Mayan glyphs. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Pre-Colonial Mayan Inhabitants

Guatemala’s history is complicated and fascinating, though it often reads like a tragic novel. A basic understanding of its history is a crucial element for the well-informed traveler hoping to get the most out of a visit to this mystifying land of culture and contrasts.

Mascarados in Pirenópolis. Photo © Mauro Cruz (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Unique Festivals Throughout Brazil Part 1

While Carnaval is the most famous and well-known festival, there are many more throughout the year and throughout the country that are just as incredible to experience–some are even more spectacular than Carnaval. Whether a festa is religious or historical in nature, one thing you can count on is it’ll be a heck of a party.

At sunset on the coast, the silhouetted statue of a fisherman hauling in his net.

Day Trip from Belize to Chetumal, Mexico

An exciting dose of culture shock is an easy 15 miles from Corozal. Chetumal, capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, is a relatively modern, midsized city of about 200,000. If you don’t come for the culture, then you must be here to shop in the new American-style mall, or see a first-run film in Chet’s brand new air-conditioned Cineplex, located in the Plaza de las Americas mall.

A boat is docked along a strip of shore surrounded by calm, clear water.

Discover Belize

If you’ve traveled in other parts of Central America or the Caribbean, forget them all. Belize is different: It is coconut shavings in your rice and beans. It is butter pooling in your conch soup—with a squirt of lime and a splash of hot sauce to make it bite. Belize is the hemisphere’s largest barrier reef; it is massive forests of giant cohune palms and prehistoric tree ferns, some amid ancient Mayan plazas.

The brand new waterfront of Paseo Tablado La Guancha. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time on Puerto Rico’s South Coast

Instead of lush, rocky coastlines, rough Atlantic waters, mountainous karst country, and a dense population, Puerto Rico’s south coast features a flat, dry topography, and considerably less commercial development. It’s a great place to go if you want to escape the traffic and American influence found elsewhere on the island. And there are many great historic and cultural sights to explore.

Stupas at Ang Pagoda. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Mekong Delta to the Cambodian Border Travel Itinerary

Starting from Ho Chi Minh City, this 6-day itinerary works well as a bookend to your Vietnam trip, especially if you’re continuing onward to Cambodia. If you’re not, simply stop at the border. From floating markets and nature sanctuaries to incredible pagodas and mountain summit views, expect to be busy; there’s a lot to see and do.

Plaza Nariño, Pasto's main plaza. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Visit Pasto and Laguna La Cocha

Many people overlook unassuming Pasto, set in the verdant Valle de Atriz with the deceivingly gentle, sloping Volcán Galeras watching over it. But both it and the stunning Nariño countryside deserve your time and attention. Spend your time visiting museums and sights that will keep you intellectually stimulated for more than a couple days, and make sure you take the delightful excursion to Laguna La Cocha.

Lobster lunch. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Seafood in the Virgin Islands

No food group is as traditional in the Virgin Islands as seafood. Expert author Susanna Henighan Potter takes a look at local favorites from pot fish to traditional pungent saltfish to specialty whelk and conch, the islands’ preferred shellfish.

Costa Ricans have been rated the happiest people in the world. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rican Society and Identity

Expert author Christopher P. Baker introduces travelers to the rhythms of Costa Rican society, from its demographics and collective values to the Costa Rican identity as a country and as individuals.