Home › Central America › 


Travel Tips
A to F

Additional costs:
Living on a shoestring is only possible if you buy food at the local markets and live like the locals. Nevertheless the additional costs, e.g. in restaurants are lower compared to the European or US American level. The costs in some tourist destinations and on the islands, above all on Roatán, are clearly more expensive than the average of the rest of the countries.

Airports & Airlines:
Guatemala has two international airports. The main airport is in Guatemala City and is approached by various international Airlines. Regular connections are offered from Guatemala City to the airport in Santa Elena / Flores. This small airport is also regularly approached from Belize. The only international airport in Belize is located next to Belize City. The national airlines Tropic Air and Maya Island Air offer flights to various domestic airports, such as San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the capital Belmopan and Placencia. The airport in El Salvador is an international hub for flights in Central America. In Nicaragua there is apart from the airport in Managua also a smaller airport in Granada, which is approached from Costa Rica. The airlines American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines approach nearly all big airports in Central America. The Central American airline Taca connects most of the airports with each other.

Beaches:
The most beautiful beaches in Central America are located on the Honduran north coast. Honduras has about 350 km of beautiful, untouched nature beaches that are perfectly suitable for a walk or a day at the beach during your round trip. For an only beach vacation the beaches on the Bay Islands, located off the Honduran coast, are the most recommendable. Although it might be worth mentioning, that most people visiting the Bay Islands are divers and snorkelers. The Belizean Caribbean coast disposes also of nice destinations for a beach vacation. Very popular is the island Ambergris Caye. In Nicaragua and El Salvador there are some beaches at the Pacific coast. However, in contrast to the turquoise sea and the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean, the sand on the pacific coast is dark and the beaches are often rocky.

Car rental:
We arrange all our tours with our own vehicles and experienced drivers/guides and do not recommend car rental due to the following reasons:
1.) Road conditions and regulations.
Road holes, landslips, missing or wrong indicated traffic signs as well as offensive driving often lead to accidents and heavily damaged vehicles!
2.) The local language can be a handicap particularly in rural areas. Spanish is highly required when asking someone for the way. Please also notice that by reasons of cultural aspects the Central Americans rather gives wrong directions than admitting not to know.
3.) Car-rental service and conditions.
Although you will find various internationally recognized car-rental companies in Honduras, which provide good cars to a fairly reasonable price they often do not provide sufficient services and conditions. Not only the insufficient administration but also and particularly the insurance retention also called fixed excess (the amount that is not covered in case of liability) is comparably high (about USD 2000) and can not be reduced. Furthermore, you will most likely be charged the entire amount even in the case of minor damages to the vehicle.

Climate:
The average temperature is around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). It is therefore warm all year around. However climate depends a lot on the altitude ranges. The highlands are a lot cooler than the hot lowlands on the Caribbean and pacific coast. The average temperatures in the central highlands lie between 16-20 degrees Celsius (60 - 68 degrees Fahrenheit). At night it can be even cooler. At the coasts the heat is attenuated by the sea breeze. There are two seasons; dry and wet. The rainy season is from November to mid January, and in June. During the rainy season temperatures are mild with showers in the afternoon. From June to September there are chances of tropical storms.

Clothing:
In all Central American countries it all depends on what part of the country you are in. Sweaters or a jacket are a must if you are staying in the mountains. Light coloured cotton clothing is essential when you visit the Caribbean coast and other lowland areas. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are suggested for the beach. If you are planning a trip with us, please ask for more detailed recommendations.

Communications:
Telephone services are found throughout the country as well as telex, and fax. The international dialing codes are as follows: Belize 00501, Guatemala 00502, El Salvador 00503, Honduras 00504 and Nicaragua 00505. There are no additional dialing codes for counties or cities. For using public telephones you usually need a calling card. In addition you will find various offices of national telecommunication companies and little shops "pulperias" where you can make a call. All Central American countries are linked to the Internet and in most cities and towns you will find Internet Cafes to check your mail. Internet phone calls are all the rage in Central America and are at the moment the cheapest way to place international calls. Many hotels also offer a wireless internet access.

Currency & Money:
All major credit cards (MasterCard, Visa) are accepted in the larger tourist areas and at most restaurants, hotels and stores. In smaller stores credit cards are less accepted and usually charge a fee up to 6%. We therefore recommend taking US Dollars in cash. Traveler's checks are hardly accepted. ATMs usually require a Visa-card or Cirrus network cards. For other types of debit cards try the ATM of the bank Credomatic. The Euro is still nearly unknown. It is therefore recommendable to take enough US Dollar in cash with you (denominations of small bills preferred). Currency can be exchanged at all banks, exchange houses (casa de cambio) or in larger hotels.

Customs:
The following requirements apply for duty free exemption for US and Canadian residents:
1.) The items are for personal use only
2.) They are in your possession, that is, they accompany you when you return. Items to be sent later may not be included
3.) You are returning from an overseas stay of at least 48 hours.
4.) You have not used all of your exemption allowance, or used any part of it, in the past 30 days (US)/ 7 days (Canada).
For US residents the total personal exemption, the total value of merchandise that you may bring back to the US without having to pay duty in most cases is USD 800. For Canadian residents the personal exemption is usually CAN$ 750. As a US Resident you may enter 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars or a pound of tobacco, 1 litre of alcohol (33.8 fl. oz.), 1 bottle of perfume and personal gifts. As Canadian resident you may enter 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or cigarillos or 200 grams (7 ounces) of tobacco, 1.5 litre wine or 1 litre liquor or liquor and wine. For European citizen apply 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 1 litre liquor or 2 litre wine, 1 bottle perfume (maximum 50 g perfume and 0,25 l Eau de Toilette), 500 g coffee and personal gifts. Custom regulations allow you to bring back more quantity of the items listed above for personal use, but you will have to pay duty. Please check the custom regulations before leaving your country.
Please avoid buying coral, certain shells and sea snails as well as special tropical wood. Apart from saving our nature, you do not risk any problems with the customs back home!

Electricity:
110 volts, 60 MHz is found throughout the country. Don´t forget your adapter if you use 220 volts electric devices!

Entry Requirements:
Citizens of most Western European countries, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA can stay 30 days in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua without having a visa. Extensions are possible up to a total stay of 90 days. For an extension please see the regional immigration office "migración". EU citizens can usually stay 90 days without having a visa. Tourist card and visas apply to all Central American countries (except Costa Rica, Panama, Belize). You can enter the countries with your passport that has to be valid at least for six more months. Travelers entering one of the countries via land will have to pay about 5 USD entrance taxes. Entering Nicaragua travelers also have to buy a tourist card for 10 US-Dollar.

Food & Drinks:
Tap water is usually not safe to drink in all of Central America. You should also avoid unpeeled fruit, uncooked vegetables, fish and seafood. But you should definitely not miss the typical specialties! The "tortilla" for example accompanies every meal and is served with beans, rice, fried banana and cream.