The idyllic Caribbean and Pacific coast beaches of Central America provide the perfect setting to unwind in style after a memorable holiday spent exploring its Mayan ruins, colonial cities and exotic nature.

Along with the magnificent Mayan pyramids and charming colonial cities, it is the beaches of Central America that attract so many visitors to the region. In Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaragua it is easy to finish off your Central America holiday with a stay on an idyllic beach, be it a world class Caribbean luxury resort or a jungle-fringed secluded beach on the Pacific.

Many of Mexico's best and most well-known beaches are gathered on the Yucatan Peninsula, in particular along the Riviera Maya coastline. Charactarised by crystal-clear water, swaying palms, soft white sand and deep blue skies, the resorts here are among some of the best in the world. Secluded villas, boutique hotels and luxury spa resorts provide the perfect places to relax and unwind in style. For those looking for something a little more remote or quieter, Holbox and Isla Mujeres are two highly attractive alternatives. All the way over the other side of the country, Mexico's various Pacific coast resort towns and sheltered coves offer often quieter beaches in stunning natural settings.

Many of Costa Rica's best beaches can also be found on the Pacific Coast; Manuel Antonio and Corcovado are popular national parks that combine hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities with wonderful beaches, whilst Playa Esterillos and Guanacaste offer more secluded beaches, a short walk from excellent resorts.

Set within a large nature reserve, Nicaragua's prized eco-lodge Morgan's Rock affords direct access onto Playa Ocotal, for guests staying in its luxury bungalows. Meanwhile in Belize, Ambergris Caye provides wonderful snorkelling opportunities in the nearby barrier reef, the second biggest in the world.

If we extend the region out to Cuba, you can combine a visit to the colonial cities and lush countryside with a stay at one of the magnificent resorts of the Cayos or at Varadero, whose pristine beaches share much in common with those found across the Caribbean in Mexico.

See below for more on each destination and for a selection of tours that will take you to the best beaches in Central America.

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