Central America

Central America is the thin section of land that links the North American continent with the South American continent. Geographically part of North America, it is made up of seven small, mostly tropical countries that have much more in common with South America and Mexico than the more affluent north. Mexico is occasionally considered part of Central America due to the language and cultural heritage it shares with several of the countries in the region.

Sex Scene and Prostitution

In Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize prostitution is legal, but organized activities such as pimping and brothels are illegal; in Panama it legal.

In Nicaragua it was estimated in 2015 that were around 15,000 sex workers on the streets, private apartments, in nightclubs and bars, or in massage parlors. Prostitutes are known locally as "zorras" and Managua is the most popular hot spot for sex travellers.

In Panama there were 2,650 registered sex workers in 2008, but there was no accurate information regarding the total number of persons practising prostitution in the Panama and some estimate put the number of unregistered prostitutes at 4,000. Panamas main area of prostitution in Panama City is El Cangrejo.

Guatemalas capital city; Guatemala City alone has 9 red-light districts including La Linea, El Trebol and Parque Concordia. In 2011 statistics showed 10.8 of the prostitutes worked on the streets, the rest working indoors at strip bars, whore houses, beer bars and private apartments.

In Costa Rica sex business is practiced openly throughout the country, particularly in popular tourism destinations and in the capital city San José (Costa Rica).

Prostitution in Belize is also widespread and takes place on the streets and in beer bars, nightclubs, brothels and hotels.

It is estimated that in El Salvador there were over 20,000 sex workers in 2016.


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Other destinations

Stay safe

Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica are generally safer than Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize, which suffer from the maras (street gangs) and also have the highest crime rates in the region. The police are often not seen as reliable or trustworthy. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported last year that Guatemala had the highest murder rate in all of Latin America, with 70.0 homicides per 100,000. In comparison, the murder rate in the United States of America is 5.6 homicides per 100,000. Night travel is dangerous anywhere in Central America, especially in national capitals. Illegal drugs are common in the region so stay clear!

Crossing into South America overland might seem like a good idea when you look at a world map, however, it's not. The border to Colombia in Panama's Darien province is surrounded by a dangerous wilderness and the only break in the Pan-American Highway. Known as the Darien Gap, this is the playground of ruthless drug smugglers and militias who will be happy to kidnap or kill you. Unless you're a movie Predator, stay away.

See also

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