Diving at the RMS Rhone National Park wreck site. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Salt Island and the Wreck of the RMS Rhone

Many islands in the Virgins have salt ponds where crystal salt was collected, but no island had a larger or more productive pond than Salt Island. It’s also home to the wreck of the RMS Rhone, the preeminent dive site in the British Virgin Islands and one of its most visited attractions. Learn about the island’s history and how to thoroughly explore the Rhone’s remains.

Carved Mayan stelae at Chichén Itzá, Mexico.

Deciphering Hieroglyphic Maya Script

For years, scholars could not agree whether the fantastic inscriptions found on Maya stelae, codices, and temple walls were anything more than complex records of numbers and dates. Learn about the difficult journey to finally translating Maya glyphs, from centuries-long resistance to breakthroughs as recent as 1980, efforts which have lent invaluable insight into Maya civilization.

The Camino Real between Barichara and Guane. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Traveling Barichara’s Camino Real

A must-do activity in Barichara is to take the 5.3-kilometer Camino Real path to the pueblo of Guane. It’s a lovely path that zigzags down from the plateau of Barichara through farmland, affording nice views of the countryside. You don’t need a guide: It’s well marked, well trodden, and safe.

Iglesia San Francisco in Old Town Quito. Photo © Paul Prescott/123rf.

Sights in Quito’s Old Town

Quito’s Old Town is what makes the city famous, containing a huge number of colonial churches and religious buildings set around elegant plazas. Old Town is cleaner, safer, and a joy to wander around following a recent multimillion-dollar regeneration. While there are excellent guided maps and multilingual tours to be had, independent travelers will find exploring easy with expert author Ben Westwood’s account of the area.

Coba, Mexico, 123rf

Visiting the Maya Ruins of Cobá

The Maya ruins of Cobá make an excellent complement—or even alternative—to the memorable but vastly overcrowded ruins at Tulum. Its structures are much larger and more ornate–Cobá’s main pyramid is the second tallest in the Yucatán Peninsula, and it’s one of few you are still allowed to climb. The ruins are also surrounded by lakes and thick forest, making it a great place to see birds, butterflies, and tropical flora.

Quito Ecuador 123rf

Discover Quito, Ecuador’s Capital City

Ecuador’s capital is a city that scales many heights, not least in terms of elevation. Quito is an intriguing mix of old and new: colonial squares and concrete office blocks, traditional markets and modern malls, indigenous artisans and fashion-conscious professionals—and this diversity allows visitors to have the best of both worlds.

Prince Edward Island, Canada, 123rf

Discover Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Canada’s smallest provincial capital, Charlottetown (pop. 35,000)—Prince Edward Island’s governmental, economical, cultural, and shopping center—makes no pretense of being a big city. Rather, this attractive town is walkable, comfortable, and friendly. Learn about the town’s history, a bit about the surrounding Queen’s County, and the beautiful sights and attractions you won’t want to miss.

Gourds produced by the calabash tree were used for storage by the Taíno. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

All About Puerto Rican Trees

The official tree of Puerto Rico is the ceiba, an incredibly useful plant to island’s indigenous Taínos along with the unique calabash tree. Learn about their historical use, plus other remarkable trees of Puerto Rico, from ubiquitous palms and important mangroves to vibrant flamboyans and lovely mameys.

Antigua's lovely Parque Central. Photo © Al Argueta.

Sights in Antigua’s Parque Central

Antigua’s Parque Central is easily the most beautiful plaza in Guatemala and forms the hub of activity for shoe shiners, strolling lovers, tour groups, ice cream vendors, and foreign visitors. A great place for a stroll or people-watch, there are also plenty of sights to see, from historical cathedrals and incredible architecture to informative museums.