White-water rafting on the Río Tuma.

Things to Do Near Matagalpa

North of Matagalpa you’ll find plenty of things to do in fantastic opportunities to explore the incredible landscape. For where to stay, take advantage of the area’s ecolodges and farming co-operatives to get to know and support the locals.

View from Granite Point Trail at Point Lobos. Photo © Ken Wolter/123rf.

Visit Carmel’s Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is filled with ragged cliffs, hidden coves, rich marine ecosystems, lovely meadows, and dense pine and cypress forests. Hiking trails crisscross the reserve, the most spectacular of which hug the coastline. Point Lobos might be even more famous for what lies beneath the water than above it; underwater protected areas are home to a diverse marine ecosystem that includes 70-foot high kelp forests.

Rio Celeste Valley in Volcan Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica. Photo © Joerg Hackemann/123rf.

Hiking Tenorio Volcano National Park

Volcán Tenorio, rising southeast of Upala, is blanketed in montane rainforest and protected within Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio. Local hiking is superb, albeit often hard going on higher slopes. Cougars and jaguars tread the forests, where birds and beasts abound.

View from Hotelito Desconocido. Photo © furphotos, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Rustic Luxury Retreats in Puerto Vallarta

A sprinkling of secluded upscale mini resorts, perfect for a few days of quiet tropical relaxation, have opened in some remote corners of the Puerto Vallarta region. Being hideaways, they are not always easily accessible, but for those willing to make an extra effort, the rewards are rustically luxurious accommodations in lovely natural settings.

Along the road to Lanquin. Photo © Al Argueta.

Outdoor Recreation in Lanquín, Guatemala

Lanquín and its caves are quickly becoming requisite stops for travelers making their way through Guatemala. Recreational opportunities abound, and you may find yourself spending more time here than you had originally planned. Whether it’s exploring caves, white-water rafting, river tubing, or swimming that suits your fancy, you’ll find plenty to see and do in these parts.

Rancho Corozal, a private hideaway on the Rio Tatin. Photo © Al Argueta.

Exploring Río Tatín in Río Dulce National Park

One of Guatemala’s oldest parks, the waterway connecting the Caribbean Sea with Lake Izabal is protected as Río Dulce National Park. Along Río Tatín, you’ll find some excellent accommodations built into the surrounding jungle and in complete harmony with their environment. It showcases the region’s wonderful seclusion while at the same time providing a comfortable base from which to explore the area.

Kura Design Villa in Costa Rica's Central Pacific. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Unique Costa Rica Retreats: Lodges, Reserves, and More

Consider a stay at a mountain or rainforest lodge, an aerial tree house, or even a working farm for a unique Costa Rica experience. Most have naturalist guides and activities such as canoeing and hiking. Some offer luxury fit for a king; others are basic, although no less endearing.

Majahuitas Resort. Photo © Donna Day.

Best Hideaways in Puerto Vallarta

There are all kinds of hotel experiences to be had in the Puerto Vallarta region. For those who really just want to get away from it all and do nothing in beautiful isolation, here are your best hideaway options.

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.

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.