Unitec New Zealand campus. Photo © Ingolfson at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

New Zealand Student Visas

If you want to study in New Zealand for longer than three months, you will need a student visa. Expert author Michelle Waitzman reviews the entire process from application to graduation, including renewals, health insurance, working restrictions, and what to do if you want to bring your family with you.

Higo Chumbo Cactus on Mona Island. Photo © U.S. Fish & Wildlife Southeast Region, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Mona Island’s Colorful Past

Oh, the tales it could tell if Mona Island could speak. Its past is a drama full of marauding pirates, thriving Taínos, and many a shipwreck. Today, in addition to enjoying the island’s great hiking, diving, and bird-watching, visitors can explore the faint remains of the Taíno civilization and mining operations. Petroglyphs, stone walls, cabins, and graves are enduring reminders of Mona’s colorful past.

Playa Las Flores. Photo ©

Where to Go on El Salvador’s Pacific Coast

The secret is out. For years, the beaches of El Salvador’s coast were strictly the terrain of fearless surfers, some who came in the 1970s and dug the waves so much they never left. Today, more and more curious travelers are showing up, discovering beaches interspersed with quaint fishing villages and large coral reefs, white sand beaches perfect for relaxing and swimming, mangroves teeming with colorful birds, beautiful bays, volcanic gulfs, and otherworldly estuaries.

Iximché exhibits much more of a Mexican influence than other Maya sites in Guatemala. Photo © Michal Zak/123rf.

Iximché, Guatemala’s Most Accessible Highland Mayan Site

Iximché is the most easily accessible of Guatemala’s highland Mayan ceremonial sites. It makes an interesting stop for those with an interest in Mayan culture and history because of the differences it exhibits from the lowland Mayan sites of Petén, which date to much earlier times.

Ridley turtles during an arribada at Playa Camaronal. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Sea Turtle Nesting Sites in Costa Rica

Five of the world’s seven species of marine turtles nest on Costa Rica’s beaches, and you can see turtles laying eggs somewhere in Costa Rica virtually any time of year. Most of the important nesting sites in Costa Rica are now protected, and access to some is restricted; there are many more dangers to sea turtle populations than humans. Learn about the sites and the cycle of sea turtle reproduction from nesting to hatching.

Kayaks at Laguna de Apoyo. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Adrenaline Rush in Nicaragua

Athletes and extreme sports fanatics can easily meet their needs in Nicaragua. From uphill biking and scuba diving to white-water rafting and volcano boarding and everything between, here’s where to go to get your adrenaline rush.

An artisan working on an oxcart wheel.

The Oxcarts of Sarchí

Sarchí is famous as the home of gaily decorated wooden carretas (oxcarts), the internationally recognized symbol of Costa Rica. The carretas, forced from the fields by the advent of tractors and trucks, are almost purely decorative now, but the craft and the art form live on here, where artisans still apply their masterly touch at two fábricas de carretas (workshops), which are open to view

Alta Vista Golf and Tennis Club offers one of Guatemala's most challenging courses. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala City Golfing

Fans of golf will find some excellent golf courses in and around the city; those within private country clubs are usually still open to visitors. You can enjoy a round of golf surrounded by the country’s spectacular mountain scenery as you play on narrow, sloping fairways lined with pine trees and a variety of other obstacles. Several of sportfishing outfitters have also combined fishing and golf packages.

Downtown Oakland skyline. Photo © Eric Broder Van Dyke/123rf.

Things to Do in Oakland

Oakland is the biggest city in the East Bay. Although its reputation hasn’t always been perfect (travelers should probably stay in the popular visitor areas), today a great deal of downtown urban renewal has made it a visitor-friendly place with plenty of attractions, accommodations, and exceptional food. For interactive fun, a truly exceptional museum, and outdoor activities, check out these locations.