The peaks and valleys of Sapa. Photo © Petr and Bara Ruzicka, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop

Venture into Vietnam’s far north and you’ll discover another world altogether, awash with rich green rice paddies and wide, flowing rivers that wind around the region’s many oversized landscapes. Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop by motorcycle or bicycle is an independent adventure on which you’ll find few to no English speakers, no high-end hotels, and not a Western meal to speak of.

Plaza Botero. Photo © Guía de Viajes Oficial de Medellín, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Downtown Medellín Walking Tour

Medellín’s brash downtown is a compact history tour comprising stoic remnants from the colonial era, brick and mortar evidence of Medellín’s rising as Colombia’s most important industrial center in the early 20th century, and the vibrant public spaces, modern transportation systems, and futuristic architecture showing this proud city’s 21st-century optimism.

A golden figure of a jaguar in the Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Sights in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura

Musicians, jugglers, and marimba bands entertain the crowds in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura. Amidst the lively atmosphere, take the time to explore the stunning architecture of the Teatro Nacional and the world-class Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Cacti along the coastline of Shark Bay National Park on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Off the Water: Forests and Parks in the Virgin Islands

Away from the water, the Virgin Islands are a fascinating and richly diverse landscape: rocky bluffs and wide plains; mountain peaks and dry seaside forests; salt ponds and rainforest. Pack a pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a sense of adventure to get up close to the natural world away from the ocean.

Double-striped thick knee bird. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Plan a Visit to Hacienda La Aurora, Colombia

Hacienda La Aurora is in many ways a typical extensive cattle-ranching farm of the Llanos. In many others, it isn’t at all. Here’s what you need to know to plan a visit, including when to go, where to stay, what to do, and the amazing wildlife you’ll see.

Storefronts line the banks of the Co Chien River in Vinh Long. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Planning Your Time in the Mekong Delta

Exploring western Vietnam allows for more interaction with locals and a more authentic glimpse of daily life than many other destinations along the coast. Here’s how to effectively plan your time in the area, making the most of your explorations, along with a general overview of the area’s geography and population.

Boats moored in the shallow waters of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands’ Best Snorkeling

Good snorkeling is in the eye of the beholder, and though most people gravitate to reefs, sea grass and mangrove habitats are also fun to explore. With that in mind, here are the best places to snorkel in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Ulua Lagoon, the first of the four Ko Olina Lagoons. Photo © Leigh Meeks/123rf.

O‘ahu’s Leeward Beaches

If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind an hour’s drive across the island, the beaches of leeward O‘ahu offer wide swaths of white sand under clear, sunny skies. As the trade winds blow across the island from east to west, the leeward coast’s waters remain calm and protected. Here are beach highlights, amenities, and the best activities for each.