Throughout Mexico and Central America, you’ll find plenty of diverse terrains and natural wonders. There are dry and arid lands, high-altitude mountainous regions, luscious rainforests; and sprawling jungles. In these places, you can see a plethora of exotic wildlife and discover hidden travel gems.
Travelling around Mexico and Central America is super easy. In the main tourist hubs there’s a ton of accommodation and reputable travel agencies, eager to help make your trip.
Travel agents usually have good levels of English. They can give you recommendations on the best routes and attractions for your planned destinations. They will assist you in preparing for tours, and most prices will include transportation and tour guides. Travelling is relaxed; often you can make bookings a day or two before you want to take a trip.
Most attractions are accessed by shuttle buses. There’s normally designated meeting-points and times, or drivers will collect you from your accommodation.
Transit can sometimes be a little uncomfortable, as providers are always keen to fill transport to capacity. But this can make for some interesting journeys and helps you to get talking with fellow travellers.
Whether you’re looking for action-packed adventures, or peace and serenity you’re sure to find natural wonders that suit.
I’ve mostly travelled in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Magic Moments! 10 Natural Wonders in Mexico and Central America is a list of my top recommended natural attractions in these exciting Countries!
1. Cascadas de Agua Azul – Palenque, Mexico
The Cascadas de Agua Azul are around 70km from Palenque in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. They are a sequence of waterfalls, pools and rivers. Here you’ll find gift shops, walking trails and waterfalls where you can swim in designated pools. Cascadas de Agua Azul was one of my personal favourite tours and an unexpected surprise! We visited two different waterfall sites. The scenery is spectacular and seriously gram-worthy. I felt safe and refreshed swimming in the waters and floating between the pools.
2. Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands and Mangroves – Puntarenas, Costa Rica
The mangroves of Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands, Puntarenas, Costa Rica are a huge network of freshwater streams and rivers. You can take boat tours to explore the maze-like mangrove passages and the elaborate islands that are teaming with life. We took a mid-morning tour here and I was not disappointed. We saw; bats, monkeys, parrots, snakes, sloths and even a caiman. It was a relaxing tour to see animals in their natural habitat, with sunny weather and lush scenery.
3. Semuc Champey – Lanquín, Guatemala
Semuc Champey is a collection of natural cascades, waterfalls and pools in Lanquín, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. It’s the country’s most famous natural attraction. At Semuc Champey you can take various trekking and adventure activity tours. You get to the waterfalls by a climb through the jungle and can enjoy photo opportunities and swimming. We took a tour that included cave exploration and river rope-swings but were unlucky with heavy rains which made the hike difficult. However, it was worth the effort as the scenery at Semuc Champey is stunning.
4. Cenote Zacil Ha – Tulum, Mexico
Cenote Zacil Ha is close to Tulum, Quintanaroo, Mexico. Here you can snorkel, swim and explore the clear waters of underground pools and caverns. You’ll see fish and small turtles and can investigate caves where bats sleep above on the ceiling. We went to the park in the afternoon and left as it closed. It was an invigorating place to swim and fascinating to see the unique underwater world of the cenotes. Cenote Zacil Ha is a developed and busy park so I’d recommend to go early, or travel further afield to one of the less developed cenotes.
5. The Great Blue Hole – Caribbean sea, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is a massive, marine sinkhole in the Caribbean sea off Belize. The rare natural phenomenon can be accessed by boat from the mainland, or more commonly from the Belizean Cays. You can take snorkelling and scuba diving trips to see the peculiar hole. The Great Blue Hole is home to parrot fish and both big and small species of shark. I haven’t personally visited the Great Blue Hole but have heard some good reviews. Diving at the Blue Hole is expensive and one friend wasn’t convinced that the price is justified.
6. Lake Atitlán – Sololá, Guatemala
Lake Atitlán is a huge crater lake in Sololá, Guatemala, formed by a volcanic eruption 84,000 years ago. The grand lake is the deepest in Central America and is surrounded by 3 inactive volcanoes. There are numerous towns around the lake with accommodation and attractions. You’ll find everything from budget hostels to up-market hotels. You can enjoy all kinds of activities at the lake including; boat trips, farm tours, markets, spas, walks, water-sports and volcano hikes. I’d recommend a stay at lively San Pedro La Laguna. This is one of the most popular towns at the lake, and here we enjoyed the sights from an electro boat party.
7. Arch of Cabo San Lucas – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Arch of Cabo San Lucas is found at sea near to Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. The Arch of Cabo is iconic within the glamorous town of Cabo San Lucas. It’s a unique rock formation that you can visit by boat. The seas around the Arch are home to dolphins, sea-lions and Humpback whales. We saw the Arch of Cabo as part of a whale watching tour. I wouldn’t take a whale watching tour again but enjoyed seeing the striking Arch. Near to the Arch is another famous rock called ‘Neptune’s finger’. Neptune’s finger protrudes from the sea and is also an impressive sight.
8. Laguna de Chicabal – Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Laguna de Chicabal is near to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. It’s a volcanic crater lagoon that you can visit by foot from a visitors centre. The lagoon has a mysterious and enchanting vibe, and it’s easy to see why it’s a Mayan religious site. I found the climb to the lagoon steep to begin with, but easier after the first 20 minutes. The lagoon is picturesque and tranquil, and we saw floating floral arrangements leftover from a recent Mayan religious ceremony. It’s not possible to swim at Chicabal because it’s sacred ground, but the walking route around the lagoon is easy and enjoyable.
9. The Whale’s Tail – Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Rica
The Whale’s Tail is found on the beach of Uvita’s Marino Ballena National Park, Costa Rica. It’s an outcrop of rocks that’s exposed during low tide. When the sea retreats to crescent shapes on either side of the outcrop it reveals a strip of sand and rocks that, from above, looks like a whale’s tail. Its namesake is especially fitting because Humpback whales seasonally pass through these waters and sometimes you can see them in the distance. We walked the Whale’s Tail and watched a breath-taking sunset over the sea. The Whale’s Tail and National Park are one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to.
10. Volcán de Fuego – Sacatepéquez, Guatemala
Volcán de Fuego is around 16km west of the colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala on the borders of Chimaltenango, Escuintla and Sacatepéquez. The volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America. Throughout the day the volcano bellows smoke and at night it erupts with flowing lava. You can visit the neighbouring Acatenango volcano so you can see Volcán de Fuego from up-close. There are over-night hiking tours of Acatenango where you sleep on the extinct volcano. From here you can watch active Fuego erupt from a safe distance. I took the Acatenango tour and although it’s a tough and cold climb, the views are phenomenal. The site of the erupting volcano is awe-inspiring, especially at night.
Whenever travelling I like to make a solid, all-round trip and see as many sights as possible. These were some of my favourite and most accessible Natural Wonder tours in Mexico and Central America!
Would you like to visit any of these destinations? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter @jet_text
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