Shallow turquoise water of Hierve El Agua.

Hierve el Agua: Mexico’s Mineral Springs

Although the name of this place translates as boiling water, the springs that seep from the side of a limestone mountain less than an hour’s drive east of Mitla aren’t hot. Loaded with minerals, over time rock-hard deposits formed great algae-painted slabs in level spots and, on steep slopes, accumulated into what appear to be grand frozen waterfalls.

Makapu‘u marks the rugged and dry eastern tip of O‘ahu.

Sightseeing Southeastern O‘ahu

Nature rules sightseeing on southeastern O’ahu, with some breathtaking views and a truly stunning garden along with a bit of hiking and an impressively massive heiau. Expect to do a lot of walking when seeing these sights.

The predominant foliage in Volcanoes National Park is ‘ohi‘a, which contrasts with the bleak desert surroundings.

Ka‘u Desert Warrior Footprints on the Big Island

The 1.6-mile round-trip trek across this small section of the Ka’u Desert outside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is fascinating, and the history of the footprints makes the experience more evocative. Because of deterioration, the footprints are faint and difficult to make out, but worth the trip to see for yourself.

Steam rises up in great white clouds from the crater of Kilauea volcano.

Kilauea’s Crater Rim Drive

The 11-mile road that circles the Kilauea Caldera and passes by nearly all the main sights in the park is Crater Rim Drive. Since you can’t circle the caldera because of a long-term road closure, we’ve divided the sights into two sections: those to the right of the visitors center and those to the left of the visitors center.

View of Kauai's coast from the Kalalau Trail.

Na Pali Coast State Park, Kaua‘i

Nature’s wonders all join together in the heavenly and harsh Na Pali Coast State Park. Day-use permits are required past a certain point even if you’re not staying overnight, while camping is strictly regulated. Most areas are accessible only by foot or boat, and more than the basics are needed to camp out here.

In addition to being a great place to spot nene, Paliku is also the preferred camping area for hikers opting to walk out the Kaupo Gap.

Camping in Haleakala Crater and Beyond

While watching the sunrise, hiking the crater floor, or looking up at the stars as they come out are great introductions to the crater, spending a night in the backcountry is the absolute best way to commune with nature on this mountain. Learn how to make it happen.

Close up of white-petaled naupaka flowers in the Oahu mountains.

Pele Legends in Hawaii

Pele, the goddess of fire, features in many Hawaiian legends, most of which showcase her fiery nature. Here are two, one to explain the curious appearance of certain flowers, and another a cautionary tale about the consequences of stealing her lava rocks.

‘Akaka Falls plunges down into a pool near Hilo, Hawaii.

‘Akaka Falls State Park on the Big Island

Everybody’s idea of a pristine Hawaiian valley is viewable at ‘Akaka Falls State Park, one of the most easily accessible forays into Hawai‘i’s beautiful interior. Many varieties of plants that would be in window pots anywhere else are giants here, almost trees.