Flowers on display in the Chichicastenango market. Photo © Al Argueta.

Exploring Chichicastenango in Guatemala’s Western Highlands

Chichicastenango (Chichi, for short) will provide you with an opportunity to take in a unique highland market experience. Today, Chichi is still very much a K’iche’ town with strong adherence to the old ways, and there are plenty of sights to take in outside the bustling market. Learn about this Mayan village’s history, its sights, and how to handle yourself in the marketplace.

Mayan glyphs. Photo © Al Argueta.

Guatemala’s Pre-Colonial Mayan Inhabitants

Guatemala’s history is complicated and fascinating, though it often reads like a tragic novel. A basic understanding of its history is a crucial element for the well-informed traveler hoping to get the most out of a visit to this mystifying land of culture and contrasts.

A Mayan woman and child from the Huehuetenango highlands. Photo © Al Argueta.

Etiquette and Customs in Guatemala

You’ll find most Guatemalans are warm and friendly, and Guatemalans from all walks of life value politeness and good manners. Getting to know social etiquette, common customs, and general expectations in appearance and conduct–especially the courtesy you should show when seeking photographs–will go far in making your travels easier and much more genuine.

A street vendor in District 1. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Planning Your Time in Ho Chi Minh City

Get anywhere near the flashing neon lights, full-throttle traffic, sardined houses, and soaring commercial towers of the country’s southern hub and it becomes clear why Ho Chi Minh City is the future of Vietnam. Still known to locals as Saigon, the city packs all of southern Vietnam’s best food, art, culture, and diversity into the jumbled houses and narrow alleyways of the country’s most ambitious metropolis.

The Bermudian Heritage Museum once belonged to the Grand United Order of Good Samaritans, which aided newly freed blacks before and after their emancipation in 1834. Photo © Rosemary Jones.

Key Sites Along Bermuda’s African Diaspora Trail

Bermuda’s black heritage and the 200-year legacy of slavery on the island is remembered through a chain of monuments and museums. The African Diaspora Trail has a dozen points of interest throughout the island all officially designated UNESCO Slave Route Projects. Here are some of the key sights and points of interest along the trail.

View of Sapa from Dragon Jaw Mountain. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Visiting Sapa’s Minority Villages in Vietnam

Beyond Sapa’s borders the surrounding hills and valleys are studded with minority villages, particularly those of the Black H’mong and Red Dao. Visiting any of the these villages affords visitors a window into the daily lives of Sapa’s minority communities, as well as the pleasure of trekking through the verdant landscape.

Depiction of the west end of Hamilton Wharf circa 1857. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Bermuda’s Portuguese

On November 6, 1849, a sailing ship made port in Hamilton carrying 58 men, women, and children—the first Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda. Learn about their history from this first arrival to their fight for equal rights with other island residents as late as the 1980s to how their culture thrives today.

Colorful incense, used at pagodas, temples, and family altars. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Vietnamese Funeral Rituals

Vietnam’s approach to death is different than that of the Western world. Regardless of religion, Vietnamese believe in ancestor worship, and this influences their mourning of a passed loved one, the funeral itself, and their ongoing remembrance of their dead.

Customers entering and browsing the Mercado Central.

Sights in West-Central San José, Costa Rica

Sights in west-central San José are big on culture. Fans of architecture and history buffs won’t want to miss spending an afternoon here, and those looking for true cultural immersion should definitely hit up the market scene. Here’s where to go.

The colorful Paisa town of Jericó. Photo © Flaperval/123rf.

Visit Jericó, Colombia’s Paisa Cowboy Outpost

Jericó and Jardín are two (colorfully painted) peas in the same pod. Both are fiercely traditional Paisa pueblos, and they won’t change for anybody. Of the two, Jericó feels more remote, and less visited, and therein lies its charm. Visit for its unique handicraft, the carriel, and its sleepy streets lined with brightly colored wooden balconies and doors that are a playground for shutterbugs.