8 Cheapest Places to Fly to in Central America (Right Now)

by Flora
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“What are the cheapest places to fly to in Central America?” If you’re like me, you’ve likely pondered this question. Central America is a region rich in culture, natural beauty, and history, all packed into seven diverse countries. Finding the cheapest flights to Central America can be tough, but don’t worry! From my many adventures and deal-hunting on Skyscanner and Hopper, I’ve created this quick guide. Eager to discover the most affordable cities in Central America for your travels? Let’s get started!

Dreaming of a getaway that brings together beautiful beaches, mysterious old ruins, and lively local life? Central America is your answer! This region, nestled between North and South America, is a treasure chest of budget-friendly spots that are big on both charm and thrills. For those wondering which airlines fly to Central America, there’s good news. There are plenty of economical flights ready to take you to these stunning spots without costing a fortune.

Central America is a vibrant mix of cultures, each offering unique traditions, delicious food, and warm hospitality. You’ll find everything from bustling markets in San José, Costa Rica, to tranquil beaches in Belize City. Don’t stress about finding cheap flights to Central America. This guide will show you the way to affordable entry points into these tropical havens.

Every minute in these cheapest Central American countries will leave lasting memories. So, get ready! Let’s dive in and uncover the hidden gems of Central America that promise both thrill and value.

The cheapest airports to fly to Central America right now
This article on the cheapest airports to fly to Central America contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

#1 tip to find cheap flights to Central America

Looking for cheap flights to Central America? Before diving into all the top cities and airports to fly to Central America, I want to share a quick tip on how to save money on airfare.

For the past 3 years, I’ve used Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) to get amazing flight deals. All you have to do is enter your home airport and where you want to go, and from there, they’ll send you mistake fares and other ridiculously cheap flight deals. And the coolest part? It’s 100% FREE! In 2023, I’ve saved thousands of dollars from their email alerts. This includes most recently, a $259 roundtrip fare from Boston to Panama City.

There’s a free and a premium version – the free one has pretty much everything you’ll need. Though if you’re like me and travel a lot, it’s worth upgrading to the paid version for $49 per year. I recommend signing up for the free trial (you can cancel at any time) to try it for yourself. And if you like it, use my coupon code JON20 to save 20%!

Now without further ado, here are the best Central America flights in 2023.

Cheapest Places to Fly to in Central America in 2023

Below are the cheapest flights to Central America from the US and around the world.

1. Panama City, Panama

In your search for the cheapest flights to Central America, Panama City stands out. This city, with its towering buildings beside the ocean, perfectly blends the new with the old. Tocumen International Airport (PTY), the main hub for flights in the area, often hosts great deals. As such, this city is a smart pick for travelers watching their budget.

Upon arrival, explore the charming streets of Casco Viejo, the city’s historic district. Here, you’ll find stylish cafes and lively music venues nestled in colonial-era buildings. For nature enthusiasts, the nearby Metropolitan National Park offers trails with breathtaking views of the cityscape, highlighting the city’s mix of urban life and green spaces.

Panama City is one of the best places to go in Central America.
Panama City is one of the best places to go in Central America.

No visit is complete without seeing the Panama Canal. This incredible human-made marvel has a rich history, best experienced at the Miraflores Visitor Center. As evening arrives, the city’s growing food scene invites you to enjoy quality meals that are easy on the wallet. Don’t miss the chance to savor Panama City’s authentic dish, “Ropa Vieja.” This flavorful meal, made from slow-cooked beef, tomatoes, and spices, is a delight you’ll find in local eateries without splurging.

Here’s a cool fact: did you know that Panama City is the only capital city that has a rainforest within its city limits? This unique trait, along with its affordable travel options, underscores why so many travelers seek cheap flight deals to Central America with Panama City at the top of their list. For the true adventurers, the urban explorers, and everyone in between, Panama City is one of the best places to go in Central America.

2. San José, Costa Rica

On the hunt for cheap flights to Central America? Set your sights on San José, the pulsing heart of Costa Rica. Not only is it wallet-friendly, but it’s also a portal to the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle. Juan Santamaría International Airport, known for its regular bargains, is your entry point to this dynamic city.

Imagine starting your day in San José with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee on one of the city’s exclusive coffee tours. It’s a unique chance to trace the journey of the bean to your cup and understand why Costa Rican coffee enjoys its world-class status. After your morning caffeine fix, why not delve into the local culture? A visit to the majestic National Theatre offers a glimpse of historical grandeur, while the Costa Rican Art Museum captivates with its artistic treasures.

Searching for budget-friendly Central American flights? Consider San José, the vibrant heart of Costa Rica.
Searching for budget-friendly Central American flights? Consider San José, the vibrant heart of Costa Rica.

Getting around San José is easy and affordable. The city’s extensive bus and train network means you’re never far from your next adventure. And with the city center just a short hop from the airport, you’ll waste no time diving into your itinerary. For a trip that’s as rich in experiences as it is kind to your pocket, San José awaits with open arms.


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3. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Next on our list of cheap places to fly to in Central America is Guatemala City, Guatemala. This often-overlooked city is a treasure chest of wonders just waiting to be discovered. La Aurora International Airport is a hub for some of the cheapest flights to Central America from the US, with low-cost airlines such as Spirit offering regular routes.

Guatemala City harmoniously blends historical depth with modern flair. Travel back in time in the Centro Histórico, with its majestic National Palace of Culture and bustling Central Market. For a contemporary twist, the Zona Viva offers a plethora of stylish restaurants, shops, and vibrant nightlife. However, it’s the city’s position as a springboard to the country’s other wonders that truly shines.

If you desire a memorable yet affordable travel experience, Guatemala should be your number one choice.
If you desire a memorable yet affordable travel experience, Guatemala should be your number one choice.

From here, you’re a stone’s throw away from majestic volcanoes, serene lakes, and the ancient ruins of the Mayan civilization. Fancy a trip to the famous Antigua, Lake Atitlán, or the Tikal National Park? They’re all within reach. And here’s a fun tidbit: Guatemala City is built atop an ancient Mayan city, and you can still see remnants of its past!

Guatemala is a country that packs a punch. Here, you can walk the ancient paths of the Mayans at Tikal, shop for unique crafts in bustling local markets, and stand in awe of active volcanoes. And the best part? It’s all accessible from Guatemala City. With cheap flight deals to Central America, exploring the rich culture and stunning landscapes of Guatemala doesn’t have to break the bank. So, if you’re looking for a travel experience that’s as affordable as it is unforgettable, Guatemala should be at the top of your list.

4. Managua, Nicaragua

Venturing into Central America’s most affordable destinations, we find ourselves in Managua, Nicaragua. This hidden Central American gem holds a treasure trove of experiences for the curious traveler. Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, the primary entry point, frequently features among the cheapest flights to Central America.

In Managua, the past meets the present in a lively display. The Old Cathedral of Managua, still standing strong even after enduring earthquakes, is a testament to the city’s resilience. Not far from there, you’ll find the bustling Malecón de Managua, a lakeside area perfect for a stroll, a good meal, or catching a local cultural show.

Exploring the most cost-effective destinations in Central America, we arrive in Managua, Nicaragua.
Exploring the most cost-effective destinations in Central America, we arrive in Managua, Nicaragua.

Don’t just limit your exploration to the city. Managua serves as a perfect launchpad to Nicaragua’s stunning natural sites. Imagine gazing into an active volcano at Masaya or unwinding by the pristine waters of Laguna de Apoyo — all just a short trip away.

And the heart of Nicaragua? It’s in its food. Treat yourself to local favorites like gallo pinto or vigorón, and savor the authentic taste of Nicaraguan warmth.

Managua might not be the first city you think of when planning a trip, and that’s exactly its charm. Here, you’ll find a world rich in culture, stunning natural escapes, and travel that’s kind on your budget. Think of Managua not just as a destination, but as the kick-off point for an unforgettable Nicaraguan adventure. It’s a city that promises unexpected delights and thrilling discoveries for every traveler.

5. Belize City, Belize

Looking for affordable flights to Central America? Belize City, Belize, should top your list. With airlines like Southwest and American Airlines offering competitive fares, getting here is both economical and straightforward. And the best part? The city’s airport is just a short ride away from the heart of the action, so you’ll waste no time diving into your Belizean adventure.

Belize City is the perfect starting point for explorers. Here, the stunning Belize Barrier Reef calls to divers and snorkelers, while the ancient Mayan ruins of Xunantunich appeal to history enthusiasts. And with English as the official language, getting around and interacting with locals couldn’t be easier.

Seeking budget-friendly Central American flights? Belize City, Belize, should be your first choice.
Seeking budget-friendly Central American flights? Belize City, Belize, should be your first choice.

Timing your visit can also save you money. The best months to visit Belize City are during the shoulder seasons — late April to early June and late August to early November. You’ll avoid the peak tourist crowds, enjoy favorable weather, and snag some of the best deals on flights and accommodations.

Belize City isn’t just a travel destination. It’s a launchpad to a wealth of experiences that won’t drain your bank account. From its natural marvels and historical gems to its conservation efforts, Belize City invites you on an adventure that’s as enriching as it is budget-friendly. Ready to pack your bags?

6. San Pedro Sula, Honduras

The next destination on our journey through the cheapest places to fly to in Central America is San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This dynamic city, known as the country’s industrial capital, has transformed significantly since its establishment in the 16th century. Today, travelers can score roundtrip flights to Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport without breaking the bank. It’s an incredible deal, especially when you consider the plethora of experiences San Pedro Sula has to offer.

Honduras, nestled in Central America’s heart, boasts a stunning Caribbean coast. San Pedro Sula is your perfect entry point. One of your first ventures might be a short trip to the pristine beaches of Puerto Cortes. While some beaches in the region are more pebbly, Puerto Cortes offers the soft sand and crystal-clear waters you dream of when imagining a tropical escape.

Get ready to fly to San Pedro Sula, one of the cheapest airports in Central America for your next adventure!
Get ready to fly to San Pedro Sula, one of the cheapest airports in Central America for your next adventure!

After soaking up the sun, it’s time to immerse yourself in the local culture. The city’s downtown, known for its lively atmosphere, hosts various historical sites. Don’t miss the San Pedro Sula Cathedral and the Museum of Anthropology and History, where you can delve into the city’s rich past.

San Pedro Sula serves as your affordable gateway to the wonders of Honduras. From lounging on sun-kissed beaches to exploring historical landmarks, or indulging in retail therapy, this city offers a variety of experiences that are as budget-friendly as they are enriching. Get ready to fly to one of the cheapest airports in Central America for your next adventure!

7. San Salvador, El Salvador

Another hidden gem among the cheapest places to fly to in Central America is Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, the gateway to the captivating city of San Salvador, El Salvador. For the savvy traveler, San Salvador is a dream, with roundtrip flights often dipping to incredibly affordable rates!

Much like its South American counterparts, San Salvador was established in the early 16th century by Spanish conquistadors. It flourished as a pivotal center of trade during the colonial era and has evolved into the bustling heart of El Salvador. Today, it’s the country’s most populous city.

Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is a hidden gem among cheapest places to fly in Central American.
Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is a hidden gem among cheapest places to fly in Central American.

Upon arrival, you might want to ease into your exploration by visiting the iconic Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo, a significant landmark in the city’s bustling center. Then, perhaps take a stroll in the Plaza Libertad, the historic square that’s been a focal point since the city’s early days.

What’s more, San Salvador serves as your gateway to the rest of El Salvador’s unspoiled treasures. From here, you’re well-positioned to venture to the country’s quaint towns, archaeological sites, and pristine beaches, like the renowned surfers’ paradise, El Tunco.

For the best experience, consider visiting San Salvador between November and April, during the dry season. You’ll enjoy warm temperatures and minimal rainfall, perfect for exploring all that this vibrant city has to offer.

San Salvador is your starting point to a wealth of experiences that are as kind to your budget as they are to your wanderlust spirit. So, when are you booking your flight to one of Central America’s coolest places?

8. Liberia, Costa Rica

Originating as a humble agricultural hub, Liberia has blossomed into one of Costa Rica‘s most enchanting cities. It’s also a standout among the cheapest places to fly into Central America, especially noted for its reasonably priced accommodations and unique leisure opportunities.

Welcoming visitors to this Costa Rican gem is Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR), the country’s second busiest airport. Once you land, the city is accessible by bus, car, or taxi. You’ll be captivated by the stunning vistas that greet you on the journey. Liberia is designed with a deep respect for nature, ensuring a delightful harmony between urban spaces and the surrounding wilderness.

Liberia is another standout among budget-friendly Central American destinations, known for its affordable lodging and distinct leisure options.
Liberia is another standout among budget-friendly Central American destinations, known for its affordable lodging and distinct leisure options.

In the city itself, a must-visit is the iconic Iglesia de La Agonía, a historical church that speaks volumes of Liberia’s cultural heritage. But the real allure of Liberia lies in its proximity to some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful places.

For a dose of adventure, the nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park offers volcanic landscapes, refreshing waterfalls, and soothing hot springs. Or, if you’re up for a drive, the pristine beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula are just an hour away. Here, you’ll find crystal-clear waters and golden sands.

Yet, what truly sets Liberia apart is its commitment to conservation. This is evident in attractions like the Africa Mia Safari Park, where visitors can interact with African wildlife while learning about conservation efforts.

Liberia serves as your affordable gateway to a realm of natural splendors, offering experiences that are as gentle on your wallet as they are thrilling to your spirit. With affordable flights to Central America from the US, your adventure in this paradise awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Cheapest Places to Fly to in Central America

Need more help preparing for your vacation? Here are a few common questions and answers about the cheap places to fly into Central America.

What is the cheapest Central American country to fly into?

When searching for the cheapest flights to Central America, many travelers find that Guatemala City, Guatemala, often offers the most affordable options. The city’s La Aurora International Airport is a hub for several low-cost airlines. This makes it a popular entry point for budget-conscious explorers eager to experience Central America’s diverse cultures and stunning natural beauty.

Are flights within Central America cheap?

Yes, flights within Central America can be quite affordable. This is especially true if you’re flexible with your travel dates and book in advance. Several regional airlines offer cheap flights in Central America, connecting major cities across different countries. It’s also worth checking out promotions from local carriers, which often have competitive rates for intra-regional travel.

Can you fly direct to Central America from the US?

Absolutely! There are numerous airlines that offer direct flights to Central America from the United States. Major airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta offer regular direct services from key US hubs. You can find direct flights from cities like Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles to popular Central American destinations, including San José, Costa Rica, and Panama City, Panama. These direct routes not only cut down travel time but also offer a range of options for travelers.

Is it cheap to travel in Central America?

Traveling in Central America can be quite affordable, especially when compared to many destinations in North America, Europe, or other more developed regions. However, the cost can vary depending on the country, your travel style, and the activities you choose to do. Here are some general insights about traveling in Central America:

  1. Accommodation: Hostels are widely available in popular tourist destinations, and you can find dormitory beds for as low as $10-$15 USD per night. Budget hotels or guesthouses can range from $20-$50 USD for a private room. Of course, luxury resorts or boutique hotels will be more expensive.
  2. Food: Local eateries, known as “sodas” in Costa Rica or “comedores” in other countries, offer traditional meals at a fraction of the price of tourist-oriented restaurants. Street food is also a cheap and delicious option in many places.
  3. Transportation: Public buses are the most affordable way to get around, though they might not always be the most comfortable or fastest option. Shuttle services cater to tourists and are more expensive but can be more convenient. Taxis and rideshares are available in larger cities and tourist areas.
  4. Activities: While some activities, like guided tours to Mayan ruins, national parks, or adventure sports, can be pricey, there are plenty of affordable or even free activities to enjoy, such as exploring local markets, hiking, or relaxing on the beach.
  5. Countries: Among the Central American countries, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua tend to be the most budget-friendly. Costa Rica and Panama are generally more expensive due to their higher levels of tourism development and infrastructure.

What is the safest country in Central America?

Safety can be subjective and often depends on local circumstances, but Costa Rica consistently ranks as one of the safest countries in Central America. Known for its stable democracy, incredible biodiversity, and friendly locals, Costa Rica welcomes tourists with open arms. As always, exercising common travel precautions is recommended, no matter the destination.

In this extensive guide, we've examined top airports for Montana travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.
In this extensive guide, we’ve examined top airports for Montana travel, each providing distinct amenities, service, and travel quality.

Where in Central America can you fly direct from London?

For travelers flying out of London, direct flights to Central America are more limited, but they do exist. For example, British Airways operates direct flights from London to San José, Costa Rica. While direct options may be few, there are numerous connecting flights available through European or American cities.

Which is cheaper: Belize or Costa Rica?

Both Belize and Costa Rica offer unique travel experiences, but if we’re talking budget, Belize often comes out as the more affordable option. While Costa Rica is known for its well-established tourism infrastructure, Belize offers a more laid-back vibe with fewer crowds. This makes certain expenses like accommodation and activities more budget-friendly.

Is it expensive to travel in Central America?

Traveling in Central America can be incredibly cheap, especially when compared to other regions. With options for affordable accommodations, low-cost dining, and a wealth of free natural attractions, Central America is a great destination for travelers on a budget. Planning ahead and being flexible with your itinerary can unlock the best flight deals to Central America and keep your expenses low.

Cheapest Places to Fly in Central America: Recap

Central America offers rich experiences without the hefty price tag. The cities highlighted in this guide, like Panama City, San José, and Belize City, are not only captivating but also affordable to fly to. Their cost-effectiveness makes them ideal launchpads for your adventures.

These destinations debunk the myth that international travel has to be expensive. With a little research and flexibility, you can find flight deals that make these gems of Central America accessible to almost anyone with a zest for exploration. These cities are gateways to countries where your dollar goes further, from budget-friendly accommodations to inexpensive, yet delicious local cuisine.

Remember, the cheapest places to fly to in Central America are also springboards to broader adventures. Whether you’re exploring lush rainforests, ancient ruins, or vibrant local markets, the real journey begins after landing. So, keep an eye out for those deals, pack your spirit of adventure, and get ready to explore Central America without breaking the bank!

The cheapest airports to fly in Central America for all types of travelers
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