Some of us like to take presents when traveling specially if we are traveling for a special occasion. If that is the case I would recommend putting it with the rest of your luggage. But there will eventually be some delicate things that you might want to take with you as a gift. Those must definitely go in your hand luggage. So a good thing to do before you even buy the present is to check hand luggage restrictions of the country you are leaving and the one you will be entering. Make sure all presents are permitted in cabin baggage, and remember that the liquids in hand luggage rules apply to presents too.
Get the best tips for traveling to Central America here.
Another good thing to keep in mind is not to wrap them as they are subject to security checks and may be unwrapped. If you are uncertain about carrying any item in your luggage, check with your airline before packing.