Recommend Jan 2018 - 51

Clockwise from top: Cosmopolitan Guatamala City; in El Salvdor there
are plenty of opportunities to go off the beaten track; and Costa
Rica's stunning Manuel Antonio National Park.

CENTRAL AMERICA
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, flying
nonstop to each and every one of the seven
countries that make up this close-by region:
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,
Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Together
they form a land bridge between North and
South America, and although these nations
collectively don't take up as much space
as the state of Texas, we're looking at a
unique area that delivers the variety of
bucket-list vacation experiences that people
seek nowadays.
Natural wonderlands of reefs and
rainforests, beaches and volcanoes, national
parks and private islands-habitats for
hundreds of species of exotic birds and
butterflies, primetime flora and fauna. This
may be just the year to update your bird list,
spot a sloth or two, and track a jaguar.
Action-packed adventures for those
who want to accent vacations with hiking
and mountain biking, scuba diving and
deep-sea fishing, river rafting and sea
kayaking, canopy touring and ziplining. No
less active, of course, is teeing off for a
round on one or more of the championship
courses that have come into their own in
Central America; the newest, a Gary Playerdesigned course at Indura Beach & Golf
Resort in Honduras, has already hosted a
PGA tournament.
Cultural encounters with magnificent
Mayan monuments in ancient ceremonialcity sites and colonial towns, cosmopolitan
capitals, meet-the-people during brilliant
fiestas held year-round and at country
markets that are full of exceptional
handicrafts and fruits you've never heard of
before. Central American people take
great pride in introducing visitors to their

culinary traditions when touring coffee
plantations, making chocolate, and taking
cooking lessons.
Creature comforts ranging from rustic
to I-can't-believe-I'm-jungle-bound lodges,
sky-high luxurious mountain inns to seaside
resorts liberally laced with sybaritic spaces
and all-suite treats. Nowadays, regional
properties regularly make the "Readers'
Choice Awards" hit parade: this year, 10
hotels from four Central American countries
commanded the Conde Nast Traveler's Top
15 for the Caribbean & Central America.
Wellness is well done in Central
America, with scarcely a hotel without a spa
overlooking the sea or set in a rainforest, a
lodge without indoor and outdoor showers
or hot tubs set in cabin decks. Healing
traditions are attuned to nature, with
treatments based on organic products and
often applying Mayan therapies. There is no
shortage of yoga classes or yoga retreats,
and in "volcanic" countries-Costa Rica,
Guatemala, Nicaragua-soaking in volcanic
hot springs is a wellness bonus.
It's the great outdoors that first put
Central America on the travel map for
great experiences in natural wonderment.
No country has reaped greater benefits
from an amazing diversity of ecosystems,
protected in national parks, than Costa
Rica, which remains a world role model in
sustainable tourism. However, no lesser
natural wonders-think the Belize Barrier
Reef Reserve and Pico Bonito National Park
in Honduras, Parque Nacional Montecristo-El
Trifinio in El Salvador, and Soberania National
Park that is part of the Panama Canal Zone
just outside Panama City-await travelers
in all Central American countries, which are
making serious efforts to safeguard their
bountiful natural assets.

The call of the wild is also heard by
active travelers looking for five-star adventure
to suit every skill and spirit. And one of the
nicest aspects of action-minded vacations
is their family appeal. In Central American
countries, family bookings are booming,
and lodges and hotels-by the sea or in the
rainforest-offer a roster of activities that
embraces all generations. Honeymooners
are responding in droves to the call of the
wild, taking vows at luxury beach resorts,
recording unforgettable memories, ziplining
through the rainforest, climbing volcanoes,
and kayaking among Caribbean islands.
While the countries of Central America
have moved decidedly up market in products
and services, they certainly haven't lost their
appeal for travelers looking for involving
experiences and new horizons-somewhat
exotic places of discovery, if you will.
Recall the saying that goes: the best things
come in small packages, and know that the
seven little countries that make up Central
America add up to a big, exciting destination
vacation. Luckily, Delta Air Lines, has just the
right ticket to each and every one.

Table of Contents
Belize ........................................... 52
Costa Rica ................................... 54
El Salvador ................................... 55
Guatemala ................................... 55
Honduras ..................................... 56
Nicaragua .................................... 58
Panama........................................ 59
On the following pages, the Getting There
section is based on January 2018 schedule.

51



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