Backpacking in Central America

Backpacking in Central America

Stretching from southern Mexico to Panama, Central America is quickly becoming one of the most popular regions in the world for backpacking.  The combination of low cost of living, architectural wonders, and natural beauty, it has all the elements to make a great backpacking destination. Once you get your bearings, the tourist infrastructure is fairly built out and on average, most locals welcome visitors. As long as you have a basic understanding of Spanish, you should be able to get around easily.

 There are a few key Apps and websites that will help your trip run smoothly no matter where you wander.

How to Travel To Central America

Once you get to Central America, transportation is very cheap. The local buses are affectionately called ‘chicken buses’ because of the high likelihood that you will share your journey with some livestock! The buses are colorful and show their final destination on the front of the bus. Simply hop on board the right bus and at some point a conductor will come around to collect your fare.

In recent years there have also been private bus companies for hire specifically for backpackers. You can travel direct between major backpacking towns for a very affordable price. Your hostel should be able to help you arrange transport.

Getting to Central America will account for the majority of your costs to travel in this region.  Skyscanner is a great site to use to find the cheapest flights. In recent years, many in the backpacking community have turned to Kiwi to find cheap flights to Central America.

Accommodation in Central America

CouchSurfing is a great community that connects travellers with local hosts. HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels in the world, with millions of reviews from fellow backpackers. And Booking.com has lots of advanced search and filters for finding hostels, hotels, and unique accommodation.

Booking Activities in Central America

Get your Guide is a popular site to book tours, skip the line tickets for crowded sites, or just to get ideas of common activities in various locations. Viator is another similar activity and tour search website.

And for solo travellers who want to join a small group tour, or for adventure activities which require a guide, G Adventures is highly recommended.

Backpacking Travel Insurance

As for any trip abroad, it is crucial to take out travel insurance. World Nomads is the company recommended by Lonely Planet & Contiki.

Backpacking Countries in Central America

Check out our free country guides for more information about backpacking around Central America. You’ll find information about visa requirements, backpacking jobs, volunteer opportunities in Central America, things to do, and health and safety.

Select a country on the map for backpacking tips and travel information

Information for backpacking Costa Rica. Whether you need Costa Rican entry visa information, backpacker jobs in Costa Rica, hostels, or things to do, it's all here.
A collection of El Salvador travel and backpacking resources including El Salvador travel, entry visa requirements, employment for backpackers, and Spanish phrasebook.
Information for backpacking in Honduras. Whether you need information about the Honduras entry visa, backpacker jobs in Honduras, hostels, or things to do, it's all here.
Information for backpacking Mexico. Whether you need information about a Mexican entry visa information, backpacker jobs in Mexico, hostels, or things to do, it's all here.
Information for backpacking Nicaragua. Whether you need information about Nicaragua entry visa, backpacker jobs in Nicaragua, hostels, or things to do, it's all here.
A guide for backpacking around Panama
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