The mariposario (enclosed butterfly garden) at the Jardín Botánico del Quindío. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Colombia’s Jardín Botánico del Quindío

Outside the town of Armenia, the well-run Jardín Botánico del Quindío is home to hundreds of tree and plant species, many of which are threatened. Knowledgeable volunteer guides lead visitors on a mandatory 2.5-hour tour along jungle paths pointing out plants, trees, and birds visitors would otherwise miss.

Judy Arroyo with rescued sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Costa Rica Nature Reserves: Puerto Limón to Cahuita

Nature reserves south of Puerto Limón in Colombia tend to be remote and undeveloped, making them perfect for adventure travel. The one exception is the world’s only sloth sanctuary, an education and research center based around rehabilitating rescued sloths that amounts to a highly-fulfilling experience for visitors.

Fire Ginger at Esquinas Rainforest Lodge in Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica.

All About Piedras Blancas National Park, Costa Rica

Centered on the village of La Gamba, Piedras Blancas National Park was split from Parque Nacional Corcovado in 1999. The rainforest has no shortages of unique plants to admire, wildlife to watch, and plenty of other ways to spend your time. Here are suggestions for your visit, along with the best places to stay.

Vieques features miles of deserted beaches and bright blue water. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

The Electric-Blue Waters of Mosquito Bay

In 2013, Vieques’ world-renown bioluminescent Mosquito Bay went dark. Through continuing preservation efforts, the electric-blue glow of the lagoon has returned. Learn what makes the bay glow, what Puerto Rico is doing to keep it healthy, and what to expect from the magical and unique experience of seeing it for yourself.

Bone fragments found at the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

The Marco Gonzalez Maya Site, Belize

Those looking for a little Mayan history on Ambergris Caye in Belize can find it at the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site. History and adventure buffs will enjoy private guided tours of this virgin site, currently under study, which was inhabited by the Maya for 1,600 years.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Old San Juan’s Two Historic Castillos

History buffs and especially those interested in military history should take time to explore Old San Juan’s two historic forts, Castillo San Felipe del Morro dating from 1539 and Castillo de San Cristóbal dating from 1634.

A golden figure of a jaguar in the Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Sights in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura

Musicians, jugglers, and marimba bands entertain the crowds in San José’s Plaza de la Cultura. Amidst the lively atmosphere, take the time to explore the stunning architecture of the Teatro Nacional and the world-class Museo del Oro Precolombino.

Cyclist in San Jose's Parque la Sabana. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Recreational Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has scores of tour operators offering a complete range of options. Here are recommended general tour operators as well as specific recommended tours from horseback-riding and hiking to bird-watching and cruises and nearly everything between.

Glasswing butterfly, Monteverde Butterfly Garden. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Family Fun in Costa Rica

Combining educational options with fun keeps children (and parents) enthralled. From snakes and sloths and crocodiles to river safaris and air tram rides through the forest and above volcanoes, these ideas focus on outdoor adventure & learning while experiencing nature.