Mexico, Cuba & Central America
A riot of colours, flavours and music, Mexico is a vast and varied country that has much more to offer than the stereotypes of tequila, tacos and sombreros. From whale-watching on the Sea of Cortez to relaxing on the white powdery sands of the Riviera Maya, there’s a wealth of choice for a beach break. Inland, you’ll find vibrant colonial towns, towering volcanoes, rugged canyons, cactus-strewn desert, and the huge metropolis of Mexico City. As well as a rich and diverse cuisine, there’s also a thriving art scene and impressive Aztec, Mayan and Zapotec archaeological sites. However, it’s the people that will make your stay in Mexico unforgettable. Friendly, welcoming and decidedly proud of their country, Mexicans will charm you with their honest and open nature and will be sure to teach you a thing or two about Mexico beyond the obvious.
Cuba’s magic lies in its madness; this Caribbean island has a strong identity that is thrust upon you from the moment you arrive – At first glance, it’s energetic, in-your-face, and loud but therein lies its charm. Dig deeper and you’ll find there’s a hidden side to all aspects of Cuban life and culture. Dilapidated colonial-era buildings mask grand interiors. Secret religious ceremonies take place behind closed doors, celebrating the Gods of Santería. The country’s best restaurants are hidden away in private homes. Meanwhile salsa, son, rumba and jazz music waft from windows and provide a soundtrack to your day, while the heavy thud of reggaeton defines many an evening. Cuba is as gritty as they come and while food, hotels and service are improving, it’s better to go with the flow and embrace Cuba’s laid-back island lifestyle and revolutionary spirit. Travel with an open mind and one thing’s for sure, you won’t forget Cuba in a hurry.
In Central America, Mayan history is intertwined with raw natural beauty. Wild jungle, pristine beaches and dramatic volcanic landscapes await. Colonial cities showcase the European influence which impacted the culture, architecture and languages you see today. Delve into indigenous cultures, shop at colourful local markets and embrace your inner explorer at archaeological sites hidden deep within the region’s jungles. Wildlife lovers can assist on turtle conservation projects in El Salvador, wake to the sounds of howler monkeys in Belize, or search for sloths in the jungles of Costa Rica. Adventurous travellers can hurtle along white-water rapids, speed through the jungle canopy on zip lines and climb volcanoes before hitting one of the many hideaway beaches. And when it comes to coastal escapes, you’ll be spoiled for choice between Pacific surf or golden Caribbean sands, laidback luxury ecolodges or elegant resorts. Whether you’re looking for a cultural escape, an adrenaline-fuelled adventure or something in between, Central America has you covered.