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Archeological Sites

If you are looking for Maya splendor, visit the ruins at Tazumal in western El Salvador. Another interesting Maya site in El Salvador, though not as visually stunning, is the abandoned village known as Joya de Cerén.

The Maya did not make it to Nicaragua, but that does not mean the country lacks fascinating pre-Columbian heritage. The islands of Zapatera and Ometepe have large zoomorphic basalt statues, a collection of which can be seen at the Museo Antiguo Convento de San Francisco. in Granada León Viejo is an abandoned colonial city now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Museo Las Huellas de Acahualinca in Managua holds a set of footprints that date back to 4000 B.C.

Spas & Yoga

Besides the spas you'll find in the high-end hotels and several exclusive seaside resorts, wellness retreats are a little thin on the ground. There are, however, some notable places beginning to appear, and it is only a matter of time before the health and pampering scene in Nicaragua and El Salvador will rival that of Costa Rica, especially considering the amount of undeveloped hot springs that dot both countries.

Nica Yoga (tel. 505/8400-0255; www.nicayoga.com) is Nicaragua's first yoga community, located 3km (1 3/4 miles) outside San Juan del Sur. This is an all-inclusive yoga retreat, with accommodations and surfing excursions provided, starting at $700 per person per week.

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.