- Caye Caulker, Belize: The official slogan here is "Go Slow." Even going slow, you can walk from one end of this small island to the other in under 20 minutes. The fastest moving vehicles, in fact, are bicycles, although lazier souls roam around in golf carts. The town itself is a small and funky Caribbean beach burg, with a lively mix of restaurants, bars, and tour operators to keep you busy and interested.
- Flores, Guatemala: In addition to serving as the gateway to Guatemala's greatest Maya ruin, Tikal, the small island town of Flores has ample charms of its own. The small island is great for walking, and you'll find plenty of fine restaurants, bars, and small hotels here. In addition, the town is loaded with small boats eager to give you a tour of nearby attractions, or simply a sunset cruise on the lake.
- Perquín & Mozote, El Salvador: Exploring the history and tragedy of the towns of Perquín and Mozote should provide unique insight into the troubled history of this complex nation. Perquín is a small town tucked into the high eastern mountains, which formed the base of the people's FMLN organization during the civil war. The nearby village of Mozote was the site of one of Latin America's worst modern wartime atrocities; the square and church now feature the well-known Mozote memorial and the names of the townspeople who were killed.
- Barra de Santiago, El Salvador: Santiago is a protected reserve and largely undeveloped fishing village along the country's far western coast. The best thing about the place is its isolation and natural beauty; it's surrounded by wide, nearly deserted, sandy beaches and mangrove-filled estuaries where majestic white egrets glide low over the water. And the entire place sits immediately in front of a miles-long line of volcanoes that seem to rise from the palm-tree-lined estuary shores. You can fish, swim, surf, paddle, spot sea turtles laying their eggs, or just do nothing and enjoy the view.
- Miami, Honduras: Set on a narrow sandbar between the Caribbean and the Los Micos lagoon in Parque Nacional Jeanette Kawas, this Garífuna village, just a small collection of thatched huts, has remained unchanged for a couple of hundred years. Get there while you can though, as development around Tela Bay is a serious threat to this and other communities nearby.
- San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: This small, colorful fishing village of clapboard houses is slowly morphing into a party town with excellent hotels and restaurants. It sits amid a string of great beaches offering surfing, fishing, sailing, or just glorious idling.
- Tortuguero Village (on the Caribbean coast, Costa Rica): Tortuguero Village is a small collection of rustic wooden shacks on a narrow spit of land between the Caribbean Sea and a dense maze of jungle canals. It's been called Costa Rica's Venice, but it actually has more in common with the South American Amazon. As you explore the narrow canals here, you'll see a wide variety of herons and other water birds, three types of monkeys, three-toed sloths, and caimans. If you come between June and October, you might be treated to the awe-inspiring spectacle of a green turtle nesting -- the small stretch of Tortuguero beach is the last remaining major nesting site of this endangered animal.
- Bocas del Toro, Panama: There are plenty of surfing hot spots along the Pacific Coast of Panama, especially at Santa Catalina, but Bocas is where surfers find everything from beginner-friendly waves to monster, Hawaii-style waves that reach more than 6m (20 ft.). What's special about Bocas, too, is that the water is clear blue, allowing you to see the reef as you race over it, and there are lots of lodging options, restaurants, and thumping nightlife, unlike in Santa Catalina.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.