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Four good reasons to visit Central America this fall

With many of our travel budgets shrinking this season, now is a great time to consider the halfway point between that costly trip to Europe and the staycation that you've been dreading. Oh yes, I'm talking about Central America.

Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have a lot to offer and are a great alternative to sinking a large chunk of cash into a heavy vacation. They're close enough so that you can get away for a long weekend, not stuffed with tourists like many of the Mexican port towns and warm enough to cure those chilly fall hangovers.

Why else would we move our Thanksgiving family dinner from Providence down to Panama City? Check out four good reasons below.

The (relative) strength of the dollar: Sure the American dollar has made up some ground against the Euro in the last two months, but hotels in London and Paris are still going to cost you dearly per night. Compare that with some of the four star hotels that go for a third of the price in Panama City then factor in the price of food and entertainment, and you're saving a ton of money over Europe

Plane tickets are inexpensive: Partially motivated by a slew of fare sales from Continental Airlines, destinations across the entire isthmus are dirt cheap right now. Many fares out of the country this fall are less expensive than domestic tickets across the US.

Diversity of activities: While the region may not have the cliche anglocentric activities you're used to on vacation, the natural beauty alone is enough to keep vacationers busy ziplining through the forest canopy, sea kayaking or loafing on the beach. Mix in a heaping scoop of American history, keen architecture and an emerging nightlife and you've got a winning combination.

Tourism is booming: San Jose, Costa Rica is the perfect model that shows why tourism has worked excellently in Central America. Labor is inexpensive and resources are rich, so tour companies and travel agents will be competing to book your snorkeling trip and give you the best price on your jungle adventure. Furthermore, with the tourism base growing in each respective country, more and more content is now available by word of mouth, through tripadvisor or on gather.com for you to do more organic research.

Piqued your interest? A great place to start your research on a trip to Central America is right here on Gadling. Take a look around our articles on Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala and Nicaragua and check your sock drawer -- you've got enough rainy day money for a small vacation this fall, right?

Filed under: Arts and Culture, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Budget Travel, Central America

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