Laguna Lachua in Guatemala. Photo © Al Argueta.

Laguna Lachuá National Park, Guatemala

Laguna Lachuá National Park, an almost perfectly circular turquoise lagoon, is its own ecological island, like a square patch of forest floating on a surrounding sea of deforestation. Here you can enjoy the refreshing waters and the dense forest all around in an atmosphere of utter tranquility.

Monumento al Indio. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Sights in Isabela, Puerto Rico

The area known today as Isabela was once ruled by Cacique Mabodamaca, one of the island’s most powerful Taíno chiefs. The town of Isabela features a charming little plaza anchored by a church, as are all town plazas, impressive cultural sights, ruins, and one of the most hair-raising mountain drives.

One of the carvings at the ruins of Quirigua. Photo © Stefan Ember/123rf.com.

The Mayan Ruins of Quiriguá, Guatemala

Set amid banana plantations, the Mayan site of Quiriguá in Guatemala is smaller but somewhat similar to Copán, particularly in regard to its inhabitants’ skill and propensity in the carving of stelae.

Playa Zoni in Culebra. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Discover the Islands of Vieques and Culebra

Referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra are often described as “the way Puerto Rico used to be.” There are no fast-food restaurants or high-rise hotels, no golf courses or casinos, virtually no nightlife, and few tourist sights. What they do have are stunning beaches, world-class water sports, and lots of opportunity for R&R.

Aerial view of Queenstown, located on the south island of New Zealand. Photo © istockphoto.

Immigrating to New Zealand: The Lay of the Land

New Zealand tends to be pictured in the world’s eyes as a couple of islands just off the coast of Australia. Here to help potential immigrants is expert author Michelle Waitzman with the lay of the land: how New Zealanders divide their country, the general landscape and population distributions, and information on regional governments.

Sunrise at Lake Atitlán. Photo © Al Argueta.

Discover Guatemala’s Western Highlands

Most visitors to Guatemala daydream about the Western Highlands. The region is home to quaint and colorful mountain villages, highland lakes, pine forests, and the majority of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples. From the Indian markets in Chichicastenango and the Mayan practices of the costumbristas (shamans carrying out traditional Mayan rituals) in the hills just outside of town to the all-day November 1 horse races of Todos Santos, the region is steeped in rich culture.

Flags of Nicaragua and United States. Photo © rolfik/123rf.

U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua

The so-called Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify troop deployment to Latin America, and President William Howard Taft provided further rationalization for aggressively dominating Latin America with his Dollar Diplomacy, an unabashed strategy to advance and protect U.S. businesses. Nicaragua, which had been host to U.S. fruit, mining, and transportation interests since the 1850s, was a frequent recipient of such foreign policy. The following is a detailed list of interventions in Nicaragua.

The garden at Casa Popenoe in Antigua. Photo © Lgalvarado (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Antigua’s Museums

Awash with history, Antigua is home to a handful of museums well worth making time for between your explorations of the city and the surrounding landscape. Displays range from arts and sculptures to religious artifacts to wonderfully restored 17th century architecture.

Carmel Mission. Photo Danielschreurs/Dreamstime.

History of the California Missions

In the mid-1700s, Spain pushed for colonization of Alta California, rushing to occupy North America before the British beat them to it. The Franciscan order built a string of missions; each was intended to act as a self-sufficient parish that grew its own food, maintained its own buildings, and took care of its own people. These missions influenced the history of early California not necessarily for the better.

Catedral Metropolitana in San Salvador. Photo © Milosk50/Dreamstime.

San Salvador, El Salvador’s Urban Heart

Chaotic, congested, and consistently noisy, San Salvador is El Salvador’s capital and resilient urban heart. Battle hardened by civil unrest and natural disasters, the city bears the scars of its past with a fierce determination to create a better future, and it seems that perhaps finally, the tide is turning. It’s an exciting time of transition, and as a visitor, there is much to see and do. In fact, San Salvador can be the perfect base for your travels, with all of the comforts and amenities you need and many of the country’s top sights within a short bus ride away