Where To Backpack In Central America

Central America is a whirlwind of fun, wildlife, oceans and mountains. It's the backpackers dream; cheap living, easily travelled and just so much to do! It really is the ultimate backpackers destination! But with so many countries inside it is sometimes overwhelming when coming to decide where to go/how long to stay/and where not to go. I originally only planned to visit a few countries in Central America but quickly feel in love and ended up travelling all 7 of them (yes you should do this too) So I have put together the perfect itinerary for backpacking through Central America, just for YOU!


Panama Travel Blog
Ultimate relaxation in Cobia National Park

Recommended length of stay: 

2 weeks.

You will arrive most likely into Panama City. Which, sorry to crush the dream straight away, is like any other city in Latin America; Not very clean, a bit dodgy but with great transportation links to more exotic places.

Recommend places to visit:

Skip the crowds and head over to Santa Catilna,(pictured above) a surfers/scuba divers paradise, yet to be hit by the mainstream backpackers trail unlike Bocas Del Toro. For more information about Santa Catilna, where to stay, and how to get there click here

San Blas islands may possible be the most beautiful islands you will ever see. Take a 3 day camping trip from Panama city if you are not already visiting them on a boat to or from Colombia (Find out more of that journey of a lifetime here). Book your trip to San Blas here.


$1 beers

$8-10 hostels ($15 in City)

For 2 weeks take $200 (USD) if you want to scuba dive.

$100 if not.


Travel blog San Blas, Panama
San Blas Islands

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Travel Blog
Tamarindo Beach

If theres a country to skip I would say it's Costa Rica. Personally it was my least favourite of the 7. A bit too many holiday makers, and spring breakers. But I only spent 1 week there and didn't get to see the lesser touristy parts such as Monteverde.


Get the bus from Panama city to San Jose- It's a long one, can take up to  17 hours and will cost around $45 USD. Alternatively you can fly at triple the cost.


Pictures: Tamarindo 

Recommended length of stay:

1 week.


Hostel $10

Beer $3

For one week take $150 


Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica

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Leon, Nicaragua

My favourite country in Central America. It is so diverse, and so exciting, it really is hard to leave. If you have spare time, spend it here. Plan an extra week on top of the weeks planned. You will love it. Everyone does.


A short bus ride from Tamarindo will get you into San Juan Del Sur some 4 hours later.


Recommended length of stay: Honestly I could have stayed for months if it not being for the lure of countries so close by. I stayed for 2 weeks in the end. I met people out there who had just never left. Wait and see; you'll know what I mean.

Recommended places to visit:

San Juan Del Sur (Sunday Funday) 

Leon (Volcano Boarding)

Grenada (pictured above)


Beer $1.50

Hostels $4-$6

Take $70 for each week you are there. Eat at markets.

Travel Blog Nicaragua
Volcano Boarding, Big Foot Hostel, Leon

Discover Central America 728x90


Utila scuba diving
Studying for Advanced Open Water PADI Certificate in Utila

Most backpackers come here to score some cheap Scuba Diving and PADI courses. And you can see why, beautiful blue ocean, perfect diving conditions and cheap courses and accommodation. If your in to diving or want to try it out it's the place for you. If you're not you might be hung up on what to do, although Copan is a cool historic city.


A few long bus rides will take you from Managua in Nicaragua to San Pedro Sula, then off to the port to catch a ferry to Utila. find out more on how to get there and the costs here.


Recommended length of stay: if you are diving.. 2-3 weeks. No diving 1 week

Recommended places to visit: Utila- the divers dream. Rotan is the other island to consider although it is a bit more pricey. Utila is a bit of a pain to get to and actually quite expensive to get there, but if you plan to spend a while on the island its worth while. Find out more on Utila on my post here.


Accommodation on Utila $5

Beer $2

Courses: Diving PADI Open Water starts from $200 for a 4 day course.

Utica things to do
Lazy Utila Days

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Things to do in Guatemala
Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Just look at that picture and try and say you don't want to visit Guatemala. It truly is one of the most stunning places I have ever been. Very close with Nicaragua to the top spot, I have some of the fondest memories of my time in C.A here.

Recommended length of stay: Minimum 2 weeks to fit everything in.

Recommended places to visit:

Semuc Champey (above)

Tikal (below)

Lake Atlican,



Hostel $7

Beer $1.50

Bring $100 for each week you are there. And be prepared to get the best Mexican food in Central America (yeah maybe even better than Mexico itself)


Where to go in Belize
Caye Caulker Life

I came here to live out a life long dream of Scuba Diving the Great Blue Hole. And great it was. Unexpectedly I also really loved Belize, although I spent all my time on Caye Caulker so I can't make a judgement on the rest of the country. 

Recommend length of stay: 7 days in Caye Caulker

Price: The most expensive of the lot;

Hostels $12

Beer $2.50

Scuba Diving the Blue Hole: $240


Find out more about how to get to Caye Caulker and where to stay here.

Discover Belize 728x90

Caye Cawlker, Belize


Isla Del Hotbox whale sharks
Snorkelling with Whale Sharks

Whale sharks, flamingos, beaches and TACOS!! A must see at either the start or end of your Central American trip.

Recommended length of stay: Timeless. But realistically if you are just looking at doing the C.A route 2 weeks as a minimum. 

Recommended places to visit: Holbox Island.. but shhh, its still a secret. This island 2 hours off of Cancun boasts the lesser known (and cheaper) whale shark swimming with added extras of manta rays and dolphins.


Hostel: $9

Beer: $3

Taco: $3

Find out more about swimming with whale sharks here

Isla del Hoblox

There are literally thousands of things to do in Central America, but if I could give you one more recommendation it would be:


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