Springtime at Daffodil Hill. Photo © Brandon Bourdages/123rf.

Visiting Volcano, California

Little Volcano is an often-overlooked town in the Shenandoah Valley. While it has its own share of wineries, the real draws are the stunning Black Chasm Caverns–inspiration for the atmosphere in the film The Matrix–spring on Daffodil Hill, which explodes each March into a profusion of sunny yellow, and hotels with vintage Gold Country charm.

Notom-Bullfrog Road. Photo © Judy Jewell.

Plan a Visit to Capitol Reef National Park

Although Capitol Reef gets far less attention than the region’s other national parks, it is a great place to visit, with excellent hiking and splendid scenery. It’s easy to spend 2-3 days camping at the park campground or staying in nearby Torrey and taking day hikes in the park’s core district. Even travelers short on time will enjoy a quick look at visitors center exhibits and the Scenic Drive, which offers access to viewpoints and hiking trails.

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge

Howler monkeys and birdcalls will wake you bright and early in Los Guatuzos. Los Guatuzos contains dense populations of crocodiles; caimans; feral pigs; jaguars; and howler, white-faced, and spider monkeys. This is also home to a rare, ancient species of fish called the gaspar (Actractoseus tropicus), a living, armored relic of the Jurassic age. Between February and April, flocks of migratory species fly through in spectacular concentrations.

Crater lake inside Volcán Santa Ana. Photo © Hugo Brizard/123rf.

Hiking Parque Nacional Los Volcanes, El Salvador

Parque Nacional Los Volcanes commonly known as Parque Cerro Verde, includes three prominent volcanoes that create the El Salvador’s most poetic portrait. They are of distinct ages rarely seen so close together. Volcán Izalco is the youngest volcano in Central America; Cerro Verde is considered middle aged, formed around 25,000 years ago; and Santa Ana is one of the region’s oldest volcanoes.

El Brujo Waterfall in Chocoyero-El Brujo Natural Reserve. Photo © Tomas Benavente/123rf.

Spend a Night at Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve

Less than 28 kilometers away from downtown Managua is a little pocket of wilderness so vibrant with wildlife you’ll forget the capital is literally just over the horizon. The Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve a naturalist’s paradise; among hardwood forests and pineapple farms, you’ll find waterfalls, hiking, and camping alongside numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

San Andrés Ruins. Photo © Raúl Arias, licensed Creative Commons usage.

The Indigenous History of Panchimalco and the San Andres Ruins

The area surrounding San Salvador is rich with history and natural beauty. If you are in the area, it is definitely worth making a short drive (or bus ride) to explore the wonderful sights of Panchimalco and San Andrés Ruins and learn more about the indigenous people of El Salvador.

A wild turkey strutting through one of Guatemala's archeological sites.

Exploring Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera, Guatemala

Also known as the Quetzal Biotope, only a small part of Biotopo Mario Dary Rivera is open to visitors, but there’s plenty to keep you busy. Nature lovers and hikers for sure will want to stop here; the Biotope’s convenient roadside location means that if you’re on your way to or from Cobán, it’s easy to do.

Guatemala's Scarlet Macaw. Photo © Al Argueta.

Las Guacamayas Biological Research Station

Las Guacamayas Biological Research Station sits amid verdant jungle on the shores of the Río San Pedro, a 20-minute boat ride from the village of Paso Caballos. It is one of the best places in Petén to combine wildlife-viewing and rainforest trekking while staying in relative comfort, offering easy access to the ruins of Waka’ and the surrounding forests.

Sámara seen from a Flying Crocodile ultralight flight. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Flying Crocodile Ultralight Flight, Costa Rica

Want to try a flight in an ultralight plane? Head to Playa Buena Vista and the Flying Crocodile Flying Center where Guido Scheidt, a licensed commercial pilot, will take you up in one of his state-of-the-art fixed-wing or autogiro ultralights. Trips from twenty minutes to three days are offered, as well as lessons; stay in one of the nearby cabins for the full experience.

Male green iguana in orange mating color. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Plan a Visit to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Caño Negro is a bird-watcher’s paradise. The reserve protects the largest colony of neotropic cormorants in Costa Rica and the only permanent colony of Nicaraguan grackles. The reserve is also remarkable for its large population of caimans. Find out all you need to know about visiting the refuge and surrounding area.