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.

Sun Bay Beach in Vieques. Photo © Mark Franco/123rf.

Best Vieques Beaches

Aside from Mosquito Bay, the main reason to come to Vieques is to enjoy the staggering beauty of its miles of remote, pristine beaches and clear, turquoise waters. Each beach has its own unique characteristics—some are calm and shallow, others have big crashing waves, and still others offer spectacular snorkeling. Several are accessible only from dirt trails, off road or by foot, so bring sturdy shoes. And don’t forget the bug spray.

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.

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.

The canopy of a rain tree extends out over the waters of Lake Cocibolca.

Seven Days Down the Río San Juan

The watery “Golden Route” through southern Lake Cocibolca and down the Río San Juan is unquestionably worth a visit, especially the photogenic fort and river town at El Castillo. To explore this region, plan on spending about a week, though choosing just one of these places for a three-day trip is feasible.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse. Photo © Jbatt/Dreamstime.

Where to Go in Northern California

If you can’t decide between the beach or the mountains, city nightlife or quaint historical towns, and sleeping in luxury or roughing it, then Northern California is your ultimate destination. Here you’ll find a breakdown of each distinct region in the area, highlighting their major draws and general personalities.

Reserva Charco Verde. Photo © Elizabeth Perkins.

Where to Go in Nicaragua

Unless you have a few weeks to dedicate to your travels, it’s impossible to see everything Nicaragua has to offer–even then, you’d have a tight schedule. The best way to tackle the country is to learn about each region, then plan according to your interests and favorite activities. From vibrant nightlife to exploring history to outdoor adventures, Nicaragua won’t disappoint.

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.