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The colonization of Central America added an extra layer of fascinating history to the continent and left us with some of the most beautiful and atmospheric cities in the Americas.

Even today, Central America's colonial cities still have the ability to carry visitors back in time. Their streets that have retained the same charm and timeless feel that put them on the radar of travellers, attracted by their beauty and layers of history and culture.

Mexico's best colonial cities and towns are concentrated in the centre of the country, with places like Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, Queretaro, Taxco and Cuernavaca all surrounding Mexico City. Heading east, San Cristobal is perhaps the most attractive colonial city in the country, whilst Merida and Campeche are both excellent basis from which to explore the Mayan ruins of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Arguably the most photogenic of all the colonial cities in Central America is Nicaragua's Granada, a colourful city on the shores of the vast Lake Nicaragua, famed for its fantastic neo-classical cathedral, friendly locals and horse-drawn carriages. Anitgua in Guatemala might perhaps dispute that claim, backed as it is by two towering volcanoes and boasting lively markets, a thriving cultural scene and exquisite colonial architecture.

Across the Caribbean sea, the island of Cuba offers its own colonial splendours. Havana and Trinidad in particular are as astonishingly beautiful as they are utterly fascinating, they are cities in which visitors can discover the unique society that has made the country one of the most alluring travel destinations in the world.

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

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Granada

The charming city of Granada is the oldest city on the American continent, with a colourful Spanish colonial centre, best exe…

Antigua

Antigua has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and may be the most outstanding and best-preserved colonial city in…

Chichicastenango

Chichicastenango is the most famous market in Guatemala, where vendors sell handicrafts, food, flowers, pottery, medicinal pl…

Havana

Cuba's colonial, US, revolutionary and socialist history converge in its iconic capital.

Trinidad

The Colonial city of Trinidad is one of Cuba's most marvellous sights. The historic city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as an…

San Cristobal & Sumidero Canyon

San Cristóbal is nestled in a fertile valley in south-east Mexico, amid pine forests, farmland and mountains.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel is a beautiful city, close to the capital, with classic colonial buildings and a towering cathedral.

Taxco & Cuernavaca

These nearby attractive colonial cities offer a year-round temperate climate and easy access from the capital.

Queretaro

Querataro is a popular starting or finishing point for those seeking to explore the colonial cities of central Mexico.

Puebla

Close to Mexico City, laid-back Puebla offers exquisite cuisine and an abundance of impressive colonial architecture.

Merida

Mérida is the capital of the Yucatan, a vibrant city with Mayan and colonial heritage, surrounded by sisal haciendas.

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