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If you’re heading to Central America, chances are you’ll be wanting to visit a tropical beach, or three. With several countries that are home to both Pacific and Caribbean coasts, there are so many beach destinations in Central America, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Central America is known to have better beaches than South America, so if you’re traveling through the continent, be sure to pass through some of these paradise spots. Get ready to kick back with a fresh coconut juice, and explore some of Central America’s best beaches.

By Sam Hull

1. Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker is easily one of the best places to go for a dip in Central America. It’s a small island, just off the coast of Belize, that’s best known for its incredible turquoise Caribbean waters. The island is divided by a sandbar, which many visitors use as a beach. The incredible turquoise blue water of the ocean is so potent that it’s been known to put Instagram filters to shame.

By Aleksandar Todorovic | Shutterstock

2. Corn Islands, Nicaragua

Keep your eyes peeled for Robinson Crusoe while on the Corn Islands, which lie around 43 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. The two islands, which make up the Corn Islands, are a rugged paradise, home to sparkling white sands, vibrant turquoise waters, and a chilled-out Caribbean atmosphere. In past centuries, the islands were used as a refuge by pirates, and today you’ll find a mix of backpackers and surfers here. It’s a beach lover’s paradise, and you can spend your days in a hammock under coconut palms or eating freshly-caught lobster. The Corn Islands are as much of a Caribbean experience as you can have, and most of the locals speak Caribbean Creole English, and a bit of Spanish. 

By Travel With Passion | Shutterstock

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3. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Did we hear you say you were looking for something different than traditional Caribbean beaches? While white sand beaches and turquoise waters are incredible, it’s nice to mix things up and spend time on Pacific Coast beaches, which are much more interesting. Puerto Viejo is a town in Costa Rica that’s home to beaches such as the black-sand Playa Negra, lined by untamed palm trees and incredible waters to surf in. It’s one of the most laidback beach towns in Costa Rica and draws thousands of surfers each year — whether you’re a pro, or just looking to learn, there’s surfing fit for everyone. Explore places to stay in Puerto Viejo.

By Inga Locmele | Shutterstock

4. Ambergris Caye, Belize

Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island, and it’s known for its fair share of breathtaking beaches. Boasting some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in Central America, Ambergris has the advantage of lying next to Belize’s barrier reef. The island is only 25 miles long and one mile wide, so many travelers hire a golf buggy to get around and explore different strips of beaches. Wander from one Caribbean beach to the next without a care in the world here. The island is also known for its proximity to an incredible, 406-foot deep marine sinkhole. From above, the hole looks like it goes through to the center of the earth.

By bayazed | Shutterstock

5. Bocas del Toro, Panama

Have you really been backpacking in Central America if you haven’t made it to Bocas del Toro? It’s one of the top backpacking spots in Central America, and many arrive with the intention of staying for just a few days, but end up staying for weeks. It’s known for its beautiful white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, fun hostel scene, and awesome nightlife.

By Damsea | Shutterstock

6. San Blas Islands, Panama

Right up there on the bucket list for many travelers is a trip to the San Blas Islands, which lie off the coast of Panama. A lot of visitors use the islands as a stopping ground on the way to Colombia, seeing as the Colombia-Panama border isn’t safe to cross by land. The San Blas Islands consists of over 360 islands, of which only around 50 are inhabited. The islands are home to some of the most incredible beaches in the continent, if not in the world, and it’s easy to arrange an island-hopping tour while in Panama.

By Simon Dannhauer | Shutterstock

7. Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The Manuel Antonio National Park is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Central America. At the park, you’ll see where the Costa Rican rainforest meets with the beach, and there are incredible wildlife spotting opportunities. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling, and the soft sand beaches will make you feel completely relaxed.

By PAUL ATKINSON | Shutterstock

8. Roatan, Honduras

Honduras’ Bay Islands are a popular spot on the backpacking trail, and Roatan, which is one of the islands, is home to some of the best beaches in the world. With translucent turquoise waters, tropical fish, and sugar white sands, you really can’t beat the beaches here. It’s also known for its super fun nightlife and backpacker community.

By GTS Productions | Shutterstock
8 Best Beaches in Central America
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