The tropical climate, heavy rain and elevations of Central America lead to widely varying weather. The dry season is usually the best time to visit: in Nicaragua, Panama, and Honduras, it falls between November and April, while elsewhere it is January to March.
The busiest season for Panama Canal cruises and Central America ones is between February and mid-April, to the major ports of Honduras, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Costa Rica and Belize are also extremely busy during US holidays.
The rainy season can be the cheapest time to visit Central America as tourism dwindles and prices are reduced, though parts of Costa Rica can close down if the flooding in September and October is particularly drastic. The most expensive months to visit Central America are the peak months from November to April, when prices are hiked.
As well as the Panama Canal itself, other important Central American ports include Colon in Panama, Puerto Limon in Costa Rica, and San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua.
There are so many sites to take in across South America. One of these has got to be the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica draws thousands of tourists every year. It was once the most active in Costa Rica, and although it has not erupted since 2010, the scenery around the volcano offers spectacular views and plentiful outdoor leisure activities. Central America is also rich with colonial landmarks, and one of the most significant is Granada, built by the Spanish in Nicaragua. The city features abundant colonial architecture and provides tourists with plenty of sightseeing opportunities.
Another key feature of the region is the visible heritage of ancient civilizations. One example is Tikal, in the rainforest of northern Guatemala. This was once a major city of the Mayans, providing a home for up to 100,000 people. The site features ancient temples and pyramids - some of which can be climbed - offering incredible views across the rainforest.
The capital of Panama, Panama City, has become prosperous thanks to the Panama Canal. This tops the list for cruise ship visitors, and most Panama cruises will offer passengers the chance to pass through the Canal itself. Panama City also offers plenty of opportunity for shore excursions. It is a thriving, cosmopolitan urban development, which also features a fascinating colonial quarter.
Another popular excursion for cruise ship tourists is Roatan, the biggest of the Bay Islands, which can be found off Honduras’ eastern coast. Roatan is in the middle of the world’s second biggest coral reef and is a perfect spot for diving and snorkelling. The island also offers other water-based activities including swimming, dolphin watching, and kayaking.
For tourists looking for a place to relax, Ambergris Caye, the biggest of Belize’s islands is particularly popular.
For the full Panama Canal cruise experience, Norwegian Cruise Line offer a child-friendly cruise on the Norwegian Sun that departs from Miami and heads through the Canal, concluding in Colombia. Princess Cruises also offer a range of Central America cruises including a 15 night cruise on the Coral Express from Florida that passes through the Canal.
Carnival cruise line are also one of the premium providers of memorable cruises along the Panama canal. They offer slightly shorter tours for those looking for a break that doesn't take up a lot of time but that still allows them to take in all the beauty of the Panama canal, and also offer special rates for senior citizens.