El Mercado Viejo in Masaya. Photo © Carles-Amalaric Navarro Parcerisas/123rf.

Sights in Masaya, Nicaragua

Soak in the culture and people-watching of Masaya’s plazas, especially the throbbing social and commercial heart of the mostly indigenous Monimbó neighborhood, peruse crafts markets where find all manner of delightful surprises: locally made leather shoes, brass, iron, carved wood, and textile handicrafts, plus paintings, clothing and hammocks, and cool off after an intense morning in the market on the windswept malecón.

Catedral Santiago de los Caballeros. Photo © Dreamstime.

Sights in Managua

You can easily visit all of Managua’s main attractions, which are scattered along the Avenida Bolívar, in half a day. Many are ruins and monuments to the disastrous 1972 earthquake that leveled the city, others are simply lovely places to sit and take in the city views. Expert author Elizabeth Perkins is here with a guided tour.

A painted lion statue in the Plaza de Leon. Photo © Micah Craig, licensed Creative Commons usage.

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias

Ponce’s Plaza de las Delicias is a bustling Spanish colonial plaza surrounded by many lovely 19th-century buildings. Filled with vendors of all kinds by day and music every evening, here’s what to see and do in this beautiful gathering spot.

A wall of religious icons in Iglesia de San Ignacio, Tunja, Colombia.

Tunja’s Historic Churches

Tunja is a city of churches, with over a dozen that date to colonial times. Everything you need to see here is located in its centro histórico, and make sure you arrive during church visiting hours, as the city does not have much else to offer. And most importantly, learn about the beautiful architecture and history of each one before you see it in person; you’ll appreciate your visit so much more for it.

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.

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.

Porta Coéli Chapel and Museum of Religious Art. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Things to Do in San Germán, Puerto Rico

San Germán is the second-oldest colonial city in Puerto Rico, a lovely town to explore the streets and plazas while admiring the 18th- and 19th-century architecture and, thanks to an expanding restaurant scene, to treat yourself with a few remarkable meals. Here are the sights, events, and how to get there.

Plaza Botero. Photo © Guía de Viajes Oficial de Medellín, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Downtown Medellín Walking Tour

Medellín’s brash downtown is a compact history tour comprising stoic remnants from the colonial era, brick and mortar evidence of Medellín’s rising as Colombia’s most important industrial center in the early 20th century, and the vibrant public spaces, modern transportation systems, and futuristic architecture showing this proud city’s 21st-century optimism.

Plaza Vieja at night. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Sights in Plaza Vieja, Havana

The last of the four main squares to be laid out in Habana Vieja, Plaza Vieja’s restoration has made it home to boutiques, restaurants, museums, and luxury apartments for foreign residents. Fans of art and architecture will definitely want to spend some time here, while casual visitors will find plenty to hold their interests in the plaza’s sights.