From all the trips I made, the one to Central America, and then especially Guatemala ranks amoung the best. There's also a site on Cuba written by Steven Buvens and a site made by Guido Gevels.
Guatemala has everything a traveller could dream of (except beaches maybe):
- There's the authentic Indian culture with lively and colourful markets like in Solola. Make sure you have plenty of film there, you'll need it.
- There's the Mayan culture in the North. Tikal definitely is one of the best Maya sites in the world. A side trip just over the border to Copan is possible.
- Colonial architecture can be seen in Antigua, a cosy city, though full of tourists.
- The nature is incredibly diverse: there's the rainforest jungle of Peten, cloud forest of the Verapaz region, Carribean and Pacific coast and the volcanoes around Antigua, Atitlan and also Quetzaltenango.
Mexico is another world. It's more modern, buses are better quality, but prices are also higher. Of course it also has a lot to offer, but you'll need a bit more money to get it. I did only Yucatan for the moment, so I can't tell anything about the rest of Mexico.
- For beaches you have plenty of choice. There's an increasing number of possibilities near the ruins of Tulum. Playa del Carmen couldn't really seduce us, and we passed Cancun.
- The Mayan ruins are fabulous. Tulum is not so big, but the setting next to the sea is nice, but especially Chichen Itza and Uxmal are great.
- Merida was a nice and cosy city, especially on sundays.
Belize has a much more Caribbean atmosphere. We didn't really like it, but we had to pass it on our way to Mexico. It's a shock to see everything is much more expensive than Guatemala, and the jungle around San Ignacio is difficult to visit (impossible during rainy season) and visits are mainly catering for rich Americans willing to spend 100 US$ a day. The Cayes are quite nice of course. Costa Rica Costa Rica is a country where:
- nature is protected on more than a quarter of the total area in national parks and private reserves.
- beaches are among the most beautiful in the Americas both on the Pacific as on the Caribbean side.
- people are among the most peaceful in the world
- only drawback might be the weather. Take a raincoat with you ....
Go to Guatemala