A monkey in a tree on Monkey Island. Photo © Paul Schlindwein/123rf.

The Natural Beauty of Nicaragua’s Las Isletas

The 365-island archipelago of Nicaragua formed when Volcán Mombacho erupted some 20,000 years ago, hurling its top half into the nearby lake in giant masses of rock, ash, and lava. The natural beauty of the isletas is spectacular there is plenty for history buffs to enjoy as well. The islanders themselves are interesting and friendly, maintaining a rural lifestyle unique in Nicaragua: Children paddle dugout canoes or rowboats to school from an early age, and their parents get along by fishing and farming or by taking camera-toting tourists for a ride in their boats.

Beach at Cahuita National Park. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Things to See and Do in Laid-Back Cahuita

The offbeat village of Cahuita is an in-vogue destination for backpackers and escapist vacationers who like things simple. What you get are golden- and black-sand beaches backed by coconut palms, an offshore coral reef, and an immersion in Creole culture, including Rastafarians, with their dreadlocks and a lifestyle that revolves around reggae, Rasta, and—discreetly—reefer.

A surfer and horseback riders enjoy Playa Guiones. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Things to Do in Nosara, Costa Rica

Whether you’re looking to relax on beautiful beaches, spot wildlife in a sanctuary setting, enjoy an adventure tour on an ATV, or simply commune with yourself through massage or yoga, Nosara will cater to your every whim. Here’s a roundup of all the things to do in this classic Costa Rica destination.

Along the road to Lanquin. Photo © Al Argueta.

Outdoor Recreation in Lanquín, Guatemala

Lanquín and its caves are quickly becoming requisite stops for travelers making their way through Guatemala. Recreational opportunities abound, and you may find yourself spending more time here than you had originally planned. Whether it’s exploring caves, white-water rafting, river tubing, or swimming that suits your fancy, you’ll find plenty to see and do in these parts.

Sámara seen from a Flying Crocodile ultralight flight. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Flying Crocodile Ultralight Flight, Costa Rica

Want to try a flight in an ultralight plane? Head to Playa Buena Vista and the Flying Crocodile Flying Center where Guido Scheidt, a licensed commercial pilot, will take you up in one of his state-of-the-art fixed-wing or autogiro ultralights. Trips from twenty minutes to three days are offered, as well as lessons; stay in one of the nearby cabins for the full experience.

Scuba divers set out from the Águila de Osa Inn at Drake Bay. Photo © Christopher P. Baker.

Things to Do in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

On the north side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay lies between the mouth of the Río Sierpe and the vastness of Parque Nacional Corcovado. It’s a good base for sportfishing and scuba diving, and for hikes into nearby wildlife refuges and the national park.

View of Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point. Photo © Ann Marie Brown.

Picking the Best Sights for One Day in Yosemite

It’s not ideal to spend only one day in Yosemite, but if that’s the way your vacation is scheduled, you’ll need to make the most of your time. Ann Marie Brown shares advice to make sure you experience the park’s best sights.

Parroquia de San Migel Arcángel in San Miguel de Allende. Photo © Julie Meade.

An Expert Guide to the Top Destinations in Mexico

From beachfront yoga retreats to avant-garde photography exhibitions, international performing-arts festivals to breathtaking wilderness, Mexico is a fascinating place with a seemingly endless variety of experiences to offer. The constant is the warmth of its people and culture—and, of course, its enviable weather—near-perfect year round. If you’re considering a trip to Mexico in 2016, here’s a primer to the country’s most popular destinations right now.