Central America

Central America has 7 countries and I’ve been to 3 of them.


Capital City:  San José

Population: 4,857,274

Other Major Cities:  San José, Cartago, Limón, Liberia, Alajuela

Main Airports: San José (SJO) and Liberia (LIR)

Language: Spanish

Currency: Costa Rican colón



Capital City: Managua

Population: 6,284,757

Other Major Cities:  Matagalpa, Leon, Granada, Chinandega, Masaya

Main Airports: Managua (MGA), Bluefields (BEF) , Corn Island (RNI)

Language: Spanish

Currency: Nicaraguan córdoba



Capital City: Panama City

Population: 4,034,119

Other Cities: David and Colón

Main Airport(s): Panama City (PTY), David (DAV), and Bocas del Toro (BOC)

Language: Spanish, though English is widely spoken in parts of the country (14% of Panamians speak it), as are many indigenous languages.

Currency: Technically, the Panamanian Balboa, though United States currency is used most frequently, and one Balboa is equal to $1 USD and are interchangeable. If travelling from the United States, there’s no need to  exchange money.


  • Plane: Though the country has several small airports, you’ll likely be arriving in Panama City, which has two airports, Tocumen, the larger and more modern of the two, which handles most international flights. Albrook, in the center of the city, is used primarily for smaller planes and regional travel.
  • Train: Like neighboring Colombia, the railway is more for tourism than for traveling long distance.
  • Bus: Panama City’s main bus terminal and Albrook Airport are anchored by a shopping mall. Here, you can catch buses with destinations all over the country.  A good tip: if you’re travelling to David or Bocas del Toro from Panama City, take an overnight bus to save money.
  • Car: Not recommended, especially in Panama City. Take a cab or the new Metro Bus to get around town and buses or a hired car to travel outside of the city.


Panama was originally part of Colombia until 1903. And panama hats? It’s a misnomer— they’re manufactured in Ecuador!