Q: We recently retired, spent a couple of months in Florida, and recently returned from Hawaii. We do not like the heavy traffic in Florida, nor the 12 to 13 hours’ flying time to Hawaii. Where are Americans going in Central America or the Caribbean that is reasonably economical? We are looking for somewhere that is safe.
–Giles, Port Clinton, Ohio
A: Here are three destination options that might work for you:The Riviera Maya is located in Mexico, just south of Cancun. It consists of cities along the Caribbean coastline of Mexico. Cancun International Airport provides easy access to the Riviera Maya from almost anywhere in the United States. A wide variety of accommodations are available, including luxury and all-inclusive as well as budget hotels and resorts.
Visitors to the Riviera Maya can check out the ruins of the ancient Mayans. Sacred temples and totem poles with undecipherable inscriptions are located all around the area. Whether enjoying the sunshine on a beach, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, snorkeling, kayaking, or deep sea fishing, this up-and-coming Mexican spot offers myriad possibilities for many types of travelers.
Puerto Rico is easily accessible via Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, and no passports are needed for U.S. citizens. The capital and largest city, San Juan, offers major resorts and shopping centers. Elsewhere, resorts tend to be smaller and often less expensive. Puerto Rico offers interesting sights, such as the Bacardi Visitor Center and the Baths of Coamo, which are natural thermal baths. The island also has beaches, snorkeling, scuba, hiking, boat charters, and other outdoor activities.
Belize is the only English-speaking country located in Central America. Visitors fly into this Caribbean nation through the Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, about three or four hours by air from hubs in the Southern United States, like Atlanta or Dallas. This country offers a wide range of accommodations, including luxury resorts, family hotels, vacation rentals, condominiums, guesthouses, and campgrounds. Popular activities include scuba, snorkeling, windsurfing, fishing, sailing, birding, kayaking, and golf. Many tour operators provide guided tours of the Mayan ruins to visit such sites as the Temple of Masonry Altar, Altun Ha.