Blue Ctenosaur in Santa Rosa National Park. Photo © Jorasm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

What to See in Costa Rica’s Santa Rosa National Park

Founded in 1972, Santa Rosa National Park was Costa Rica’s first national park. The park–divided into two sections; the more important and accessible Santa Rosa Sector to the south and the Murciélago Sector further north–is a mosaic of 10 distinct habitats, including mangrove swamp, savanna, and oak forest, and is filled with hiking trails to explore and wildlife to watch. There are also great opportunities for scuba diving and surfing.

Visitors gazing into the main the crater of Poás Volcano.

Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

There are few volcanoes where you can drive all the way to the rim. At Costa Rica’s Parque Nacional Volcán Poás you can—well, at least to within 300 meters (1,000 feet), where a short stroll puts you at the very edge of one of the world’s largest active craters. Learn about this restless giant’s history, along with trip planning tips to make the most of your visit.

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. Photo © Steven Prorak/123rf.

Hiking, Camping, and Backpacking in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend offers more than 200 miles of hiking trails ranging from short, easy nature walks and day hikes to primitive mountain trails for experienced hikers and overnight backpackers. There’s truly something for everyone here—families can take their time on moderate trails with printed interpretive brochures as a guide, while hard-core backpackers have the option of taking backcountry trails into the desolate wilderness for challenging treks at their own pace.

Covehead Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Exploring Prince Edward Island National Park

The sandy beaches, dunes, sandstone cliffs, marshes, and forestlands of Prince Edward Island National Park represent the island as it once was, unspoiled by 20th-century development. Opportunities to explore the park are many, with interpretive centers, plenty of hiking, beautiful sandy beaches and campgrounds of all kinds.

Giant elephant ears at Sage Mountain National Park. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Hiking Sage Mountain National Park

Sage Mountain National Park, a 92-acre park in west-central Tortola, is home to scenic overlooks, a forest untouched for over 500 years, and a host of delightful tropical trees, flowers, and animals. Hikers will enjoy cool air, dozens of signs that identify trees and plants along the trails, and climbing to the highest point in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Jaguar lounging in Belize. Photo © Lebawit Lily Girma.

Hiking Cockscomb Basin in Belize

The main draw of the Cockscomb Basin is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, commonly called the “Jaguar Preserve.” The area is alive with wildlife and hiking opportunities, from an easy hour-long stroll along the river to a four-day Victoria Peak expedition. Here’s how to get to the preserve, the best hiking trails, and necessary preparations for staying overnight.

Rada Point, a popular trekking destination on Lang Biang Mountain. Photo © Dana Filek Gibson.

The Best of Vietnam’s National Parks

Vietnam counts 30 national parks to its credit. Several of the parks that welcome foreign visitors stand out from the bunch for their impressive landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique outdoor adventures. From bird-watching to hiking to everything between, here are the best of Vietnam’s national parks.

Cacti along the coastline of Shark Bay National Park on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Off the Water: Forests and Parks in the Virgin Islands

Away from the water, the Virgin Islands are a fascinating and richly diverse landscape: rocky bluffs and wide plains; mountain peaks and dry seaside forests; salt ponds and rainforest. Pack a pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, and a sense of adventure to get up close to the natural world away from the ocean.

Ancient pines gnarled by the wind dot the upper elevations. Photo © Jenna Blough.

Hiking Telescope Peak, Death Valley’s Highest Point

A true Death Valley classic, if you can only choose one hike in Death Valley, put Telescope Peak in the running. The sweeping 360° views make it worthwhile and give a sense of Death Valley’s vast scope, and if you’ve been exploring the canyons and valley floors, this is your chance to have a personal travel retrospective.

A charcoal kiln used for making coal from juniper and pine in Death Valley, California.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns and Hiking Wildrose Peak

Once used to make charcoal for the mining efforts in the area, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns now stand as works of hand-engineered beauty. While you’re here, consider taking a hike to Wildrose Peak and be rewarded with incredible panoramic views from the windswept summit.