First, take the bone-white beaches of South-East Asia, the terracotta charm of colonial Europe and South America’s crumbling ruins. Shake well and add a dash of world-class diving, island hopping by catamaran and two plates of tangy jerked chicken. You now have the magical cocktail that is Central America (either that or a really crowded kitchen). With the chilled vibes of the Caribbean on one side and the rolling swells of the Pacific on the other, you can’t really go wrong. Just grab a compass, point yourself due paradise and let us handle the rest. Siesta anyone?

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Highlights of Central America

If you like your Mayan ruins with a touch of disco, then you’ve come to the right place. Set on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, this ancient city comes alive at sunset with a (slightly kitsch but entirely unmissable) sound and light show. The site is dominated by El Castillo, a massive pyramid with 91 steps running along each of its four sides.

If you’re going to try white-water rafting anywhere, Pacuare River in Costa Rica is the place. Set among cascading waterfalls and lush rainforest, the warm water is ideal for first-timers. During the calmer moments keep your eyes peeled for jaguars, toucans, ocelots and monkeys.

Coffee all day, salsa all night and a never-ending supply of chocolate in between. This small Guatemalan city is super chilled and an extended stay is the best way to soak it all in. While there are plenty of ruins to be found, the city is famous for its colourful convents, arches and buildings in colourful hues of blue, pink, and yellow.

There’s so much to do here, it’ll leave your head spinning. Join the fun with a twirl around the dance floor in a salsa class, check out a baseball game, swing past the mansion-turned-perfume-laboratory at Habana 1791, or grab a guava pastry from one of the vendors along the Malecon. Close out the day with a cigar and a glass of good ol’ fashioned Cuba Libre.

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