Ruminating the ruins
The Mayan civilisation dominated Central America and, in particular, present-day Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, peaking between 600-900AD. But boy, did they peak. The Mayan Trail, or Ruta Maya, was created as a tourist route in the 1990s, allowing archaeological stunners to be rescued from the jungles’ natural takeovers and revealed to the world. Many of the well preserved ones are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the Trail now covers over 2,400km.
Although you will never tire of these masterful pyramids, palaces and ancient principalities, there are only so many you can do, so many people do a Mayan pic 'n' mix from Mexico, Belize and Guatemala’s finest, as that works geographically, allowing you to take in different contemporary cultures en route. Or, if you are making southern Guatemala your base, don’t miss Honduras and El Salvador’s Mayan marvels next door. Always with beaches thrown in along the way, because this is Central America after all. Bursting with history, but also with life. And life’s a beach, right?