To attract more tourists, countries in Central America are making it easier to travel around the region.
We humans are slow to change our old preconceived notions about things. This can be a boon to the Contrarian Traveler or investor. Those who put aside CNN images to go to Croatia the past few years have come back raving. While most people were associating “Nicaragua” with “Sandinistas” and “Iran-Contra Scandal,” more enlightened travelers and real estate investors have had the country to themselves.
Which brings us to transportation. Quietly, without much fanfare, the Central America countries have considerably loosened up their borders. In a short article in a recent National Geographic Traveler, the writer noted cars with license plates from El Salvador sitting in the parking lot in Tikal, Guatemala. “Stopping only for a passport check, you can now move among Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador with minimal hassle.”
This is not just relevant to tourists renting a car. It also offers airfare flexibility options. Right now Copa Airlines is running fare specials to selected cities in Central America from New York and Miami and other airlines have been running spot sales to here and there. If you are having trouble finding a deal to the area you want, it may make sense to pull out an atlas and see if you can fly somewhere else in Central America instead, then go overland. Just do some fact-checking on travel times in a guidebook. What looks close on a map could mean an overnight trip on twisty mountain roads.