Guatemala and Belize have long been among the most popular countries to visit in Central America, but on a recent trip to the region I went in search of something new, which I found in spades in El Salvador and Honduras.

Little country with a lot to do

El Salvador is a pocket sized country sandwiched between Guatemala and Honduras to the north, and Nicaragua to the east. It might be better known as the scene of a nasty little civil war that lasted for most of the 80s, but the place has bounced back beautifully. Surf-lovers enjoy some of the best waves in the world along the Pacific Coast, trekkers can tackle one of 20-odd volcanoes, history buffs can take a tour of the rebel stronghold outside San Salvador (guided by a member of the ex-guerrilla movement), and for those who simply want to relax and soak up the atmosphere, the charming colonial town of Suchitoto is perfect. Add peaceful lakes and Mayan ruins to the mix, there is plenty to see and do, and it's all delightfully easy to reach. To give you an idea of just how small the place is, I managed to visit pretty much all of the above in one day, but I'd suggest doing it all in a more leisurely fashion, visiting almost everything in day trips from the comfort of the charming Los Almendros de San Lorenzo hotel, a beautifully restored colonial mansion in Suchitoto.

Outstanding diversity

Next stop, Honduras. Much larger than it's neighbour, Honduras has long been on diving enthusiasts' underwater map, but this is relatively new territory for Original Travel. I started with a quick stop in Roatan in the Bay Islands, a must see destination for divers with world class diving and a handful of excellent dive resorts. 19 minutes in a small propeller plane and you can be back on the mainland where marine life is quickly replaced by jungle dwelling creepy crawlies. The stunning Lodge at Pico Bonito is one of the country's finest hotels, where guests can enjoy action-packed days and luxurious accommodation by night.

There's lots to do here, from white water rafting on the Rio Cangrejal and jungle treks to birdwatching and rural village tours. Interconnecting cabins means it is perfect for families too. Last, but by no means least, the famous ruins of Copan perfectly round off Honduras' island/jungle/culture combination. The town of Copan itself is idyllic, and the ruins are hugely impressive. I could happily have spend an extra day or two relaxing at the beautiful Hacienda San Lucas, set on a hill above the town with views over the ruins. contact Original Travel