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Best Central America Hikes

The best Central America hikes are certainly not your average walk in the park. For those who seek the “road less traveled” Central America is the place to visit and explore. Lush jungles, hidden waterfalls, breathtaking mountain vistas and untapped natural beauty make this part of the world a veritable hiker’s dream.

best central america hikes

Wood Buildings-Cusuco National Park

Best Central America Hikes – Many Choices from Mild to Wild

You don’t have to be a hard-core experienced trekker to enjoy the wonders of hiking in Central America. There are many options throughout the region ranging from downhill jungle paths to rugged volcano trails and everything in between. The only hard part might be having to make a choice between the wonderful and diverse locations of the best Central America hikes.

Cusuco National Park, Honduras

If hiking along lush jungle paths, seeking out hidden waterfalls, and discovering exotic animals in their natural state sounds like your kind of adventure, then Cusuco National Park in Honduras is certainly the place for you. The primal force of Pulhapanzak Waterfall with its 140 foot drop, the mystery of the Taulabe Caves, and rich biodiversity of the jungle itself make this one of the best Central America hikes.

Chimborazo Circuit, Ecuador

On the other end of the hiking spectrum is Chimborazo Circuit in Ecuador. This multi-day experience along the “avenue of the volcanoes” is home to several peaks above 16,400 feet including mighty Chimborazo whose 20,564 height makes it the farthest point from the Earth’s surface at the Earth’s center.

Camping in tents, exploring glaciers and local villages, and become immersed in the culture and lifestyle of the Andean highlands are just some of the reasons that make this one of the best Central America hikes.

best central america hikes

The Quetzal Trail, Panama

The Quetzal Trail, Panama

Panama’s foremost day hiking trail is the Quetzal Trail. Winding through the Volcán Barú National Park along the northeastern side of the volcano, this jungle path is home to its namesake, the stunning Resplendent Quetzal.

The trail is mostly a downhill trek through unspoiled primary jungle from Cerra Punta to the village of Boquete. Travelers can actually have their luggage sent ahead from Cerra Punta to their next lodging in Boquete which is just another feature making this one of the best Central America hikes.

best central america hikes

Miguel Vieira

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

If true biodiversity is what you are looking for in a hiking experience, the Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is the perfect destination.

From empty beaches along the Pacific Ocean, lush coastal forests filled with exotic jungle life such as monkeys, sloths, and the elusive jaguar with flocks of scarlet macaws in the trees, Corcovado may be one of the most unique and special hiking locations on Earth. With a ranger station that welcomes campers, Corcovado is clearly one of the best Central America hikes.

Maribos Volcanic Range, Nicaragua

Imagine hiking 21 volcanoes in seven days! The Maribos Volcanic range near Leon, Nicaragua can provide just that kind of adventure. With trails that can vary in difficulty depending on your preference and skill level, the Maribos Range, including the daunting Momotombo Volcano is just the kind of challenge hikers love to embrace, making another of the best Central America hikes.

Best Central America hikes

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

For sheer beauty, the Arenal Volcano and the surrounding area in Costa Rica is nearly impossible to beat. With a huge reservoir, a 2900-hectare national park, numerous accessible trails running through cloud and rain forests that surround it, hiking Arenal is definitely a must-do as part of the best Central America hikes.

Lake Atitlan Volcanoes, Guatemala

The three volcanoes that surround Lake Atitlan in Guatemala provide a variety of hiking adventures in one of the most picturesque locations in the world.

The tallest of the three, Atitlan (11,601 ft.) offers an 8 hour trek to a summit that provides a stunning view of the Pacific Coast; San Pedro (9,906 ft.) will allow those who make the 4 hour climb a chance to view and discover plants and animals rarely seen elsewhere; Toliman (10,358 ft.) has a forest area near the summit for camping. Having three different hiking choices in one location is unique among the best Central America hikes.

Best Central America Hikes

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Monteverde/St. Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica

No list of the best Central America hikes would be complete without including the Monteverde/St. Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Filled with numerous trails that are well maintained and easy to navigate, Monteverde offers unparalleled natural beauty, a chance to see flora and fauna that are both unusual and rare including the Resplendent Quetzal.  Lodging choices nearby complete a near perfect picture of nature hiking at its finest.

Guanacaste National Park, Belize

This 50 acre preserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise and another of the best Central America hikes. Located in the center of Belize, just 2 miles from the capital city of Belmopan, the small size and easy access makes it convenient for casual nature hikes as well as the opportunity to enjoy both the natural features, in terms of exotic plants and animals, and the cultural aspects of life in Belize today along with its Mayan past.

best central america hikes

Brian B.

Pico Bonito Park, Honduras

Meaning ‘beautiful peak”, Pico Bonito is definitely a hike for those with expedition experience and a love of adventure. The over 300 species of birds, jaguars, pumas, and the every present howler monkeys make this journey one that is not easily forgotten and clearly, one of the best Central America hikes.

Pirre Mountain, Panama

The hike to the summit of Pirre Mountain, Panama follows a challenging jungle trail in one of the country’s most remote regions. Monkeys, sloths, exotic birds, and a great collection of trees and flowers make this difficult trek more than worth the effort and certainly worthy of being considered one of the best Central American hikes.

Get Close to the Best Central America Hikes

With some many choices for hiking adventures throughout Central America, the best way to experience them all is to find your own “base camp” to allow you to visit and explore on your schedule. Finding places to live, short term, long term, or even purchase is easier than you might imagine and just a mouse-click away. Let your trek start now!

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