7 Incredible Hidden Gems In Central America To Visit In 2024

There are many reasons why visiting less-traveled destinations is sometimes better than the same old tourist places. First and foremost, you will come across fewer crowds, which ensures you will only have a good, stress-free time. It’s also often much cheaper and the whole experience is generally more authentic. 

We know that visiting certain renowned sights is a must. However, if you’re planning a trip to Central America this year and are looking to visit somewhere off the beaten path, here are a few tips from us.

Corn Islands, Nicaragua

When thinking about a piece of paradise in the Caribbean, Nicaragua might not be the first place that comes to your mind. This is a shame because it encompasses many beautiful archipelagos and islands, of which the Corn Islands are probably the prettiest.

They’re set about 40 miles off the coast and consist of the Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island. They boast stunning beaches, crystal clear sea, chilled atmosphere, and are a popular spot for diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

Even though they might seem to be too far, the opposite is true. If you take a plane from Managua, you get there in less than two hours.

Xunantunich, Belize

To see the famed Mayan ruins, Mexico is usually the first choice. But did you know there is a fantastic ancient site also in Belize? Not only does it provide a glimpse into Central America’s fascinating history but it also offers great views from the top of the pyramid. Yes, unlike other ruins, you can climb Xunantunich.

It’s set about two hours and a half from Belize City and around a mile from the Guatemala-Belize border, which makes it an ideal stop if you’re traveling from one country to another.

Utila Island, Honduras

If you’re looking for an experience like no other, head to Utila. This tiny island is located about 18 miles from La Ceiba, Honduras, and is worldwide known as a place to encounter whale sharks.

Never dived or feel like you’re not experienced enough? You can take a dive certification course at one of the local dive shops. They conduct them in various languages and also have very budget-friendly prices. 

Apart from exploring the vibrant marine life, visitors can engage in other watersports, such as kayaking, paddleboarding, or sailing. The beach life is also pretty amazing at Utila.

La Chimba Coffee Farm, Costa Rica

When in Costa Rica, not visiting one of its coffee farms would be a crime. La Chimba is a fantastic option for both coffee lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. 

You can take a guided coffee tour, learn about coffee production, and enjoy a cup or two. Followed by a walk in nature, zip-lining over the plantations, or a canopy tour. 

What’s more, La Chimba is easily accessible. It’s set only about a 20-minute drive from the center of San Jose. And it’s well-connected with public transport as well.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Same as coffee farms for Costa Rica, no trip to Guatemala would be complete without a stop at Lake Atitlan. Nestled between three majestic volcanos, this incredible destination is perfect for a retreat full of outdoor adventure and relaxation.

You can engage in an array of activities there, including hiking to the summits of the volcanoes, boating, or interacting with the communities of the local indigenous villages. If you want to truly unwind, you can stay in one of the many wellness resorts and indulge yourself with yoga, meditation, or spa treatments.

Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Tucked away deep in the jungles of the mountains of Alta Verapaz, Semuc Champey is a series of natural limestone pools fed by the Cahabón River. It’s a popular spot for hiking, exploring caves, river tubing, and wildlife viewing. 

However, it’s not as easy to get there. Maybe that’s why we call it one of the most hidden gems of Guatemala. You first need to get to Lanquin, which serves as a getaway to the sight. If you’re starting your trip in Guatemala City, that itself might take a couple of hours. From Lanquin, you can either walk or take a 4×4 pickup taxi. Another option is to take a guided tour. Travel agencies in major cities offer them pretty often.

Great Blue Hole, Belize

Great Blue Hole is a natural sinkhole and one of the top diving destinations in the world. It measures about 1,000 feet wide and 400 feet deep and is believed to be the biggest one of its kind in the world. 

Swimming over the Blue Hole and diving into the great unknown is an experience and it’s well worth the 3 to 4-hour boat ride to it. You can as well explore the marine life of the coral reef that encircles it. 

Not keen on diving or snorkeling? You can take a helicopter tour and see this natural wonder from the bird’s perspective. The views are pretty amazing and you will get a chance to snap a few breathtaking pics.