According to legend, if you make a pyramid out of stones it will change into a troll and bring luck.

The People and Culture of Iceland

Iceland is proud of its people and its culture, and works hard to preserve its heritage in both language and the arts. Here’s a look at how, along with general information about the population, religion, and folklore.

Icelandic sheep.

Cultural Arts in Iceland

From music to literature to one-of-a-kind knitted goods, the arts in Iceland reflect the the values its people hold dear, such as community and tradition. Learn more about Icelandic cultural arts.

Explore verdant valleys in Colombia's coffee region.

Colombia’s Economy

Colombia has a thriving market economy based primarily on oil, mining, agriculture, and manufacturing. Growth over the past decade has been a robust, placing it solidly as a middle-income country. Here’s a brief look at the country’s economic history, with a more in-depth focus on developments and policies in the last two decades.

A rusty barbed wire fence, overgrown with plants, marks the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border on the Rio Frio outside of Los Chiles, Costa Rica.

Nicaragua’s Rocky Relationship with Costa Rica

The tense relationship between these incongruous Central American neighbors loosely parallels the relationship between the United States and Mexico. Namely, a massive flood of immigrants crosses the border (pushed by neoliberal trade policies) into a more prosperous and stable nation and is subsequently accused of driving down wages, taking all the jobs, and straining social services without paying taxes. Rhetoric aside, the two neighbors desperately need each other.

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.

Iximché exhibits much more of a Mexican influence than other Maya sites in Guatemala. Photo © Michal Zak/123rf.

Iximché, Guatemala’s Most Accessible Highland Mayan Site

Iximché is the most easily accessible of Guatemala’s highland Mayan ceremonial sites. It makes an interesting stop for those with an interest in Mayan culture and history because of the differences it exhibits from the lowland Mayan sites of Petén, which date to much earlier times.

Río San Juan near El Castillo. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Río San Juan: Whose River Is It?

Nicaragua has long disputed Costa Rica’s territorial rights to free use of the Río San Juan, while Costa Rica disputes Nicaragua’s claim that the river is entirely Nicaraguan territory. Despite both countries accepting a ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2009, the conflict continues.

The Casa Armstrong Poventud was built in Ponce in 1899. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

The History of Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce’s rich cultural life gave birth in the mid-1800s to a unique form of romantic classical music called danza, and from there the good times kept rolling. By the turn of the 20th century, the tides began to turn for Ponce, leading to struggles that continue to today; lately, things are looking up. Learn about Ponce’s truly colorful history and the city’s revitalization.