- Caracol (Belize): Caracol is the largest known Maya archaeological site in Belize, and one of the great Maya city-states of the Classic era. Located deep within the Chiquibil Forest Reserve, the ruins are not nearly as well excavated as Tikal. However, this is part of Caracol's charm. The main pyramid here, Caana or "Sky Palace," stands some 41m (136 ft.) high; it is the tallest Maya building in Belize and still the tallest man-made structure in the country.
- Tikal (El Petén, Guatemala): In my opinion, Tikal is the most impressive of all the ancient Maya ceremonial cities. Not only is the site massive and meticulously excavated and restored, it's set in the midst of a lush and lively tropical jungle. The peaks of several temples poke through the dense rainforest canopy, toucans and parrots fly about, and the loudest noise you'll hear is the guttural call of howler monkeys. In its heyday, the city probably covered as many as 65 sq. km (25 sq. miles) and supported a population of more than 100,000.
- Joya de Cerén (outside of San Salvador, El Salvador): Joya de Cerén isn't El Salvador's most visually stunning ruin, but it offers one of Central America's most accurate glimpses into the lives of the region's Maya ancestors in the form of the remains of a Maya village, frozen in time 1,400 years ago when the village was buried beneath the ash of a violent volcanic eruption. Still standing and preserved are the local shaman's house, a community sauna, and private sleeping rooms.
- Copán (Honduras): Often referred to as the Paris of the Maya world, these majestic ruins will take you on a dramatic journey through the Maya civilization. The secret to understanding the Copán Ruins is a large square block of carved stone known as the Altar Q, which represents the dynastic lineage of 16 kings whose rule spanned nearly 4 centuries.
- Huellas de Acahualinca (Managua, Nicaragua): Six thousand-year-old footprints of men, women, and children beg the question; were they fleeing a volcanic eruption or just going for a swim? One thing is for sure, the footprints on display here are some of the oldest pieces of evidence of human activity in Central America. This intriguing site can be visited in a northern suburb of Managua.
- León (Nicaragua): This cradle of the revolution has been bombed, besieged, and washed away by hurricanes. Every street corner tells a story, and it's highly recommended that you take a city tour of this fascinating university town with its vibrant murals, tiny plazas, and the biggest cathedral in Central America. Nearby is León Viejo, the original, abandoned colonial city at the feet of its destroyer -- Volcán Momotombo.
- Casco Viejo (Panama City, Panama): This UNESCO-designated Panama City neighborhood is renowned for its Spanish, Italian, and French-influenced late-18th-century architecture and its narrow streets, bougainvillea-filled plazas, and breezy promenade. But Casco Viejo is also home to some of the country's top historical landmarks, such as La Catedral Metropolitana, the charred remains of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Casa Gongora, the best preserved example of a Spanish colonial home, and the UNESCO-designated Salon Bolivar, the site of the famous 1826 congress organized by Bolivar to discuss the unification of Colombia, Mexico, and Central America.
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.