From the imposing Manhattan skyline and the colonial architectural gems of Cuba to the lush rainforests of Panama, North America is a land of glorious contrasts. The biggest countries, USA and Canada, are as diverse as their landscapes.
Travelers visiting North America have a huge range of destinations to choose between. Colorful Mexico effortlessly blends old and new with its Mayan ruins and thriving modern cities. In the central part of the continent, Costa Rica has evolved into a prime eco-tourism destination, while Panama has some of the region’s best bird-watching and hiking opportunities.
The Caribbean islands within North America – Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago – are a travelers’ paradise. Unspoilt beaches, coral reefs and world-class resorts define these laid-back towns and the most popular of all the islands, the Bahamas, draws millions of travelers to its islands each year
North America’s climate varies throughout the continent. The US and Canada have four distinct seasons while most of the other countries including Cuba and Mexico have two. On the other hand, the islands closer to the Caribbean Sea – Jamaica and the Bahamas – are year-round destinations.
Depending on the time of year you plan to visit North America and the purpose of your trip, the two biggest countries in the continent, America and Canada, both have diverse weather conditions. During winter the eastern part of the US gets considerably colder than the West Coast and in Canada the weather is bitterly cold throughout the country. The best time to visit both countries is late spring (April to May) and early fall (September to early October).
Mexico and Panama have two seasons: dry and wet; the dry season lasts from mid-December until mid-April and the rainy season is from May to November. The Caribbean countries enjoy warm weather all year round with a few rainy spells in summer from May to November.
Given the vastness of the continent the easiest way to get around is by plane. In the US there are several low-cost airlines while in Canada you can fly with the domestic airlines and in Mexico use the large private national and regional carriers. The smaller countries including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Panama all have good domestic flight networks.
Taxis are always a reasonable option while visiting any city, but to really experience the country and explore isolated towns and villages renting a car gives you the freedom to do so, but bear in mind that apart from the US and Canada road conditions can be poor. If you’d rather save on transport, buses are the most cost effective way to get around.
(prices quoted are from London)