We’ve spent a lot of time talking a lot about our favorite Central and South American destinations for spring lately, so it feels right with the impending Easter break to let you in on our favorite Easter break escapes! With such a short break it might seem impossible to steal away for a relaxing vacation, but with many of our favorite Central American destinations and the Caribbean being just a few hours away, the break is a perfect excuse to gather up the family for the majesty of Easter week in Central America or the Caribbean. Short distances, affordable flights, perfect weather, and unique traditions…what else could you ask for? Keep reading for our favorite Easter escapes.
♦ Guatemala: Antigua, Lake Atitlan & Tikal
Enchanting Mayan ruins, unbelievable volcanic lakes, and Central America’s most impressive Semana Santa procession, make Guatemala the place to be this Easter. Embed yourself in the time-honored traditions of Antigua’s Easter celebrations, when the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s cobblestone streets and balconies sparkle under elaborate textiles, colored sawdust, and handcrafted art made just for the holiday. The world renowned celebration runs all week long, but Good Friday and Easter Sunday are known for their special splendor – experiences unlike anywhere else in the world. After falling in love with the authentic Guatemalan culture, dive into the deeply rooted traditions of the ancient Maya at the ruins of Tikal. The lingering architecture of the ancient civilization is a historical treat fit for any adventurous family. Before heading home, make sure to sail across Lake Atitlan’s azure waters to end your trip with a serene appreciation for Guatemala’s natural beauty.
♦ Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast
From the northern edge of Panama to the southern tip of Nicaragua, Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast shines. A total departure from the Caribbean Coast, the Pacific stretch is hugged by lush rainforests, blue-green waters, and stark shores. Costa Rica’s dramatically tropical climate often has people guessing when to go to Costa Rica, but don’t worry over it! Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline in April is a sweet spot of warm weather, minimal showers, and some of the world’s best beach activities. Tamarindo along the northern Pacific Coast is the epitome of laid-back beach lifestyle where you can surf, fish, and go horseback riding along its welcoming shores. For never-ending amounts of fresh, affordable seafood and quieter, untouched sand, the southern pacific coast’s deserted beaches provide a tropical sanctuary.
♦ Colombia’s Caribbean: Cartagena & Tayrona National Park
Colombia’s gorgeous Caribbean Coast has outgrown the dated clichés that once haunted the magnificent country. One of our favorite Caribbean vacation spots, Cartagena has fairytale streets that embrace visitors with romantic history and charm. The colonial port city, with its 16th century plazas, unforgettable seafood, and relatively low tourist impact is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Ambling down it’s allies below the balconies dripping in fragrant flowers will have you feeling as if you’ve uncovered a well kept secret. Just four hours away by car, the beloved Tayrona National Park lies along a pristine Caribbean coast. Its whimsical beaches are great for getting a surf in, or reading in one of the many beach-side hammocks available to rent. You can even ask your travel expert at Encounter Latin America how to set up a hike through the enticing mountains nearby!
♦ Belize: Ambergris Caye & Cayo District
Belize is the best of both worlds when it comes to beach and mountain getaways. With flights from New York (and Los Angeles!) to Belize averaging just under 7 hours, its a quick and deserved vacation. Divers, snorkelers, and anyone who enjoys a fruity treat on the beach should sneak away to the snow-white sandy beaches of Ambergris Caye. Often called “paradise island,” this slice of tropical heaven is home to the planet’s second largest reef system, and some of the most extraordinary ocean views in the world. To round out your Belize experience or just switch up your terrain, stop in the Cayo District of western Belize. Bordering Guatemala’s Maya region of El Petén, the Cayo shows off Belize’s expansive pinelands, Maya ruins, rolling rainforests, and cattle ranches – a one of a kind combination of remote and rugged beauty.