The Question: Can you recommend a Central American destination for an active, multigeneration family holiday? We are an adventurous family and like discovering new places.
Grandpa wants to hike the jungle filled with howler monkeys. The kids can’t wait to snorkel the coral gardens. And mom’s keen to climb the steps of a Mayan temple. If your gang is looking for adventure, Edmundo Roa, a travel agent with Let’s Take the Kids Travel Agency ( letstakethekidstravel.com), has these three suggestions:
Belize: “You have beach and jungle,” says Roa, who has travelled through much of Central America. In Belize, Mayan ruins are still being unearthed in the jungle and the beach runs along the world’s second-largest barrier reef, which means plenty of snorkelling and scuba diving.
Roa suggests basing the family near Caye Caulker, with its backpacker vibe, or Ambergris Caye, home to high-end hotels. Or split your time between the interior and the beach, staying in the Mayan Mountains at the Windy Hill Resort ( windyhillresort.com) and then near the reef at the Jaguar Reef Lodge ( jaguarreef.com).
Costa Rica: This is more an ecotourism destination than a beach holiday, Roa says. Spend a few days at the Arenal Volcano in the northern lowlands; a few days in Monteverde to explore the cloud forests; and then head to the ocean, either at Guanacaste or near Manuel Antonio National Park. The country is also best suited for kids 6 and up, he suggests, when the youngest members can handle the half-day car rides and jungle hikes. The reward for all the packing and unpacking: a plethora of active adventure from hiking volcanoes to searching for butterflies.
Honduras: “That’s the Central American destination that I would recommend to go to an all-inclusive,” Roa says. Specifically, he suggests Roatan, part of the Bay Islands, known for its scuba and snorkelling and “old Caribbean feel.” Or La Ceiba, a port city on the mainland, where the gang can plan day trips into the jungle or to tour the elaborate Mayan ruins of Copan. “The mainland can be dangerous,” notes Roa, who has backpacked through the country, “but I have had families who have gone to Honduras and enjoyed it. [Just]do everything with tours.”
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