El Salto Estanzuela in Nicaragua. Photo © Carles-Amalaric Navarro Parcerisas/123rf.

Exploring Nicaragua’s El Tisey Nature Reserve

Ascending into the Tisey Nature Reserve, you will notice a change in landscape as the cool air fills your lungs and the aroma of pine reaches your nostrils. This is the southernmost point in the Western Hemisphere where you’ll find pine forest, and the huge moss-covered trees are lined with hundreds of species of orchids. This area is also home to some inspiring communities and cultural sites. There’s more to see than you’ll likely have time for, so plan a few days at least.

Flowers on display in the Chichicastenango market. Photo © Al Argueta.

Exploring Chichicastenango in Guatemala’s Western Highlands

Chichicastenango (Chichi, for short) will provide you with an opportunity to take in a unique highland market experience. Today, Chichi is still very much a K’iche’ town with strong adherence to the old ways, and there are plenty of sights to take in outside the bustling market. Learn about this Mayan village’s history, its sights, and how to handle yourself in the marketplace.

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.

A colorful woven basket by a Navajo artisan.

Shopping for Authentic Native American Art in Tucson

Despite being hundreds of miles from the Navajo and Hopi Reservations in northeastern Arizona, Tucson has long been known as a center for Native American arts. Here’s a primer on purchasing authentic arts and jewelry and supporting Native American artists.

Blue painted cobblestones in the foreground with a row of colonial buildings.

Shopping in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan

People love to shop in Old San Juan because it offers the widest variety of unique shopping options in one pedestrian-friendly place. This is the place to go for fine jewelry, imported clothing and furnishings, cigars, folk art, tourist trinkets, and American chain stores, such as Marshalls, Walgreens, and Radio Shack.