “molas”, a type of needlework. The Emberá make some extremely high-quality baskets. They also do intricate carvings out of a type of really hard, giant seed.”