A painted lion statue in the Plaza de Leon. Photo © Micah Craig, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias is a bustling Spanish colonial plaza surrounded by many lovely 19th-century buildings. Filled with vendors of all kinds by day and music every evening, here’s what to see and do in this beautiful gathering spot.

El Fortín, a circular fortress tower, in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Heredia, Costa Rica’s City of Flowers

Heredia, seven miles north of San José and colloquially known as La Ciudad de las Flores (City of Flowers), is surrounded by coffee fields. A pleasant atmosphere pervades the grid-patterned town despite its jostling traffic, making it easy to wander. There’s something here for history buffs, coffee aficionados, nature lovers, and after all that, the nightlife is pretty good too.

A wall of religious icons in Iglesia de San Ignacio, Tunja, Colombia.

Tunja’s Historic Churches

Tunja is a city of churches, with over a dozen that date to colonial times. Everything you need to see here is located in its centro histórico, and make sure you arrive during church visiting hours, as the city does not have much else to offer. And most importantly, learn about the beautiful architecture and history of each one before you see it in person; you’ll appreciate your visit so much more for it.

Iglesia San Francisco in Old Town Quito. Photo © Paul Prescott/123rf.

Sights in Quito’s Old Town

Quito’s Old Town is what makes the city famous, containing a huge number of colonial churches and religious buildings set around elegant plazas. Old Town is cleaner, safer, and a joy to wander around following a recent multimillion-dollar regeneration. While there are excellent guided maps and multilingual tours to be had, independent travelers will find exploring easy with expert author Ben Westwood’s account of the area.

Quito Ecuador 123rf

Discover Quito, Ecuador’s Capital City

Ecuador’s capital is a city that scales many heights, not least in terms of elevation. Quito is an intriguing mix of old and new: colonial squares and concrete office blocks, traditional markets and modern malls, indigenous artisans and fashion-conscious professionals—and this diversity allows visitors to have the best of both worlds.

Antigua's lovely Parque Central. Photo © Al Argueta.

Sights in Antigua’s Parque Central

Antigua’s Parque Central is easily the most beautiful plaza in Guatemala and forms the hub of activity for shoe shiners, strolling lovers, tour groups, ice cream vendors, and foreign visitors. A great place for a stroll or people-watch, there are also plenty of sights to see, from historical cathedrals and incredible architecture to informative museums.

Colonial-era church in San Rafael de Escazú. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Spending Time in Escazú, Costa Rica

Though officially part of metropolitan San José, Escazú is divided from the capital by a hill range and river canyon and is so individualistic that it functions virtually as a sister city. On top of that, there are actually three Escazús, each with its own church, patron saint, and character worth exploring. Learn about the individual vibes of San Rafael, San Miguel, and San Antonio, and the sights to see.

Iglesia La Ermita in Cali. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Sights in Popayán’s Centro Histórico, Colombia

Popayán is a dignified city, proud of its place in history and its enduring colonial charm. Idyllic churches and museums are the main places of interest in Popayán, but lingering in the Parque Caldas on a sunny afternoon or strolling the lonely streets on a Sunday evening may be what you remember most.

Frederik Lutheran Church on St. Thomas. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Sights in King’s Quarter on St. Thomas Part 2

Starting at Frederik Lutheran Church and ending with Blackbeard’s Castle, here’s part two of our series focused on experiencing Charlotte Amalie’s historic charm by exploring the steep step-streets of Government Hill in the western environs of King’s Quarter.