From the imposing Manhattan skyline and the colonial architectural gems of Cuba to the lush rainforests of Panama, North America is a land of glorious contrasts. The biggest countries, USA and Canada, are as diverse as their landscapes.
Travelers visiting North America have a huge range of destinations to choose between. Colorful Mexico effortlessly blends old and new with its Mayan ruins and thriving modern cities. In the central part of the continent, Costa Rica has evolved into a prime eco-tourism destination, while Panama has some of the region's best bird-watching and hiking opportunities.
The Caribbean islands within North America – Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago – are a travelers' paradise. Unspoilt beaches, coral reefs and world-class resorts define these laid-back towns and the most popular of all the islands, the Bahamas, draws millions of travelers to its islands each year
Europe is very well connected by planes, trains and buses. There are regular flights between major cities, especially from busy airport hubs in the UK, Germany or France, where low-cost airlines offer cheap flights around Europe. Trains run throughout mainland Europe, with the Eurotunnel connecting the UK to France. Buses (coaches) are a cheaper alternative, however, they are typically much slower and often less comfortable than trains. If you're driving, consider renting a diesel car, which often gets better mileage. They can be a good deal in countries that subsidize diesel. The UK and Ireland operate left-hand traffic but in the rest of Europe they drive on the right.
If you're traveling independently, it is still worth checking out tours (such as a one-day city or 14-day country tours) that can be combined with your itinerary.
North America's climate varies throughout the continent. The US and Canada have four distinct seasons while most of the other countries including Cuba and Mexico have two. On the other hand, the islands closer to the Caribbean Sea – Jamaica and the Bahamas – are year-round destinations.
Depending on the time of year you plan to visit North America and the purpose of your trip, the two biggest countries in the continent, America and Canada, both have diverse weather conditions. During winter the eastern part of the US gets considerably colder than the West Coast and in Canada the weather is bitterly cold throughout the country. The best time to visit both countries is late spring (April to May) and early fall (September to early October).
Mexico and Panama have two seasons: dry and wet; the dry season lasts from mid-December until mid-April and the rainy season is from May to November. The Caribbean countries enjoy warm weather all year round with a few rainy spells in summer from May to November.