Central America is known for its spectacular beaches. Beautiful coastline, tropical weather, and fertile rainforests are all just part of the package. Some beaches are better for certain things, though, so here are our picks for top beaches in Central America for ocean sports.
Snorkling: Ambergris Caye, Belize
If you can’t make it to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, what’s the next best place to snorkel? Our pick is Ambergis Caye, home to the largest reef in the Atlantic, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. Incredibly, Belize is also home to Blue Hole, a brilliant eye in the ocean from the air, this perfectly round underwater cave is surrounded by a shallow lagoon with hundreds of beautiful species to watch.
Scuba Diving: Playa los Cobanos, El Salvador
While Blue Hole is a great place to dive, Playa los Cobanos in El Salvador squeaks into our top slot for scuba diving. Why? Well, in addition to the 161 square-kilometer reef system, you can watch your favorite tropical fish while exploring a 50-year-old shipwreck that is fast becoming part of the ecosystem.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding: Playa Danta
If you’re a stand up paddle board enthusiast, you know there’s nothing better than warm weather, exotic sea life, and calm waters. Located along the bay of Catalinas, there are no huge breakwaters, and fewer visitors come to enjoy its pristine beach so you’ll get to experience the serenity of the beach. Plus, Playa Danta is just a short drive from the Nosara Yoga Institute, which attracts yogis from all over the world, so you can try your “Om” at stand up paddleboard yoga.
Kayaking and Sailing: San Blas Islands
Where can you sail or paddle your way through clear waters and fertile coral while navigating around 365 tiny islets? The San Blas Islands of Panama, of course. These islands, still home to the Kuna Yala natives, are a National Geographic favorite for both sailing and kayaking. Plus, departing from Panama City or Colon is easy.
For Surfing: Tamarindo, Costa Rica
We absolutely love Tamarindo Beach for surfing, and so does Trip Advisor, Lonely Planet, and Travel and Leisure Magazine. Located in beautiful Guanacaste in Costa Rica, Tamarindo has breaks for surfers of all levels. Plus, just a few miles away in Nosara, Simply Surf is an internationally-known, all-inclusive surf retreat where you can improve your technique and surf with the best.
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