Aerial view of a southern Thai island.

Geography and Climate of Thailand

Moving to Thailand means not only getting used to a whole new set of rules and social customs, it means navigating an entirely new physical country too. While a general overview of the lay of the land is helpful for a traveler, for an expat, it’s one of the keys to a successful life.

View of the Seine river through Paris from the Eiffel Tower.

Navigating Paris: Départements, Arrondissements, and More

Metropolitan France, or what the locals refer to as La Métropole, is carved into 22 culturally distinct regions, which are further divided into départements. In the manner of Russian dolls, each department contains arrondissements, cantons, and communes. For the day-to-day practical purposes of the expat, knowing your regions and departments is what matters most.

Aerial view of Queenstown, located on the south island of New Zealand. Photo © istockphoto.

Immigrating to New Zealand: The Lay of the Land

New Zealand tends to be pictured in the world’s eyes as a couple of islands just off the coast of Australia. Here to help potential immigrants is expert author Michelle Waitzman with the lay of the land: how New Zealanders divide their country, the general landscape and population distributions, and information on regional governments.

Volcán Maderas is a pleasant volcano to climb. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Nicaragua’s Volcanic Landscape

Nicaragua’s nickname, “The Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” evokes its primary geographical features: two great lakes and a chain of impressive and active volcanoes; these water and volcanic resources have had an enormous effect on its human history. The country has about 40 volcanoes, a half dozen of which are usually active at any time. Running parallel to the Pacific shore, Nicaragua’s volcanoes are a part of the Ring of Fire that encompasses most of the western coast of the Americas, the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, Japan, and Indonesia.

The highlands near Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rica’s Central Highlands

The beauty of the Central Highlands owes much to the juxtaposition of valley and mountain. The large, fertile central valley—sometimes called the Meseta Central (Central Plateau)—is a tectonic depression about 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide and 70 kilometers (43 miles) long. The basin is held in the cusp of verdant mountains that rise on all […]

Moss grows on a bulging knot along the trunk of a larch tree.

Visit Chile’s Parque Pumalín

Parque Pumalín is a 317,000-hectare private nature reserve straddling the highway north of Chaitén. Find out more about the park including flora, geography, sights, and recreational opportunities.