Central America

This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.

Central America is calling…and an increasing number of travelers are hearing the message that it’s time to pack up and take off aboard Delta Air Lines to a close-by region shared by the seven countries that form a land bridge between North and South America. Although collectively they cover an area not even as large as the state of Texas, the destinations in Central America embrace a whole new world of the kinds of vacation experiences that people seek nowadays: adventurous, romantic, nature-oriented, cultural and involving.

And Delta’s got Central America covered, welcoming passengers aboard its nonstop flights to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Tailor-made vacations continue to be the booking trend, with different vacation strokes for different folks. But travelers who have been there, done that, find much of Central America to be staggeringly beautiful, with immense volcanoes rising from glittering lakes set into verdant landscapes. Landscapes also embrace cosmopolitan capital cities and charming colonial towns and villages, most never far from Pacific or Caribbean beaches, as well as pristine rainforests and cloud forests, some still sheltering the towering temple pyramids of ancient Mayan ceremonial centers. Today, naturalists consider those very rainforests to be the “hotspots” of biological diversity, home to myriads of technicolor birds, five species of spotted cats, and a bewildering variety of butterflies and orchids. At the same time, beneath the seas, moray eels and manatees, whale sharks and whales frolic along the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.

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And Central America’s comfort levels keep soaring to new heights—flying the banners of luxury and ecological sustainability. The result is a bonanza of wonderful seaside resorts, boutique lodges and jungle inns, many fitted out with sybaritic spas and yoga platforms, as well as adrenalin-producing ziplines, dive centers, and deep-sea fishing marinas—all vacation getaways for visitors to make themselves at home in the mountains, near national parks, reserves, and by the sea.

Quite naturally all this infrastructure upgrading has brought a bevy of new creative tour products: from multi-sport packages for the active traveler, to birdwatching and orchid garden touring, to Mayaland itineraries for the culture buff. And speaking of those ancient Maya—a brilliant civilization whose monumental temples, palaces and royal tombs are on view in archaeological sites across Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—this is the year they will be remembered on Dec. 21 when, after 5,125 years, the official “long count” Mayan calendar comes to an end and the creation of a new world begins.

Delta Air Lines looks forward to celebrating with you all the special events and occasions, ready for takeoff when you’re booked for the adventurous, relaxing, fun-filled vacations that lie just ahead in Central America.