Driving through Joshua Tree National Park.

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park

Nestled in the Mojave Desert is Joshua Tree National Park, an oasis of beautiful natural sights and a few historical ones too. Here’s an overview of the park, including how to get there, must-see landscapes, and tips on hiking the many nature trails in the desert.

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.