Central America: Destination vacation hot spots

El Salvador (Mike Baird)

Carmen Ulloa

Students are getting ready to take their finals and looking forward to relaxing during the summer.

Janiee Laux, 19, biology, says her favorite destination for the summer is the beach.

She usually visits Laguna Beach, but going to South America is on her list.

“I’d rather be on the beach than anywhere else,” Laux said.

Though she doesn’t do water sports, she enjoys just lying on the beach, swimming, and getting sun.

Matthew Francis, 25, travel and tourism, says he would like to visit Alaska and Thailand.

“I look for peaceful places that offer relaxing activities such as kayaking, long boarding, biking, mountain climbing, snorkeling,” Francis said. He would also like to get certified in scuba diving.

Kelly Stone, 20, hospitality, likes cruises and beaches. Mexico is among her favorite destinations.

Ashley Balabis, 21, human development, owns a timeshare on the beach in San Diego and that will be her destination this summer.

For those who choose to travel abroad during summer there are many affordable and exciting destinations.

According to Los Angeles Times reporter Tracy Wilkinson, more California surfers are going to ride the friendly waves in El Salvador, where civil war kept most tourists away for years.

Robert Rotherham, a California surfer who lives in El Salvador, may be the coast’s biggest promoter.

“What makes these waves extremely unique … is that they pivot, then come in as a long wall of water that doesn’t dump all at the same time,” Rotherham said. “These waves are a dream.”

Tourists who enjoy history and culture choose Guatemala. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization has named Antigua Guatemala “World Heritage.”

According to UNESCO, Antigua was founded in the early sixteenth century and was built on a grid pattern inspired by the Italian Renaissance.

The city has kept its colonial charm, and its narrow streets are filled with cafes, bars, clubs, shops, and all kinds of artistic and cultural ingredients. Indigenous tribes of several backgrounds live in the region.

Their native dresses and dialects make the city even more colorful.

White sand beach lovers and anthropology fans visit Honduras.

Honduras.com is a site that provides tourists with information about the country.

“Honduras is a vibrant country, brimming with clear turquoise waters, pristine beaches, lush jungles, breathtaking mountains, challenging rivers, and fascinating ancient Mayan ruins,” the website brags.

According to Honduras Secretary of Tourism, Nelly Jerez, during Easter 2.3 million tourist visited Honduras.

Fernando Poma is the vice president of Hotel Real and Resorts, a company that owns 18 hotels in the United States, South America and the Caribbean.

He said that Costa Rica offers adventure tourism, particularly nature-oriented, including whitewater rafting, hot springs and extreme adventure sports.

“All activities are available since Costa Rica is focused on adventure vacationing. Top activities include camping, rafting, nature trails and hikes.” According to Poma, Costa Rica is also a great place to do community service and learn languages. “Expensive sports can be enjoyed at a much lower price such as helicopter piloting,” Poma said.

Costa Rica has become a favorite destination among Hollywood stars.Gisele Bündchen, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Pink, have all been spotted at the country’s beaches.

Poma says celebrities choose them because they are secluded and are not as tourist oriented.

“They are also exotic and wild,” Poma said. He explained that Costa Rica’s government assures that the beaches maintain their natural glamour and are not tainted by man.

According to Poma, Costa Rica is even safer than most large cities in North America.

The most visited hotels are in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama. “HR and Resorts offer weekend discounts and special packages for our visitors,” Poma said.

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