- Iglesia La Merced (Antigua, Guatemala): In a city awash in Catholic churches, convents, and monasteries, Iglesia La Merced reigns supreme. It's no small coincidence -- nor small honor -- that the principal procession of the Holy Week celebrations leaves from this church. The ornate baroque facade is painted bright yellow and white, and the interior is full of art and sculptures. The ruins of the attached convent are also worth a visit.
- Iglesia de Santo Tomás (Chichicastenango, Guatemala): Dating from 1540, this modest church serves simultaneously as a place for Catholic worship and ancient Maya rituals. The exterior steps, which possess a privileged perch over the town of Chichicastenango, are believed to represent the 18 months of the Maya calendar. Today, these steps are constantly in use as an altar for Maya prayer and offerings. It was in the attached convent that the oldest known version of the Popol Vuh was discovered.
- Museo de Arte (San Salvador, El Salvador): This 2,267-sq.-m (24,400-sq.-ft.), six-room museum of rotating and permanent exhibits offers the visitor an insightful, visual glimpse into the character of the country. Exceptionally interesting is the art of the country's civil war period. Museo de Arte de El Salvador also features the famous towering stone mosaic Monument to The Revolution, which depicts a naked man whose outstretched arms are thought to symbolize freedom and liberty.
- Chiminike (Tegucigalpa, Honduras): This modish children's museum in the country's capital isn't shy about making sure kids are entertained: a human body room complete with fart sounds, a crawl through an intestinal tract, and a graffiti prone VW Beetle are all on exhibit. Kids might not realize it, but every quirk is part of the museum's ingenious way to get young people to learn.
- Antiguo Convento San Francisco (Granada, Nicaragua): Though the Antiguo Convento San Francisco has a remarkable collection of pre-Colombian statues, it's not the only attraction in this beautiful city. One great way to see all the sites, including the Antiguo Convento, is to take a horse-and-carriage ride through Granada's charming cobbled streets.
- Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (San José, Costa Rica): In addition to housing a comprehensive collection of historical and archaeological artifacts, Costa Rica's National Museum occupies a former army barracks that was the scene of fighting during the civil war of 1948. The exterior of the building still shows the pockmarks from bullets used in the street battles of the country's last civil war.
- Miraflores Visitors Center (Canal Zone, Panama): This top-notch museum is the best land-based platform from which to see the Panama Canal at work. The four-floor museum features an interactive display, a theater, and exhibits providing information about the canal's history and its impact on world trade. Helpful information is provided in English and Spanish, and the museum is well organized and maintained. Best of all are the excellent views of gigantic cargo ships transiting the canal.
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.