Mexico, beautiful country and huge.Has huge variation.
The more touristic and Caribbean part can be found in the east, think of the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan.But also Puebla and Baja California Sur are beautiful destinations. Seeing the Popocatepetl in Puebla and the romantic Guanajuato are still highlights.
Basically, most Central American countries have very nice sides that are really worth it!
The one is more accessible than the other and also in terms of safety (feeling) there is a real difference between the countries. I have (on Panama na) visited all the countries in that region in 2017. My Top 5:
- Guatemala: very diverse in nature, beautiful cities (antiqua) and Great Lakes (Atitlan).
There is also a lot of Mayan culture and history to be found. It is easy to get there where there is plenty of choice between the cheap and more risky options and the more expensive and carefree options in terms of accommodation and transport. People are very friendly and the food delicious. There is mainly Spanish spoken, English is not always sure.
Infrastructure and basically everything is just well arranged and one speaks a lot of English. As far as I am concerned, it is recommended for people who want to make a nice trip but not necessarily looking for the backpack adventure. In terms of nature, Costa Rica actually has anything… mountains, Jungle, beaches on the Pacific and the Caribbean side. Price is almost European prices.
Lots of culture and lots of beautiful places. Mayan culture also quite present! Food is very good and affordable.. In terms of safety, it is okay, as long as you stay on touristic paths. Separation between tourisme and locals is sometimes substantial.
Typical Caribbean islands with ditto vibe. Lots of snorkelling options and good food. Not the cheapest, this is that it is a kind of sunny base for many Americans. Much goes through Belize City where I didn’t feel very comfortable on the street. I recommend a taxi there. Further in Belize no second felt unsafe.
There’s better English spoken here than for example Guatemala. The typical colonial cities are really worth visiting and give a nice view of the history of that region. Safety I found something less (have been robbed in bus there). In terms of prices dirt cheap and very nice holiday land for both backpackers and just a two week holiday!
- El Salvador; Small country, especially engaging if you like surfing or crossing up/down
- Honduras Has 2/3 captivating places with a Mayan temple or a good dive spot.
Lots of criminal activities and unsafe feeling. Via tour operator probably fine, independent in my opinion no recommendation.