The recent launch of United Airlines’ direct route from Sydney to Houston means that Central America is now just two flights away from Australia.

Houston offers non-stop routes in this direction (including short, direct flights to Belize, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama) which throws open the door to discovery there. Central America has become a whole lot more accessible so allow Latin America specialists Chimu Adventures to quash five myths surrounding it.


1. The language barrier will be challenging (myth)

Chimu Central America

Of course, when travelling in predominantly Spanish speaking countries, it’s very useful (i.e, essential) to know some of the language. A few phrases will go a long way and local people will be more accommodating for it.

If you are travelling to the tropical waters of Belize, however, English is widely spoken so you won’t encounter any problems when ordering your post-beach Beliki brew. Check out Caye Caulker just off the coast of Belize for a good dose of Caribbean culture and excellent snorkelling/diving on its World Heritage-listed barrier reef.


2. The food will be repetitive (myth)

Mexican food Chimu

If the first culinary thought that springs to mind when you think of Central American fare is rice and beans then you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Mexico is the place to let your taste buds get experimental and we aren’t just talking tortilla chips – trawl the 20 de Noviembre market in Oaxaca for freshly barbecued meats and vegetables; visit Mexico City for street food like tacos al pastor (pork, dried chilli and pineapple) and sate a sweet tooth with some sugary treats like tamales dulces.


3. Mayan ruins will be really crowded (myth)

Tikal ruins Chimu

Xunantunich in Belize, Copán in Honduras, Tikal in Guatemala and Chichen Itza and Palenque in Mexico are just a few of the many archaeological treasures in Central America.

Chimu’s Central America Adventure visits Tikal National Park where some 3000 ancient structures rise from the forest floor. Yes, these sites can be popular at certain times of the day (the advice is to get there at dawn or stay until dusk) but it’s nothing compared to the crowds you will encounter at some of South America’s Incan ruins.


4. Costa Rica is the only place for wildlife (myth)

panama-sloth Chimu Central America

While we are not disputing Costa Rica’s huge biodiversity, we would like to introduce you to the lesser known wildlife haven that is Panama – home to more endemic species than its western neighbour. No less than three sloth species (the Two-Toed Sloth Choloepus Hoffmani, the Three-Toed Sloth Bradypus Variegatus and the Pygmy Sloth Bradypus Pygmaeus) use the jungles of Panama as their camouflage, along with several nocturnal monkeys and luminous green iguanas.

Discover Chimu’s Wildlife of the Panama Canal recommendations and get exploring this lesser-known country.


5. But won’t all of this be really expensive? (myth)

belize Chimu

Travelling in Central America isn’t as pricey as you may think. The proximity of the countries means that you can easily hop borders by land rather than air; you can eat in mid-range restaurants for under US$20 per head and get immersed in beautiful jungle lodge accommodation for around US$120 per couple per night. As Latin America specialists who have lived and travelled this area, Chimu can build you a personalised Central America itinerary from scratch based on what you want to do. So whether it is beaches, food, ruins or wildlife that take your fancy, Chimu can make it happen!

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What’s the most extraordinary way you’ve experienced Central America?

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