The link between the Americas may look spindly, but it’s packed full of variety and interest, and each country is unique. Mexico is much more than sombreros, tacos and bullfighting. How about the massive flat pyramids built by the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilisations? Approached by long flights of steps with mysterious carvings, they’re a marvel. In spectacular Sumidero Canyon, you can explore Indian villages where life continues as it has for centuries. Or you can hit the beach at Cancun for a taste of the Caribbean vibe: aqua sea, palm trees, hammocks and tequila.
Next door, Guatemala offers tangled jungle busy with birds, soaring volcanoes and eye-poppingly complex Mayan temples in contrast to simple Indian villages with their vibrant markets. The attractions in Honduras are astronomical, literally: at Copan 2000 years of civilisation have left behind temples, palaces and a sophisticated observatory.
There are more ancient ruins in Belize, romantically draped in jungle and home to exotic wildlife. There are quaint stilted fishing villages, the 40-metre high pyramid of El Castillo and tropical beaches where the warm sea hides busy reefs. Costa Rica swarms with birds and animals in the cloud forest that drapes its active volcanoes: it’s a magnet for modern-day adventurers.