A barred gate covers the entrace to Capilla del Cristo chapel in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Historic Churches in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Jan is the cultural center of Puerto Rico. Many of the island’s must-see sights are in Old San Juan; among them are these beautiful and beloved old churches. One is the second-oldest in the western hemisphere, another has two origin stories, both a tragic and triumphant version, and one is a truly excellent example of 16th-century Spanish Gothic architecture.

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.

Stairs leading to an old building near Perfume Pagoda. Photo © Tuomas Lehtinen/123rf.

Day Trips From Hanoi

Beyond the city limits, Hanoi’s suburbs and surrounding countryside offer a few easygoing day trips. Take a jaunt to the booming traditional handicraft villages of Tam Coc and Hoa Lu, Ninh Binh’s main attractions, and visit the serene pagoda complex of the beautifully austere Perfume Pagoda.

Po Nagar Towers. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

Sights North of Nha Trang, Vietnam

There are two notable sights north of Nha Trang: the Po Nagar Towers and the rocky promontory of Hon Chong, both excellent sites for scenic views and interesting histories. Both are easily visited in one trip; stop first at the towers and then continue along the same road for another mile to the sea.

Iglesia La Ermita in Cali. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Sights in Popayán’s Centro Histórico, Colombia

Popayán is a dignified city, proud of its place in history and its enduring colonial charm. Idyllic churches and museums are the main places of interest in Popayán, but lingering in the Parque Caldas on a sunny afternoon or strolling the lonely streets on a Sunday evening may be what you remember most.

Stupas at Ang Pagoda. Photo © Dana Filek-Gibson.

The Mekong Delta to the Cambodian Border Travel Itinerary

Starting from Ho Chi Minh City, this 6-day itinerary works well as a bookend to your Vietnam trip, especially if you’re continuing onward to Cambodia. If you’re not, simply stop at the border. From floating markets and nature sanctuaries to incredible pagodas and mountain summit views, expect to be busy; there’s a lot to see and do.

The Customs House dates back to 1751. Photo © Susanna Henighan Potter.

Explore Christiansted National Historic Site

Comprising five historic structures dating to the earliest days of Danish colonization, Christiansted National Historic Site is the natural starting point for any exploration of historic Christiansted. Take a moment to enjoy the view outside on the expansive lawns, then delve into the site’s history by exploring inside.

Entrance gate to the United Hebrew Congregation Cemetery in Guanabacoa, Cuba.

Jewish History and Heritage Sites in Cuba

A brief look at Jewish history in Cuba from the arrival of Luis de Torres in 1492 as the first Jew in Cuba to the high point of the community mid-20th century to today. A handful of Jewish heritage sites remain open to the public, including Cuba’s oldest synagogue and a Holocaust museum.