The canal in Dewey, Culebra. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Discover Culebra

As laid-back as Vieques is, it’s practically Las Vegas compared to Culebra. Culebra has yet to be discovered by the tourism industry, but experienced divers know it as one of the best diving spots in the Caribbean. Home to 1,568 acres of land preserved as a National Wildlife Refuge and one of the last vestiges of pre-tourism Puerto Rico, visitors are advised to embrace the island’s quirky inconveniences and sleepy pace of life to fully appreciate its many rare charms.

Blue Ctenosaur in Santa Rosa National Park. Photo © Jorasm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

What to See in Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park

Founded in 1972, Santa Rosa National Park was Costa Rica’s first national park. The park–divided into two sections; the more important and accessible Santa Rosa Sector to the south and the Murciélago Sector further north–is a mosaic of 10 distinct habitats, including mangrove swamp, savanna, and oak forest, and is filled with hiking trails to explore and wildlife to watch. There are also great opportunities for scuba diving and surfing.

A surfer walking on the beach in Malpais. Photo © Keith Levit/123rf.

Things to Do in Malpaís and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

The shoreline immediately north of Cabo Blanco is a lively surfers’ paradise with some of the best surfing beaches in the country. The past few years have seen phenomenal tourism development, propelling the contiguous communities of Malpaís and Santa Teresa from offbeat obscurity to huge popularity. With this boom comes a surge in nightlife, outdoor activities, and more and more ways to spend your time.

Puerto Ferro Berdiales Lighthouse Ruins Archeological Site. Photo © Michael Hopkins/123rf.

Sights on Vieques, Puerto Rico

From the overgrown ruins of a sugar mill to a restored 19th century Spanish fort to an incredible bioluminescent bay, there’s plenty to see on Vieques–and most you can do for free. Here are the most interesting sights to see, along with the island’s best beaches for a break between all the activity.

Playa Sardinera in Hatillo. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time on Puerto Rico’s North Coast

The north coast of Puerto Rico is a wild expanse of rocky coastline and gorgeous ocean views, hilly karst country, and green farmland. It’s also thick with industrial plants, shopping centers, fast-food restaurants, road construction, and traffic. Despite the urban sprawl, though, the north coast has a lot going for it.

Trunk Bay is the most exquisite beach on St. John. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Trunk Bay: St. John’s Most Magnificent Beach

Trunk Bay is a vision of fluffy white sand, sea grape trees, and coconut palms. Trunk Cay, just offshore, is a tiny island of rocky cliffs, tufted by hardy palm trees. Named for the leatherback turtles, locally called trunks, which nest here, and fully equipped with facilities, this is what Caribbean beach dreams are made of.

A boulder at the Baths National Park. Photo © Todd VanSickle.

Experience Baths National Park, BVI

Virgin Gorda’s Baths National Park is one of the most famous sights in the British Virgin Islands. The Baths are a landscape of building-size boulders, clear saltwater grottoes, and powder-white beaches. There are endless pools for exploring, swimming, and snorkeling. The park is a playground, where even grown-ups are tempted to climb over and around, looking for a quiet pool or hidden room.

Covehead Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Exploring Prince Edward Island National Park

The sandy beaches, dunes, sandstone cliffs, marshes, and forestlands of Prince Edward Island National Park represent the island as it once was, unspoiled by 20th-century development. Opportunities to explore the park are many, with interpretive centers, plenty of hiking, beautiful sandy beaches and campgrounds of all kinds.

The beach at Long Bay in Tortola. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Planning Your Time on Tortola

High hills, winding roads, and spectacular vistas define Tortola, the most populous and most developed of the British Virgin Islands. Exploration on Tortola is an adventure, one whose rewards include secluded beaches, memorable day hikes, and colorful beach bars.