I believe these exciting new destinations will be a worthy addition to our array of fascinating possibilities in this region offering such a diversity of wildlife, history, local culture, colour and artistic heritage.
El Salvador is a tiny little country sandwiched between Guatemala and Honduras where nothing is more than a few hours’ drive away. It has had its share of troubles in the past like most of its neighbours but I believe that the time to explore its undiscovered charms is now.
I think it could be a wonderful addition to any in-depth exploration of Central America, with its collection of charming colonial towns rooted in indigenous heritage, little artisan markets, coffee plantations, lagoons and waterfalls along its Flower Route, so named for the colourful flowers that line the roads from October to February.
In addition, if you have a fascination for the sophisticated and advanced ancient civilisations of the Americas like the Mayans, then the archaeological treasures in El Salvador may be the perfect addition to a bespoke itinerary of the history of the Maya.
Just as at Pompeii in Italy, a Mayan town at Joya de Ceren was destroyed in around the 6th century when it was engulfed by lava in a volcanic eruption. Unlike other Mayan sites which tell the tales of the dramatic temples and pyramids of the ruling elite, Joya de Ceren was a much more modest farming community and is the only such type of remains to have ever been discovered.
The lava has preserved the remains of daily Mayan life which offers a unique undisturbed time capsule of incredible scientific value.
Nicaragua, on the other hand, is becoming rather a new star of Central America, with the rise of a handful of truly beautiful luxury lodges and hideaways. It boasts some incredible coast both on the Caribbean and on the Pacific as well as stunning lake and mountain scenery in its central highlands. Nestled above its glamourous and well-known neighbour, Costa Rica, Nicaragua is finally starting to shine all by itself.
One of the places I am most looking forward to visiting is the region around Lake Nicaragua (also known as Lago Cocibolca), the largest freshwater lake in Central America and only a touch smaller than Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca.
There is the stunning colonial town of Granada as well as a whole host of islands large and small, one or two of which now play host to exclusive private lodges from which you can explore not just Granada’s colonial treasures but the local lake communities and landscapes.
Volcanic peaks dot the horizon, from where you can stay in new small exclusive lodges with superb mountain views and gourmet cuisine as you explore crater lakes on spectacular hikes, look for monkeys, butterflies and birds in nearby wildlife reserves or discover Nicaragua’s stunning artistic heritage in the Pueblos Blancos – artisan villages at the cultural heart of the country.
I will be heading across to the dazzling Caribbean coast with its sublime turquoise waters to a private island hideaway with only a handful of suites – perfect for a special celebration with total exclusivity with your family or perhaps for a small and intimate wedding.
I am also making my way to an award-winning Eco lodge on the opposite Pacific Coast that works in harmony with the local community and which offers guests the chance to experience for themselves some wonderful community projects that are helping to establish educational initiatives in this beautiful region of sublime rainforest. Its estate is a protected private reserve, home to two endangered species of sea turtles that frequent the private beach year round.
I am looking forward to experiencing the famous Nicaraguan warmth and hospitality for myself and curating a list of the most exceptional properties and destinations for our clients that combine a chance to explore the ‘wild and natural’ Nicaragua in superlative style.
I will be delighted to share my experiences with you when I return. If you would like me to contact you in October to hear more about my travels and opinions, please do let me know. I’d be delighted to send you some pictures and information or schedule a call to chat about travels in Central America.