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The Central American vacation offers get more exciting every day. Not far from the United States and still accessible and affordable, hotels are inexpensive and package deals make expensive airfare an easy choice. Not only do some of the countries have coasts on the Pacific and the Caribbean, their interiors are full of rain forests, Mayan ruins, mountain ranges and wildlife that make travel easier than Africa. While Costa Rica garners tourist dollars, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala are a surfers haven and relaxed and secluded spots. Today we take a look at current deals to Guatemala and Honduras.

General Tours (tel. 800/221-2216; www.generaltours.com) offers an independent tour of Guatemala that starts in Guatemala City with three days accommodations with airfare starting at $599 with the choice of three hotels. From Miami, this trip gives you all the free time you want to explore the region full of active volcanoes, fauna, lakes and Mayan culture. One country south of Belize via boat or small plane, Guatemala has some of the best bird watching in Central America and a host of boutique hotels. It'll cost you an extra $120 for departure fees and security taxes. Day trips from the capital will cost extra, but exploration is a must.

Just a 45 minute from Belize City, Casa Encantada (tel. 866/837-8900; www.casaencantada-antigua.com) is a small hotel owned by a Texas hotel group with roots in Belize with affordable prices situated amidst a coffee plantation and at the base of an active volcano. Rates are low; as in $90 for a deluxe king mid-week stay with white glove service. The sister hotel in Ambergris Caye, Belize, Victoria House (tel. 800/247-5159; www.victoria-house.com) accessible via boat or prop plane, is one of the most luxurious properties in Central America. Oscar runs the restaurant and Enrique the bar. Texans are everywhere, and troubadour Jerry Jeff Walker owns a house down there and gives outdoor concerts three times a year. If you like flip-flops and music, Belize and Guatemala are as relaxing as life gets.

Honduras, south of Belize towards South America, is tourist friendly as well. Tara Tours (tel. 800/327-0080; www.taratours.com) offers summer tours to Honduras from July 1 to August 15, 2005 for approximately $952 out of Miami for double occupancy. The trip lasts 6 nights at Half Moon Bay. The above rates are 2004 prices but call the Tara representatives for 2005 prices. Several options are available for Honduras packages that allow independent time and air and land options. If you want to independently, Taca Air (tel. 800/535-8780; www.taca.com) offers round-trip between several North American cities such as Miami for $259 and $399 from Boston to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. Honduras is known for its rain forests and mountain ranges. Its jungles are full of jaguars and vegetation. It's one of the best bird watching spots in the world.

Finally, Fly South Vacations (tel. 800/234-5245; www.flysouthvacations.com), a sibling of popular Go-Today, recently added a selection of four-day air and hotel combos to Guatemala. The cheapest, starting from $699, gets you round-trip airfare out of Dallas and Houston and two nights each in the Palacio Chico in Antigua and the Best Western Hotel Stofella in Guatemala City. Prices are based on two or three persons traveling together and also include ground transportation to and from airports and between cities in Guatemala, breakfasts at both hotels and hotel taxes and service fees. Extra costs such as foreign and domestic taxes and security fees range between $73-$200, depending upon point of departure. Add between $25 and $290 more for additional gateways, although most are only an extra $25. These prices are valid for trips taken between April 19 and June 17, 2005.

Now that you know where to find the deals, talk with fellow Frommer's travelers to exchange trip planning tips and ask questions on our Message Boards for Guatemala and Honduras.