The privileged position of the isthmus on the northern and southern trade routes and the fertility of volcanic lands have long favoured the emergence of peoples engaged in subsistence micro-culture or regional trade. Central America is the ancient land of the Mayans (traces and remains of which can be found in El Salvador and Honduras), one of the greatest civilizations of mankind, the Caribbean Miskitos (Honduras and Nicaragua), the Caribbean Garifunas (Honduras) and a mosaic of ethnic groups of Mayan, Mexican or Colombian origin. Indigenous traditions were more or less destroyed by the Spanish conquerors, but there are still vestiges and authentic craftsmanship, while the Spanish have left a beautiful urban colonial heritage. More recently, civil wars and dictatorships have given these regions a character at the confluence of North American and Latin influences. Today, the three countries are resolutely looking to the future, the scars of war are healed and particular care is taken to turn past weaknesses into real tourist assets and attractions.
A privileged nature :
Of the three countries - El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua - that are part of this sub-continent linking North and South America, the vegetation sometimes evokes the Andes Precordillera or the jungles of the Amazon, sometimes the arid mountains of Mexico or the United States. One thing is certain: the spectacle of nature is an enchantment for the traveller as well as a good opportunity to engage in activities promoted by rivers, nature parks, lakes, mountains and mangroves. Honduras has perhaps the greatest potential to be among the ecotourism destinations, while Nicaragua fascinates with its wide open spaces and countless adventure opportunities. El Salvador, with its 25 volcanoes, is the territory with the highest number of volcanic mountains in a very small territory. It offers the visitor an opportunity to be among the pioneers of international tourism!
© Dominique Auzias & Jean-Paul Labourdette