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Take the Hummingbird Highway through Belize.

Small countries Belize and El Salvador, were not forgotten by BBC Lonely Planet when they were compiling their recent ‘Top ten spots in Central America'. The seven Central American countries, which join the globe dominating land masses of North and South America, house a fascinating mixture of cultures, ancient ruins, tropical wildlife and adventure.

Belize is culturally unique among its Central American neighbours - the only nation in the region with a British colonial heritage, and English remains the official language. Tourism and ecotourism are on the up, visitors drawn to the Belize Barrier Reef, Maya ruins, over 1,000 offshore Cayes (islands), excellent fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling and jungle and wildlife reserves. The country’s Hummingbird Highway offers non-stop incredible views. Stop off along the way to visit Cave's Branch for cave tubing and St Herman's Cave with its Maya ceremonial chambers. Belize has the largest cave system in Central America. There’s also the famous Blue Hole, a 25-foot-deep blue swimming hole inside a 328-foot-wide cenote (sink hole).

Also cited is El Salvador’s Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route), which takes you on a 36km-long winding trip through brightly coloured colonial towns offering gastronomic festivals, horseback riding and hiking to waterfalls scattered throughout the beautiful Cordillera Apaneca.

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