A statue of Nobel Prize laureate Miguel Ángel Asturias on Avenida La Reforma. Photo © Al Argueta.

Sights in Guatemala City’s Zona 10

Zona 10 is home to Guatemala City’s most pleasant commercial district, a beautiful example of 19th century architecture, and two excellent historical museums–one a definite must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in Mayan culture.

A rusty barbed wire fence, overgrown with plants, marks the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border on the Rio Frio outside of Los Chiles, Costa Rica.

Nicaragua’s Rocky Relationship with Costa Rica

The tense relationship between these incongruous Central American neighbors loosely parallels the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Namely, a massive flood of immigrants crosses the border (pushed by neoliberal trade policies) into a more prosperous and stable nation and is subsequently accused of driving down wages, taking all the jobs, and straining social services without paying taxes. Rhetoric aside, the two neighbors desperately need each other.

University of Otago in New Zealand. Photo © Tomas Sobek/123rf.

A Student’s Perspective on Studying Abroad in New Zealand

U.S. student Melanie Harsch studied abroad for a year in New Zealand, and then returned to take on a PhD researching climate change through its effect on the tree line. Expert author Michelle Waitzman talked to her about her experience, from why she choose New Zealand to advice for other students on how to make it happen.

Vegas Alta and Baja are on the north coast of Puerto Rico. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Things to Do in Vega Alta and Vega Baja

The highlight of the Vegas is definitely Punta Cerro Gordo, a gorgeous piece of coastline that boasts one of the island’s best publicly maintained beaches and a great camping area, but remember to take time away from the surf and sand to explore the history, culture, and beautiful sights of the area. Expert author Suzanne Van Atten talks festivals, cultural hotspots and exploring the outdoors in Vega Alta and Vega Baja.

A boy studies a preserved specimen in the San Ramón Museum.

San Ramón and the Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden

San Ramón is a gateway to Costa Rica’s northern lowlands via a mountain road that crests the cordillera, then begins a long sinuous descent to La Tigra. This agricultural and university town is known for its Saturday feria del agricultor (farmers market). A mere nine miles north is the Nectandra Cloud Forest Garden, where superb hiking trails and truly wonderful places to stay.

Even experienced divers will be blown away by the diversity of sea life in the Santuario de Flora y Fauna Malpelo. Photo © Fundación Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos.

Diving Santuario de Flora y Fauna Malpelo

Santuario de Flora y Fauna Malpelo is the largest no-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, making it one of the top places for diving in the world. There are 11 main dive sites, including the most important site, La Nevera, where it is common to see scores of hammerhead sharks. Malpelo is for experienced divers only; to get there you must coordinate with one these authorized outfitters in Colombia.

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.