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Where to Go in Central America

Cartagena, Colombia

If you think Central America is just a beach destination, think again.

In this week’s YouTube video, I’m breaking down my favorite places in Central America for culture, history, adventure, and more. Whether you’re a foodie, a city lover, or you need some time in nature, you can definitely find what you’re looking for.

Click below to watch.

My Top Picks

For City Lovers: Mexico City

Casa Gilardi ©Stephanie Dosch
  • World-class museums like the National Museum of Anthropology, Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul, and Museo de Arte Popular (and so many more!)
  • Tacos, tacos, tacos—and great upscale restaurants, too
  • Cool neighborhoods for exploring, like Roma and Condesa
  • Architecture sites like Casa Luis Barragán, UNAM, Museo Jumex, and Museo Soumaya
  • Day excursion to the Teotihuacán ruins
  • Where to stay:

If You Want a Little Bit of Everything: Yucatán Peninsula

For Traditional Culture: Oaxaca

Oaxaca ©Stephanie Dosch

The Up-and-Coming Destination: Panama City

Panama City ©MaryAnn Ruthruff
  • UNESCO-listed old town with colonial architecture, cobblestone backstreets, and interesting shops, museums and restaurants
  • UNESCO-listed food!
  • rainforest park right in the city where you can look for wildlife like monkeys, sloths, and toucans
  • Day excursion to the Panama Canal
  • Where to stay:

If You’re Seeking Nature: Costa Rica

The Wildcard: Cartagena

  • Technically South America—but just barely! An easy flight from the US
  • Colorful colonial city with bougainvillea-covered balconies and music drifting out of doorways
  • Great boutiques for cool housewares, local crafts, and fashion from top Colombian designers like Johanna Ortiz, Slivia Tcherassi, and Mercedes Salazar
  • Sunset drinks at Café del Mar on the ramparts, overlooking the ocean
  • Outside of the old city, explore the Castillo de San Felipe fortress and the Getsemaní district, which is filled with street art and cool bars and cafés
  • Day excursion or spend 1-3 nights in the Rosario Islands for some beach time
  • Where to stay: