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I'm planning on backpacking from Panama to Belieze, hitting all countries in between, in April and traveling for about 2 or 3 months. I'm wondering if there is a route or trail that my boyfriend and I should stick to? Also are there frequent traveling groups that we could join to get from one place to the next safely? For example, a lot of my friends went on NOLS group backpacking trips. Are there any similar to NOLS that travel through Central America and know safe areas? Also my boyfriend is a surfer and we're trying to hit as many safe surfing spots as we can! Any recommendations?

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    I don't know about groups but there are a few bus companies who will take you between major cities, Tica Bus was the most recommended one, which I took. The only thing is, it doesn't go to Belize, so you have to get there from Guatemala City (go to Puerto Barrios and catch a boat to Punta Gorda, Belize) or San Pedro Sula in Honduras (it's a really dangerous city, I would not recommend it). To me all of Central American cities have a relatively dangerous atmosphere but you will also meet some great people there! Be advised that most people don't speak English, even in hostels. Belize is by far the safest country arround, I have lived there so I could give you more details if you need. And I've heard that Pacific Ocean is best for surfing, Salvador was highly recommended (though not from personal experience). over 3 years ago

    Answered by Anna via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
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    Once you hit the north of Panama around the Boquete/Bocas Del Toro region, you’ll have access to loads of tour companies that provide comfortable city to city transportation. Usually you can ask about these in hostels or tour agencies in town. Regular buses can be fine as well, that’s usually what I took and never had an issue. I was warned constantly against night buses so keep that in mind. Also, be extra aware when changing buses in either Tegus or San Pedro in Honduras. I’ve been to Honduras a few times with no incidents and even stayed in San Pedro but those two cities are not the safest places to be roaming around.

    Surfing is pretty great and cheap in El Salvador but you can find some cool spots all the way along the pacific coast. If you’re flexible, just start in Panama and you’ll meet lots of travellers along the way who can point you in the right direction. As a general guide, most people seem to do: Panama City (with maybe a visit to the San Blas islands) – Boquete – Bocas Del Toro – Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica – San Jose – (from here loads of options south and west depending on if you want to do national parks or surfing, I personally skipped most of Costa Rica) – San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua – Ometepe – Granada – Leon – Playa Coco, El Salvador - Santa Ana/ Juayúa – Antigua, Guatemala – Atitlan – Semuc Champey – Tikal – San Ignacio, Belize – Caye Caulker.

    You can do a lot less, you could do a lot more. Just depends on how much time you have and what you’re keen on seeing/doing. There’s loads of cool option in Honduras that people skip, like Copan and the Bay Islands are super fun and great for snorkelling and diving. Here’s some suggested itineraries in Panama from my blog: http://www.tofutraveler.com/blog/panama-itineraries. I just spent another year in Central America and Mexico so happy to answer any questions you might have. over 3 years ago

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    On Caribbean backpacking over 3 years ago

    Answered by Ione sauer via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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Map of Central America