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

Planning Your Time on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula

Known for its magnificent beaches and a long dry season with sizzling sunshine, the Nicoya Peninsula is the epicenter of Costa Rican beach vacations. Most tourism activity is along the dramatically sculpted Pacific shoreline. Although each beach community has its own distinct appeal, most remain barefoot and traditional, appealing to laid-back travelers who can hang with the locals and appreciate the wildlife that comes down to the shore.

California Poppies. Photo © Biolifepics/Dreamstime.

When to Visit Northern California

Dense in urban culture, awash in vineyards, and with some of the most scenic landscapes in the world, Northern California is a multi-faceted gem. Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and San Francisco are among the top 10 on most travelers’ bucket lists. Best about northern California is its all-season appeal–from summer sun to winter fun, the best time to go to northern California is now.

Mount Shasta. Photo © Christopher Arns.

Northern California Getaway: Mounts Shasta and Lassen

The mountains in the far northern reaches of California are some of the most unspoiled areas in the state, protected by a wealth of national and state parks and forestlands. The most prominent features of this region are two iconic mountains: Shasta and Lassen. Both mountains make great vacation destinations, beautiful to behold and surrounded by recreation opportunities, or a fabulous weekend getaway—particularly if you’ve got a three-day weekend.

La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © La Iglesia El Calvario in Chinandega. Photo © Otto Dusbaba/123rf.

Discover Nicaragua

For travelers, Nicaragua is a gem hidden in the rough. Tropical rainforests and soaring volcanoes offer endless opportunities for hiking and exploring. Sandy beaches with shimmering waters allow for languid beachcombing and swimming, while surfers flock to the shores for some of the best waves in the region. Charming cities have thriving dining and nightlife scenes and flourishing café cultures set amidst grand cathedrals and centuries-old Spanish colonial architecture.

Vieques features miles of deserted beaches and bright blue water. Photo © Suzanne Van Atten.

Planning Your Time on Vieques, Puerto Rico

In a world where change is constant, it’s nice to be reminded that some things stay the same. That is a big part of the charm of Vieques; a sleepy little island where life moves at a snail’s pace, cats and horses wander the island freely, and the only alarm clock you need is the crow of the roosters that run the place. Put these general planning tips into play for your visit, but know that the secret to enjoying Vieques is to chill out and let things unfold in their own way and time.

Covehead Lighthouse on Prince Edward Island. Photo © Vadim Petrov/123rf.

Exploring Prince Edward Island National Park

The sandy beaches, dunes, sandstone cliffs, marshes, and forestlands of Prince Edward Island National Park represent the island as it once was, unspoiled by 20th-century development. Opportunities to explore the park are many, with interpretive centers, plenty of hiking, beautiful sandy beaches and campgrounds of all kinds.

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.

A rainy trip on the Amazon. Photo © Andrew Dier.

Planning Your Time in the Colombian Amazon and Los Llanos

The main draw in both the Colombian Amazon and Los Llanos is the unique natural landscapes and the magnificent wildlife inhabiting them. Learn about these vast territories, the way of life there, what to see and do, and most importantly, how to plan your time to take in as much as you can of these amazing areas.