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.

Ancient pines gnarled by the wind dot the upper elevations. Photo © Jenna Blough.

Hiking Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Highest Point

A true Death Valley classic, if you can only choose one hike in Death Valley, put Telescope Peak in the running. The sweeping 360° views make it worthwhile and give a sense of Death Valley’s vast scope, and if you’ve been exploring the canyons and valley floors, this is your chance to have a personal travel retrospective.

The port of Bahía Solano. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Things to Do in Bahía Solano, Colombia

With a fully walkable town, hiking, nearby beaches, excellent diving and whale-watching excursions, and as the sport-fishing capital of Colombia, Bahía Solano is excellent place to base your explorations.

Cyclist in San Jose's Parque la Sabana. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Recreational Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has scores of tour operators offering a complete range of options. Here are recommended general tour operators as well as specific recommended tours from horseback-riding and hiking to bird-watching and cruises and nearly everything between.

The picturesque Valle de Cocora and its famous wax palms. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Exploring Valle de Cocora, Colombia

Expert author Andrew Dier presents the best ways to experience Colombia’s Valle de Cocora for everybody from casual afternoon travelers to day-hike enthusiasts.

The jagged Cerro Tatamá (4,250 meters/13,945 feet) is the highest point in the Cordillera Occidental.

Visit Parque Municipal Natural Planes de San Rafael

Located in the remote, little visited Cordillera Occidental (Western Mountains), the Tatamá Massif contains one of the world’s few remaining pristine páramos (highland moors). Access to Tatamá is through the Parque Municipal Natural Planes de San Rafael, a cloud forest where the main activities are nature hikes conducted by friendly and knowledgeable guides.

Old brick smokestack in Death Valley, California.

Hiking Surprise Canyon in Death Valley

A good hike through Surprise Canyon averages about four hours. Many people go far over that and trek into Panamint City, but the canyon is well worth the time to explore on its own–picture relaxing with your feet in the splashing creek and a nice picnic in the shade after a good workout. Use these detailed directions and trail tips to experience all the canyon has to offer.

A brick and concrete staircase zig-zags up a crevice in La Piedra Peñol in Colombia.

Climb Colombia’s La Piedra Peñol

La Piedra Peñol is a giant rock monolith that soars 200 meters into the sky from Colombia’s scenic and meandering Embalse Peñol-Guatape. Neighboring towns have bickered for decades over who gets to claim this sight as their own, and travelers who make the hard climb to the top are rewarded by incredible views.

A charcoal kiln used for making coal from juniper and pine in Death Valley, California.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns and Hiking Wildrose Peak

Once used to make charcoal for the mining efforts in the area, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns now stand as works of hand-engineered beauty. While you’re here, consider taking a hike to Wildrose Peak and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views from the windswept summit.