Mayan glyphs. Photo © Al Argueta.

Lost and Found: The Mystery of Guatemala’s Site Q

For much of the 20th century, looters worked Petén’s remote sites undisturbed, raiding tombs and extracting precious artifacts before archaeologists had a chance to study and document them. At the height of the looting, in the 1960s, archaeologists marveled at a series of magnificent glyphs making their way into a number of private collections and museums from an unknown site. Archaeologists dubbed the pieces’ origin “Site Q” and the search to find the mysterious producer of the wonderful glyphs was on.

View of downtown San Francisco lit up in the evening from Twin Peaks.

Mapping San Francisco, an Ever-Changing City

Geographically and culturally, San Francisco is anything but flat, and what level ground exists might at any moment give way. While earthquakes remake the land, social upheavals play a similar role in reminding that the only constant here is change.

View of Managua from La Loma de Tiscapa. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour

Historical trivia buffs, take note! A lot of Managua’s most historically salient points are close to invisible, in stark contrast to the role they played in the lead-up to the 1979 revolution. If you have a rainy afternoon in Managua, hop in a taxi and revisit history on this 30-minute driving tour.

Arecibo Observatory. Photo © Frank Van Den Eijnden/123rf.

Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Observatory

Many significant astronomical discoveries have been made at the Arecibo Observatory in the last four decades. Learn more about the significant history of space study at the site of this massive dish telescope.

Mmmm, chocolate. Photo © Cindy Eccles/123rf.

A Taste of History: Aztec Chocolatl

The refreshing drink chocolatl enjoyed by Aztec nobility is a remote but distinct relative of the chocolate consumed today by hundreds of millions of people. In Mexico, chocolate is more than mere dessert; used to spice the tangy moles of southern Mexico, it’s virtually a national food.

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.