Cruise the winding canals of Amsterdam. Photo © Anna Gallagher.

Laid-Back Amsterdam: 7 Tips for a Relaxing Trip

Anna and her partner Courtney traveled to Amsterdam with Andy Steves’ Europe as their guide. Discovering a city with two very different faces, they set out to find an Amsterdam inviting rest, relaxation, and a chance to soak up the quieter side of the city’s culture.

Mohegan Bluffs along the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island.

Block Island Bicycle Tour

Perhaps the most fun and convenient way to experience Block Island’s beaches, bluffs, and bird sanctuaries is by bicycle, an eco-friendly and widely accepted mode of transportation for island visitors and locals alike.

Miravalles volcano rises above a thermal area on its SW flank. Photo © William Melson (Smithsonian Institution) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Exploring Miravalles Volcano, Costa Rica

Volcán Miravalles is enshrined within the Zona Protectora Miravalles (Miravalles Protected Zone). Landscapes here range from deep canyons licked by ancient lava tongues, with fumaroles spouting and hissing and ground covered by savannah scrub to luscious forests replete with wildlife. Expert author Christopher P. Baker talks about what to see and do, including exploring a walkable live crater and indulging in adventure travel alongside a very sophisticated resort, restaurant, and spa.

The peaks and valleys of Sapa. Photo © Petr and Bara Ruzicka, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop

Venture into Vietnam’s far north and you’ll discover another world altogether, awash with rich green rice paddies and wide, flowing rivers that wind around the region’s many oversized landscapes. Exploring Vietnam’s Northwest Loop by motorcycle or bicycle is an independent adventure on which you’ll find few to no English speakers, no high-end hotels, and not a Western meal to speak of.

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.

Cyclists ride up a gravel path in a pine forest.

Flathead Valley Cycling in Glacier National Park

Oodles of two-lane highways and paved country lanes make long loops around Flathead Lake or short farmland tours for roadies, and there are many single-track and dirt-road choices for mountain bikers. Here’s where to go for each, along with bike rental and repair shops in the area.

Driving La Cuarenta is the Argentines standard for adventurous driving and cycling thanks to its secluded Andean lakes and isolated, rugged terrain.

La Cuarenta: Argentina’s Most Adventurous Road

From the Bolivian border near La Quiaca to its southern terminus near Río Gallegos, Ruta Nacional 40 is Argentina’s great unfinished interior highway. For Argentines and foreigners alike, it’s become the standard for adventurous driving and cycling, thanks to its secluded Andean lakes, isolated estancias (guest ranches), plentiful wildlife, and rare sights like the pre-Columbian rock art of Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands).

A view of Toronto from the Ward's Island Ferry.

Visiting the Toronto Islands

Just a short ferry ride across the harbor from downtown, the Toronto Islands in Lake Ontario are the city’s backyard. Learn about the different islands and plan to escape the urban bustle by lounging at the beach, cruising around by bike or kayak, or having a picnic.