Panama City is Central America’s most hustling, bustling capital city - and Casco Viejo is its heart. ©Shahaira/Getty Images

The Central American isthmus consists of seven countries, two expansive coastlines and more than 100 volcanoes. Add it all up and you’ve got one of the exciting regions in the world to explore.

Options for adventure travelers and nature enthusiasts are ubiquitous, and you’ll also find plenty of relaxed island getaways, magnificent Maya ruins and bustling cities. Whatever your travel preferences, Central America can satisfy them.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a repeat customer, knowing where to start can be a challenge – but it’s also part of the fun. In this roundup of Central America’s best experiences, we’ll guide you on where to find monkeys, how to choose islands, which volcanoes to summit and who throws the best parties. ¡Vamos!

Island hop in Bocas Del Toro, Panama

With nine main islands and some 200 islets, this stunning archipelago looks like series of eye-catching postcards, and is unsurprisingly Panama’s most popular vacation spot. Its dockside hotels and restaurants, low-hanging palm trees and crystal-blue water have for many years attracted international travelers. Some have even refused to go home.

Activities of choice include pedaling a beach cruiser around, snorkeling among giant sea stars, surfing reef breaks, touring chocolate farms and feasting on delicious Caribbean fare. In the evenings, Latin rhythms and clinking glasses fill the air on backpacker-y Isla Colón.