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Travel guide to the Caribbean and Central America

Caribbean or Central America gives you sun and warm weather, but also the exotic nature, local culture and history. Visit places such as the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Nicaragua and Panama. Explore coral reefs and marine life in crystal clear water, visit ancient ruins and UNESCO sites.

5 mins read

Why travel to the Caribbean & Central America

Blue skies, azure waters, green jungle and white beaches. The Caribbean and Central American palette is familiar even if you’ve never personally experienced it. But there’s a lot more than just luscious landscapes – the region has something for everyone. You’ll find both modern and traditional culture, charming villages, deep jungles and amazing wildlife.

The Caribbean is a mosaic of paradise-like islands and, each one unique with a variety of traditions, landscapes, cuisine and possible activities. What you’ll find everywhere is smiling hospitability and service.

Central America is no less magical with lush jungles, Maya ruins and smoking volcanoes. The area has the best of both the north and the south, and along the tropical coast, you’re just as likely to spot a monkey as a whale.

All this is topped with what seems to be never-ending sunshine and perfect temperatures.

Best time to visit the Caribbean & Central America

The region is blessed with predictably warm weather and warm temperatures year-round. Spring and fall are both good times to go. In the spring, it’s drier and less humid. While the fall is a bit more unpredictable. Both periods still offer pleasant temperatures and because it’s less crowded, increased possibilities for more close-up experiences and adventures.

What to do in the Caribbean & Central America

The Caribbean and Central America offer great possibilities for snorkeling and other types of water activities. Beneath the waters is a colorful world full of marine life, spectacular coral reef landscapes, and the occasional submerged shipwreck.

Out of the water, the vibrant and colorful cultures on land await on the many islands and shoreside towns and communities. And the wildlife in the forests is just as varied and spectacular.

You can join hikes and explore ancient ruins, enjoy local food and drink tastings or simply relax on the beach.

For the more adventurous, there are possibilities for ziplining, white water rafting and surfing.

Where to go in the Caribbean & Central America

There are lots of fantastic places to visit and things to see.

Here’s a selection:

  • The Bahamas consists of 700 islands surrounded by what is believed to be the clearest water on the planet. The capital Nassau is located on a small island and is home to 70 % of the population. The islands are famous for a mild climate throughout the year.

  • Turks and Caicos Islands boast the best beach in the world and legendary conditions for snorkeling. The small tropical archipelago consists of eight main islands and is a true paradise with pristine white sandy beaches and beautiful turquoise and blue ocean water.

  • In Jamaica, we visit Port Antonio and Montego Bay. Both represent the vibrant soul of the island. Jamaica’s unique culture, colors and sounds can be experienced with the backdrop of reggae beats. The famous Blue lagoon is of course also on the list.

  • Cayman Islands combine tropical wonders with cosmopolitan vibe and gourmet restaurants. It’s made up of three islands. The large island, Grand Cayman, has beach resorts and is home to the capital George Town.

  • Blue hole in Belize is a giant sinkhole and is ranked as one of the top five scuba diving sites in the world. The hole is 1,043 feet wide and 407 feet deep.

  • Isla de Utila outside Honduras is a favorite diving spot for many with its coral reefs and incredible marine life. Here, an encounter with the giant whale shark is possible since the island lies in its migration route.

  • Nicaragua’s Corn Islands are unknown gems. Situated 50 miles off the coast, they are far away from the busy mainland. They provide an ideal blend of quiet and lively and are one of the Caribbean’s last untouched paradises. Nicaragua’s Masaya Volcano is also well worth experiencing. Old Leon & Cathedral Basilica outside Corinto combines two UNESCO sites in one go.

  • Costa Rica is one of our top picks for paradise-like locations. Costa Rica’s two coastlines offer lots of picture-perfect locations and you can find mineral lakes that changes in color between green and red. But it’s also a land of volcanoes, and a live volcano eruption is a possible experience, from a safe distance.

  • In Panama, you may visit places such as wonderful Bocas del Toro and San Blas Islands. Both archipelagoes are as close to a fantasy you can get. Bocas del Toro is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. San Blas Islands are not yet discovered by mass tourism and fully run by the native Kuna’s. Cebaco island is a snorkeling paradise. Finally, you will have the opportunity to cross the incredible Panama canal!

What to Expect

Travelling with Hurtigruten is a different experience. Not only because of the things we do but how we do them. When travelling on a smaller ship, you get to see different places and experience extraordinary things.

  • You can expect sun and warm weather, swimming and snorkeling in beautiful waters, great food and both relaxation and adventure. The many beautiful islands offer fantastic flora and fauna, beaches, jungle and national parks. Here all the colors and diversity of the region are exposed in its full magnitude.

On an expedition cruise, the focus is on learning. The nature is one thing, but you will also visit ports that are rich in local culture and history. Urban exploration is a part of the experience with walking tours, local performances, events and community visits. You will experience long lost cultures and archeology, small friendly communities and fishing towns – with the occasional bustling, colorful city in the mix.

To guide you through all this, you will have access to art and cultural historians, biologists, geographers, geologists, oceanographers, photographers and activity guides. 

And to top it off – if you want to add an inner journey to your itinerary, you may join daily yoga and meditation classes on board with a certified instructor.  

Penguins perched on the ice of Cuverville Island, Antarctica. Credit: Espen Mills / HX Hurtigruten Expeditions

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