New Orleans Jazz Procession Fountain. Photo © legacy1995/123rf.

The Evolution of Jazz and Blues in New Orleans

While New Orleans is known for its fine art galleries and historical architecture, its biggest artistic claim to fame is indeed its music. This city is one of the world’s most dynamic live-music scenes. New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, blues music has its origins just upriver, and it was here in the 1950s that they mixed together to form rhythm and blues.

Catedral Metropolitana in San Salvador. Photo © Milosk50/Dreamstime.

San Salvador, El Salvador’s Urban Heart

Chaotic, congested, and consistently noisy, San Salvador is El Salvador’s capital and resilient urban heart. Battle hardened by civil unrest and natural disasters, the city bears the scars of its past with a fierce determination to create a better future, and it seems that perhaps finally, the tide is turning. It’s an exciting time of transition, and as a visitor, there is much to see and do. In fact, San Salvador can be the perfect base for your travels, with all of the comforts and amenities you need and many of the country’s top sights within a short bus ride away

A statue of Nobel Prize laureate Miguel Ángel Asturias on Avenida La Reforma. Photo © Al Argueta.

Sights in Guatemala City’s Zona 10

Zona 10 is home to Guatemala City’s most pleasant commercial district, a beautiful example of 19th century architecture, and two excellent historical museums–one a definite must-see for anyone with even a passing interest in Mayan culture.

Sunner Time by artist Nellie Mae Rowe. Photo © Nellie Mae Rowe [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

African American Arts and Heritage in Atlanta

Atlanta has been called “the crown jewel in the story of black America” for good reason. The city’s distinction as a crossroads for equal opportunity dates back generations, due in no small part to the concentration of historically black colleges (the largest in the country) and long legacy of African American entrepreneurship and innovation. This unique heritage is also a major draw for tourism; no matter what the calendar says, it’s always Black History Month in Atlanta.

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.

An artisan working on an oxcart wheel.

The Oxcarts of Sarchí

Sarchí is famous as the home of gaily decorated wooden carretas (oxcarts), the internationally recognized symbol of Costa Rica. The carretas, forced from the fields by the advent of tractors and trucks, are almost purely decorative now, but the craft and the art form live on here, where artisans still apply their masterly touch at two fábricas de carretas (workshops), which are open to view

A barred gate covers the entrace to Capilla del Cristo chapel in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Historic Churches in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Jan is the cultural center of Puerto Rico. Many of the island’s must-see sights are in Old San Juan; among them are these beautiful and beloved old churches. One is the second-oldest in the western hemisphere, another has two origin stories, both a tragic and triumphant version, and one is a truly excellent example of 16th-century Spanish Gothic architecture.

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.

The carved and painted front of San Andrés Xecul's Technicolor church.

The Many Sights Near Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

The towns and villages surrounding Quetzaltenango make for some interesting day trips. Found nearby are the Santa María and Santiaguito Volcanoes, hot springs, Indian markets, colorful churches, and an exquisite crater lake.

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.