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Europe too expensive? Consider Central America

Does the prospect of the strong euro and increasingly expensive Europe airfare have you thinking about other destinations? Maybe it’s time to consider Central America. Decades removed from the civil strife of the 1980s, Central America is safer than it used to be, and tourism is on the rise. Travel is more affordable in the region, flights from the U.S. usually aren’t too long, and you won’t have to contend with a major time difference.

Plus, there’s so much to do! Soak in hot pools in the shadow of a volcano in Costa Rica, dive the world’s second longest barrier reef in Belize, and see the sunrise over ancient Maya ruins in Guatemala. Surf in El Salvador, explore colonial towns in Nicaragua, or go rare-bird watching in Panama.

U.S. airlines are making it easier than ever to visit Central America. In the last year, ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit has started service to both San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Panama City, Panama, from Ft. Lauderdale. American Airlines will launch a new route from Dallas to San Salvador in El Salvador. And Denver-based low-cost carrier Frontier has new flights between Denver and San Jose, Costa Rica, five times a week.

There are ways to visit that suit most comfort levels and budgets. Independent travelers can build an itinerary within any price range, while people who want a helping hand can find tours catering to interests such as archaeology or adventure.

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