Emerald Bay and South Lake Tahoe. Photo © Christopher Arns.

Planning Your Time in Lake Tahoe

The San Francisco Bay Area is a top vacation destination for people from all over the world. So where do people who live there take their vacations? Sparkling blue Lake Tahoe and its surrounding mountains, lakes, ski resorts, hiking trails, hot springs, charming mountain towns, casinos, and varied wilderness areas say “vacation” to just about anyone.

Catedral de Puntarenas. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Sights in the Port Town of Puntarenas

Puntarenas has long been favored by Josefinos seeking R&R. This sultry port town is built along a narrow spit running west from the suburb of Cocal and backed to the north by a mangrove estuary; to the south are the Golfo de Nicoya and a beach cluttered with driftwood. Though tiny, there’s plenty to see here from museums to festivals to mingling with the locals.

Mount Shasta. Photo © Chrisboswell/Dreamstime.

Classic Northern California Road Trips: Mounts Shasta and Lassen

These northern peaks and parklands are some of the state’s most spectacular and least visited. Mount Shasta is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. You can hike or climb to the summit in the summer and ski down its slopes in winter. Shasta Lake, by contrast, is best in summer, when boating, fishing, and waterskiing can fully be enjoyed. Because of its high elevation and rocky terrain, Mount Lassen’s roads are closed late fall-spring, making it a mid- to late-summer destination.

A bougainvillea-draped doorway at the Vallarta Botanical Gardens. Photo © Justin Henderson.

Best Puerto Vallarta Day Trips

If you’re based in Puerto Vallarta and set on spending all your nights here, you can still get out of town for a day at a time. From can’t-miss outings to easy-going changes of scenery, here are some great options by car, bus, and boat.

City street in Granada, Nicaragua. Photo © Dreamstime.

Planning Your Time in Granada and Masaya

All within an hour of the capital Managua, Granada, Masaya, and Carazo contain a taste of Nicaragua’s must-sees. Both Granada and Masaya make excellent bases for your excursions around the country, or you can make day and overnight trips from the capital. Either way, you’ll find quaint colonial towns, smoking volcanoes, lagoons, traditional artistry, coffee farms, and the crashing tide of the Pacific Ocean.

Cordillera Central. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time in Puerto Rico’s Cordillera Central

It’s hard for some visitors to wrap their heads around the idea of spending their time in Puerto Rico not in the water but in the mountains. That’s what makes the Cordillera Central, Puerto Rico’s central mountain region, one of the island’s greatest hidden gems. One of the great things about the Cordillera Central is that it’s possible to get a taste of its charms on a day trip from just about anywhere on the island.

A wooden cart and motorbike ferry passengers on train tracks near San Cipriano, Colombia.

The Little Witches of San Cipriano

A popular day trip from Cali is to take a ride on the brujitas, literally “little witches,” of San Cipriano. Train tracks run through the two villages of Córdoba and San Cipriano, and since trains rarely pass, local entrepreneurs saw an opportunity; wooden carts set upon the tracks now zip along on an incredibly unique 30-minute journey.