The narrow band separating North and South America is remarkably diverse, considering its modest size. Encompassing seven countries including Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, the region is actually considered part of North America – but it couldn’t be more different.
Defined by vast mountain ranges, active volcanoes, and plush tropical jungles, the narrow isthmus is bordered by the Pacific on one coast and the Atlantic on the other. From nation to nation, the differences are marked – a bus ride from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to Belize is one of life’s greatest travel experiences.
The region is famous for its biodiversity, with the rainforests and coastline of Costa Rica some of the best places in the world to spot Mesoamerica’s most famous animal inhabitants. Ancient cultures still thrive in this region too. Mayan traditions are alive and well in Guatemala, while Panama’s Guna Yala province is the official home of the country’s indigenous Kuna tribe.