Atop Tikal's Temple IV. Photo © Al Argueta.

Petén and the Maya Biosphere Reserve

Petén is without a doubt the cradle of Mayan civilization, as it lays claim to some of the oldest known Mayan sites along with the earliest evidence of the writing and royal dynastic rule characterizing the civilization that flourished here. The massive Maya Biosphere Reserve, established to protect the forests, ruins, and unexcavated sites, could keep you busy for weeks. However long your have for your visit, our expect author is here to help you effectively plan your time.

Visitors gazing into the main the crater of Poás Volcano.

Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

There are few volcanoes where you can drive all the way to the rim. At Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Volcán Poás you can—well, at least to within 300 meters (1,000 feet), where a short stroll puts you at the very edge of one of the world’s largest active craters. Learn about this restless giant’s history, along with trip planning tips to make the most of your visit.

A Mayan woman and child from the Huehuetenango highlands. Photo © Al Argueta.

Etiquette and Customs in Guatemala

You’ll find most Guatemalans are warm and friendly, and Guatemalans from all walks of life value politeness and good manners. Getting to know social etiquette, common customs, and general expectations in appearance and conduct–especially the courtesy you should show when seeking photographs–will go far in making your travels easier and much more genuine.

Topography surrounding San Vito. Photo © Eric T Gunther (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

San Vito and Las Cruces Biological Station

San Vito is a pleasant hill town founded by Italian immigrants to Costa Rica in the early 1850s. Nearby you’ll find the Estación Biológica Las Cruces, a nature lover’s delight. This 800-acre forest reserve is a vital habitat for hundreds of species of butterflies and bats, and dozens of birds and mammals. Visit for miles and miles of well-maintained trails and the chance to spot these creatures and to enjoy the gardens inside the reserve.

A sailfish on Guatemala's Pacific Coast. Photo © Al Argueta.

Outdoor Sports in Guatemala

Whether you’re an enthusiastic hiker or cyclist, an avid rock-climber or sport-fisher, Guatemala’s great outdoors has a treat in store for you. While some activities, such as rock climbing, are relatively new and others, like sailfishing, are long established, Guatemala is definitely suited to their pursuit.

Visitors gaze at a tumbling waterfall from an observation platform.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s splendid nature and wildlife park La Paz Waterfall Gardens at Montaña Azul features trails through a soaring hangar-size aviary with a separate climate-controlled butterfly cage. There’s also a hummingbird garden, a serpentarium (snakes), a walk-through ranarium (frogs), a monkey exhibit, plus a trout lake and orchid houses.

View of Lake Atitlán from Casa Palopó. Photo © Al Argueta.

Best Boutique Hotels and Jungle Lodges in Guatemala

Guatemala has some of the hippest digs anywhere on the planet. If you’re sick and tired of hotels that all pretty much look the same and enjoy the opportunity to check out unique boutique hotels and jungle lodges near worthwhile attractions, then this list is for you.

An elegant pool surrounded by lush vegetation with a swim-up bar featuring a thatched roof.

Costa Rica’s Best Hot Springs Spas

Several entities make the most of the hot springs that pour from the base of Volcán Arenal in Costa Rica. These are the best, from a full-service Spanish colonial-style balneario with swim-up bars to a packed Disneyesque success story with a waterslide to a much more tranquil, serene springs with a variety of temperatures and pools.

A spider monkey relaxing in Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Land Mammals

Guatemala’s list of native land mammals is impressive, with a large variety of exotic cats, primates, and other furry creatures. Here’s a little about popular and common species, along with when and where you’re likely to sight them.

Where to Travel in 2016 Moon Travel Guides

Where to Travel in 2016: A Month-by-Month List

Most of us at Moon have an ever-growing list of places we want to visit, a common side effect of working on travel books. This list reflects a few of the destinations that inspired our wanderlust in the last year. There are trip-of-a-lifetime–type destinations, and there are smaller destinations, but all of them triggered that classic reverie, imagining what it would be like to be there, feeling that pull.