Popular Festivals in Japan

Almost every town and city in Japan has its own matsuri (festival) celebrating the new year, changing seasons, or a historic event. Author Ruthy Kanagy gives an overview of some of Japan’s more well-known festivals.

The Sacred Steps of the Inca

Step designs are found everywhere in important Inca ruins and are versions of the chacana, a sacred Andean symbol similar to the Christian crucifix. Learn more about the chacana—the key to understanding the spiritual beliefs of the Inca—and where to spot it.

Cusco and Machu Picchu: Living History

Despite the conquest, Inca culture has proven remarkably resilient over the centuries, which creates the sensation of time standing still. Quechua, the Inca language that is spoken by six million Andean highlanders, is heard as often as Spanish along the narrow alleyways of Cusco. Inca Trail hikers who arrive at dawn at the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, will see the fog rise gently from the terraces and perfect stone buildings of Machu Picchu, which was lost for centuries and therefore perfectly preserved.

Puerto Rico, the “Island of Enchantment”

Puerto Rico’s nickname, Island of Enchantment, is a fitting sobriquet. Sandy beaches, palm trees, and tropical breezes make it a favorite getaway for the sun and surf crowd. Rugged mountains and a verdant rain forest attract adventure travelers, and lavish hotels with ocean-side golf courses embrace vacationers who crave luxury.

Festivals in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan loves a festival, and it often seems as though there’s one going on every weekend. Some have traditional origins, and others are products of the local tourism department, but they all promise insight into the island’s culture and are loads of fun.