Known as the melting pot of the world, North America is an adventurers’ paradise. From camping in the Canadian Rockies to exploring the Aztec Ruins, there are endless places for you to discover. Contrary to some belief, countries in Central America like Costa Rica and Nicaragua reside in North America, and not South.
With both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea coast, Nicaragua is best known for its dramatic landscape of lakes, volcanoes, and beaches. A small country located in the heart of Central America, Nicaragua thrives off of tourism, coffee, sugar, and rum, specifically the world-famous Flor de Caña rum that dates back to 1890. The …
United States to Visit
From New York to California, and Alaska to Hawaii, the United States is a big place to visit. There are fifty states in America, with each and every one offering something special. Explore different cultures and peoples, and a myriad of geography, including sandy beaches and snowcapped peaks.
North American Countries to Visit
North America is much more diverse in its terrain and its cultures than one might expect. There are loads of islands in the Caribbean that lie with the North American continent. Let’s look at some of the most popular places to visit.
Map of North American Countries
North American Countries and Capitals
|Costa Rica||San José|
|Dominican Republic||Santo Domingo|
|Puerto Rico||San Juan|
|United States||Washington DC|
United States and Capitals
|American State||Capital City|
|Utah||Salt Lake City|
Welcome to North America!
North America is comprised of a diverse spread of 23 countries that span from the Arctic Circle to the Tropic of Cancer. Stereotypes bleed into each country with labels like “polite” Canadians or “loud” Americans. Yet, it is the concept of a “melting pot” that makes North America unique.
The true North America is hidden in the nooks and crannies where cultures from all over the globe are shared. In addition, the stunning backdrop that nature provides really does make North America an all-encompassing destination.
History can get a bit muddled in North America because there are frequent debates on who “discovered” the land.
Indigenous people have inhabited the continent for at least 15,000 years. This includes Inuit tribes in the far north, Native Americans in the mid-section, and Mesoamerican civilizations, like the Mayan people, in the south. However, much of the historic dialogue centers around the European explorers who sailed to the New World.
One of the historic tales states that Christopher Columbus discovered “America” in 1492. The truth is that Christopher Columbus actually found islands that today, we know as the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. In later expeditions, Columbus would explore the southern parts of North America.
Before Columbus, scholars tend to agree that Vikings, led by the renowned Leif Eriksson, found North America after landing on the shore of Newfoundland, Canada in the year 1000. Unlike other Europeans, the Vikings did not stay. Instead, the North American countries were colonized mostly by the Spanish, British, and French.
Today, the topic of colonization has garnered its own controversy in North America as people debate about who to celebrate and remember. Shying away from celebrating European colonists, North America is beginning to embrace its indigenous roots.
The Three Giants
The vast majority of the North American Continent is dominated by three giants — Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Each country is very different from one another, but all have earned their place as one of the continent’s must-see destinations.
Canada reigns in the north with its southern border meeting the United States. In the upper mid-section sits the United States of America, whose border meets Mexico to the south. Mexico then covers the lower mid-section, before trailing off into Central America.
Measuring by land area, Canada Is North America’s biggest country. Often associated with maple syrup, moose and hockey, there is a lot more to Canada than meets the eye.
The Canadian Rockies are one of the highlights that Canada displays, which run through British Columbia and Alberta. In the north, the Yukon is the wildest area in the country. With beautiful backdrops and dramatic terrain, the vast stretches of wilderness are well worth a visit.
Spread throughout Canada and along its coast are cosmopolitan cities that beat to their own rhythm. Ottawa is the capital of Canada, which sits closely to the US border. Close by to Ottawa is Montréal.
Both cities are famous for their strong European vibes, which is characteristic of Canada’s Québec Province. In these areas, French is the dominating language, so travelers might want to brush up on their foreign language skills.
In Western Canada, the two dominating cities are Toronto and Vancouver. English is the majority language in both these cities, which makes them easy to explore. Busy urban centers are characteristic of Toronto and Vancouver, which can make it hard to choose where to go. One way to decide between the two would be based on the landscape.
Toronto sits on Lake Ontario and it is most well known for having a skyline that includes the CN Tower and High Park. Vancouver is on the West Coast and it has become popular in the art scene with year-round music, films, plays, and gallery events.
Hopping to the south, tourists can cross the border to continue with their thrilling adventures. As the country with the largest population in North America, the United States is loud and proud!
50 states make up the United States with all but two being a part of the mainland. Attached to Canada, Alaska is the least populated state with the most amazing views. Denali National Park is the main attraction, which features the impressive Mount McKinley.
Hawaii is the other state that is apart from the mainland, known as the continental or contiguous US. Way out in the Pacific Ocean, tourists can explore 8 main islands. Maui and Oahu are popular places to visit where guests can lounge on the beach, explore a volcano, or bathe in a waterfall.
The 48 remaining states snuggle like puzzle pieces into the land between Canada and Mexico. Some of the most visited states include California, Nevada, and New York. These three states are also home to major tourist cities — Los Angeles, Los Vegas, and New York City. Landmarks like the Hollywood sign, the Las Vegas Strip, and Times Square are frequently marveled by visitors.
Outside of mega urban areas, the United States has a diverse array of wild landscapes that are waiting to be explored. The National Park system allows tourists to see the country’s natural beauty shine.
From deserts to canyons, mountains and rolling fields, there is a National Park for everyone. The most visited national parks include the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Yosemite.
To spice it up, travelers can head further south to Mexico. Vibrant energy is a given in this country where glamorous cities, luxury resorts, and endless fiestas draw in the tourist crowds. Most acclaimed for resort towns like San Cabos, Tulum, Cozumel and Cancun, Mexico is pure delight.
Blissful palm trees swaying in the wind and gentle lapping waves can help melt your stress away. Booming nightclubs and high-class dining entertain the guests at night. With adrenaline pumping water sports to top it off, Mexico’s resorts provide travelers with a dream getaway experience.
However, beyond the glitz and glam of resort destinations, the best place to experience authenticity and culture is in Mexico City. Situated at a high elevation, Mexico City is the nation’s capital, which has been revamped.
Turning away from its shady past, tourists can bask in Mexico’s shining star. An exploding culinary scene and a well-preserved culture makes Mexico City the place to go while south of the US border.
South Goes the Trail
Central America is the most southern area of North America, whose land acts as a bridge to South America. Costa Rica and Panama are the most visited countries in the region where tourists are drawn to cloud rainforests and the Panama Canal. The five other countries in Central America include Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize.
Receiving fewer visitors, these five countries are like buried treasure for adventurous travelers. The tropical climate will lead you to thick jungles, pristine beaches, and quaint towns. Bordering Mexico, Guatemala has long been a destination hotspot for travelers who want to drink coffee and explore the ancient Mayan city, Tikal.
Most frequently named as Central America’s “off the radar” or “up and coming” destination is Nicaragua. Largest in size of the Central American countries, Nicaragua offers prime surf spots, picturesque beaches, and even volcano sandboarding.
The Forgotten Land
One area of North America that is often forgotten is Greenland. Technically, Greenland is a part of the North American continent by geographical location. However, the country is actually a self-governed Danish territory.
Travelers will take a direct from Iceland or depart from Denmark, the two European countries offering flights to Greenland. There are no commercial flights from North America, thus creating even more tie to Europe.
Opposite the name, there is a surprising amount of ice in Greenland. So packed with ice is the country, the Greenland ice sheet has been named as the second largest in the world.
Despite the cold, travelers will be in awe at the country’s amazing natural landscape. Icebergs, craggy mountains, and crystal-clear streams all work hard to enhance the Greenland’s beauty. With guided tours, it has become easier to explore the island’s vast open space.
Unforgettable North America
Diversity makes North America unique. The concept of a “melting pot” is taken to the heart on this continent where cultures collide and thrive. With influence from countries all over the world, North America shines as it has become a blend of customs, people, and languages.
To top it off, the amazing landscapes will stun any visitor willing to take a peek. Travelers only need to open their eyes to a New World of unforgettable adventures.